October 16, 2008
Mainstreaming the despicable
As I have been saying, there's a bigger problem than Bill Ayers' unrepentant terrorism and his present day radicalism, and that is his mainstream respectability.
Bill Ayers should not be respectable or mainstream.
For some reason, that issue is seen as irrelevant or nonexistent, and the Ayers issue is spun alternately as:
Finally McCain mentioned Ayers. Barely.
When he did last night (after Bob Schieffer brought up Sarah Palin's "palled around with terrorists" remark), here were Obama's words in response:
In fact, Mr. Ayers has become the centerpiece of Senator McCain's campaign over the last two or three weeks. This has been their primary focus. So let's get the record straight. Bill Ayers is a professor of education in Chicago.Let's stop right there. No one ever said he wasn't a professor of education in Chicago except Barack Obama, who called the guy he worked with for years "an English teacher." Why make it look like he's correcting others if he's correcting himself?
Forty years ago, when I was 8 years old, he engaged in despicable acts with a radical domestic group. I have roundly condemned those acts. Ten years ago he served and I served on a school reform board that was funded by one of Ronald Reagan's former ambassadors and close friends, Mr. Annenberg.While I haven't researched the condemnation, I'll take him at his word that he condemned "those acts" specifically. But I'm wondering... Why don't the despicable acts include trampling on the American flag during the time period in which Ayers was working with Obama? As to the then-86 year old Annenberg (who was Nixon's ambassador to England, not Reagan's), he never knew Ayers, and probably never knew his terrorist background when he funded the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (one of a number of projects). He was presented the CAC paperwork along with that of other Annenberg challenge groups by Brown University President Vartan Gregorian, who served to coordinate the National Annenberg Challenge.
That Obama would invoke Annenberg's name shows a clear intent to continue -- not denounce -- the ongoing mainstreaming of the unrepentant Ayers.
So does Obama's invoking the names of other members of the board:
Other members on that board were the presidents of the University of Illinois, the president of Northwestern University, who happens to be a Republican, the president of The Chicago Tribune, a Republican-leaning newspaper.Did anyone say Ayers was involved in the campaign? Well, why say that?
McCain came back with this:
MCCAIN: Well, again, while you were on the board of the Woods Foundation, you and Mr. Ayers, together, you sent $230,000 to ACORN. So -- and you launched your political campaign in Mr. Ayers' living room.There's an accurate collection of facts here, and it's quite well settled that Obama's political career was in fact launched in the Ayers Dohrn living room.
As to Ayers and Obama funding ACORN, it is true:
Obama's tenure with the Woods Fund is perhaps most noteworthy for his association with former terrorist Bill Ayers. Ayers served on the Woods board for three years of Obama's tenure and remained on the board after Obama departed. Hillary Clinton raised this issue earlier this year at the Philadelphia debate when Obama, as he has done throughout the campaign, tried to minimize his relationship with Ayers.I'd note that the total there is $190,000, and McCain gave a figure of $230,000. Whether there's another $40,000 or whether McCain was off a bit, I don't know. But to say it's "absolutely not true" is a pretty strong statement. What did Obama mean? "You're off by 40 grand; we only gave ACORN $190,000?"
But I'll say this for Obama: he's come a long way since he described Ayers as someone he barely knew who was "a guy who lived in the neighborhood."
What annoys me the most about Obama's performance last night is his attempt to continue the mainstreaming of a murderous radical who should never have been mainstreamed in the first place.
Yes, I think Ayers, a murderous, admitted enemy of the United States, was lucky to avoid prison, and should never have been given tenure and respectability. Even now he should be fired, and removed from all semblance of respectability. I know this is not going to happen, and I realize there is no way to hold the people who hired, coddled and promoted Ayers accountable, but I think that if Obama can't at least denounce him as outside the mainstream, he is unfit to be president.
Instead of denouncing him, Obama promotes the meme that Ayers is an "educational reformer" (as he did last night). This is not much different from promoting the meme that Mao was an "agrarian reformer."
In today's Wall Street Journal, Sol Stern (who has studied Ayers in detail) takes issue with that meme in a piece titled "Ayers Is No Education 'Reformer' -- The new media spin is worse than Obama's original evasion."
...[A]s one of the leaders of a movement for bringing radical social-justice teaching into our public school classrooms, Mr. Ayers is not a school reformer. He is a school destroyer.I realize that ordinary voters don't understand these things, but I want to make something as clear as I can.
Bill Ayers epitomizes what has gone wrong in this country.
This is bad, bad, stuff. I don't know how many blog posts I've written over the years on the systematic destruction of the schools, the indoctrination of children, and the steady infiltration of radical leftists in the educational system. (A lot, I'm sure.) But here's a guy who, despite the fact that he is proud of his murderous, treasonous past, has been given enormous power to do all of these things, and a guy who helped him and worked with him closely is running for president. This would speak poorly of Obama, even if Ayers was not a famous Weather Underground terrorist.
But what happened last night really gave me the creeps. Not only has Barack Obama assisted in the deliberate mainstreaming of a dangerous radical, but he did it right there on national television for the world to see.
Let me repeat what I said yesterday before the debate:
Regardless of how Ayers came to be respectable and mainstream, though, the people who made him respectable are not running for president. Obama is, and so the issue of Ayers -- and his respectability -- is fair game. It is not enough for Obama to say Ayer's "past" is despicable if Ayers does not repent it. Nor does hiding behind the "everyone else did it" claim of Ayers' respectability.I think we now know the answer to that question.
So I have another.
Does Obama truly believe that Ayers' acts were despicable?
McCain almost touched on the problem when he said this last night:
...Senator Obama chooses to associate with a guy who in 2001 said that he wished he had have bombed more, and he had a long association with him.Yes, Ayers has no regrets and wishes he did more, and Obama had a long association with him yet says his acts were despicable.
Anyone who thinks Ayers is repentant in the least, watch this (from 1998):
Does Barack Obama think that such people -- who he admits committed "despicable acts" but who don't regret those acts -- should nonetheless be welcomed into and become part of the respectable mainstream?
Why? Might it be that he doesn't think what they did was all that despicable?
Should someone who thinks that way be president?
posted by Eric on 10.16.08 at 11:21 PM
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