More on the respectable Mr. Ayers

In a riveting interview piece titled "Eyewitness to the Ayers Revolution,"Bob Owens has more on the incredible story of the plan (by Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, and others) to kill 25 million Americans:

Pajamas Media: You stated in your interview in No Place to Hide that you wanted us to "imagine sitting in a room with 25 people, most of which have graduate degrees, from Columbia and other well-known educational centers, and hear them figuring out the logistics for the elimination of 25 million people." A lot of people have now had the opportunity to listen to you, and contemplate the horrors these people planned. Can you recall who these people are by name, and who the ringleaders of this plan were?

Larry Grathwohl: Conversations regarding this occurred in Cincinnati, Detroit, Flint, and Buffalo. Participants included Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, Mark Rudd, Linda Evans, Jeff Jones, and many others.

Pajamas Media: Was this merely an academic matter to them, or were they serious about killing 25 million Americans that would not bend to their political will?

Larry Grathwohl: I suppose you could consider this a purely academic discussion in that the Weathermen never had the opportunity to implement their political ends. However, I can assure you that this was not the case. There was an absolute belief that they, along with the international revolutionary movement, would cause the collapse of the United States and that they would be in charge. Nixon was of great concern and how his end would be conducted. This may sound absurd in today's context, but the Weatherman believed they would succeed.

It may sound absurd, just I'm sure Hitler's murderous plans for the Jews would have sounded absurd in the early 1920s.

While the plan to murder 25 million Americans is so outrageous as to seem unbelievable, the fact is that monstrous people with monstrous plans have come and gone many times in human history. The ones who stand out in history are the ones who succeed. The Weather Underground are remembered because they had some success, although they of course came nowhere close to acheiving their despicable goals.

As despicable goals go, murdering 25 million is about as despicable as it gets.

I'm glad that Barack Obama has condemned Bill Ayers' actions as despicable, and while no one has seen fit to ask him about the plan to murder 25 million, I don't doubt that he would condemn that out of hand, and he'd probably point out that not only didn't he know Ayers or Dohrn at the time, but he was just a small boy. And he would have been only 15 or so when Ayers dedicated his book to Robert F. Kennedy's assassin, Sirhan Sirhan.

But by the time 9/11 rolled around and Ayers was stomping on the American flag and saying he hadn't done enough, Barack Obama was in his 40s. By that time, he had:

  • been the object of a career-launching fund raiser in Ayers and Dohrn's home
  • sung the praises of another book by Ayers, in which Obama was mentioned
  • attended many board meetings with Ayers
  • appeared on at least two panel symposia with Ayers and at least one with Dohrn
  • disbursed large sums of charitable money with Ayers, to the latter's favorite causes
  • worked in the same building as Ayers for years
  • When I point these things out, Ayers' defenders come here and leave endless comments to the effect that Obama's association with Ayers was minor, and that Ayers also associated with Republicans.

    I guess if that makes Ayers OK, then the fact that serial murderer John Wayne Gacy managed to pose with Rosalyn Carter should make him OK too. This is not to suggest that Ayers was like Gacy, because the latter didn't just plan mass murder; he actually did kill 33 people. And his murders were not ideologically driven, but committed for pleasure.

    However, I do think Ayers is comparable to Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, who no one would argue should ever be allowed to become respectable.

    For. The. Umpteenth. Time.

    Something is wrong with allowing a man who advocated the genocidal murder of 25 million of his fellow countrymen to become respectable.

    I realize Ayers has supporters, but I think it is a mistake to elect as president a guy who thinks such respectability is OK.

    Even if he hardly knew the guy in the neighborhood who helped launch his career in whose book he was mentioned and whose book he blurbed and with whom he shared a work address for a few years and with whom appeared on panels and boards and with whom he distributed millions, why can't he just say that Ayers should not be respectable?

    posted by Eric on 10.28.08 at 02:37 PM



    When "worked in the same building as Ayers for years" makes your bullet-pointed list of scaryScarySCARY fun facts, you might be getting a bit desperate.

    This has got to be frustrating for you folks.

    Dr. Nobel Dynamite   ·  October 28, 2008 2:50 PM

    "worked in the same building for years" goes to the "barely knew the guy" defense.

    Buy, hey, at least you have the "I wasn't even born yet when the building in which I worked with Bill Ayers for years was built." defense.

    The "Ayers also associated with Republicans." defense is, as Jim Treacher pointed out, as valid as "the 9-11 terrorists commandeered planes built by Boeing."

    And, really, associating oneself with an unrepentant terrorist list Ayers is like playing golf with OJ Simpson. THAT's a scaryScarySCARY lapse in judgment.

    furious   ·  October 28, 2008 3:54 PM


    "Buy, hey, at least you have the "I wasn't even born yet when the building in which I worked with Bill Ayers for years was built." defense."

    I have no idea what that means.

    "The 'Ayers also associated with Republicans.' defense is, as Jim Treacher pointed out, as valid as 'the 9-11 terrorists commandeered planes built by Boeing.'"

    The whole thing is silly. That's the point. Whether Obama's connections with Bill Ayers are more telling than McCain's connections with G.Gordon Liddy, whether the hundreds of people with similar connections to each of the former should be considered having "palled around with terrorists"'s all just silly.

    And you know what? The electorate is recognizing it as such. Which is heartening to me, but obviously very frustrating for you, Eric, and Sean Hannity.

    Dr. Nobel Dynamite   ·  October 28, 2008 4:07 PM

    As vile a person as Liddy is, to the best of my knowledge, he never plotted genocide, or advocated the occupation of the United States by our communist adversaries. I don't think the two are even in the same ballpark.

    Here's the difference though, I think it does in fact, speak negatively of McCain that he associates with Liddy. Obama supporters seem to think Ayers is no big deal, and we're all nuts for being concerned about Obama's association with him.

    Sebastian   ·  October 28, 2008 7:14 PM

    While I don't think Ayers and Liddy are in the same ballpark (for reasons I explained in detail here), I think Obama had closer associations with Ayers than McCain did with Liddy.

    But once again, I think the larger issue is not who associated with who or when, but whether or not Barack Obama believes that someone with Bill Ayers' background should ever be considered respectable and mainstream.

    Eric Scheie   ·  October 28, 2008 7:43 PM


    You're right, I suppose. Liddy only proposed murdering a few people, firebombing a few buildings, and kidnapping a few political enemies. It's not like he's talked about murdering federal agents in the last twenty years or so, right?

    But it's definitely not like McCain ever had a friendly chat with a known murderer, torturer, and all-around douche-bag like, oh, I don't know...Augusto Pinochet, right? I mean, by 1985, the world had a good idea of the kinds of things Pinochet was doing to his own people, so you'd have to assume that anyone who would have a "friendly" or "warm" chat with a such a brutal dictator probably approved of Pinochet's actions, right?

    Of course, the real issue isn't whether McCain palled around with people who advocated the murder and kidnapping of American citizens in an attempt to undermine our democratic process and advocated the murder of federal agents, or whether McCain was in the habit of having friendly chats with men who murdered and tortured tens of thousands of innocent people. The larger issue is whether people like that should ever be considered mainstream or respectable.

    See the rabbit hole this whole guilt-by-association farce takes us? It's silliness that doesn't do a damn thing to address foreign policy, our economic mess, healthcare, or energy policy. It's just fearmongering by an ideologically and morally bankrupt campaign.

    Dr. Nobel Dynamite   ·  October 28, 2008 10:03 PM

    Liddy has acknowledged preparing to kill someone during the Ellsberg break-in “if necessary”; plotting to murder journalist Jack Anderson; plotting with a “gangland figure” to murder Howard Hunt to stop him from cooperating with investigators; plotting to firebomb the Brookings Institution;

    During the 1990s, Liddy reportedly instructed his radio audience on multiple occasions on how to shoot Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agents and also reportedly said he had named his shooting targets after Bill and Hillary Clinton.

    Liddy is an unrepentent, convicted criminal who has instructed his audience to Federal agents.

    Liddy has given thousands of dollars over the years to McCain in campiagn donations including $1000 this year.

    Ayers "respectability" stems from the fact that Annenberg made Ayers a shining star in Illinois and beyond by accepting Ayers grant for almost $50 millions for an education reform program.

    Governor Jim Edgar (Republican) and many prominent members of Chicago establishment, jumped on Ayers bandwagon, enhancing his respectability!

    Ayers was given Chicago's Citizen of the Year award after securing the city a $49.2 million Annenberg Award for school reform.

    Ayers owes his respectability directly to Republican Annenberg.


    Meyrav Levine   ·  October 29, 2008 9:37 AM

    ML, you're fond of bringing up Liddy, but that has nothing to do with whether Ayers should be respectable. Obviously, you think Liddy (whose "plots" were hypothetical in nature and rejected by his government superiors -- as voluminously detailed in his autobiography) is worse than Ayers. Which means what, precisely? That Liddy should not be made Chicago's citizen of the year, and should not be given millions of dollars by elderly philanthropists?

    Ayers owes his respectability directly to Republican Annenberg.

    If so, then Obama should by all means take advantage of this opportunity to attack the Republicans for making Ayers respectable.

    Eric Scheie   ·  October 29, 2008 11:40 AM

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