Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Wouldn't Call Him A Friend -- He's More of An Acquaintance

Tom Maguire tells us that mainstream media may be covering for Obama on the depth of his association with ex-Weatherman and (alleged) domestic terrorist William Ayers. Color me a bit skeptical as to how big a deal it will be. I do think it should be a big deal, but I think what's already been revealed should be a big deal. As Maguire notes...
Obama pretended that he was only casually acquainted with Ayers, describing him as "a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who's a professor of English in Chicago...". Hilary provided a bracing corrective, reminding people that the two men had served on a charitable board together, the Woods Fund of Chicago.

This exchange was newsworthy enough to provoke coverage in the Chicago Sun-Times, and the NY Times; earlier stories had sparked The "Fact Checker" at the Washington post.

And yet! All of these hard-working professionals gave Obama a pass for a very casual relationship with Ayers, citing the charitable board, some joint panel appearances, and a fund-raiser hosted by Ayers.
Even if it stopped there (and it doesn't appear it did), I'd say Obama has questionable taste in friends (to say the least). It took him a few weeks to disown Rev. Wright; disowning his association with Ayers should have taken a few seconds.

Seriously, this should be beyond question. Ayers is a terrorist, one who doesn't even express remorse for participating in acts of violence that could have killed people, not to mention the fact that one of the plans did kill some of his conspirators. I don't care if the University of Illinois holds him in high regard as a Professor -- that's between the University and the taxpayers of the state. At the end of the day, he's a criminal who went unpunished because he went on the run and the government screwed up. Worse, he still feels justified in what he did and planned to do. Obama's own website notes a NYT Times interview from 2001 with Ayers where he said:
"'I don't regret setting bombs,' Bill Ayers said. 'I feel we didn't do enough.' Mr. Ayers, who spent the 1970's as a fugitive in the Weather Underground, was sitting in the kitchen of his big turn-of-the-19th-century stone house in the Hyde Park district of Chicago."
Of course, Obama's website tried to defend the comment by pointing out that even though it was published on September 11, 2001, the comments pre-dated the publication time. Earth to Team Obama: the comments are reprehensible no matter when they were made.

Obama's statements about his relationship with Ayers remind me of Homer's search for a soulmate on the Simpsons episode that featured Johnny Cash as the talking space coyote. At one point, Homer enters Moe's searching for his soulmate. Barney refers to himself as "more of a chum,"; Lenny says he's a "croonie"; Carl claims to be an "acquintance"... and so on, until Moe tells Homer, "I'm a well-wisher, in that I don't wish you any specific harm." And yes, I'm happy when I get to write a post where I get to write the words "space coyote."

Do Americans care? I'm reminded of this point as made by Jim Geraghty...
Do you, personally, know anyone who has ever tried to blow up the Pentagon? Do you know of anyone who actually brags that they did, successfully, plant and detonate a bomb at the Pentagon?

Do you, personally, know anyone has ever planned to blow up an officer's dance at a military base, say, Fort Dix?

Do you, personally, know anyone who has gotten someone killed in an explosion because of their actions?

Even if these bombings and attempted bombings occurred forty years ago, is that the sort of thing you could forgive, and/or dismiss? Do you believe that assembling a bomb, and intending to kill police, members of the military, and ordinary innocent civilians is the sort of thing that should be considered "water under the bridge" once enough time has passed?

Could you shake hands with this person? Go to a party at their house? Accept a donation from them? If you knew this about a person, could you look at them and forget that they gathered the explosives, assembled the wires and the parts, scoped out their target, planted it, and watched it detonate with excitement?

Do you relate to having people like that in your social circle?

No, I don't, either.
Is that over the top? I don't think so. Here's the problem -- while it may seem acceptable for people in elite circles to forgive and forget the actions of the radical left from the 1960's as excusable overreaction in pursuit of an admirable goal... it's still not right. Maybe if you were there, you might feel empathy and forgiveness for the actions that took place -- but Obama wasn't even a teenager at the time. Not everyone who went to college in the 1960's participated in campus protests, let alone violence. I'm only a decade or so younger than Obama, and I don't fly in the same elite circles -- but if someone told me an acquaintance of mine was a person who spent part of the 1960's and part of the 1970's planting bombs and inciting violence, I'd probably quit spending time with him. Maybe even if I was an aspiring politician who could use the connections.

If this was one association, then perhaps we could excuse it. But remember Obama's initial failure to disown Rev. Wright, and recall that he only ended up sending Wright to time out after Wright made comments that would damage his campaign. Ayers has been silent, and thus far I haven't seen Obama spend any time telling Americans that he's ended any association with Ayers. Perhaps the real test is not whether Ayers committed criminal acts, but whether he committed the cardinal sin of hurting Obama.

I sense Obama wants to dismiss his acquaintance with Ayers as nothing more than that. Even if it is, it would help if he accompanied the dismissal with embarassment for having been acquainted with him in the first place, and a condemnation of the man. Unless, of course, Obama's not embarrassed and doesn't feel the need to condemn him.


Post a Comment

<< Home