The Bill Ayers controversy hasn't died down as yet. See-Dubya at Michelle Malkin's notes that Eric Rudolph, the abortion clinic bomber, is a better comp for Ayers than Tom Coburn.
Does Obama really believe that Tom Coburn is the moral equivalent of Ayers, or was he just caught unprepared and crammed his foot into his mouth? I hope it’s the latter, because this man might end up as our President and I’d like to think he knows the difference between a bomb-throwing, America-hating terrorist and a pork-slashing Senator from Tulsa.
Obviously, plenty of decent people don't detest Bill Ayers [quite the contrary], and no one is going to convince them that they ought to - Ayers' opposition to the Vietnam War gave him a moral blank check.
In fact, it's important to remember that while three members of the Weather Underground died at their own hands because of a failed bomb they were constructing, no one else died at their hands. The group scrupulously worked to make sure that their attacks were on property, not people.
So that makes it okay? Look, if you rob a bank and your accomplice gets shot by the cops, you will be tried for murder. And anyway, the bomb that went off was intended for a soldiers' dance at Fort Dix. It was only after they killed some of their own that they decided to pursue their means semi-non-violently.
Lindorff also brings up the defense that Obama used:
Ayers has long since earned the nation's respect, whatever one may think of his youthful radicalism, by devoting his life to the challenge of helping educate those who have a hard time breaking the cycle of poverty and ignorance, which makes it obscene to criticize Obama for sharing a boardroom with him (Obama was 8 when Ayers was in the Weathermen back in 1970).
And Obama was 40 when he served on a board with Ayers. He was 33 when he held a fundraiser in Ayers' home. And he was 43 when he spoke with Ayers at an event for Rashid Khalidi.
In Chicago, the Khalidis founded the Arab American Action Network, and Mona Khalidi served as its president. A big farewell dinner was held in their honor by AAAN with a commemorative book filled with testimonials from their friends and political allies. These included the left wing anti-war group Not In My Name, the Electronic Intifada, and the ex-Weatherman domestic terrorists Bernadine Dohrn and Bill Ayers. (There were also testimonials from then-state Senator Barack Obama and the mayor of Chicago.)
Day in and day out I go about my business, I hang out with my kids and my grandchildren, take care of the elders, I go to work, I teach and I write, I organize and I participate in the never-ending effort to build a powerful movement for peace and social justice; now and then (and unpredictably) I appear in the newspapers or on TV with a reference to my book Fugitive Days, a memoir of the revolutionary action and militant resistance to the Viet Nam War—the years of miracle and wonder—and some fantastic assertions about what I did, what I said, and what I believe. The other night, for example, I heard Sean Hannity tell Senator John McCain that I was an unrepentant terrorist who had written an article on September 11, 2001 extolling bombings against the U.S., and even advocating more terrorist bombs. Senator McCain couldn’t believe it, and neither could I.
Yeah, the only thing he repented was that he didn't do more, as he said at the time. Ayers is not one of the really bad people from the early 1970s, but he's on the borderline. The Weatherman/Weather Underground group plotted murder but only succeeded in killing a few of their own. Several of their graduates went on to do really nasty things, like the Nyack bank robbery, for which Ayers cannot be blamed as he had already turned himself in.
Still, a bad person, and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn, is even worse. I can understand why a Democratic candidate for the Illinois senate might find their endorsement useful. But it is ridiculous that such a candidate would find himself in the lead for the nomination of his party.
Ah, it's nice to see this issue come out in the open. Barack Obama was forced last night to account for his relationship with Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, two members of the 1970s group. Here's the question and answer:
And I want to give Senator Clinton a chance to respond, but first a follow-up on this issue, general theme of patriotism, in your relationships. A gentleman named William Ayers. He was part of the Weather Underground in the 1970s. They bombed the Pentagon, the Capitol, and other buildings. He's never apologized for that.
And, in fact, on 9/11, he was quoted in the New York Times saying, "I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough." An early organizing meeting for your State Senate campaign was held at his house and your campaign has said you are "friendly."
Can you explain that relationship for the voters and explain to Democrats why it won't be a problem?
OBAMA: George, but this is an example of what I'm talking about. This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who's a professor of English in Chicago who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He's not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis.
And the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values doesn't make much sense, George.
The fact is that I'm also friendly with Tom Coburn, one of the most conservative Republicans in the United States Senate, who, during his campaign, once said that it might be appropriate to apply the death penalty to those who carried out abortions.
Do I need to apologize for Mr. Coburn's statements? Because I certainly don't agree with those, either.
So this kind of game in which anybody who I know, regardless of how flimsy the relationship is, that somehow their ideas could be attributed to me, I think the American people are smarter than that. They're not going to suggest somehow that that is reflective of my views, because it obviously isn't.
CLINTON: Well, I think that is a fair general statement, but I also believe that Senator Obama served on a board with Mr. Ayers for a period of time, the Woods Foundation, which was a paid directorship position.
And, if I'm not mistaken, that relationship with Mr. Ayers on this board continued after 9/11 and after his reported comments, which were deeply hurtful to people in New York and, I would hope, to every American, because they were published on 9/11, and he said that he was just sorry they hadn't done more.
And what they did was set bombs. And in some instances, people died. So it is -- I think it is, again, an issue that people will be asking about.
Obama notes later that Hillary's husband pardoned two Weatherman/Weather Underground members in one of his last official acts as president. David Corn follows up:
When it came time for questions for Wolfson, I asked an obvious one: Did Hillary Clinton believe that it had been appropriate in 2001 for President Bill Clinton to have pardoned two members of the Weather Underground as he left office? The two recipients of Clinton's munificence were Linda Evans, who was sentenced to five years in prison for her participation in a string of 1980s bombings, and Susan Rosenberg, who was charged with participating in a bank robbery that left one guard and two police officers dead. And, I continued, has Senator Clinton ever criticized this decision? Has she ever said anything publicly about it? Rosenberg, I noted, had been apprehended with 740 pounds of explosives in her possession.
Nice to see the Left suddenly realizing that those particular pardons were unconscionable; one wonders if Corn expressed reservations back in early 2001. Rosenberg, in particular, was a poor candidate for release.
But, as Clinton noted, Obama continued to associate with Ayers, even after his disgusting comments, which unfortunately for him, were published in the NY Times on 9/11/01 and in the NY Times Magazine section the following Sunday, at a time when support for terrorist actions against Amerikkka were, for some unknown reason, at an all-time low.
Consensus is that Obama got body-slammed, but of course the Obamaniacs are griping that the questions were unfair. They apparently think the questions should be solely about "issues" and not about character.
The winner of this debate? John McCain. Both Democrats came out of this diminished, but Obama got destroyed in this exchange. If superdelegates had begun to reconsider their support of Obama after Crackerquiddick, they’re speed-dialing Hillary after watching Gibson dismember Obama on national TV tonight.
In perhaps the most embarrassing performance by the media in a major presidential debate in years, ABC News hosts Charles Gibson and George Stephanopolous focused mainly on trivial issues as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama faced off in Philadelphia. They, and their network, should hang their collective heads in shame.
Then it was back to Obama to defend his slim association with a former '60s radical -- a question that came out of rightwing talk radio and Sean Hannity on TV, but was delivered by former Bill Clinton aide Stephanopolous. This approach led to a claim that Clinton's husband pardoned two other '60s radicals. And so on. The travesty continued.
Mitchell gripes that they didn't talk more about Iraq, but since their positions are virtually indistinguishable, I don't get the point.
Keeping the score card, there's no way Obama could fared worse. Nearly 45 minutes of relentless political scrutiny from the ABC anchors and from Hillary Clinton, followed by an issues-and-answers session in which his anger carried over and sort of neutered him. But Hillary Clinton has a Reverse-Teflon problem: her negatives are up, and when she's perceived as the attacker, the attacks never seem to settle on Obama and always seem to boomerang back on her. So it would be unwise to declare that Hillary "won" the debate in the dynamic sense just yet. (How much money will Obama raise off this debate? $3m million? $4 million?)
9.51 pm. The big winner is John McCain. Then Clinton who seemed at least awake. Then Obama whose calm was nonetheless trumped by obvious exhaustion. Yes, the Clintons have shredded him. But that's what they know how to do. It's also what the GOP knows how to do. Obama has got to get used to this and find a way to withstand it and fight back without enabling the very cynicism it represents. That's not easy, and we are discovering if he has it in him. Tonight he looked and felt depleted beyond measure. Which is when his supporters have to take the weight.
Sully also gripes about the questions; it's as if the media are supposed to be in the bag for Obama.
John Hawkins really does a terrific job with these compilation posts, which take a long time to assemble unless you stay on top of them. Here's one I hadn't heard before, but which certainly fits the anti-American meme:
"And if that child should ever get the chance to travel the world and someone should ask her where is she from, we believe that she should always be able to hold her head high with pride in her voice when she answers, "I am an American."
That is the course we seek. That is the change we are calling for."
Hillary Clinton took an important step Monday toward winning the Democratic nomination by launching an ad targeting Barack Obama's recent comments about working-class voters clinging to "guns or religion." The ad is a marked change from her recent determination to use a positive message until the Democratic convention, but for Clinton to capture the nomination she needs to completely abandon her positive campaign and continue to hammer away at Obama.
Hey, look, I don't like Obama, so I'm temporarily rooting for Hillary. But the notion that she hasn't gone negative is rather absurd.
In response to Greg Ransom's discovery of Barak (Sr.) Obama's paper entitled Problems with Our Socialism, Ben Smith and Jeffrey Ressner labor mightily to convey the message that Barak pere was actually a moderate:
Elements of Obama's argument now seem prescient, others deeply dated, but his central aim – particularly in the context of the heady early days of African independence – was moderate and conciliatory.
Obama Sr.'s 1965 paper, however, brims with confidence and optimism.
The article, with a loaded term in the title and a casual discussion of socialism, communism, and nationalization, has raised the hackles of some anti-Obama conservatives who have been discussing it online.
Boo! Those nasty anti-Obama conservatives. Lower your hackles!
But Kenya expert Dr. Raymond Omwami, an economist and UCLA visiting professor from the University of Helsinki who has also worked at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, said Obama Sr. could not be considered a socialist himself based solely on the material in his bylined piece.
"The critics of this article are making a big mistake," says Omwami, who read the document and the associated internet debate at the request of Politico over the weekend. "They are assuming Obama Sr. is the one who came up with this concept of African socialism, but that's totally wrong. Based on that, they're imbuing in him the idea that he himself is a socialist, but he is not."
Undercutting this notion is the actual paper itself, which the Politico kindly provides. Judge for yourself whether these passages sound slightly socialistic:
Wants public ownership of land, not individual ownership. Wants "equitable" distribution of economic gains.
Use taxation as a method of forced savings? Here Obama, Sr., seems to be saying that the government can tax more than it needs to accumulate capital. No limit to taxation? It would be hard to find a purer statement of socialism than that.
Look, the fact that Obama's father was a socialist, or even a communist, is not all that significant, except to the extent that it reveals Barack Jr.'s own thoughts. But the effort by Smith and Ressner to claim that his papa was a moderate is absurd.
And once again, after digging up the paper written in 1965 by Obama’s dad, the bloggers prove they don’t understand anything, and the paper, contrary to previous assertions of Marxism, proves nothing of the sort.
I'm going to guess that Cole didn't bother to read the article himself. Why should he? A liberal read it and told him there was nothing to the claims.
I had a nice conversation with Ressner, but his article is a typical left of center MSM embarrassment. The article attacks my headline unfairly, completely misrepresents what I said, and deals with none of the rest of the content of my article.
I received e-mails and phone calls from women voicing various strains of frustration: They told me about the sexism they felt coming from their brothers and husbands and friends and boyfriends; some described the suspicion that their politically progressive partners were actually uncomfortable with powerful women. Others had to find ways to call me out of earshot of their Obama-loving boyfriends. Some women apologized for "sounding so feminist." Interviewees expressed vexation at not being able to put their finger on what it was about Obama-mania that creeped them out so badly, while maintaining a deep assuredness that something was not quite right. Perhaps most surprising was that the majority of the women I spoke to were not haters: They were Obama supporters, or at least Obama-appreciators.
A close friend who's a registered Democrat confided in me that she had been unable to make up her mind between Obama and Hillary, and so she had not voted. When her 8-year-old asked her whom she'd voted for she stalled for time, saying that both of the candidates had good qualities, and so it was a tough decision.
He replied, "Well, I hope you didn't vote for that woman!" Of course, he got quite an earful from his mom at that point.
That said, I think at least some of what's going on here is more of the "get with the program" argument. Now that Obama is perceived as "inevitable" his supporters are getting more testy with Hillary's supporters. Of course, I have a perfect personal record on that score, having never played the inevitability card.
So now, Barack Obama tells the truth about conditions as we know them--that the countryside and the small towns are dying in many places in our country, and that the corporatocracy doesn't care enough to do a thing about it. He points out that immigrant-baiting, gay-baiting, gun-baiting, and religious pandering have helped to destroy those towns and that countryside, that those being destroyed have been cynically enlisted by their very own destroyers to provide the votes that help accomplish the destruction.
Just plain hilarious. Obama's formulation was that people turn to immigrant-bashing and gay-baiting because economic times are hard for them; Smiley turns it around. It's immigrant bashing and gay baiting that have caused the economic hard times.