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  • The Real Ayers Problem

    Posted by Shannon Love on August 26th, 2008 (All posts by )

    Jonah Goldberg,

    I am amazed, simply amazed, at the amazement of many liberals that Ayers and Dohrn should matter to anyone.

    As I have noted before, the real troubling aspect of the Obama-Ayers relationship is that Obama comes from a political subculture in which Ayers is an accepted and unremarkable individual. Looking at Ayers, one is forced to ask exactly what kind of leftist extremism would be considered unacceptable by Obama and his cohorts. 

    [h/t Instapundit]

    [update(9:59am 8.27.2008): Commenter Jjv says:

    I think the bigger problem is what did Ayers see in Obama?

    end update]

    [update(10:12am 8.27.2008): If you wish to argue that you consider Ayers acceptable and unremarkable please provide an example of what Ayers would have had to do for you to consider him unacceptable.]

    [update(12:37pm 8.27.2008): I contacted the Chicago Tribune and ask them about Ayers. They said that they had only published a commentary i.e. basically a letter to the editor. So the idea that Ayers is mainstream because the Tribune published him is dubious.]

    [update (2:32pm 8.27.2009): The Tribune editoral page editor, Brian Dold, graciously called me back. He said that the Tribune, as part of its public mission, publishes a wide array of opinion without passing judgement on the character of the authors.]

    [update (2:34pm 8.27.2008): Commentator Foo Bar has shown that the Tribune did publish several opinion pieces by Ayers over a period of several years.] 

     

    108 Responses to “The Real Ayers Problem”

    1. virgil xenophon Says:

      Jonah should not be amazed that liberals are amazed, after all we have the Pauline Kael precedent. Remember the comment attributed to her after Nixon’s landslide re-election victory?: “I
      can’t understand how the man got elected, no one I know has ever voted for him.” Which, as observers pointed out at the time, was probably literally true considering that her world was almost entirely bound by the environs of the upper-west side of NYC.

    2. jdm Says:

      Looking at Ayers, one is forced to ask exactly what kind of leftist extremism would be considered unacceptable by Obama and his cohorts.

      I realize how and even why you use the term “unacceptable”. Still, when I hear/read it, I hear the refrain “well, of course, Saddam’s (Mugabe’s, Lenin’s, Stalin’s, Castro’s, Mao’s, Che’s et al) behavior has been unacceptable, but [append excuse because of America or tu quoque against America].

      Sorry, it’s just me.

    3. bgates Says:

      the real troubling aspect of the Obama-Ayers relationship is that Obama comes from a political subculture in which Ayers is an accepted and unremarkable individual.
      Yes, and that political subculture is called “the Democratic Party”. It makes me wonder who they will pick next. At the rate they’re going, their 2016 candidate will be promising a cabinet position to Samir Kuntar.

    4. Peg C. Says:

      I am positive these types mourn the passing of the 9/11 hijackers.

      Oh, I forgot. There were no hijacked planes – it was Bush who blew up the Twin Towers. Right.

      Consider just who we’re talking about here. They live in a Matrix of their own construction.

    5. Namazu Says:

      Even a sympathetic one: a product of his times whose idealism simply failed to find the right outlet. Jonah would be less amazed had he heard this NPR interview of Cathy Wilkerson, who went into hiding after her friends accidentally blew themselves up in the basement of her father’s Greenwich Village townhouse in 1970:

      http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=17534987

      Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the interview is the P.O.V. taken by host Robert Siegel, who had a friend die in the explosion.

    6. Foo Bar Says:

      The Chicago Tribune, which hasn’t endorsed a Democrat for President since 1872, has published Ayers’ op-eds several times over the years, going back as least as far as 1988. Here are two examples.

      Maybe we should blame the Tribune, a solid conservative-leaning paper with the good sense to endorse folks like GWB, for setting a bad example by working with and promoting Ayers repeatedly.

    7. Kevin Says:

      I bet someone who blows up unoccupied IRS offices would not be treated the same way by these folks.

    8. Jay Manifold Says:

      Has anyone asked Bill Ayers if he thought Timothy McVeigh “did enough”?

    9. clazy Says:

      I was going to suggest that the Dems’ attitude toward Dohrn and Ayers was, no surprise, rather European, considering the ascendence of many 68ers, but then I thought better of it — really it’s more as if Ulrike Meinhof or Andreas Baader had been associates of the German president.

    10. Jack Lillywhite Says:

      Anyone over 60 from large urban areas like NYC and Chicago, who did not serve in the military during the Vietnam war, probably knows someone like Ayers and thinks nothing of their past (60’s to 70’s) idealism cum terrorism links. I continue to read letters to editors even here in northeast Florida that ring of the same leftist-Maoist attributes and noisy rhetoric of the 60’s radicalism. Not every 60’s radical ended up getting mugged, you know. Some of them just shaved and went to work for newspapers, TV and book stores.

    11. Robert Speirs Says:

      In the same vein, I was amazed that the presence of a huge picture of Mao Tse-Tung was visible in the coverage of the Chinese Olympics and did not provoke any adverse comment at all. Talk about leftist terrorists! Mao was probably the greatest mass murderer of all time. And yet Bob Costas and the other shills did not think it worthy of notice that the Chinese had apparently not put his insane evil behind them. Would there have been comment if the Germans still had a picture of Hitler displayed in Berlin?

    12. Nunca Says:

      “what kind of leftist extremism would be considered unacceptable by Obama and his cohorts?”

      Only the kind that embraces free market economics as the best solution to poverty.

    13. Vinny Vidivici Says:

      ” . . . what kind of leftist extremism would be considered unacceptable . . . ”

      You mean ‘unacceptable’ to people who believe protest vandalism and interrupting the free assembly rights of others are forms of ‘free speech expression’? You mean unacceptable to people who whine constantly about ‘stifling of dissent’ on nationally-televised news programs and in the pages of our largest newspapers, then lawyer up, lobby for speech codes, harrass YouTube or shout down anything they don’t want to hear?

      Answer to your question: nothing is ‘unacceptable’. The ends will always justify the means, as that stack of corpses 100 million high from the last century attests.

    14. jjv Says:

      I think the bigger problem is what did Ayers see in Obama?

    15. Amos Wright Says:

      Robert, yes, there would have been comment. But that’s not only because we’ve allowed Marxism to get away with things that we don’t cotton from Nazism, but also because Multicultism keeps us from being harsh about the Chinese. You’d be shocked at how many Chinese still revere Mao. Not just the sycophantic government mercenaries, but many of the common folk.

    16. Shannon Love Says:

      Foo Bar,

      The Chicago Tribune, which hasn’t endorsed a Democrat for President since 1872, has published Ayers’ op-eds several times over the years, going back as least as far as 1988

      Your argument assumes two facts not in evidence: (1) The the editors who accepted Ayers editorials actually knew what he had done and what he stilled believed and (2) the poor judgement of one non-leftist lets Obama off the hook.

      A better explanation is that people on the right intuitively assume that someone like Ayers would be excluded from the political community and therefore they toke the leftist mainstreaming of Ayers as a sign he had recanted and reformed. Ayers is, sadly for our nation, a powerful figure in education. Why would someone on the right suspect that leftist would let someone like that have influence on our children’s education.

      I think that prior to 9/11 most people assumed that Ayers had reformed because they assumed that had he not, his leftist friends would have shunned him.

    17. rjschwarz Says:

      Amos Wright, you may be right, but I’d amend that it is only the common folk who survived who have that luxury. Time combined with silence can do a lot to shape opinions. That is why Marxism survives in some bleeding hearts and empty heads while Nazism was blasted immediately after the war started.

    18. David Warner Says:

      “I think the bigger problem is what did Ayers see in Obama?”

      That’s an interesting take. I’d like to see a post on that one.

      “a product of his times whose idealism simply failed to find the right outlet”

      It didn’t just fail to find the right one, that’s common enough, it succeeded (in spades) in finding the wrongest one. He’s like Brad Pitt’s character in 12 Monkeys all grown up.

    19. Shannon Love Says:

      foo bar,

      You appear to find Ayers acceptable so please answer the question: What would he have had to do to for you to consider him unacceptable?

    20. Pierre Legrand Says:

      jjv Says:
      August 27th, 2008 at 9:31 am I think the bigger problem is what did Ayers see in Obama?

      INDEED

    21. Foo Bar Says:

      I think that prior to 9/11 most people assumed that Ayers had reformed because they assumed that had he not, his leftist friends would have shunned him.

      Well, they published a brief
      piece by him in September 2005 regarding media coverage of Hurricane Katrina. By that point they were fully aware of whatever unrepentant views he continued to have, since the Ayers NYT quote that coincidentally was published on 9/11/01 had already appeared, and since they had published criticism of him and his biography.

    22. Foo Bar Says:

      Yikes. Only meant to bold the word “coincidentally” in the previous comment. A “preview comment” feature, which many blogs have, would be nice…

    23. Jeyi Says:

      ref: “Upper West Side”

      Not that it makes a helluva lot of difference, but when Nixon was elected, and for probably a full decade beforehand, Pauline Kael had been living in the SF Bay Area, where for some years she and her husband were proprietors of a hipper than hip repertory cinema on Telegraph Ave. in Berserkeley.

      Yeah, she was still a film critic for the New Yorker.

    24. Mavis Bramston Says:

      Clazy: Check out Joscha Fischer.

    25. Shannon Love Says:

      Foo Bar,

      Again, even granting your point about the Tribune, what does their bad judgement exculpate anyone else?

      Perhaps, they published Ayers because he was so prominent, well respected and defended by leftist in Chicago that they would have faced retaliation had they ignored him.

      If you think Ayers is acceptable what would make him unacceptable.

    26. Lorenz Gude Says:

      I worked in the Chicago Black Community from 67-70. I’d been involved with the NY art world earlier and got a call from friends of friends to put up a NY political friend. I did and it turned out to be a Mr. Hoffman. The one and only. He went off to the convention every day and I was quietly appalled. I couldn’t bring myself to speak to him except the minimum pleasantries. It made me aware that even though I was a liberal, I wasn’t THAT kind of liberal – whatever THAT was. I didn’t know what kind until much later. I moved to Australia in 76 and became progressively (pun intended) annoyed with the Australian left. I thought Reagan hopelessly superficial until I found myself agreeing with him. Like about the Contras – on balance we really didn’t need another Cuba. I had to admit that George Schultz was saying pretty much exactly what I thought US foreign policy should have been all along. I’m not sure to what extent I was mugged or to what extent I never had any real exposure to solid conservative thinking. All I knew of conservatism was The Manchester (NH) Union Leader and William Loeb’s conviction the Ike was a commie. I liked William F Buckley for his deliciously appalling Yalie condescension, but never really heard what he had to say because of the way he said it. I’ve noticed Obama pushed buttons that hadn’t been pushed since they shot RFK. But I don’t think Obama is just a recycled 60s radical – I think he is legitimately of a new generation. Something different. In comparison to Bobby Kennedy, who took on the mob and Khrushchev and didn’t come off second best, he is an unknown who has accomplished very little. So I find myself a Lieberman Democrat – purged by the Stalinists – and quite happy to vote for Mr McCain. And no I wouldn’t vote for Hillary either and I didn’t vote for Kerry.

    27. solidstate Says:

      Re: Virgil Xenophon (comment #1):
      As a lifelong Pauline Kael fan, I feel a duty to report that the quote you (among many others) attribute to her is apocryphal. No one has ever supplied a source for it, as far as I know. Her writing is as quick to bash liberal orthodoxy as the right-wing kind.

    28. bc Says:

      I doubt Obama will successfully hide the fact he is a screaming lettuce head. It would be a variation on the theme of fooling all the people all the time.

    29. JorgXMcKie Says:

      Shannon, Foo Bar (and I agree that s/he is fubar) is a full-time apologist for Lefty causes and behaviors. He doesn’t have time for giving answers (assuming he had any). S/he’s far to busy composing ad hominems and tu quoques. Anyway, the Trib *was* a conservative paper. It was more moderate Right from the middle 70s until maybe 2000. Since then it has completed its transformation and is now to the Left of the Sun Times, which is hardly Right wing. Also, the Trib in days of yore had ties to Bill Ayres dad, the head of ComEd, which probably explains accepting the op-eds.

      If you’re holding your breath awaiting Foo Bar’s answer on what unacceptable is, I wouldn’t, for their is none when the behavior is committed by one claiming dedication to the cause.

      I’ve pressed my Leftist colleagues over the years, and not one of them has ever defined a single behavior by anuone they consider on the Left as unacceptable. When I point an example of behavior they called unacceptable when done by others that has now been done on the Left, their response is first to try to re-define the natyre of the behavior then retreat into, “yes, but….” followed by a tu quoque.

    30. Foo Bar Says:

      Again, even granting your point about the Tribune, what does their bad judgement exculpate anyone else?

      It certainly gives some very valuable context when evaluating how serious a lapse in judgment Obama’s association with Ayers is. Obama’s attackers want to make it sound like only far-left types would have anything to do with Ayers. If the Tribune was working with Ayers repeatedly, then how unusual or notable is it, really, if Obama interacted with him from time to time? Note also that your point about how the Tribune may not have known of Ayers’ unrepentant nature prior to 2001 probably applies to Obama as well, and most (although not all) of Obama’s association with Ayers occurs prior to September ’01.

      If you think Ayers is acceptable what would make him unacceptable.

      I don’t condone what he did, and it’s certainly not a plus for Obama that he has some association with Ayers. It really doesn’t seem like much of a big deal, though, given how widespread Ayers’ reintegration into polite society was by the late ’80s.

    31. george mcorby Says:

      “Maybe we should blame the Tribune, a solid conservative-leaning paper with the good sense to endorse folks like GWB, for setting a bad example by working with and promoting Ayers repeatedly.”

      Uh, is the Tribune running for President? If the Tribune displays bad judgement in providing a forum for a terrorist bomber does that mean Obama gets a pass for associating with him? What kind of convoluted logic is that?

    32. Foo Bar Says:

      Let me reiterate that I do not, in any way, condone what Ayers did. My point is that Obama is hardly unusual in having some association with Ayers. For better or worse, Ayers was a major education policy player in Chicago by the 90s and worked with the mayor and the Trib.

      If Ayers had carried out attacks that targeted innocent people (rather than merely buildings) and remained unrepentant that would raise his wrongdoing to the level where I really couldn’t understand anyone wanting to have anything to do with him. I realize that the Greenwich Village bomb was meant for people, but after that went off accidentally during the planning stages and killed some of their own members, it appears that they came to their senses to at least some small extent and only targeted property after that. Again, I don’t condone the bombing of property or buildings that they did carry out, but there is an important distinction between that kind of activity and carrying out attacks against innocent people.

    33. george mcorby Says:

      “widespread Ayers’ reintegration into polite society was by the late ’80s.”

      This is a red herring. What polite society? Ayers is still stomping on US flags, still unrepentant, still equating “US terrorism” with 9/11, still saying the bombers “didn’t do enough”. The fact that he might be accepted in leftist academia and by corrupt Chicago politicians doesn’t make him acceptable to society at large.

    34. perc Says:

      Oh, I think the only way for Ayers to be viewed as truly and irrevocably unacceptable to the lefties would be if he became…a Republican.

    35. rubbertoes Says:

      I’d like to defend the Chicago Tribune. When leftists are aware of speech they do not like, they move to squash it. Confident conservatives allow fools to speak and show their true colors. It all goes back to believing in the people’s intelligence to figure it out for themselves.

    36. Shannon Love Says:

      Foo Bar,

      It certainly gives some very valuable context when evaluating how serious a lapse in judgment Obama’s association with Ayers is.

      Not necessarily, newspapers often publish the opinion of people with whom they strongly disagree or find contemptible. The NY Times published an editorial by the president of Iran, does that imply they approve of him in some way.

      I don’t condone what he did, and it’s certainly not a plus for Obama that he has some association with Ayers.

      Again, I ask: What would Ayers have to do before you consider him beyond the pale?

    37. Drew Says:

      Lorenz…
      You said “…since they shot RFK…”.
      It was my understanding (I was watching it live on TV at the time, and live in the L.A. area) that Sirhan shot RFK.
      Who is “they”?

    38. george mcorby Says:

      “I realize that the Greenwich Village bomb was meant for people, but after that went off accidentally during the planning stages and killed some of their own members, it appears that they came to their senses to at least some small extent and only targeted property after that.”

      Ahhh, the finer points of discourse. Ayers was a terrorist bomber who stopped targeting people after some people were killed, and only started targeting “buildings”. With this important clarification, it’s obvious Obama is being wronged here. Let me explain something, a terrorist bomber is a terrorist bomber, Presidential candidates don’t associate with people who “only bomb buildings”.

    39. John Costello Says:

      Foo Bar,

      What of their comrades who carried out the Long Island robbery that killed two policemen and a truck driver? Dohrn had a chance to redeem herself but refused to testify against her ‘comrades,’ for which she justly went to prison and thus cannot work as a lawyer. When Law and Order did the case they even had actors who looked like Ayers and Dohrn (although the woman was, I think, a Lesbian in the TV episode.) The fact that they failed to kill the many people they wanted with the nail bomb and got cold feet because it was too dangerous to themselves …

    40. virgil xenophon Says:

      To Jeyi and Solidstate:

      This old dog always glad to learn new tricks. Pauline as a lefty, yes, but as a “hipper than hip” anything???? Wonders never cease. And if the quote is indeed apocryphal, it would be a good detective story to find out source of the legend. (I, also,
      was a big fan of her writing, btw)

    41. virgil xenophon Says:

      PS: It was probably Kael’s personality, background, and open political sympanthy’ for all things left that made attribution of the quote seem so plausible as keeping in character. More’s the pity if not true–because it should be. It’s too great not to be, encapsulating as it does in one quote the insular mind-set and life-style of a huge segment of the left.

    42. virgil xenophon Says:

      PS: It was probably Kael’s personality, background, and open political sympanthy for all things left that made attribution of the quote seem so plausible as keeping in character. More’s the pity if not true–because it should be. It’s too great not to be, encapsulating as it does in one quote the insular mind-set and life-style of a huge segment of the left.

    43. Foo Bar Says:

      Again, I ask: What would Ayers have to do before you consider him beyond the pale?

      I answered that a few comments ago.

      Not necessarily, newspapers often publish the opinion of people with whom they strongly disagree or find contemptible. The NY Times published an editorial by the president of Iran, does that imply they approve of him in some way.

      I’m not sure what you’re referring to. Maybe such an editorial exists, but can you provide a link? If you’re referring to Ahmadinejad’s letter to Bush- that’s hardly the same thing. Publishing that is more like reporting on diplomatic events.

      If you’re referring to an editorial by Khatami, then he is one of the forces of moderation that the Bush administration wants to encourage in Iran, so that would hardly be surprising.

      In any case, even if they did publish such an Ahmadinejad editorial, this would be a situation where Ahmadinejad was already the head of state of a significant nation and doesn’t need any help from the NYT to achieve prominence. Contrast that with Ayers as of 1988, who was only 8 years removed from being a fugitive and at most a few years out of a PhD program. The Trib saw fit to do him the favor publishing an editorial of his, which certainly helped promote his career.

    44. Appalled Says:

      How can anyone defend Bill Ayers, his wife or the other memebers of the Weather Underground. They intentionally blew up buildings and murdered at least three people – and, at least as to Mr. Ayers and his wife, they are unrepented and, indeed they have said that they feel they didn’t do enough. I wonder how many more they feel they should have murdered to think that they did enough.
      IMO, a candidate for President of the United States who continues an association with these terrorists, knowing who they are and what they did, and their present views, is unworthy to be elected. This cannot be rationalized or excused. And for the “liberal” posters on this site – face it – if you support Obama, you are supporting someone who has befriended a non-repentent terrorist. If that’s OK with you, that is your right, but at least admit that doesn’t matter to you. It does to me!

    45. zenpundit Says:

      Post-Vietnam/Watergate baby “liberals” like John Kerry, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton etc. are not usually liberals in the FDR-Truman-Adlai Stevenson-Hubert Humphrey-LBJ sense of the term but rather are authoritarian-minded social democrats.

      As such, associating with outright anti-democratic totalitarian leftists like Ayers isn’t much of a stretch morally, just on methods and rhetoric.

    46. Shannon Love Says:

      Foo Bar,

      I answered that a few comments ago.

      Sorry, I missed it.

      If Ayers had carried out attacks that targeted innocent people (rather than merely buildings) and remained unrepentant that would raise his wrongdoing to the level where I really couldn’t understand anyone wanting to have anything to do with him

      So, the fact that Ayers was wimp and didn’t actually have the nerve to carry out the attacks he advocated, planned, supported and justifies to this day, redeems him in your eyes? You see a profound moral distinction between merely goading others into attacks and carrying out the attacks themselves? Do you believe that a person remains above reproach if they advocate that others carrying out killings. Why shouldn’t Ayers be judged by what he wanted and intended to do?

      More importantly, should not Ayers political beliefs which led him to actively support political violence in and of themselves put him beyond the pale? After all, what would those beliefs impel him to do if he had greater physical power? Should we not judge him on the acts his believes justified not just the acts he is competent to carry out?

    47. M. Simon Says:

      You know how it goes: Mao was a mass murderer. That was wrong.

      Now about the American re-ed camps called the Public School System….

    48. Californio Says:

      Ayers, reintegration? Ha ha ha ha ha. How appallingly white of you to ignore his background and his shameless embrace of his own self-righteousness- then and even now. I will not speak of Mr. Ayers – however (as a native, old-school latin. blah blah) my family and background would not be so sanguine about a “radical” who – from the comfort of his middle-class life, inflicted violence upon the working class he purported to care about – so he could later live the same comfortable, soft upper-middle class life he condemned and would deny to those he previously threatened with death. Indeed, if such a “person” had by fate inflicted death upon a member of the family – then sociologists would have an interesting case study to compare and contrast social group responses to violence directed at consanguine family members. Oh, and forensic pathologists would have samples to study too. small, widely scattered samples.

      Sigh. Violence begets violence.

    49. Foo Bar Says:

      So, the fact that Ayers was wimp and didn’t actually have the nerve to carry out the attacks he advocated, planned, supported and justifies to this day, redeems him in your eyes? You see a profound moral distinction between merely goading others into attacks and carrying out the attacks themselves? Do you believe that a person remains above reproach if they advocate that others carrying out killings. Why shouldn’t Ayers be judged by what he wanted and intended to do?

      You seem to be suggesting that Ayers “justifies to this day” attacks against innocent people. That seems pretty clearly wrong.

    50. Clyde Says:

      Ayers is the tip of the iceberg. Many of the people who have been influential on Obama, from his expatriate mother to his wife to his former preacher, seem to be people who didn’t much like America, who thought that it is a bad country that is the source of many of the world’s problems, rather than a good country that is on the whole part of the solution. Add in Ayers and Dohrn and other people of questionable character like Rezko and you have to wonder about the kind of people that would be surrounding a President Obama, should that happen. It shows a critical lack of judgment on Obama’s part of the character of the people working with and for him.

    51. Foo Bar Says:

      Sorry, the link for “wrong” in the above comment didn’t come through OK. here it is.

    52. Clioman Says:

      What Ayers and Obama saw in each other was a way to steer money to themselves and those they wished to befriend. Between the two of them and their cronies on that committee, they went through $50 million of Annenberg’s money in a fairly short time, and it appears that it was entirely wasted. Assuming, of course, that by ‘waste’, one means that it didn’t benefit any children. Now, as to certain adults that it might have helped…

      BTW, managing the expenditure of that money constitutes the sum total of Barry Soetoro’s executive experience, and the best-quantified measure of his ability to pursue loft goals at someone else’s expense. Why in God’s name would we want to put that man in charge of the U.S.?

    53. Boonton Says:

      Coming late to this fun fest but let me just point out that Shannon nailed it without realizing it when she quoted the commentator:

      I think the bigger problem is what did Ayers see in Obama?

      What did Ayers see in Obama? What he’s been seeing in Chicago society for decades now. A chance to re-enter mainstream society. In that respect, he is about 99.9% successful due to several facts:

      * He’s concentrated on doing lots of ho-hum do goodery that no one really cares about but nonetheless gets noted just enough to get pegged as “that activist guy who does stuff for kids”.

      * His father, a wealthy and influential Republican, used both money and influence to bring him back into respectable society.

      * For the most part, no one remembers the 60’s anymore. A 20 year old person in 69 is 68 today. Unless you have a soft spot for the 60’s the response to the question of Bill Ayers is Bill Who? 60’s radical? Ohh ok, wasn’t everyone radical then?

      Looking at Ayers, one is forced to ask exactly what kind of leftist extremism would be considered unacceptable by Obama and his cohorts.

      The problem here is Ayers:

      1. Benefits greatly because no one looks at him much either left or right. The times have moved on.

      2. Leftists who do think about him because they have to (such as the book reviewers who had to read & review his book of big outlets like the NYT or the NYRB) do not like him very much. Note here the previous point about Ayer’s PR strategy…..he’ll engage in some public do-goodery but he avoids doing anything that would cause people to actually spend much time thinking about who that English Professor is or was.

      See, for example, Michael Kinsley’s take on Ayers and the Obama brouhaha

      The notion of doctrinal divisions among opponents of the Vietnam War must seem ridiculously arcane to most people today. But perhaps you can imagine how infuriating it was to the organizers of the big marches on Washington–struggling to keep them peaceful–that there were people of the left effectively in cahoots with the Nixon Administration, determined to undermine all those efforts.

      3. It isn’t the leftists or the extreme leftists of Chicago society who ‘let Ayers back in’ but mainstream Chicago society including Republicans and even conservatives:

      When it became clear even to them that there would not be violent revolution in America, Ayers and Dohrn shrugged and rejoined society in Chicago, where he had grown up. It wasn’t difficult. While he was in hiding, his father was CEO of Commonwealth Edison, the big utility. Ayers the elder sat on every Establishment board in town–Northwestern, the Tribune Co., the Chicago Symphony. Ayers the younger and his wife were welcomed back into the fold.

      If Obama’s relationship with Ayers, however tangential, exposes Obama as a radical himself, or at least as a man with terrible judgment, he shares that radicalism or terrible judgment with a comically respectable list of Chicagoans and others–including Republicans and conservatives–who have embraced Ayers and Dohrn as good company, good citizens, even experts on children’s issues. Northwestern created a “family justice” center for Dohrn to run. Ayers is a “distinguished professor” at the University of Illinois. They write Op-Eds and are often quoted in the Tribune, where, if they are identified at all beyond their academic titles, it is usually as “activists” who have never abandoned their noble ideals.

      http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1810338,00.html

      The obsession some have with what is essentially a non-story is pretty amazing. Some of it I attribute to what Shannon herself said, she feels the need to ‘circle the wagons’ around McCain in an election year. In such a climate grabbing any story and running with it may seem like a good idea. I think another element of it is the way Obama critics here deride supporters with the Messiah label….as in “look at your Messiah now”. Sometimes I think the right is operating under the fantasy that Obama really is supposed to be or has to be a Messiah hence he not only is expected to run a good campaign and present a good alternative to 4 more years of Republican failure…he literallly has to redeem all of Chicago politics, all sins of the last 40 years and while he’s at it he might as well redeem all of human nature. This, quite frankly, is investing a bit too much in a Presidential campaign.

    54. Tulsa Jack Says:

      Government buildings are more than just real estate. They are public property, built and paid for by the American people to facilitate the State’s sovereign power to “ensure domestic tranquility”: that is, to protect our lives and private property from seditious gangsters like William Ayers. Ayers’ attacks on our public buildings are an attack on the free, democratic institutions of government on which our prosperity and security depend. By attacking them, this vicious criminal is attacking us – his neighbors and fellow citizens. He proudly acknowledges this. Obama’s friend is a killer who would, if he could, destroy the society that Obama seeks to lead. Obama does not have a problem with this. He is unfit for dog catcher.

      By placing a murderous Communist like Ayers on its faculty, which it had no necessity to do, the University of Chicago is endosing this nut’s terrorism and the collectivist totalitarian anarchy that he advocates. This man in the Law School of any university is a travesty, an insult to the ideal of the rule of law. Since the alternative to law is tyranny, we are justified in concluding that UoC doesn’t know the difference. Maybe they’ll get away with their cultural and moral bankruptcy, like thieves sneaking away in the night. But like Obama himself, and the Democrat Party that is choosing such a dolt for President, this feckless University is an empty shell. They are dangerous to our health, because in a crisis all will be blown away.

    55. Shannon Love Says:

      Foo Bar,

      From the article:

      ”I don’t regret setting bombs,” Bill Ayers said. ”I feel we didn’t do enough.”

      The only possible interpretation of that is that he has not renounced his actions. Indeed, it appears he only wishes he had had more power to impose his will on the American people.

      And if there were another Vietnam, he is asked, would he participate again in the Weathermen bombings. By way of an answer, Mr. Ayers quoted from ”The Cure at Troy,”

      What he did not say was “no”.

      My advice: When you’re in a hole stop digging.

    56. JW Says:

      Let’s look at your words a little differently:

      “As I have noted before, the real troubling aspect of the McCain-Keating relationship is that McCain comes from a political subculture in which Keating is an accepted and unremarkable individual. Looking at Keating, one is forced to ask exactly what kind of institutionalized corruption would be considered unacceptable by McAin and his cohorts.”

      “If John McCain had similar associations with a former KKK member like, say Robert Byrd , David Duke would you be as understanding? How about if it was a guy that bombed an abortion clinic instead of the Pentagon?”

    57. Foo Bar Says:

      The only possible interpretation of that is that he has not renounced his actions. Indeed, it appears he only wishes he had had more power to impose his will on the American people.

      Yes, his actual actions, i.e, bombing buildings.

      I made the distinction between attacking people and attacking property. In your response, you suggested that he “justifies to this day” attacking people . When I provided evidence that he does not, in fact, justify to this day attacking people, you inexplicably cite evidence that he does not regret setting the bombs that he set, i.e., the ones that attacked property.

    58. Shannon Love Says:

      Foo Bar,

      So, you find it acceptable for a person to enforce his political views on others with violence as long as they claim they do not explicitly target people?

      How much do you know about the Weatherman especially their political philosophy?

    59. Foo Bar Says:

      So, you find it acceptable for a person to enforce his political views on others with violence as long as they claim they do not explicitly target people?

      No, I didn’t say it was acceptable. How carefully are you reading my comments? I’ve already said multiple times that I do not condone the bombing of property that was undertaken by Ayers, and I already said that Obama’s association with Ayers is not a plus for Obama.

    60. Mars vs Hollywood Says:

      Dear Lord. They planned a bomb to kill military personnel. That they were too incompetent to avoid smoking while working with explosives doesn’t qualify as a moral choice.

    61. Boonton Says:

      Well I think the case against Bill Ayers for President has been exhaustively been made.

    62. Ginny Says:

      The elaborate straw men (you expect him to be a messiah), the bizarre off target (I’ve acknowledged it isn’t a plus) of Boonton and Foo Bar don’t really move the discussion. Shannon you have more patience and tact that I could summon. Sir, you have earned my respect – though it does make me wonder if you suffer from mascohism.

      And, yes, the more worrisome thought is what did Ayers see in the extremely attractive, shadowy, charismatic, and youthful, needy Obama. They managed to distribute a great deal of other people’s money (bank robbing was no longer necessary), but what other visions did they share? Ayers must have been quite aware that he was not likely to wield the kind of power someone who votes “present” often and doesn’t take public stands on many issues, but is elegant, graceful, and speaks well might be able to achieve. To further the question: Who is using whom? Or do they both see themselves at the service of an ideology?

    63. Shannon Love Says:

      Foo Bar,

      My original point in the parent is that the political subculture which Obama comes from sees Ayers as a person that one can accept into their political and social circle. If I read you correctly, you also believe that he is an acceptable based on the fact that he failed to kill anyone while weatherman. Is that correct?

    64. Foo Bar Says:

      If I read you correctly, you also believe that he is an acceptable based on the fact that he failed to kill anyone while weatherman. Is that correct?

      Not just that he failed to kill anyone. You (and some of the commenters) seem to suggest that throughout his time in the Weathermen, he failed to kill only through incompetence. This is obviously wrong. Subsequent to the Greenwich Village accident, they conducted many bombings and evaded capture for many years. They were obviously capable of conducting killings after the Greenwich Village accident had they chosen to do so.

      I would put it this way: he behaved absolutely unacceptably in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but a failure to shun him entirely now is not a particularly big deal. Perhaps it would have been better had he been shunned, but it doesn’t seem nearly as damning as you and other make it out to be. In particular, your point that the Trib might reasonably have assumed prior to ’01 that Ayers had recanted applies as well to Obama’s association with him prior to ’01, when most of his interactions took place.

      OK, but if I look at where you seem to be going in your past few comments

    65. Foo Bar Says:

      Whoops. Disregard stray last sentence fragment in previous comment.

    66. Fred Says:

      Foo bar,

      You have forgotten the first rule of holes…

    67. boqueronman Says:

      Let me get the math straight here. A 20 year old in 1969 must, ipso facto, have been born in 1949. A glance at my calendar shows that this year is 2008. Using my fingers and toes, I calculate that that makes the then 20 year old currently 58-59, depending on the birth month. BTW the Weather Underground and its offshoots were very active and in the news until 1985, at a minimum. That would make the informed 20 year old 42-43 today. Thus, no one has to remember the 60s anymore to understand the estimable Mr. Ayers. Sorry I didn’t read the rest of the comment, assuming it was equally well thought out.

    68. Shannon Love Says:

      Foo Bar,

      They were obviously capable of conducting killings after the Greenwich Village accident had they chosen to do so.

      As an aside, I would note that the idea of killing large numbers of people by bombs was largely unthought of by anyone of that day even outside of America. In any case, did they not plan to murder soldiers at the dance? The Weatherman show a classic pattern of escalation. They would have killed far more had they not been stopped.

      I would put it this way: he behaved absolutely unacceptably in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but a failure to shun him entirely now is not a particularly big deal.

      He seems to hold the ideals that drove him to violence. Do you find these ideas acceptable i.e. would you associate yourself and your political goals with him? Would you view a rightwing politician and political communities association with an abortion clinic bomber in the same light?

    69. Foo Bar Says:

      They said that they had only published a commentary i.e. basically a letter to the editor

      Unless they are referring to what they published after 2001, this is false.

      Here is an 1121 word piece published in 2000.

      Here is a 924 word piece published in 1992.

      Here is a 995 word piece published in 1999.

    70. Shannon Love Says:

      Foo Bar,

      You still have the problem of the Tribune simply choosing not to act as an arbiter of who is and who is not acceptable. Your argument is premised on the idea that the Tribune only publishes editorials from people they find acceptable and that the Tribune regard publishing someone as an imprimatur of mainstream acceptability.

      I contacted Brian Dold, the Tribunes editorial page editor and he said they publish a wide array of open without passing judgment on the individuals involved.

    71. joetheragman Says:

      I think that the baby boomer leftists such as Ayers were simply striking out with violence just to hide their shame for running away from military service…what I find amusing about these so called leftists, through today, is that they were never about equality. He was a rich kid who let the poor kids go to war, die or get wounded, and than had the audacity to call those soldiers terrorists. Those who followed the law of a land that is ruled by law.

    72. Foo Bar Says:

      In any case, did they not plan to murder soldiers at the dance? The Weatherman show a classic pattern of escalation. They would have killed far more had they not been stopped.

      I’m sorry, but this makes no sense. They, in fact, were not stopped for at least 5 years after the dance plot, but did not kill anybody else with their bombs, because they planned it that way and gave advance warning. The plot against the soldiers at the dance (which I condemn in the strongest terms, of course) was in 1970. It was in preparation for that that the Greenwich Village accident that killed 3 Weathermen occurred. As I said in a previous comment, subsequent to that incident it appears they came to their senses to some small degree and avoided targeting people from then on. Again, I am NOT CONDONING the bombing they did. However, to say they surely would have killed far more had they not been stopped is just wrong. They weren’t stopped for a very long time, and they chose not to kill. I count at least a dozen bombs that they set off from 1970 to 1975 without killing anyone. Given that they evaded capture for so many years and set off so many bombs, they clearly could have killed “far more” had they wanted to.

    73. joetheragman Says:

      For Foo Bar
      I had read that the Weatherman, specifically the bomb that blew up in the townhouse, were intending to kill multiple innocents at an enlisted mens dance that was going to be held at an Armory. I do not know if that is true but if true, that would change your mind I would suppose? Would it make the people who planned, supported or actually placed the bomb in a circumstance like that, any different than Timothy McVeigh?

    74. Foo Bar Says:

      You still have the problem of the Tribune simply choosing not to act as an arbiter of who is and who is not acceptable

      You still have the problem that your update, which claims that the Trib only published one little letter to the editor, is wrong. Are you going to fix that?

      Here is a 711 word piece published in 1988.

      Here is a 555 word piece published in 1995.

      That’s 5 piece of 500 words or more I’ve given you. How about updating your post to inform your readers that the Trib has published at least 5 substantial pieces by Ayers, instead of incorrectly stating that it was only one little letter to the editor, and let your readers judge for themselves how out of the mainstream Ayers is? You can make your point about how the Trib publishes a wide variety of viewpoints and doesn’t pass judgment on anybody right alongside it, if you think that diminishes the impact.

      Obviously, any decent newspaper publishes a wide variety of viewpoints. They don’t publish opinion pieces with an Osama bin Laden (or Eric Rudolph) byline right beside Clarence Page, etc., though, do they?

    75. Boonton Says:

      They managed to distribute a great deal of other people’s money (bank robbing was no longer necessary), but what other visions did they share?

      I’m not sure what this is supposed to mean. The two were members of the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago along with others from mainstream life (lawyers, academics, business people…in 2008 it included reps from BP and UBS). The purpose of the organization is to approve grant applications. While their 2001 report isn’t on their website you can see the specific grants they approved in 2003 on http://www.woodsfund.org/Folder_1042751691717/Folder_1207621291201/File_1207621304526 which I imagine would be more or less along the lines of what they’ve approved in othe r years.

      How this can be compared to bank robbery is pretty much inexplicable.

      Shannon
      My original point in the parent is that the political subculture which Obama comes from sees Ayers as a person that one can accept into their political and social circle.

      Doesn’t a subculture have to actually be a culture inside a larger culture? At this point, the facts actually presented indicate that Ayers has been accepted back into Chicago’s larger culture (rightly or wrongly) and that happened long before Obama ever came on the scene. So what’s the argument now? Chicago is so corrupt no one from can be trusted? Then why are you associating with it by writing on this blog?

      As an aside, I would note that the idea of killing large numbers of people by bombs was largely unthought of by anyone of that day even outside of America.

      Errr, you never heard of the anarchists from the turn of the century? Boy you really do live in a myopic world where it is always 1968.

      Foo Bar
      I would put it this way: he behaved absolutely unacceptably in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but a failure to shun him entirely now is not a particularly big deal. Perhaps it would have been better had he been shunned,

      Has he really not been shunned? Let’s think about it seriously. He was never convicted of a crime. He entered a low key profession and his ‘way back’ was a combination of help from daddy & keeping himself lowkey and relatively unobjectionable & essentially waiting until just about everyone forgot what made him famous in the first place. If he ever did try to become more active people would start seriously finding out who he is (or was) so there he remains. At this point does he merit a jihad by society against him or should he simply be allowed to fade away with the rest of the 60’s?

      Boq.
      Let me get the math straight here. A 20 year old in 1969 must, ipso facto, have been born in 1949. A glance at my calendar shows that this year is 2008. Using my fingers and toes, I calculate that that makes the then 20 year old currently 58-59, depending on the birth month.

      Correct in your catch but you miss the point. The informed 20 yr old of 1969 is nearly 40 years older today, more or less nearing the end of his active life. Anyone older than 20 in 1969 is all the more older today, if still around.

      BTW the Weather Underground and its offshoots were very active and in the news until 1985, at a minimum. That would make the informed 20 year old 42-43 today

      Yes indeed if for some reason you grew up fascinated by the Weather Underground you could have been alive when it still made the news here or there and remain relatively young today. Most people were not fascinated by them since the intellectual history of the past few decades they merit little more than a footnote. Probably most adults today, if asked “what did you think of the Weather Underground of the late 60’s and 70’s” would think you’re talking about a band. It isn’t exactly shocking, then, that a former member is able to surf the wave of forgetfulness back into decent society.

      The thesis here (that ‘leftism’ embraces Ayers because it likes the antics he pulled in 69) is not supported by the facts. If the thesis was true then why is Ayers not specifically embraced by leftists but by general Chicago society? Why is Ayers essentially ‘laying low’ making all his post-weathermen contributions in the ho-hum world of educational theory, do gooder charity functions and other events that garner some notice but usually no scrutiny. Why not, say, run for Mayor?

    76. Foo Bar Says:

      Would it make the people who planned, supported or actually placed the bomb in a circumstance like that, any different than Timothy McVeigh?

      This was a horrible, horrible thing that they planned, but we’ll never know if they would have gone through with it, since the Greenwich Village accident stopped the plot, and after that, even though they carried on with bombs for 5 years they made the decision to avoid targeting people from then on.

      Timothy McVeigh went through with it.

    77. Boonton Says:

      Would it make the people who planned, supported or actually placed the bomb in a circumstance like that, any different than Timothy McVeigh?

      Well there is one big difference, McVeigh was captured put on trial and convicted. I believe his accomplice choose to plead guilty to aiding him. Last time I checked the Justice Dept. was under Republican control through the 80’s and into 1992. Long before Obama came on the scene all of Chicago was letting Ayers slip quietly into the mainstream. Including, as foo has documented, your major newspaper, large corporations, upper-crust society, and your major schools. If you honestly believe a Tim McVeigh was allowed to go unprosecuted then you have a duty to disassociate yourself with all these institutions as much as possible before you even t hink of blaming Obama for Ayer’s continued existence.

    78. Foo Bar Says:

      Let’s note also that this little “subculture” that finds Ayers acceptable includes Mayor Daley, whose father was of course one of the big enemies in the eyes of the anti-Vietnam war protesters back in 1968. Daley has worked with Ayers on school reform.

    79. Shannon Love Says:

      Booton,

      3. It isn’t the leftists or the extreme leftists of Chicago society who ‘let Ayers back in’ but mainstream Chicago society including Republicans and even conservatives:

      So your saying that the leftist community in chicago embrace Ayers because the rightist did first? Seems unlikely. More likely, it was the other way around. Ayers daddy bought him a professorship, the leftist rallied around him, and the Republicans who knew who he was were presented with a fati accompli. What were they supposed to do, boycott politics until someone did something about Ayers?

      It’s just like Robert Byrd. An ex-grand wizard of the KKK could never survive as a Republican but since the Democrats elected repeatedly what could the Republicans do?

      Some of it I attribute to what Shannon herself said, she feels the need to ‘circle the wagons’ around McCain in an election year.

      Actually I said, “I admit I have a natural tendency circle the wagon around anyone running against a far leftist because I fear the consequences of their policies.” Take me out of context again and I will delete that post.

      You need to understand that I see the leftist response to Ayers as part of pattern excusing leftist politician association with violent extremist elements. John Kerry, for example, left Veterans Against the Vietnam War after the executive committee held a serious debate and vote on whether to conduct a campaign of assassination against elected representatives who supported defending Indochina. This showed staggeringly bad judgement in choosing political allies yet leftist just shrugged it all off.

      As Foo Bar as made evident, leftist can do anything short of mass murder and still be considered acceptable. Rightist on the other hand can see their careers destroyed by a poor choice of words.

      Don’t talk to me about who is circling wagons.

    80. Shannon Love Says:

      Foo Bar,

      Let’s note also that this little “subculture” that finds Ayers acceptable includes Mayor Daley, …

      You will forgive me if I don’t really accept the judgement of the hereditary leader of a famously corrupt and authoritarian political machine as telling. Daley may simply not have enough integrity to care.

      You still haven’t answered the question of whether any non-leftist would have accepted Ayers had the left not done so first.

    81. joetheragman Says:

      I think that Timothy McVeigh admitted what he did and went to his death believing he was doing the right thing. I think him vile however, at least he was willing to pay for his beliefs. What kills me about romanticizing these childlike 60s “radicals” is that they never really had a belief…a belief would require sacrifice for it to mean anything. A belief would require you to live according to your beliefs…Dohrn and Ayers live the middle class life today and mock the US system that allows them to live that life. The hypocrisy of those leftists of yesterday when they were young and were not willing to sacrifice for their beliefs is only surpassed by their hypocrisy of today when they spout communist nonsense from their $500K homes and their children attending Ivy League universities.

      I think and have always thought the proper response to these laughable “children” is mockery. They never grew up and no one has called them on their childish behavior. Until now…and I find that amusing

    82. Foo Bar Says:

      Are you really going to leave this up there as is? It’s false.

      I contacted the Chicago Tribune and ask them about Ayers. They said that they had only published a commentary i.e. basically a letter to the editor

      I’ve given you links to 5 pieces of more than 500 words each.

    83. Shannon Love Says:

      Foo Bar,

      Are you really going to leave this up there as is? It’s false.

      I’ll update. I would note that all these are opinion pieces. Involving Ayers works with the Annanberg Challenge.

    84. Shannon Love Says:

      Foo Bar,

      I’ve updated. I am having trouble seeing all the comments because I’m on a laptop and the length of the page causes them to shoot by as I scroll.

    85. Foo Bar Says:

      OK, thanks for fixing the Tribune claim.

      You still haven’t answered the question of whether any non-leftist would have accepted Ayers had the left not done so first.

      I’m not sure how we would go about establishing that the left “accepted” him first and then others followed, but even assuming that’s true, you seem to be suggesting that the center and right were duped into thinking that the left has proper standards for deciding who should and shouldn’t be shunned when (according to you) they don’t. Is the right wing that uninformed about the nature of the left wing? I don’t think so.

    86. Shannon Love Says:

      Foo Bar,

      I think that Ayers father bought him a professorship. Then he became involved in college and local political scene on the left. I think right had to deal with him only after leftist and his father cemented him in the community. Leftist did so because they did not see anything particularly wrong with his actions. After he became head of the Annanberg project, everyone had to deal with him no matter what they though of him personally.

      Imagine the opposite scenario. Angry at him for employing violence. Leftist shun him. His dad finds it impossible to get him on at the college but even if he does, Ayers finds no purchase in local politics. When the Annanberg challenge roles around, no one things of Ayers.

      Perhaps Obama faced a similar fati accompli. By the time he arrived on the scene, Ayers had solidified his position. That does not mean however, the leftist subculture, which see little wrong about leftist political violence, is not primary responsible for Ayers position. That same culture informed Obama’s rise.

    87. Shannon Love Says:

      Foo Bar,

      …you seem to be suggesting that the center and right were duped into thinking that the left has proper standards for deciding who should and shouldn’t be..

      No, I’m saying that the left presented the right with no choice but to deal with Ayers. They took him in and nurtured him into a position of power until he reached a point where ignoring him was to costly.

      Like I said, its like Richard Byrd. Do you think that everyone in the senate likes the old bigot? They don’t have any choice but to deal with him and be civil.

    88. virgil xenophon Says:

      You know, when I hear those defenders of Ayers et al talk who about “youthful indiscretions” etc., and mumble on about how “that was then and this is now,” etc., I think back to how, as a serving junior officer in my twenties at the same time Ayers, Dohrn, and compadres were doing their “thing,” I was fully expected to demonstrate and exercise mature judgment at all times and how failure to do so in even the most minor ways was more often than not a career ender, promotion-wise and half the time would lead to forced separation under less than honorable circumstances. The same is true today–if not more so. More importantly, these mistakes so early in their careers in most cases detrimentally affected these people for the rest of their lives. And were not even talking about those enlisted types in Iraq who are being hung out to dry with serious felony charges and jail time pending by applying ex post facto peacetime standards to the conduct of war.

      And then, as someone who volunteered for my combat tour
      (along with many others, I might add) I think of Ayers and his comfortable life living and breathing without having paid any significant appreciable price for what he did, and I am not a happy camper. Time has not mellowed me, nor has it for many others like me. BTW, Not all Chicagoland Republicans welcomed Ayers back to respectability. Why don’t you call up an old friend of mine and contemporary, Graig “Dutch” Duchossois (an ex-Marine who served in Vietnam around same time as I) and see what HE has to say. He sits on a few local boards himself, and, as I remember, donated 10 million to the U. of Chicago Med school–same place Michelle baby got her mill job (as in “mill around” for the uninitiated) as “outreach” coordinator. Want to get your ear packed? How much time ya got? Better lay in some provisions….

    89. jaed Says:

      Random thought: back when Yale admitted a Taliban spokesman, the administration didn’t seem to understand why people were outraged. They regarded him as a prime diversity “catch” and were proud of his presence on campus.

      I always wondered how their thinking could possibly have gone in that direction. Reading some of these comments about Ayers, I think I understand the dynamics of that episode a little better. There’s always an excuse that can be made.

    90. Boonton Says:

      Shannon

      So your saying that the leftist community in chicago embrace Ayers because the rightist did first? Seems unlikely. More likely, it was the other way around.

      Errr no I’m saying the mainstream community in Chicago let Ayers back in (embrace is not the right word to use here). Why? Combination of him laying low, influence & all the other factors I’m talking about.

      Ayers daddy bought him a professorship, the leftist rallied around him, and the Republicans who knew who he was were presented with a fati accompli. What were they supposed to do, boycott politics until someone did something about Ayers?

      YOu depict this as some type of war with pro-Ayerists on one side, outraged Republicans on the other who faced certain defeat! Lot less bang and a lot more whimper. Can you show me that the mainstream or even the right did anything other than yawn as Ayers slowly re-assimiliated himself?

      It’s just like Robert Byrd. An ex-grand wizard of the KKK could never survive as a Republican but since the Democrats elected repeatedly what could the Republicans do?

      Strom Thurmon did pretty good. Perhaps he wasn’t a grand wizard of the KKK but somehow I don’t think the KKK considered him an enemy.

      Take me out of context again and I will delete that post.

      Tsk tsk….after all the huffing and puffing over the ‘right’ to take people out of context! I’m not sure why you feel taken out of context. I assume you feel McCain is running against a ‘far leftist’, your quote does seem to read that you feel a need to circle the wagons around him.

      You need to understand that I see the leftist response to Ayers as part of pattern excusing leftist politician association with violent extremist elements. John Kerry, for example, left Veterans Against the Vietnam War after the executive committee held a serious debate and vote on whether to conduct a campaign of assassination against elected representatives who supported defending Indochina. This showed staggeringly bad judgement in choosing political allies yet leftist just shrugged it all off.

      As I said, for some people it will always be 1968 even in 2008.

      As Foo Bar as made evident, leftist can do anything short of mass murder and still be considered acceptable. Rightist on the other hand can see their careers destroyed by a poor choice of words.

      What career does Ayers have? Professor? Writes books in a niche field removed from his 68 days? Published an autobiography ranked 253,726 on Amazon and with a paltry 55 reviews (35 giving him 2 stars or less)…oh yea that’s really ’embraced’. Periodic appointment to some charitable foundations? YOu make it sound like he’s running the Senate Banking Committee. Show me a right winger who is unable to have a similiar career due to ‘poor choice of words’?

      After he became head of the Annanberg project, everyone had to deal with him no matter what they though of him personally.

      What are you talking about? Are you talking about the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC)? This was a grant making organization for the Chicago public schools. You only ‘had to deal with them’ if you were involved with Chicago public schools or followed them with interest. Perhaps the grant application, written by Ayers, should have been rejected by the Annenberg Foundation or maybe the busineses who made up Chicago United should have refused to participate (ohhh wait, Tom Ayers, his father, was their head!) but this only goes to reinforce the fact that Ayers’s entry into mainstream public life was not meet with any serious opposition on either the left or right. In essence, the intellectual world had forgotten about Ayers and moved on and quite frankly didn’t care about his ‘school project’ whose primary goal…it seems…was to change the beauracacy around a bit adding ‘local school councils’ as a competiting power center in the pbulic schools against the teachers unions and principals. Perhaps if you were not so ideologically blinkered you’d see the amusing irony in the life story of a man who begins adulthood hoping to spark a revolution and ends it moving boxes around on the org chart of the local school system…..you know a leftist wouldn’t embrace that…your sterotypical ’68 leftist would call him a sell out which is what he essentially is.

    91. Boonton Says:

      And I should add it is all the more ironic that he actually seems to have some talent for moving those boxes around on the org chart! Remember the gods are always laughing.

    92. Shannon Love Says:

      Booton,

      Errr no I’m saying the mainstream community in Chicago let Ayers back in..

      What all at once? Where’s your evidence? What do know about the history of leftist taking care of former radicals? Ayers father certainly deserve a lot of blame but without strong evidence to contrary I am going to assume that what it appears happened, happened. The left embraced him and the right had to deal with it.

      Tsk tsk….after all the huffing and puffing over the ‘right’ to take people out of context!

      I never asserted such a right. I have no idea what you’re talking about.

      What career does Ayers have?

      I was think more of Kerry in that instance. If a Republican had been an officer and spokesman for an organization that seriously discussed assassinating elected officials he would never get into office and if he did the revelation would destroy his career. With Kerry, a leftist, we just shrug and act like nothing happened. I argue that this same mentality lead to the rehabilitation of Ayers.

      Perhaps if you were not so ideologically blinkered you’d see the amusing irony in the life story of a man who begins adulthood hoping to spark a revolution and ends it moving boxes around on the org chart of the local school system…..you know a leftist wouldn’t embrace that…your sterotypical ‘68 leftist would call him a sell out which is what he essentially is.

      I see nothing ironic in it. Ayers is a narcissistic sociopath who engaged in political violence because it was fun. He never cared about changing the world. In his mind, the fact that he is free, wealthy and respected means that he beat all the people who tried to catch him. Inside his mind, he is laughing at us.

    93. boris Says:

      The bomb Ayers planned to murder soldiers in fact killed several plotters. So it is quite true that the planned homicide bombing killed people. That makes it a more than a “Greenwich Village accident”.

      If an assasin misses the target and kills an acomplice by mistake, thay are still just as guilty of murder.

    94. Boonton Says:

      Speaking of irony, on the way home I was thinking about Ayers’ father and his ‘re-entry’ into Chicago society as org-chart box mover…..

      Try to imagine a slightly different universe where Bill had no interest in education and instead went into consulting. “Hi, I’m Bill Ayers of Ayers Change Management Consultants…we understand you just brought ABC Corp. You know aquisitions require bringing together two different sets of team players plus they generate lots of opportunities for growth but also dangers. We can design a change management program for you that identifies downsizing opportunities as well as a team building program that will help your new employees learn from each other…….you’ll see we have worked with many large companies in the Chicago area and beyond. Please feel free to contact any of these references to hear how we have helped other businesses…….”

      Shannon feels hard core leftists brought Ayers into the mainstream rather than more basic cultural forgetting. I wonder if Ayers and Ayers Sr. had decided to go the totally private route does she think that mainstream world would have put up any more resistance than the academic one or the local politics one? All you folks who work in corporate settings, do you have any idea what your co-workers were doing, saying or advocating in the late 60’s (assuming you actually work with people who were adults then)?

    95. Boonton Says:

      Boris

      If an assasin misses the target and kills an acomplice by mistake, thay are still just as guilty of murder.

      You should talk to Shannon, she thinks that the right had no chocie but to accept Ayers! Why didn’t they just arrest him and convict him of murder!

      Shannon
      I was think more of Kerry in that instance. If a Republican had been an officer and spokesman for an organization that seriously discussed assassinating elected officials he would never get into office and if he did the revelation would destroy his career. With Kerry, a leftist, we just shrug and act like nothing happened.

      Well nothing ever did. From what I understand some members put it out there, it was argued about and voted down because violence is wrong. If you say Kerry additionally left the organization because he didn’t even like the idea a minority of its members would consider such a thing….well what?

      Again and again you sound like a leftist with a victimization kick who somehow got her politics flipped by tranversing through an alternate universe. Who are these right wingers who once contemplated violence who are now good people with good ideas who can’t be heard because ‘the system’ is still punishing them while letting Kerry and Ayers go? I asked you to name an example of some poor right winger who couldn’t do what Ayers did and you can’t because it exists only as a hypothetical in your head. There are plenty of examples of politicians who opposed desegregation and civil rights who nevertheless found it easy to remain in mainstream politics either as Democrats or conservative Republicans. Please, I’m sorry the left spent the 70’s and 80’s pounding the “I’m a victim button” so hard that it is now broken. Maybe you guys on the right didn’t get to pound it enough for yourselves but the button’s broken and no one really wants to have the guy fix it!

    96. Shannon Love Says:

      Booton,

      Who are these right wingers who once contemplated violence who are now good people with good ideas who can’t be heard because ‘the system’ is still punishing them while letting Kerry and Ayers go?

      You make my point for me. They’re nowhere because they’ve been excluded from the public life. You can’t name a rightwing politician who used to belong to a violent group or who was friends with a terrorist because such association would destroy a rightwing career before it even left the ground.

      It’s not that those on the right are victims. Such people do not belong in politics. Rather it reflects the differing ethical standards and competitive pressures on the right versus the left. Those on the right would accept someone who attacked the institutions of liberal democracy and those on the left would ceaselessly bring such a past into the public eye.

      Again, we return to my original point. The left, especially the far left, tolerates violent extremist. Obama saw nothing wrong with Ayers because no one else around him did either.

    97. Boonton Says:

      I notice you didn’t address my “Ayers as consultant” scenario. Any thoughts? As little thought went into Ayers background on the C level of local politics, more probably happened than if he had instead choosent to follow his father into the private sector. In fact, considering capitalism’s acceptance with people reinventing themselves he probably would have fewer barriers to success than he does with all these leftists who are supposedly cutting him a break.

    98. boris Says:

      Why didn’t they just arrest him and convict him of murder!

      Proving once again that OJ really was innocent. Or not.

    99. Boonton Says:

      You can’t name a rightwing politician who used to belong to a violent…

      Let’s be clear, segregation was a system of violence. You didn’t need to actively lynch anyone (or even hang with people who did) to participate and support that. I can name at least three politicians who vigerously supported it and nevertheless remained mainstream with political gigs a lot better than Ayers until modern times….Jesse Helms, Strom Thurmon and Robert Byrd (2 Republicans, 1 Democrat)

    100. Boonton Says:

      Proving once again that OJ really was innocent. Or not.

      OJ was tried by a jury and found not guilty. The evidence was laid out clearly and while most of us can say we disagree with the verdict we can do so by making a fair argument that the evidence and arguments from prosecution and defense was watched and fairly evaluated by most. There’s been no such trial for Ayers and as I said more people would probably peg the Weather Underground as an obscure band than terrorist group. Whether he is guilty of murder by participating in a conspiracy that backfired or not is far from clear.

    101. Shannon Love Says:

      Bontoon,

      Let’s be clear, segregation was a system of violence.

      Emphasis on “system”. Segregation, jim crow, racially exclusive unions etc were wide scale social standards supported by the majority in many areas. That is a major difference from an individual who picks a radical cause (maoist communism in Ayers case) and personally engages in acts of violence or is in a decision making capability in an organization of such people.

      If you wish to define everyone who held political office in the segregation south of corrupt big cities as being equivalent to Ayers then you’ve rather proved my original point. You don’t see anything unusual in Ayers behaviors because he has the same behavior as millions of others.

    102. Shannon Love Says:

      Booton,

      I notice you didn’t address my “Ayers as consultant” scenario. Any thoughts?

      Ayers would never have gone into business. Its to much work and to private. He would not get to be the center of attention and his sociopathic narcissism demands that attention. Further, he would have trouble working at any serious level because no one would trust him once they learned of his past. Nobody in their right mind would bet money on someone like Ayers.

      You should be asking yourself: Why did he chose education? My guess. Low academic standards. Easy for daddy to buy him a position. Field is dominated by leftist friendly to him. Most importantly, however, it gives him a mechanism for insinuating his maoist beliefs into the minds of America’s children.

    103. ElamBend Says:

      I’m late to this conversation, but one of the things that Shannon has been hammering on is precisely something that has always really burned me about Ayers: his hypocrisy symbolized by he reliance upon his father to coast along in life.
      How easy is it to play the rebel when you know that daddy will buy your way into respectability later. Marx got one thing right, the trouble always comes from those just out of reach of power. Ayers and his ilk didn’t have a problem with the ‘system’ they had a problem with the fact that they weren’t in charge.

    104. Boonton Says:

      Ayers would never have gone into business. Its to much work and to private. He would not get to be the center of attention and his sociopathic narcissism demands that attention.

      You underestimate the power of capitalism. There’s plenty of room for nice humble people like Warren Buffet to make money and there’s also plenty of room for the sociopath, the narcissist, the annoying pig and so on. Must we add Dilbert and The Office to the Chicago School’s required reading list? Think of where poor Donald Trump or Bill O’Reilly would be witout capitalism to provide for their welfare?

      Your idealization of the private sector is misguided. It accomodates bad people just as well as good people often transforming bad motives into actions that are more or less positive. Standard Adam Smith stuff there.

      This is also an example of fighting the hypothetical. Not a good habit for someone whose argument toolbox seems dominated by an endless set of hypothetical equilivances (what if Newt Gingrich had David Duke as a college dorm buddy? what if McCain had said that? what if….)

      You should be asking yourself: Why did he chose education? My guess. Low academic standards. Easy for daddy to buy him a position. Field is dominated by leftist friendly to him. Most importantly, however, it gives him a mechanism for insinuating his maoist beliefs into the minds of America’s children.

      Maoists beliefs? The guy strikes me as more an anarchist. I suspect he wouldn’t have made it more than two weeks in Maoist China without getting shot. You overestimate the power of the educational system (kind of hard to insinuate a complex ideology like Marxism on children if you can’t insinuate basic reading skills). You also neglect to notice the other obvious fact about education….it is a relatively quiet niche where it’s quite easy to go unnoticed. Basically a good place to go (aside from private sector work) to gradually move yourself back into the mainstream as the passage of time causes most people to forget who you were.

      Speaking of which, do you have any evidence at all to support your contention that leftist forced the mainstream and right to accept Ayers back? Can you give me even a token protest by the mainstream or even the right? As Kinsley noted, the mainstream assisted the ‘forgetting’ by simply describing Ayers as an activist or maybe ’60’s radical’….which essentially says nothing to the 90% of the population that has little interest in digging up 60’s folklore.
      Please dont’ tell us Ayers bein head of the Annenberg Challenge ‘forced everyone’ to deal with him. The Annenberg Challenge was only relevant if you were managing a public school or if you wanted to get a grant for some idea you have for improving one. And plenty of people you would probably describe as ‘leftists’ felt no reluctance to oppose the project when its local council idea started to challenge the power of the teachers unions on one side and the principals on the other. Right wingers don’t feel the least bit inhibited to advocate bringing down the entire public school system and replacing it with vouchers. Ayers had no position of power that would have made it even the slightest bit difficult to at least mount a token objection to his slide into the mainstream!

    105. Shannon Love Says:

      Booton,

      There’s plenty of room for nice humble people like Warren Buffet to make money and there’s also plenty of room for the sociopath, the narcissist, the annoying pig and so on

      I merely repeat the best research. Sociopaths gravitate to professions in which their ability to charm and manipulate gives them an advantage. They also gravitate to professions that let an individual be a center of attention. They are over-represented in law enforcement (a constant problem in recruiting), the law (lawyers talk for living), politics, media, and entertainment. When they do show up in business they gravitate towards sales and marketing, again putting their manipulation skills to their advantage.

      Business forces integrity. One has to be able to consistently meet one’s obligations or people will stop voluntarily interacting with you. Given the utter wildness of Ayers 20’s I don’t see him as the kind of person who could put on a suit and show up every day. Business people have to perform. They live in a darwinian environment. Ayers would not like being constantly tested. His ability to charm and manipulate would better serve in a field such as humanities academics where no definitive test exist for being right or wrong.

      It accomodates bad people just as well as good people often transforming bad motives into actions that are more or less positive. Standard Adam Smith stuff there.

      Actually, no. The free-market depends on voluntary cooperation. If you deceive and cheat people they don’t have to interact with you. This is why business has higher accounting standards than government and why the free-market drives the evolution of a neutral legal system (among many other benefits). Adam Smith did not believe that capitalism harness evil for good. Instead, he believed that individuals understood their own needs and abilities better than strangers did and that they could best look after their own interest. He noted that people interacting voluntarily would reach a higher degree of mutual benefit than they would if one person used violence to force another to make a decision they did not want to.

      Maoists beliefs? The guy strikes me as more an anarchist.

      Well, you’re wrong. Go read up on the Weatherman’s political philosophy. Remember the Weatherman were an offshoot of a much larger movement with an extensive ideological justification. In turn, they fit into a broad pattern of leftist extremism in the 60’s-70’s. That is a major reason why Ayers doesn’t raise eyebrows on the left. His ideas, which he holds to this day, aren’t really that unusual. He only stands out because of his willingness to use violence.

      You also neglect to notice the other obvious fact about education….it is a relatively quiet niche where it’s quite easy to go unnoticed.

      I don’t agree with your idea that Ayers sought to hide. He seems to have injected himself into public life within five years of coming in from the cold. As Foo Bar noted above, the first Chicago Tribune commentary piece dates from 1988. He then went on to spearhead the Annaneberg Challege which was a high profile project in Chicago. It looks to me that Ayers surfaced, escaped prosecution, went to school, somehow got a professorship and then immediately plunged back into private life.

      Speaking of which, do you have any evidence at all to support your contention that leftist forced the mainstream and right to accept Ayers back?

      Ayers began his return in left-wing academia. He moved in left-wing political cycles exclusively until the Annenberg challenge. For that matter, Chicago is a deep blue zone with very few people of the right at all. Seriously, its so far left that people hold Daley up as an example of a non-leftist!

      Can you give me even a token protest by the mainstream or even the right?

      I’ll see if I can find 20 year old pre-internet comments by the five republicans that live in Chicago. In the mean time, reread this. In any case, I don’t grant your presumption that we have to assume that people who vigorously opposed Ayers actions and philosophy bear the same responsibility for his rehabilitation as his friends. Do you seriously mean to argue that if the left shunned Ayers the right would have embraced him?

      As Kinsley noted, the mainstream assisted the ‘forgetting’ by simply describing Ayers as an activist or maybe ’60’s radical’…

      Yes, this is part of the systematic bias built into media and academia. Leftist are described in far more neutral or positive terms than those on the right. For example, how often have you seen a discussion about the link between anti-war movement the democide in Cambodia? Hell, even the terms, anti-war and peace movement are prejudicial. The left gets the warm fluffy labels and the right gets the harsh pro-war. Labels like pro-communist victory versus pro-democracy are not allowed.

      Again, this would not have happened had the left not protected Ayers.

      Please dont’ tell us Ayers bein head of the Annenberg Challenge ‘forced everyone’ to deal with him.

      Well, again, you need to tell me exactly the small minority of rightist in Chicago were supposed to do about Ayers? You write as if the right could have just snapped its fingers and excluded him from politics. More to the point, why was it the right’s responsibility to clean up the left’s mistakes?

    106. Boonton Says:

      When they do show up in business they gravitate towards sales and marketing, again putting their manipulation skills to their advantage.

      So when they do show up what usually happens? My impression is that there are plenty of areas in private enterprise that is very ‘now’ and results focused. An ‘Ayers Consulting’ firm, I suspect, could do quite well and have received less scrutiny and resistance than even Ayers as professor….especially with daddy providing start up funds and a client list.

      Business forces integrity. One has to be able to consistently meet one’s obligations or people will stop voluntarily interacting with you. Given the utter wildness of Ayers 20’s I don’t see him as the kind of person who could put on a suit and show up every day.

      And yet today he focuses on pushing boxes around on org charts. Besides, business casual is all the more popular nowadays…you can get quite far without owning or wearing a suit.

      Well, you’re wrong. Go read up on the Weatherman’s political philosophy. Remember the Weatherman were an offshoot of a much larger movement with an extensive ideological justification.

      Perhaps but this illustrates why I’m right. I will not read up on their political philosophy! Why should I? Aside from this intense little blog debate on this obscure corner of the net (and since we are over post 100 are are already overdue for it to peter out) what benefit do I have to spend my valuable reading time on their ‘philosophy’? Likewise, I don’t remember a thing about the Weatherman other than maybe I heard the term on TV long ago. There are literally millions of people just like me who don’t care, find nothing of value in the ramblings of a 40 yr old defunct radical group and will not spend time learning anything about them of interest. The side effect of that good use of valuable time is when an English professor moves in down the street and see ’60’s radical’ as how a newspaper describes his op-ed we shrug and don’t bother learning anything else about the fellow. I suspect that accounts for at least 70% of Ayers ‘return’ to the mainstream.

      I don’t agree with your idea that Ayers sought to hide. He seems to have injected himself into public life within five years of coming in from the cold. As Foo Bar noted above, the first Chicago Tribune commentary piece dates from 1988.

      I don’t disagree with you but you negelect to see how he choose to inject himself. Doing the ‘ho-hum’ do-goodery stuff that is just enough to get you noticed (say as an ‘education activist’ or ‘school reformer’)…but not enough for most people to really care. Most of the time when you hear this person sits on this or that board the assumption is they are collecting bullet points for their resume and most of the time people don’t really care. Why should they? Unless you’re a really active member or contributor to an organization it really isn’t your business who they put on their board after all.

      Ayers began his return in left-wing academia. He moved in left-wing political cycles exclusively until the Annenberg challenge. For that matter, Chicago is a deep blue zone with very few people of the right at all. Seriously, its so far left that people hold Daley up as an example of a non-leftist!

      What, like Obama is the oldest guy in Chicago? I’m sure some people might have long enough memories to note it would be ironic for Daley Jr. to get along with Ayers considering Daley Sr. probably did not.

      In any case, I don’t grant your presumption that we have to assume that people who vigorously opposed Ayers actions and philosophy bear the same responsibility for his rehabilitation as his friends.

      We aren’t even to that presumption yet! I don’t grant your presumption that there was anyone who vigerously opposed Ayers’ ‘rehabilitation’. If no one had done it by the time Obama came on the scene why assume it was Obama’s duty when the bulk of his ‘rehabilitation’ was already done….unless you’re ascribing some type of messiah like duty of Obama to redeem all of Chicago society, politics and culture.

      In turn, they fit into a broad pattern of leftist extremism in the 60’s-70’s. That is a major reason why Ayers doesn’t raise eyebrows on the left.

      I suggest you reread Kinsley’s piece. The left clearly did raise eyebrows at Ayers and he clearly wasn’t beloved by many on the left. Time though turns many debates into ‘the arcane’.

      This may be kind of tricky to express but I’ve seen it in other arguments. One side carries the day and is victorious. They then move onto other things and forget the argument. The losing side nurses their grudge, lays low building their argument amongst fellow believers. One day you look around and here’s this fringe group with a list of arguments that sound very convincing and no one stands up to them because no one who knew the details is around anymore. Those who suspect something is fishy with the argument make guesses as to what the problem is and end up looking silly because the fringe group has all their facts down pat and can quickly pounce on any error. Only if the argument keeps going does someone appear who spends the time to do the research and write up a definitive rejection….You’ve probably seen this dynamic many times….think perhaps about conspiracy theories of 9/11, UFO, WACO and others….anyway…

      I suspect what Ayers is about is something similiar except its less about an argument and more about a man. The people who really knew him have long since passed onto other things (or literally passed on). Here comes this guy not doing anything really contraversial but somewhat notable….ohhh yea on the board of the childrens fund…that’s nice….hey UBS has a guy on that board too… Now and then he ventures out of his niche field of ‘education theory’ and publishes an op ed ….”who is he again, we need something at the end of it! Ok ‘Professor Ayers teaches English at the U of I and was a notable 60’s radical’. And so it goes, who was he, ’60’s radical’…ahh yea ok this is Chicago is there anyone over 60 who wasn’t?

      Perhaps it isn’t just (although Ayers making a million with ‘Ayers consulting’ wouldn’t be either) but at least there’s a limit to his rehabilitation. He will never run for office, never get appointed to something that gets scrutiny (like a cab. post). Why? Because then people will say “is there any dirt we can dig up on this guy? quick go google him and check wikipedia too!”

      Well, again, you need to tell me exactly the small minority of rightist in Chicago were supposed to do about Ayers?

      How about a single letter to the editor? Somehow I suspect over the past 20 years at least one ‘rightist’ managed to write a letter for something like school vouchers to the local paper. If this guy is like Tim McVeigh could none of them even do that? Or even use him as an example outside of Chicago (as in “look how bad it is in Chicago where the mayor appoints a terrorist to fix the schools!”). It seems you guys did the same thing the mainstream did. Sit around and forget until someone said something like “let’s try googling everyone we can connect with Obama and see what turns up’. If Obama had a duty to redeem so did you. Now all in the sudden the cry of injustice has become too much to bear?

      Yes, this is part of the systematic bias built into media and academia. Leftist are described in far more neutral or positive terms than those on the right. For example, how often have you seen a discussion about the link between anti-war movement the democide in Cambodia? Hell, even the terms, anti-war and peace movement are prejudicial. The left gets the warm fluffy labels and the right gets the harsh pro-war. Labels like pro-communist victory versus pro-democracy are not allowed.

      That’s a valid point, yet language forces us to consolidate reality. Someone publishes an opinion piece on street lights. People are reading it because they care about street lights. The “who is this person” blurb at the bottom serves only as a summary to orient the reader. In order to communicate, we lose information every day to labels. I’m not sure you’re really giving a solution to that issue other than to demand a new set of labels be swapped out for the ones you don’t like.

    107. Shannon Love Says:

      Booton,

      I will not read up on their political philosophy! Why should I?

      Because intellectual history is important in general. In this specific case it informs the reason why Ayers was accepted back into the fold. His methods were extreme but his intellectual rationales were not. There are a lot of people in similar positions on the left who still think as he does.

      What, like Obama is the oldest guy in Chicago?

      This post is not about the choices Obama made. Its the choices that people around Obama made such as when his political mentor chose to anoint Obama her successor in Ayer’s living room. Apparently, Ayers is not the outcast you would like to portray him as.

      …unless you’re ascribing some type of messiah like duty of Obama to redeem all of Chicago society, politics and culture.

      Again, not about the choices Obama made. I as said in the parent, the disturbing thing is that Ayers was consider ordinary and acceptable even though little about him had changed. Obama’s mentor did not see that anointing Obama to succeed her in Ayers house would cause Obama any problems. That tells us a great deal about the perception of Ayers in political community.

      The left clearly did raise eyebrows at Ayers and he clearly wasn’t beloved by many on the left.

      Not enough that anyone would do anything about it. See previous.

      How about a single letter to the editor?

      There could be one but the Tribune’s search engine is a bitch and fails to return old entries. Frankly, I’m not going to spend a lot of time on it because, honestly, nothing I could possibly find would change you mind would it?

      I’m not sure you’re really giving a solution to that issue other than to demand a new set of labels be swapped out for the ones you don’t like.

      I don’t know if there is possible mechanism to fix the problem. Fostering a culture of objectivity once again among the media and academia would help. A more robust solution would be to train people to be aware of the power of labels so that when they hear things like, “the peace movement” they would ask if peace is really what they thought.

      Ayers would have never gotten close enough to Obama (or anyone else) to hurt him had the media done its job consistently labeled him as a “communist-terrorist” instead of “60’s radical”.

    108. Boonton Says:

      Because intellectual history is important in general. In this specific case it informs the reason why Ayers was accepted back into the fold.

      Indeed it is, so leave aside why and how Ayers got accepted back. What was/is Ayers contribution to intellectual history? Or to put it another way how much insight can I gain from studying his writings as opposed to all other authors published from 68 to 08? I’m not sold I could gain much.

      There are a lot of people in similar positions on the left who still think as he does.

      Do they cite him? Study him? If he articulated ideas that make deep sense to people on the left then they should reference him quite often.

      Ayers was consider ordinary and acceptable even though little about him had changed

      Actually one thing did change, Ayers became ordinary and acceptable. If you had no idea of his past would you detect anything remarkable about him today? Would you even pay attention to him? Out of curiousity, what did you know of him before it became an issue for Obama?

      Not enough that anyone would do anything about it. See previous.

      And what would they do? Write to UBS and tell them not to sit on a board with Ayers? Write the Chicago Tribune and correct their byline? At least I can cite a few leftists who did pay attention to him and criticize him.

      I don’t know if there is possible mechanism to fix the problem. Fostering a culture of objectivity once again among the media and academia would help.

      I think the best thing here has been the net and bloggers. A story pops up and every bloger who hopes to make a scoop trolls archives to see if they catch something others missed. Re-setting the labels all day long won’t do half as much as google and wikipedia together.