Doubling Down On The Ayers ControversyOctober 6, 2008
It appears that the big news this week in this crazy 2008 election campaign is the return of Bill Ayers into the national spotlight. The opening salvo came over the weekend, when Sarah Palin brought it up at a campaign stop in front of a group of supporters, and stated that Obama was “palling around” with terrorists (CNN’s attempt to fact-check the claim is here, and the Obama response here). Perhaps the decision was made within the camp that, having been beaten in a couple of debates on the actual issues, and seeing themselves slide in the polls, the time has come for a little desperation. And since everyone else is talking about it, I thought it’d make a good topic for the Chamber.
I’d like to kick this thing off and say that I’m not going to offer up any defense of Ayers here. All those Weatherman activities took place during a tumultuous time in America (before I was born), so I don’t see myself in a position to offer up much of an informed opinion on the whole thing. All I know is what I read in places like the blogs, CNN, the NYT, and wiki. But to the overall notion that Obama’s association with Ayers is relevant to the campaign or his ability to serve as president, I’ll say a few things about what appears to be an attempted smear job…
First, are those associations any more significant than those at the University of Illinois – Chicago? After all, Ayers is a distinguished professor there, and the university is state-funded. Would that, by the McCain/Palin logic, disqualify the entire UIC faculty from ever becoming president? I mean, they’re “palling” around with him, right? Or, how about anyone who has taken one of Ayers’ courses? The entire state of Illinois? Heck, that’s worse. They’re paying him!
And what about the other members of the various boards? Or the guy who does Ayers’ taxes? Or his mailman?
So, what level of association would be deemed damning? I just don’t see how serving on the same board or whatever for something completely unrelated to Ayers’ past would be very relevant. Its not like Obama was helping him build bombs, funding the building of bombs, or even anywhere near a bomb being built. And unlike the Wright controversy, I don’t recall seeing so much as a picture of Obama and Ayers together “palling around” (a picture that they’d be anxious to get their hands on, one would assume). If all the smear merchants have to work with is headlines like “Ayers Was on Woods Fund Board with Obama When He Stepped on Flag“, I’d say that the attack is pretty weak. Perhaps the fact that they are even wasting time with it instead of focusing on the myriad of real problems we face in this country will mean that Obama’s lead in the polls will widen further.