pageok
pageok
pageok
Which One of These Is Not Like the Other:
(Apologies once again to readers for occupying the main space with this exchange. Feel free to skip if you're not following it.) In response to David's "analogy game" below, I'm just befuddled. As I explained earlier, Obama was making the point that he has personal relationships with other people who have views that he finds abhorrent, and that his personal relationship to them does not mean he agrees with their views. As an example, he picked his friend Senator Coburn, who has argued that abortion doctors should receive the death penalty.

  In response, David points out that Obama could have pointed out his personal relationship with three people Obama never met: John Brown, who died in 1859; Justice Hugo Black, who died when Obama was a boy; or Timothy McVeigh. What does it tell you, David asks, that Obama did not choose Brown, McVeigh, or Black as examples of personal friends of his who have abhorrent views? Maybe I'm missing a trick question, but I'm guessing it tells you that he is not personal friends with them.

  UPDATE: In his update below, David argues that Obama's comment is also objectionable because "it tells us that he simply didn't understand that his connection with Ayers was under attack not primarily because Ayers currently has radical views that one could, perhaps, analogize to Coburn's, but because unlike Coburn, Ayers was a terrorist who tried to kill innocent Americans, and he is not only proud of it, but feels he didn't do enough." But why does it tell us that Obama lacks that understanding? In my experience, sometimes politicians running for office do not come out and say things that would hurt them with voters. They try to put the best spin on things, presumably on the theory that it will help them win the race. Given that, it seems a bit odd to say that Obama's failure to volunteer an adverse point must mean that he doesn't understand it, and that his failure to understand it shows how out of the mainstream he is.
Jerry F:
Professor Kerr's argument is unsurprisingly the same spin that Obama tried to make to his Ayers-Coburn comparison when he was called on it. To me, this is about as convincing as Obama saying after the fact that he supported a bill promoting "comprehensive sex education" to protect children against inappropriate touching, when the bill said nothing about inappropriate touching but said a lot about "comprehensive sex education."

Now, perhaps Professor Kerr is right and, when Obama initially brought up Coburn, he meant only that he can be friends with people who have views that Obama strongly disagrees with. I suppose only Obama knows what he had in mind then. Assuming this was what Obama meant, however, he was completely missing the point, since commentators who expressed concern about his relationship with Ayers (for the most part) did not argue that he agreed with Ayers' most noxious views.

But I think that a more reasonable interpretation of Obama bringing up Coburn (regardless of what Obama may have said as an explanation after the fact) is that he finds Coburn to be more or less the equivalent of Ayers on the right. In any event, I don't see on what ground someone can argue that this interpretation is less reasonable than Professor Kerr's charitable interpretation. The truth, of course, would be that Coburn is, at most, *Obama's* equivalent on the right (assuming Coburn is the most conservative member of the Senate), not Ayers' equivalent on the right.
10.7.2008 3:13am
SecurityGeek:
Professor Kerr, I am surprised that you are trying to win an argument with an intelligent rational person who is, quite obviously, holding an irrational personal animus towards Obama. While the less insane readers of this blog appreciate your efforts, you are spitting into a hurricane of sophistry from Prof. Bernstein.

He hates Obama. We get that. Perhaps you could help your readers out by steering the conversation back to something DB can discuss intelligently. Preferably a topic that doesn't rhyme with Bis-re-al.
10.7.2008 3:29am
PLR:
While the less insane readers of this blog appreciate your efforts, you are spitting into a hurricane of sophistry from Prof. Bernstein.

Totally disagree. Hurricanes are actually quite powerful.
10.7.2008 3:37am
Vermando (mail) (www):
I don't know whether to be happy to see one the bloggers call out DB for his BS or unhappy that this means that the shenanigans will just go on. My ears can only bleed so much.
10.7.2008 3:57am
Nathan_M (mail):
Sometimes I wonder whether Professor Bernstein actually makes good arguments, and they go over my head because I'm blinded by my ideology. I think I'll wonder a little less now that I know Professor Kerr sometimes finds him equally confusing.
10.7.2008 4:05am
llamasex (mail) (www):
What a trainwreck all this has become http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buyVS9fRqkw this youtube shows how far the right has wrapped themselves up in the Ayers-Obama smoosh-up. Now the right is calling Obama a terrorist at campaign rallies.

It really needs to stop, portraying the next possible president as a terrorist is dangerously divisive and bad for America. That the right would stoop so low to try to maintain power because they can't win on ideas is sad
10.7.2008 4:10am
OrinKerr:
llamasex,

Is it really fair to say that "the right" is doing something because one idiot at a campaign rally did it?
10.7.2008 4:15am
Asher (mail):
This exchange proves what the non-psycho faction of your readers already knew - that you're a lot, how shall I put this, sharper of an analyst than Prof. Bernstein. Obama was simply trying to say - very clumsily, I grant - that association does not prove shared ideology. He picks Coburn to prove this point, not because he thinks Coburn is the right-wing equivalent of a radical left-wing terrorist, but because Coburn is his ideological diametrical opposite. It would be ludicrous, he was trying to say, to assume that he shares the views of all his associates, because look at Coburn - he's an associate and his views, we all know, are the complete opposite of Obama's. In that sense, he's a fine example for the point Obama was trying to make. Now, of course, it's an unfortunate analogy because it appears to suggest some kind of similarity between Coburn and Ayers. But Obama's kind of hamstrung here, because he can't point to any truly radical friends he may have whose views he obviously doesn't share. Why? (a) if he picks a radical left-wing friend, it won't be obvious that he doesn't share the friend's views, (b) he probably doesn't have any radical right-wing friends, and (c) even if he did, and he said, why, I'm good friends with David Duke, or what have you, and obviously we don't share the same views, then the story in the papers the next day is, "Obama's Friends With David Duke," and that's no good. So perhaps he should've avoided making that kind of analogy, because whatever he does, he can't win. However, in the context of the Democratic primary, I think the argument was probably reasonably effective. It's not as if Democratic voters were mad he "compared" Coburn to Ayers.
10.7.2008 4:16am
llamasex (mail) (www):
Orin,

It isn't, but because McCain did not loudly denounce and clearly show he has no connection to the boob in the audience using Bernsteinian logic it shows that he agrees with, or at least supports what that boob yelled and is an agent of the hateful right wingistian regime.
10.7.2008 4:19am
llamasex (mail) (www):
Since we can't edit posts I want to show the relationship to the the person who called Obama a terrorist at McCain's Rally is almost as close as Obama and Ayers

Ayers donated $200 to Obama
Boob in audience most likely donated money to McCain

Obama was at a rally for political office with Ayers
Boob in audience was at a rally for political office with McCain

Obama denounced Ayers
McCain, did not denounce Boob in audience...
10.7.2008 4:24am
Anon21:
Prof. Kerr--the intellectual integrity is refreshing. I can't speak for other Obama supporters who are regular readers of this blog, but for me the thing that really grates about Prof. Bernstein's hackery is that is so relentlessly divorced from actual policy issues. Seeing some pushback against that is quite heartening. I don't want to see VC as just another partisan site, and your commentary makes it less of one.
10.7.2008 4:34am
devin chalmers (mail):
"Is it really fair to say that "the right" is doing something because one idiot at a campaign rally did it?"

I hope that's not a veiled insult towards my governor. Rim shot!

Prof. Kerr, I think you've proved your point, and can safely let it rest. Now the real question--will you be voting for Baldwin, or Nader? (Orchestra hit! Tip your wait staff.)

(As an aside, I understand it's lawyerly intuition to assume and argue the worst of one's opposition, but it really grates me the wrong way when I see it here at the VC--usually with a Bernstein byline. Who else longs for those halcyon days when all David would post about was how goshdarn hard it was to flip his DC condo?)
10.7.2008 4:43am
Angus:
Orin,
Thank you for attempting to inject sanity into this blog and the situation. Alas, I fear that almost the entire country has gone insane. I look forward to November 5, when only half of the country will still be frothing and incoherent.
10.7.2008 5:09am
Asher (mail):
In regards to McCain's strategy, it's true that he isn't coming out and calling him a terrorist, but this new, "who is the real Barack Obama?" catchphrase they're inserting in McCain's speeches is at least designed to profit off of some of the conspiracy theories and uncertainties that are out there. And they're not even confined to viral e-mail anymore. Just Sunday night, Hannity did this bizarre hour special where he more or less claimed that Obama's real goal in community organizing was to prepare for a violent overthrow of the government. One guy who was interviewed for the special even said that Obama's America will look just like Chavez's Venezuela or Castro's Cuba. Much was made of the fact that Obama's college roommate was Pakistani and refused to talk to Fox (gee, I wonder why), and Hannity even asked at one point, and I quote, "so just how did Obama get into the ultra-exclusive Harvard Law School anyway?" This is a guy who got Palin's second interview. The whole disgusting thing can be seen here.
10.7.2008 5:42am
Greg Q (mail) (www):
In his update below, David argues that Obama's comment is also objectionable because "it tells us that he simply didn't understand that his connection with Ayers was under attack not primarily because Ayers currently has radical views that one could, perhaps, analogize to Coburn's, but because unlike Coburn, Ayers was a terrorist who tried to kill innocent Americans, and he is not only proud of it, but feels he didn't do enough." But why does it tell us that Obama lacks that understanding?

Because if Obama had that understanding, he would have dumped Ayers years ago.

Is this really so hard for you people to understand? If Obama actually appreciated how normal people will respond to a Rev Wright or Bill Ayers, he would have got them out of his life before he started running for President. He would have "Sister Souljahed" both of them, rather than "that's not the Rev Wright I knew" and "Bill Ayers, he's just some guy down the street."

Think of how much damage to his campaign Obama could have avoided if he'd left Trinity two years ago. Think of all the lies and cover-ups Obama could have avoided if he'd totally separated himself from Ayers after getting elected to the US Senate. Why didn't he do that?

Because he's loyal? Don't make me laugh. Tell that to all the people he's tossed under the bus.

He didn't stay with Wright and Ayers because he's loyal. He stayed with them because it never occurred to him that "God damn America!" and "I don't regret what we did. I think we didn't do enough", might actually bother anybody.
10.7.2008 7:11am
Asher (mail):
He stayed with them because it never occurred to him that "God damn America!" and "I don't regret what we did. I think we didn't do enough", might actually bother anybody.

Why, I think you're assuming that Obama was actually aware of both of those statements. Which he may have been, contrary to his repeated claims otherwise, but we don't know that for a fact, now do we?
10.7.2008 7:22am
just me (mail):
While I might believe that Obama was unaware of just how unrepentant Ayers is about the actions of his organization, I have a hard time believing his lies, when he says he was unaware of Wright's many racist and/or anti American statements.

If Oprah was smart enough to figure out an association with Wright wasn't going to do much for her career, Obama should have been smart enough to realize the same thing.

I do think the one issue I have with Ayers is that he is unrepentant. It is one thing to associate and be friendly with somebody who did some really bad thing in their past and saw the light and the error of their ways, and somebody who wishes they had actually been more successful with their bombings and managed to kill more people.
10.7.2008 7:32am
Modus Ponens:
I can't believe that this is the first time that DB has been called out on the carpet by one of his co-conspirators.
10.7.2008 7:36am
Public_Defender (mail):
This back and forth may explain why the "issue" is not registering with voters. You know you're in trouble when your argument falls apart without complex logic games.

Another problem for Bernstein and McCain is that this "issue" emphasizes that McCain is the candidate of the past. Re-litigating the 1960's yet another time? Yawn. It's 2008, not 1968.
10.7.2008 7:55am
RichardW (mail):
Small point: it appears that Professor Kerr (and others) rely on the friedship characteristic between Obama and Ayers in the various posts to David Bernstein. My current understanding is that Obama denies friendship, only acknowledging a much looser association.
10.7.2008 8:20am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Greg Q has it.

In fact, he has it so clearly that it goes over most folks' heads.
Anybody who 1, wanted to run for high office, or, 2, was a loyal American, would have had nothing to do with Ayers.

Due to legal chicanery, Ayers escaped conviction for murderous actions he admitted committing. You have to be monstrously tone deaf not to figure there's something wrong here. Unless you have no idea that what he did was wrong.

Unless you have no idea that exhibiting the view to others that you don't see the problem.

Which is Greg Q's point. Obama didn't see the problem. WRT Wright, ditto.

Not only that, he was so tone deaf, or isolated in the bubble or echo chamber earlier noted that he never twigged that others might have a problem.
10.7.2008 8:51am
davod (mail):
Just maybe you lawyers might want to look into Obama's work at the Joyce Foundation and his role in undermining the second amendment.
10.7.2008 8:56am
TurgidNoodler:
Richard Aubrey:

Greg Q has it.

In fact, he has it so clearly that it goes over most folks' heads.
Anybody who 1, wanted to run for high office, or, 2, was a loyal American, would have had nothing to do with Ayers.

...

Which is Greg Q's point. Obama didn't see the problem. WRT Wright, ditto.

Not only that, he was so tone deaf, or isolated in the bubble or echo chamber earlier noted that he never twigged that others might have a problem.


So now the argument is that Obama is too politically tone-deaf to be president?

Seriously?
10.7.2008 9:17am
paul lukasiak (mail):
He didn't stay with Wright and Ayers because he's loyal. He stayed with them because it never occurred to him that "God damn America!" and "I don't regret what we did. I think we didn't do enough", might actually bother anybody.

I think he stayed with Wright, and was unconcerned with Ayres, because he didn't actually plan to be the nominee; rather he was setting himself up to run as VP and/or in 2016. By that time, Wright would have been retired for eight years, and Obama would have enough of a record that his relationship with Ayres would have been a mere "youthful indiscretion."

But the idea that Obama is some kind of ideological leftist is simply insane -- Obama is an opportunistic narcissist; Wright gave him credibility among South Side Chicago Blacks, and Ayres gave him credibility among the limosine liberals of Hyde Park, just as Tony Rezko gave him entree to the Chicago business community. That's why he associated with these unsavorty characters...it had nothing to do with ideology.
10.7.2008 9:23am
TA:
Has Bill Ayers himself commented on his relationship to Barack Obama? Has anyone asked him to?
10.7.2008 9:31am
Angus:
One thing I see as the campaigns head into a blizzard of negativity: whoever gets elected will be so damaged by the process that they will be unable to effectively lead.

Obama will end the race seen as a gun banning, terrorist-loving, America-hating, Muslim communist who will turn the country over to Al-Qaeda.

McCain will end the race seen as an unstable, race-baiting, gay-bashing, dishonest, belligerent manipulator who will pick several wars with nations across the globe and strip away millions of Americans' health care.

I'm not saying that all of these are true, but as they become the center of the campaigns people will come to believe them. The upshot is that the new President will take office in January with 50% of the country thinking he is pure evil personified.
10.7.2008 9:37am
Brooklynite (www):
He didn't stay with ... Ayers because he's loyal. He stayed with them because it never occurred to him that ... "I don't regret what we did. I think we didn't do enough", might actually bother anybody.

In what sense did Obama "stay with" Ayers after he made that statement? Their joint service on the board of the Annenberg Challenge had ended by then, Obama left the board of the Woods Fund almost immediately thereafter, and Ayers' last political connection to Obama, a $200 donation to his state senate campaign, predated it as well.

As far as I'm aware, Obama and Ayers have had neither a personal nor a professional relationship since shortly after the publication of Ayers' memoirs.
10.7.2008 9:47am
David Holliday (mail):
Seriously folks. This isn't that complicated. It needn't take up nearly as much space on this blog as it has. The fundamental question is, "Would you, knowing what you know of Bill Ayers' actions today, call him friend?" If you don't find Ayers actions outrageous, past and present, then you probably could justify accepting him. If not, then you would most likely strongly reject him.

Personally, I find Ayer's actions to be heinous. I find his more recent statement that he didn't do enough heinous. I find his association with President Hugo Chavez heinous. I would never call him friend. I find Obama's mild response to all this to be extemely disturbing.

Someone seeking to be President of the United States and who, if elected, sworn to defend all Americans shouldn't treat this as a minor issue. He should vigorously be seeking to distance himself from this unrepentant terrorist. The fact that he isn't proves to me that he isn't qualified to be President of this country.
10.7.2008 9:52am
Gabriel McCall (mail):
Is there some reason this whole exchange couldn't have taken place in the comments thread of the original post?
10.7.2008 9:54am
JosephSlater (mail):
Sooner or later, people are going to figure out if all you run is negative attack ads you don't have much of a vision for the future or you're not ready to articulate it." [John McCain - The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer - 2/21/2000]
10.7.2008 9:56am
A.W. (mail):
Guys, seriously, just call each other up, write each other an email... something...

Here's what i think he was getting at. Colburn, as far as i know, believes in peaceful change to that legal regime.

Ayers planted bombs to achieve his goals.

Each of the other examples are people who acted based on their hate (remember, Black was once a Klansman).

So Obama would make a better metaphor by saying, "I also hang out with Eric Rudolph, the Unabomber and Osama bin Laden."

And the scary thing is if The Lightbringer did have such associations, his defenders would probably argue that there is nothing wrong with that and claim it is all a distraction from the real issues.
10.7.2008 9:56am
TA:
Obama has already given his answer. He finds no important difference between Bill Ayers and Tom Coburn. If you don't either, vote for Obama, if you do vote for McCain.
10.7.2008 10:12am
Elliot123 (mail):
"In my experience, sometimes politicians running for office do not come out and say things that would hurt them with voters. They try to put the best spin on things, presumably on the theory that it will help them win the race."

Interesting. So, Obama panders to murders, terrorists, and folks who plant bombs at houses where kids are sleeping? Then he praises their books, launches his campaign at their house, and tells us they are mainstream?
10.7.2008 10:22am
Xanthippas (mail) (www):

Why, I think you're assuming that Obama was actually aware of both of those statements. Which he may have been, contrary to his repeated claims otherwise, but we don't know that for a fact, now do we?


Asher, surely you realize that DB and his cohorts presume bad faith on the part of Obama, and proceed to operate from that presumption. To them, Obama not only knows that they said these things, he THINKS the same things himself, and every "analysis" by these critics is simply one long torturous chain of links of faulty logic, assumptions and baseless speculation. Arguing with these people is like trying to convince a blind man who believes the sky is red that it's actually blue.

Fortunately for reasonable people such as ourselves, this willful ignorance prevents them from seeing that Obama's loose association with people like Ayers is not at all important to the vast majority of Americans who are watching their 401ks disappear into a hole or who can't get a loan to buy a car. A combination of their exceedingly right-wing beliefs and desperation over McCain's increasingly bad poll numbers spurs them to call for a more "aggressive" approach by McCain (meaning of course, more Wright, Rezko and Ayers) which is exactly the sort of thing that will guarantee Obama's victory.
10.7.2008 10:36am
Frog Leg (mail):
Which is worse? Having tenuous connections to someone who incited violence 40 years ago, or you yourself inciting violence just yesterday?
10.7.2008 10:45am
Frog Leg (mail):
From the linked story:


Palin's routine attacks on the media have begun to spill into ugliness. In Clearwater, arriving reporters were greeted with shouts and taunts by the crowd of about 3,000. Palin then went on to blame Katie Couric's questions for her "less-than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media." At that, Palin supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse. Others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, "Sit down, boy."
10.7.2008 10:47am
anonw (mail):
gabriel, because orin feels the need to piss on his cobloggerd threads sometimes, instead of using comments
10.7.2008 10:51am
sputnik (mail):
dangerous times, economy is in a turmoil, two wars overseas, and the unhinged McCain campaign ignites the worst in the audience and their supporters. The low, filthy,bigoted scummmy feelings based on lies , guilt by association or nothing at all.
Some people lived through the similar times in other countries, including my parents.
What GOP does to USA right now is unforgivable.
If the blood of Americans will start to flow right here from the domestic unrest it will all on the conscience of the Republican slime machine.
I think honest conservatives should leave republican party.
I think republican party should be banned, just like communist parties in Europe.
Conservatives if you wish so, make your own party, please...
THe GOP's lust for the power is really hurting the country right now...
10.7.2008 10:52am
Aultimer:

Greg Q (mail) (www):
In his update below, David argues that Obama's comment is also objectionable because "it tells us that he simply didn't understand that his connection with Ayers was under attack not primarily because Ayers currently has radical views that one could, perhaps, analogize to Coburn's, but because unlike Coburn, Ayers was a terrorist who tried to kill innocent Americans, and he is not only proud of it, but feels he didn't do enough." But why does it tell us that Obama lacks that understanding?

Because if Obama had that understanding, he would have dumped Ayers years ago.


That assumes Obama could "dump" a guy who doesn't seem to be much more than a neighbor who moves in the same general circles.

In my world, I made a campaign contribution to a guy who is on the opposite side of every issue from me (because I work with his spouse), I attend parties with both a staunch Republican who named his son after Reagan and openly wept at RR's funeral as well as a Biden campaign/Senate staffer, and my wife was a research assistant for Kathleen Hall Jamison of FactCheck.

How do I "dump" them before I make my protest run as a Libertarian for town council?
10.7.2008 10:58am
Aultimer:
Oh, and I think it's obvious that McCain is winning this issue, since all he really wanted was for people to keep saying the words "Obama" and "terrorist" together, to shore up support among the "Obama is a crypto-Muslim" base.
10.7.2008 11:01am
PC:
Because if Obama had that understanding, he would have dumped Ayers years ago.

Have you ever been on a board of a non-profit? I have. I currently am. I can tell you that one board member has the same power as any other and it doesn't involve dumping anyone. Depending on the rules in the charter you may be able to bring up a procedural vote to remove a board member, so I guess you can fault Obama for not doing that to a Distinguished Professor at the University of Chicago. Obama could have also gone to Walter Annenberg, a life long Republican and friend of Ronald Reagan, and told Annenberg that he was funding William Ayers.

Why do Republicans fund domestic terrorists?
10.7.2008 11:02am
sputnik (mail):
We are in a crisis. People who want to divert our attention to questions like "just how close do you have to be to serve on the same board with someone", or describe candidates they oppose as "A Terrorist's Best Friend", rather than facing up to the challenges we actually face, reveal whether they actually put country first, or just say they do.

So do voters who allow themselves to be distracted by this sort of idiocy.
10.7.2008 11:04am
PatHMV (mail) (www):
It's really very simple, Orin.

Would the American public elect as President someone who was friends with Timothy McVeigh?

Ayers wanted to be a McVeigh, killing significant numbers of innocent people. That he was not successful in accomplishing his goal does not lessen his moral culpability. He SHOULD be treated like a pariah. It's damning not just of Sen. Obama but the entire Chicago political culture that he is not treated the same way that McVeigh, or the Unabomber, would be.
10.7.2008 11:12am
sputnik (mail):
As Obama's star has risen the rightwing has abandoned all pretense of political dialogue. Dangerous, dangerous times.
10.7.2008 11:13am
PatHMV (mail) (www):
I mean, say Tim McVeigh had somehow been acquitted on a technicality. Twenty years later, you go to a social function and find him there, chatting away to all and sundry about how he regrets he didn't take out more of the imperialist pigs. Most people I know would walk out, if they didn't get into a shouting match with him right there on the spot.

But Obama chose not just to sit quietly at the dinner table with him, he chose to let the man (and his terrorist wife) host a critical political fund-raiser for him. He agreed to work closely with him on a non-profit board aimed at furthering the man's political views... those views he wanted to kill people for. You don't treat people like that with respect, as if they deserve a place at the table. They should be treated like pariahs and shunned.
10.7.2008 11:16am
PC:
He agreed to work closely with him on a non-profit board funded by a life long Republican and friend of Ronald Reagan aimed at furthering the man's political views...

Fixt.
10.7.2008 11:22am
sputnik (mail):
let's look at some numbers . When the Republicans took over the White House in 2000, the DOW was at around 10,600. Currently, the DOW is 9824. In 2000, when Bush and the Republicans took office, we had a budget surplus of about 230 billion. This year, we are expected to run approximately a half-trillion dollar deficit, and that was before the trillion we have tossed on to the national debt in the last few weeks.

But here is the most startling statistic- all previous forty-two presidents, in the history of this nation, had a combined national debt of approximately 5.5 trillion. George W. Bush and the Republican administration have almost doubled the debt of his 42 predecessors, as our national debt is over ten trillion (and that does not count all the chicanery with social security obligations and the like).

George Bush and Republican rule have been a DISASTER. There is no other term for it. John McCain may think he is being unfairly tarnished with this, but it is important to remember that he has been with Bush all the way on things, and intends to continue the Bush policies that helped to get us where we are. We are on the edge of a cliff, and John McCain wants to keep walking forward (no doubt his running mate things jumping would be a good leap of faith).

So whine about Bill Ayers. Whine about Rezko. Babble to your heart’s content about Fannie Mae. Scream Freddie Mac and Barney “Fag” all you want. These are silly, last minute desperate distractions, and the American people know who is responsible for this mess. Good conservatives should be welcoming the electoral tsunami that is about to wipe Republicans off the map- after all, they are the ones always preaching about personal responsibility, right?

The only thing I do not understand is how there are still some reasonably intelligent people out the who would vote for Johnny Drama and Bible Spice. It makes absolutely no sense to me, other than raw tribalism.
10.7.2008 11:23am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Turgid
Don't be an ass.

Obama is either tone deaf about the impact of his associations on the electorate, or he's tone deaf about his associations.

In other words, we'd be electing a guy who doesn't see the problem.

PatHMV has the opposite side of the coin. Suppose McVeigh had gotten off on a technicality, possibly after only killing a few. It would be legitimate to question anybody who doesn't see the problem with hanging around with the guy.

But not, apparently, with Obama and Ayres.
10.7.2008 11:23am
Brooklynite (www):
I mean, say Tim McVeigh had somehow been acquitted on a technicality. Twenty years later, you go to a social function and find him there, chatting away to all and sundry about how he regrets he didn't take out more of the imperialist pigs. Most people I know would walk out, if they didn't get into a shouting match with him right there on the spot.

Two things, Pat.

First, I haven't seen any evidence that Ayers went around defending the Weather Underground in the 1990s, much less "chatting away to all and sundry" about "imperialist pigs." If you have evidence that he made statements similar to those he made in 2001 at the time that Obama first met him, please share it.

Second, Sarah Palin sat in church just two months ago while a minister delivered an anti-semitic harangue. Did she get into a shouting match with him? No. Did she walk out? No. She sat in her pew until he called her up to the altar, then raised her hands to accept his benediction. And she has done nothing to distance herself from him or his remarks since.

Obama knew Ayers casually more than a decade ago. When Ayers made public statements justifying his Weather activities, Obama broke off contact with him. When he was asked about Ayers, he repudiated him. It all seems pretty straightforward to me.
10.7.2008 11:26am
Henry679 (mail):
So, how does all of this affect Israel?
10.7.2008 11:30am
sputnik (mail):
Pat and Aubrey.
TONS of people "know" Bill Ayers.

Did Bill Ayers get arrested for a felony like G. Gordon Liddy? Did he do his time like Liddy? Isn't he an American citizen with fully restored rights under the law? Then what the f* does his geographical proximity to Obama have to do with the character of Obama?

There is no indication EVER that Obama has been connected with any underground, subversive or Anti-American activities. Unlike Sarah Palin who is married to a man who supported Alaska's secession from the US.

But what the hell, right?

It's not actual shit that people do - it is just generic shit that you want to throw at Obama.

But THAT is why it doesn't stick - because you're not saying things about what he did.

Because its just not there.

It must really piss off some of you bigots that a black man has actually grown up, gotten a good education, married and had children, and has decided to become a national politician.

Really busts up your myth of how a black man isn't really a person.
10.7.2008 11:30am
mlstx (mail):

Would the American public elect as President someone who was friends with Timothy McVeigh?

Ayers wanted to be a McVeigh. . .



You remind me of a friend of mine -- to him, all bad acts are the same, and every bad person is "like Hitler." Context doesn't matter, gravity of actual harm doesn't matter, proportionality is abandoned, bad equals horrific every time.

Do you really see no difference between Timothy McVeigh and Ayers? Bad, bad. My friend would say you're just like Hitler!

And if you want to lump all ideologues together, you're going to have to give Timmy to the Republicans.
10.7.2008 11:36am
RPT (mail):
Noun-verb-Bill Ayers Day 4. Add "Kill him" and "Terrorist" comments. It will get worse.
10.7.2008 11:55am
Crimso:

Do you really see no difference between Timothy McVeigh and Ayers?

Their names are spelled differently. Oh, and McVeigh was held accountable.
10.7.2008 11:56am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
sputnik
The racist insult died a long time ago. You need a new schtick. It does not affect anybody, except possibly making you feel potent. (Wrong.)

Ayres said, on a shatteringly ill-timed 9-11-01, that he was proud of what he did and wished he'd done more. Given that he had written a sort of op-ed, he probably didn't have control over the timing, but it would be interesting to know if he sees a problem with it.
10.7.2008 11:58am
PatHMV (mail) (www):
mlstx, I have no idea what your point is. Ayers wanted to kill people to advance his political goals. He took concrete steps in furtherance of that goal. There are only 2 significant differences between McVeigh and Ayers. One, McVeigh succeeded in killing lots of people, while Ayers own bombs were less successful at killing people, though he certainly intended them to be. Two, Ayers' revolutionary goals are left-wing in their kookiness, while McVeigh's kooky ideas were perceived as more right-wing kookiness.

Which of those two factors do you consider the crucial difference in judging Ayers to be significantly different from McVeigh?

Frankly, in some ways, Ayers can be seen as much worse than McVeigh, because he wasn't just a mostly solitary actor. He led a movement (he was "Education Secretary" of the Weatherman movement, according to sources cited in the Wikipedia article on him, something to keep in mind given his current desire for "reforming" the Chicago educational system), he recruited others, he sheltered people and helped them foment their revolutionary desires.

What's particularly shocking to me is how many on the left continue to try to defend Ayers and the idea that associating with him is just fine.
10.7.2008 12:00pm
c.gray (mail):

Do you really see no difference between Timothy McVeigh and Ayers?


McVeigh was _competent_ at building &planting bombs, Ayer's wasn't?

Otherwise, what exactly IS the difference? Please explain.
10.7.2008 12:05pm
PC:
Oh, and McVeigh was held accountable.

Keep pushing the reason why Ayers wasn't held accountable. It involved domestic spying on Americans (hint, COINTELPRO). Given the Bush administration's fetish with spying on Americans, you'd think they'd have learned from the mistakes of the past. Alas, the Bush administration seeks to repeat the same mistakes and add on to them.

PatHMV, can you point out where Obama ever said Ayers was his friend? You've made the claim numerous times, and I understand the Republicans are desperate after 8 years of Bush and an economy on the brink of depression, but I haven't seen any cite.
10.7.2008 12:13pm
Ken Arromdee:
Asher, surely you realize that DB and his cohorts presume bad faith on the part of Obama, and proceed to operate from that presumption.

It's not bad faith, it's common sense.
10.7.2008 12:18pm
arg11 (mail):
McCain is a lot closer to G. Gordon Liddy than Obama is to Ayers, for the record. Charles Keating caused a lot more damage domestically than Bill Ayers, for the record. McCain has personally killed more people than Bill Ayers, for the record.
10.7.2008 12:19pm
Sarcastro (www):
Glad we're finally assuming the strong connection between Obama and Ayers. Everybody says it is one of my favorite sources.

And Ayers is just like McVeigh! I mean, McVeigh was this close to getting a Professorship. And Ayers was totally about to go live in a cabin and start bombing people again!

Because I count dissent as the same as killing people, it is easy to see that the Weathermen were as big a threat as AlQueda is now, and the Liberal establishment it grew into is worse!

We need to jail everyone in Harvard for terrorism soon, or they may cause an ideological 9-11!
10.7.2008 12:23pm
Bruce:
One additional point: if the Ayers-Wright stuff points to the influence of any "culture," it's a Chicago political one, not a Yale-Harvard intellectual one.
10.7.2008 12:23pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
Ayers own bombs were less successful at killing people, though he certainly intended them to be.
How do you know this? I thought that Ayers believed in using warning calls to avoid killing people.
10.7.2008 12:24pm
PatHMV (mail) (www):
Well, Obama's first major political fundraiser was hosted by Ayers and his terrorist wife. That's usually a sign of some level of friendship. He worked closely with him on the board of the non-profit. In my own experience serving on such boards, fellow board members often becomes friends with each other.

arg11... McCain was fully exonerated of any misconduct in how he handled Keating. Beyond that, he has apologized for even associating with the fellow, and once he was told that Keating was under criminal investigation, he immediately ceased having anything at all to do with him. McCain didn't kill Americans, he killed people as he was ordered to do by his lawful superior officers. If you have a beef with that (and I'm sure you do, as does Ayers), take it up with Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon, who were ultimately responsible for getting us involved in Vietnam, and who are responsible for the orders given to McCain. And I have no idea whether G. Gordon Liddy and McCain are close or not, but Liddy never tried to bomb innocent Americans for revolutionary political purposes. For the record.
10.7.2008 12:26pm
LN (mail):

In my own experience serving on such boards, fellow board members often becomes friends with each other.


Kill him!
10.7.2008 12:30pm
PatHMV (mail) (www):
Roger Schlafly.... does it really make a difference to you? Would you really say, it's ok to associate with, work with, and accept political assistance from a revolutionary bomber, so long as he made warning calls first?
10.7.2008 12:30pm
PatHMV (mail) (www):
LN... if your side is not interested in having a rational conversation about this, fine. But erecting stupid strawmen is just silly.
10.7.2008 12:31pm
Sarcastro (www):

Fellow board members often becomes friends with each other.


Sweet Jeebus, I had no idea! This anecdotal and hedged statement is totally proof of a super close Obama-Ayers relationship!

Maybe they were lovers, with that Sinclair crack guy!

And by maybe, I mean definitely! I gotta get Hannity on the phone right away!
10.7.2008 12:32pm
LN (mail):
Once again, how sad is it that when Obama coasts into the White House with 340 Electoral Votes, David Bernstein and the other loons here will be shaking their heads wondering why everyone in America except for themselves belongs to the lunatic fringe.

Sniff.
10.7.2008 12:33pm
LN (mail):
PatHMV, please. How can I have a rational conversation with someone who thinks that "fellow board members often becomes friends with each other" is some sort of damaging argument? I'm so sorry I'm lowering this amazingly high level of discourse!

Isn't the real villain here the guy ultimately funding Ayers and Obama and all these other terrorists -- wacky liberal billionaire Walter Annenberg?
10.7.2008 12:36pm
PC:
In my own experience serving on such boards, fellow board members often becomes friends with each other.

In my own experience on a non-profit board (5 years now) I can say you are wrong. Outside of our monthly board meetings I rarely talk to any of the other board members. Again I'll ask though, why do Republicans fund domestic terrorists?

And I have no idea whether G. Gordon Liddy and McCain are close or not, but Liddy never tried to bomb innocent Americans for revolutionary political purposes.

Liddy wanted to firebomb the Brookings Institute and kidnap Americans. His ideas were shot down. Liddy is now a hero of the mainstream right wing. I would quote some of Liddy's views, but I don't want to push this thread into Godwin's Law territory.
10.7.2008 12:41pm
Brooklynite (www):
I assume that Roger's point, Pat, is that facts matter. Ayers never hosted an Obama fundraiser. Obama never called Ayers his friend. And there's no evidence that Ayers ever tried to kill anyone.

You keep saying stuff that just isn't true.
10.7.2008 12:44pm
Crimso:

McCain has personally killed more people than Bill Ayers, for the record.

Yeah, genius. Run with that. I'm sure the average American (i.e., bitter gun-clinger) will agree with that. Please. Shout it from the rooftops. PLEASE.
10.7.2008 12:44pm
Crimso:
"And there's no evidence that Ayers ever tried to kill anyone."
Guess the nails in the Ft. Dix bomb were just to be sure that the walls remained firmly nailed and standing (you know, so nobody was hurt).
10.7.2008 12:47pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
A guy named Murtaugh is concerned about Ayres. He was nine when Ayre's crew tried to kill him and his family. He's still annoyed. Probaby a racist or something.

In the Kipling tradition of the female of the species, Dohrn seems to have been worse. Couple of dead cops--no biggy to the elect--and a Brinks guard laid to her group.
Celebrated the Manson killings.
10.7.2008 12:53pm
Brooklynite (www):
"And there's no evidence that Ayers ever tried to kill anyone."
Guess the nails in the Ft. Dix bomb were just to be sure that the walls remained firmly nailed and standing (you know, so nobody was hurt).


I have nothing good to say about Bill Ayers, but I think the bad things that are said about him should be truthful. There is no evidence, as I said, that he ever tried to kill anyone. There is no evidence, as far as I am aware, that he was directly involved in, or had direct knowledge of, the Fort Dix bombing conspiracy.

I have nothing good to say about Bill Ayers, but I think the bad things that are said about him should be truthful.
10.7.2008 12:59pm
Anderson (mail):
Haven't got time to get up to speed on this sudden debate, but just from reading the posts:

(1) I'm glad to see front-pagers debating and wish it happened more often. It's intrinsically interesting plus could even help set the tone for the comments section.

(2) Glad also to see OK calling out DB on a very, very, very strained excuse to find fault with Obama.

I mean, good lord, people. "He's a Democrat, and no matter how lame the GOP is, I will not vote for a Democrat" is a logical, defensible argument. If that's your argument, then make it.

But all this pretending that Obama is an EEEEEVIL Democrat just isn't supported by any evidence that a competent 7th-grader would find credible. He's a Democrat. If elected, he will seek to advance the Democratic Party's agenda.

If you hate that agenda more than you hate the GOP's agenda of torture, war, poverty, sickness, and death, then vote against Obama. Just quit whining.
10.7.2008 1:05pm
Angus:

Well, Obama's first major political fundraiser was hosted by Ayers and his terrorist wife.
Except that it wasn't Obama's event, but an event for the retiring state legislator, who invited Obama to attend. And it wasn't a fundraiser.

Other than that, though, you are spot on in accuracy.
10.7.2008 1:09pm
Franklin Drackman:
Who cares about Ayers and Reverend Wright? Its those coded messages Baraks sending to AlKaida thats got me in a lather. Just look at the way he blinks! He even adds "Allah be Praised" at the end. You'd think McCain would notice, that POW experience and everything.
10.7.2008 1:09pm
Anderson (mail):
Except that it wasn't Obama's event, but an event for the retiring state legislator, who invited Obama to attend. And it wasn't a fundraiser.

Really? I had seen the "fundraiser" bit everywhere -- got a link?
10.7.2008 1:10pm
Cityduck (mail):
I've now read all of these posts.

Orin Kerr has completely demolished Bernstein's "argument." It's embarassing to watch that the posting went on as long as it did.
10.7.2008 1:18pm
sputnik (mail):
father-in-law. You guys forgot about father -in-law

McCain's father-in-law, whose fortune helped financed his campaigns, and whom he has described as a role model, was a convicted criminal who had ties to organized crime. I do not, myself, regard most of these stories as relevant, though given the present economic crisis, I think the Keating Five story is. But many of them have more substance and more relevance than the wafer-thin story of Obama's acquaintance with Ayers.

When McCain went after Obama for having advisors with ties to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, it came out in fairly short order that his connections to Fannie and Freddie were much deeper than Obama's. A lot of people, myself included, wondered why McCain had chosen to raise that line of attack, since he himself was much more vulnerable to it than Obama. Raising questions about people Obama knows, and what his acquaintances tell us about his judgment, is exactly the same: I cannot imagine why John McCain thinks that going down this particular road is likely to be a winning strategy for him.

In McCain's shoes, though, I wouldn't take that gamble.
10.7.2008 1:24pm
Angus:

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0208/8630.html
The gathering was to announce that Alice Palmer was going to leave the state senate to run for Congress. The event was hers, not Obama's. And the "fundraiser" wasn't mentioned at all in any of the early stories until right-wing sites got ahold of it.
10.7.2008 1:25pm
Anderson (mail):
Thanks, Angus!
10.7.2008 1:47pm
Matthew K:
I think Kerr's post is refreshing. It is important to not be blinded by our animus and give our political opponents a fair shake. I can see many valid reasons not to like Obama, but Ayers does not appear to be one of them.
10.7.2008 1:57pm
A.W. (mail):
Sorry, twist and turn all you want, but Ayers was an unrepentant terrorist. Any rational, patriotic American would have nothing to do with him, when they found out.

The williness to be blythe in the presence of evil is a serious character flaw in obama and a sign of a lack of fundamental moral seriousness.
10.7.2008 1:58pm
TA:
The first paragraph at the link

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0208/8630.html

reads:

"In 1995, State Senator Alice Palmer introduced her chosen successor, Barack Obama, to a few of the district’s influential liberals at the home of two well known figures on the local left: William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn."

Sounds like an Obama event. But read the whole thing.
10.7.2008 2:00pm
Sarcastro (www):
Sorry, but my declarative statements are true. Argue and cite facts all you want, my faith is unshakable.

From but one article of faith, I can prove Obama is evil and unpatriotic and irrational. At least, I can prove this to myself.

People who argue with me merely beclown themselves.
10.7.2008 2:02pm
Angus:
TA, the payoff comes a couple of paragraphs later:

"“I can remember being one of a small group of people who came to Bill Ayers’ house to learn that Alice Palmer was stepping down from the senate and running for Congress,” said Dr. Quentin Young, a prominent Chicago physician"

In other words, sounds more like the gathering was to announce Palmer's congressional bid, and Obama's attendance was tacked on to that.
10.7.2008 2:07pm
Vanceone (mail):
To the tune of "It came upon the midnight clear":

We'll sing all hail to Baraks' name... he is a God among Men....

And when his goon squads shut you down, a racist you'll have been.

Peace on the earth through surrender, cuz Republicans are our enemies. I'd rather kill all of them, and Iran bomb Israel please.

Yes, Obama is our Messiah--and if you disagree you'll pay. For liberty means only that--the left will have its say!

His friends kill troops, and we don't care--as long as those troops are ours. And God should damn America, because we still drive cars!

Yes leftist ideology will be enforced by glorious Obama corps. And when you utter any dissent--remember you're Hitler and his fate will be yours!



Marxists Unite! Vote Obama! If you want to live in a glorious paradise predicted by Stalin, Lenin, and Marx--vote for Obama. If you don't vote for Obama, you are a racist pig who should be strung up because you aren't tolerant! Kill Republicans! Outlaw the Republican Party! There is no sin in defending Obama from such scurrilous things as actual examination of his record and statements! When Obama is President, there will be no false speech allowed, and of course false speech is anything that is critical of Dear Leader Obama! We will Silence all oppressors! No Guns! No Dissent! And we shall all be Free! We have always been at war with EastAsia!

And we can all go to Cuba for health care! How wonderful it will all be with Obama in charge!
10.7.2008 2:07pm
runape (mail):
"Any rational, patriotic American would have nothing to do with him, when they found out."

Not to belabor the point, but this is quite incorrect. Simply ignoring Ayers (and what, hoping he would go away?) is irrational. From a societal perspective, the question is how much to focus on Ayers' modern contributions (on, e.g., education reform). Ignoring someone who can make a positive contribution to society simply because they committed odious acts in the past is irrational.

Incidentally, since when did it become respectable to reject knowledge on the ground that its source is odious? Take Ayers for what he's worth. If he's capable of contributing anything, take it for what it's worth. If you think his current work is worthless, criticize it on the merits. But don't ignore the possibility that he might have something valuable to say now on the ground that he was worthless in the past.
10.7.2008 2:08pm
A.W. (mail):
Sarcastro

Yeah, i get it. Its okay to pal around with unrepentent terrorists.

Whatever. There is nothing factually wrong with what I said and you know it. and you can snark all you want, but we will let the American people decide where they are, morally.
10.7.2008 2:17pm
Sarcastro (www):
10.7.2008 2:21pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
runape
Well, if we're going to look at his current good works, I guess that means LOOK AT THEM. Better not.
10.7.2008 2:25pm
TA:
Angus, later still it says:

"Obama’s connections to Ayers and Dorhn have been noted in some fleeting news coverage in the past. But the visit by Obama to their home — part of a campaign courtship — reflects more extensive interaction than has been previously reported."

The article is a bit ambiguous. The word "fundraiser" doesn't appear, and I'm not sure what a "campaign courtship" is. But Obama seems to have been more than just a guest. The author himself seems to be making this point.
10.7.2008 2:26pm
LN (mail):
pal around

Say it ain't so Joe there you go again doggone it Joe Sixpack hockey mom mainstream media filter I can see Alaska from my house.

Why is it so hard to just say things like "I do not want a more progressive tax code" and "I think the government already plays too large a role in providing health care" and "I think cutting spending should be the government's top priority"? Aren't you guys going to feel silly when Americans vote overwhelmingly to give control of the federal government to the party of unrepentant radical Muslim Marxist socialist baby-killing terrorist-lovers? Why do you hate the majority of your fellow Americans so much?

Something tells me we're going to see a resurgence of the militia movement in the next few years.
10.7.2008 2:26pm
TA:
Angus, later still it says:

"Obama’s connections to Ayers and Dorhn have been noted in some fleeting news coverage in the past. But the visit by Obama to their home — part of a campaign courtship — reflects more extensive interaction than has been previously reported."

The article is a bit ambiguous. The word "fundraiser" doesn't appear, and I'm not sure what a "campaign courtship" is. But Obama seems to have been more than just a guest. The author himself seems to be making this point.
10.7.2008 2:26pm
TA:
sorry for the repeat
10.7.2008 2:27pm
nicestrategy (mail):

Sorry, twist and turn all you want, but [G. Gordon Liddy] was an unrepentant [criminal who tried to subvert the democratic process.] Any rational, patriotic American would have nothing to do with him, when they found out.



Sorry, twist and turn all you want, but [insert fundamentalist jerkwad who blames his political enemies for 9/11 or natural disasters] is an unrepentant [hatemonger.] Any rational, patriotic American would have nothing to do with [them], when they found out.


Rather a silly game, but if you insist on playing...

Fixed.
10.7.2008 2:27pm
PC:
we will let the American people decide where they are, morally.

A.W., do you think the mainstream right wing should embrace someone that wanted to bomb the Brookings Institute and kidnap Americans? How about the mainstream right wing promoting someone that describes a judge as a "crooked, slimy Jew, who has a history of lying and thieving common to members of his race."

I have yet to see a mainstream Democrat embrace or promote Bill Ayers. I have seen a life long Republican and friend of Ronald Reagan fund Bill Ayers. I've also seen mainstream Republicans embracing G. Gordon Liddy and the mainstream Republican news source promoting Andy Martin.
10.7.2008 2:28pm
PubliusFL:
Angus: The latest CNN reporting on the Palmer/Obama event at Ayers' house sounds quite a bit worse than the Politico article reveals.

CNN video

Brooklynite: "There is no evidence, as I said, that he ever tried to kill anyone. There is no evidence, as far as I am aware, that he was directly involved in, or had direct knowledge of, the Fort Dix bombing conspiracy."

I think your description is substantially narrower than what would normally suffice to make Ayers responsible for the Fort Dix plan — or the deaths of his fellow Weathermen when the plan failed — on a conspiracy theory. In any event, even putting aside the planned Fort Dix bombing, an FBI informant in the Weather Underground testified that 1) Ayers and Dohrn were involved in the 1970 San Francisco bombing, often attributed to but not claimed by the Weathermen, which killed a police officer and wounded another, and 2) Ayers planned a bombing of the Detroit Police Officers’ Association building to occur when the most people would be in the building. Fortunately, the informant tipped off the police about the second bombing in time for them to clear the building, and the bomb failed to go off due to a faulty fuse.
10.7.2008 2:29pm
Angus:

Angus: The latest CNN reporting on the Palmer/Obama event at Ayers' house sounds quite a bit worse than the Politico article reveals.


I note that it has 2 sources. One was the doctor quoted in the Politico piece. CNN did not contradict Politico. Just because it was a Palmer event doesn't mean it also wasn't also an introduction of Obama.

The other source is Palmer. She, however, has an axe to grind with Obama. They have been locked in a very bitter and personal feud since 1995. She'd like nothing more than to see him ruined, and therefore would say anything to accomplish that.
Link
10.7.2008 2:40pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Except that it wasn't Obama's event, but an event for the retiring state legislator, who invited Obama to attend. And it wasn't a fundraiser."

All true, except the purpose was for the retiring legislator to introduce her hand picked successor. But, who knows? Maybe it was a surprise party for Obama. Everybody hid behind furniture, and when he walked in, they jumped out wearing party hats and Obama campaign buttons.

And I suppose Obama might have been lured to the house by a Jeremiah Wright look-alike who claimed to have found an eighty-eight year old, bed-ridden arthritic who need help finding her lost kitten.

Imagine his surprise, years later, when he learned the house had really belonged, not to the old lady with the lost kitten, but to a very bad man who hurt people and swam in the mainstream.
10.7.2008 2:52pm
Michael B (mail):
Links and excerpts from some recent commentaries.

The Bomber as School Reformer: Voters - and debate moderators - shouldn’t let Bill Ayers and Barack Obama off the hook, Sol Stern writing in City Journal, excerpt:

"Calling Bill Ayers a school reformer is a bit like calling Joseph Stalin an agricultural reformer. (If you find the metaphor strained, consider that Walter Duranty, the infamous New York Times reporter covering the Soviet Union in the 1930s, did, in fact, depict Stalin as a great land reformer who created happy, productive collective farms.) For instance, at a November 2006 education forum in Caracas, Venezuela, with President Hugo Chávez at his side, Ayers proclaimed his support for “the profound educational reforms under way here in Venezuela under the leadership of President Chávez. We share the belief that education is the motor-force of revolution ..."

Ayers-Dohrn-Obama Tie Shouldn’t Be Dismissed, R. Simon, PJMedia, excerpt:

"Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has consistently tried to discount the depth of his relationship with Bill Ayers, one of the founding members of the Weather Underground, a radical left-wing terrorist group that formed in 1969 and was most famous for a string of bombings in the 1970s."

[...]

"Obama campaign manager David Axelrod and other campaign surrogates are now furtively trying to claim today that Obama “didn’t know the history” of Ayers and Dohrn as the leaders of America’s most infamous left-wing terrorist group when Obama met at their home for a political “coming out” in 1995, but their attempt to make pretend that Barack Obama didn’t know of their terrorist past is laughable."

Hypocrisy Doesn’t Begin To Describe It, Jennifer Rubin writing in Commentary, excerpt:

"But more than hypocrisy is at work here. It is not just far Left, American-hating radicals he now disowns. You get the sense that he believes everyone can be played. Rashid Khalidi can believe that Obama finds no one suffers more than the Palestinians. Jews can buy that he was moved by the Holocaust from a summer camp experience. Voters in his Congressional race in 1990 can be told that there is no difference ideologically between him and 100% ADA-rated Bobby Rush, but the rest of the state in 2004 (and eventually the country) can buy that he’s a post-partisan reformer. Terrorists come to believe he shares their scorn for America, but Iowa voters hear him talk about his appreciation that only in America could his story have happened. Primary voters in Ohio are coddled with protectionist promises - and then privately scorned while he is talking to San Fransciso liberal donors."
10.7.2008 2:56pm
Michael B (mail):
"Well, Obama's first major political fundraiser was hosted by Ayers and his terrorist wife."
"Except that it wasn't Obama's event, but an event for the retiring state legislator, who invited Obama to attend. And it wasn't a fundraiser." Angus
That myth has been dispelled.
10.7.2008 3:00pm
Angus:
Wow, who would have thunk it? Right-wing editorialists and bloggers putting their own crazy spin on the Obama-Ayers relationship. I am shocked!
10.7.2008 3:12pm
PC:
Michael B, why would a life long Republican and friend of Ronald Reagan fund a socialist?
10.7.2008 3:12pm
A.W. (mail):
Well, its good to see you are all up on your talking points.

First, Liddy has served time and shown repentance. That is why Carter commuted his sentence. Of course what he did is awful. I always gritted my teeth when someone said “it’s the conspiracy not the cover up.” No, the conspiracy was worse, but harder to pin on Nixon.

And some guy who merely says a bad thing, isn’t in the same category as someone who actually bombed buildings and killed people.

As for Andy Martin, aside from the fact his sins were verbal, not physical, do you even have proof he said all that?
10.7.2008 3:16pm
Sammy Finkelman (mail):
"since commentators who expressed concern about his relationship with Ayers (for the most part) did not argue that he agreed with Ayers' most noxious views."

This line of argument is really starting to appear now.

The idea seems to be that Obama would only associate with people he agrees with. They are giving this point to Obama in order to accuse him of something far worse. Obama can't refute this too directly. Is Obama going to argue, no I didn't agree with any of that - I was just being cynical?
He sort of has to hide how bad Ayers was. And give dfferent answers to different people depending on what the question is.

So this would seem to some people a good tactic. Except that that goes too far and is not credible. The game would fall apart if connections between Mayor Daley and Ayers were added in too.

Of course actually any association would have been for political advantage and what is being hidden is that - WHERE HE WAS - there was indeed political advantage in sort of being close to Ayers! And Chicago's Mayor Richard M Daley was also friendly to him.

That was what was really wrong. That Obama took part in such morally vile politics. He went along even with this.
People are indeed making the wrong argument.

Rush Limbaugh did seem to get the argument right this afternoon. It's Obama's cynicism, his usage of anybody to gain political advantage, not his believing in anything Ayers or others might say. The matter of Chicago and left wing networking is another problem.

I think we have to distrust the motives of people who would
use a deliberately fallacious argument when they could use an accurate one taht however pointed to bigger or more longstanding problems than Obama.

I guess some people don't want people asking "What is wrong with Chicago, - and in connection with Wright "What particularly its black establishment?" The people who know the most after all, might have some connections leading there.

The bigger problem is the sick politics of Chicago and, perhaps, most black communities, whether absolutely crazy and wrong things pass muster and nothing ever gets done about real problems, like crime, and education, except counterproductive ones. Of course in Chicago it might be worse. That's where Louis Farrakhan started spreading teh word that AIDS was spread by Jewish doctors injecting people they thought were bad people (and not by re-using needles - after all the latter idea might have caused a drop in business for some drug dealers who probably were giving him money)
10.7.2008 3:35pm
PC:
A.W., there's a great tool on the internets. It's called Google. But here is the source of the Andy Martin quote.

This entire Ayers thing has become ridiculous. I understand that the Republican party is completely devoid of ideas at this point. Republicans had their chance to show what they could do when they controlled every branch of government. Instead of sticking the ideals of small government they went hog wild.

I honestly hope that Obama wins in a blow out so Republicans can do some serious soul searching. And maybe if they come back as the party of small government that respects the rights of individuals I'll once again vote for Republicans. Until then I guess I'll have to learn to live with the tax and spend liberals, versus the past 8 years of don't tax, spend and put it on the credit card conservatives.
10.7.2008 3:36pm
JosephSlater (mail):
And today, Obama moves up a point in Gallup to 51%, up 9 points on McCain (one more than yesterday), and holds steady in Rasmussen (a Republican-funded pollster) at +8.

Oh, and polls from Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, and other states that McCain would have to sweep to have a realistic chance to win show Obama in the lead. Heck, check out recent polls from Indiana and Missouri.

Moral: "Taking the gloves off" and going highly and non-substantively negative plays well with the "he's a terrorist" base, but not so much with the rest of the country.

I am truly heartened that America isn't falling for this stupid, pathetic, and hateful crap. Indeed, from a purely partisan point of view, I almost hope the Repubs keep it up and bury themselves further. But for the country's sake, I hope McCain his supporters abandon this nonsense and try to talk about the issues.
10.7.2008 3:38pm
Michael B (mail):
Angus,

Your right-wing wingnut pseudo argument won't fly; your derisive sneers are wantonly witless, wingless and wanting.

For example, Sol Stern's article at City Journal, is a responsibly argued piece, City Journal's bona fides are respected from virtually all reputable social/political precincts in the country, and Sol Stern himself has a notably leftist background, he wrote for Ramparts for example during the heyday of the New Left.

Similarly for Roger Simon.

Iow, your hackery doesn't fly and is exposed for what it is.
10.7.2008 3:39pm
A.W. (mail):
PC

So you say citing the obviously untrue claim that it is the right that smears only.

As if we are going to forget all the nastiness against Palin and McCain on this very website.

Sorry, but if a magazine can’t be honest on that level, then I have no use for it.

> I honestly hope that Obama wins in a blow out so Republicans can do some serious soul searching.

Right, here is left wing trope #435: I am a republican really.

Who exactly do you think you are fooling?

Joseph

Sorry, but character counts. It is more important than any single issue. You have to know the character of the man who will have his finger on the nuclear trigger, and will command our armed forces. We have to know we can trust him.

We can’t trust Obama.
10.7.2008 3:50pm
Smartest guy in the panic room:
The joke is that Clinton's opp research team already did all the hard work, dragged it out into the light, and still managed to lose the battlegrounds because Obama did his homework in the places that mattered. Maybe there should have been a McCain-Clinton ticket, considering they've been using the same lines.

The danger here is that McCain is losing the opportunity to regain the economic narrative and now has just copied a tactic from Clinton that remains unsuccessful at doing anything other than re-frothing the frothy base who were already not voting for Obama...

It doesn't help that McCain never tried to be a economic smart guy and made statements to that point... People will care less about national security when their economic security has an actual measurable impact on their lives vs longer airport TSA lines...
10.7.2008 3:51pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
The LA Times has covered journalism with even more glory.
Evan Thomas said the media was worth five points to dems--down from his earlier estimate of fifteen.
10.7.2008 3:56pm
PC:
A.W., lrn2read. I never said that only the right smears and I never claimed to be a Republican. I'm not a Republican and I'm not a Democrat. I'm one of those mythical independents that votes for who I think is the best candidate. In the past that's been Republicans, Democrats and third party candidates.

As far as character goes it's pretty much a wash for me. There are plenty of things about Obama's past I don't like and there are plenty of things about McCain's past I don't like. So I have to vote on the issues, and from where I sit, McCain really does want to continue the "success" of GWB's presidency.

No one has told me why Republicans have earned another four years in the White House. Instead, at this late date in the race, the best the Republicans can do is fire up the hate machine. The Republican party is completely devoid of ideas.
10.7.2008 4:02pm
Angus:

Iow, your hackery doesn't fly and is exposed for what it is.

I'll put my commentary up against yours any day. Your respected "City Journal" is no more neutral than American Spectator and other right wing opinion mags. If I start citing The Nation or Mother Jones in response to you (won't happen), then we'll be on a level of equivalent hackery.

And David Horowitz was part of the New Left, too, but that doesn't make him any less than a foaming right-wing fanatic today. What a great case for saying that 40 years ago has no relevance to today!
10.7.2008 4:02pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Joseph

Sorry, but character counts.


My point exactly. McCain is lowering his character by having his campaign focus on this hateful trivia, especially during an economic crisis that recently he said was so dire it justified suspending his campaign. Come to think of it, that was after he said the fundamentals of the economy were strong, which raises a troubling question of erratic, if not irrational behavior on his part.

And again, what you all seem to be missing is that it's not working (look at today's polls). So even as a cynical instrumental tactic, this stuff is a failure.
10.7.2008 4:04pm
Angus:

Sorry, but character counts. It is more important than any single issue. You have to know the character of the man who will have his finger on the nuclear trigger, and will command our armed forces. We have to know we can trust him.
Given his anger problem, you really don't want to bring up "McCain" and "nuclear trigger" at the same time.
10.7.2008 4:04pm
A.W. (mail):
PC

Notice, Angus has declared he won't stoop to your lame level of proof. heh.

And really, you are going to pretend mccain has as serious questions about his life as Obama?

Just how many terrorists, racists and crooks has mccain been associated with.

And what in Obama's life has he ever done that doesn't pale in comparison to McCain's war record. Obama may be physically taller, but McCain towers over him as an American. He is a genuine war hero. Obama is an empty suit, at best.
10.7.2008 4:07pm
A.W. (mail):
angus

The fact that McCain gets angry now and then is not evidence of an anger problem--at least not without evidence that in context he was wrong to get angry.

By comparison, look how Obama smulders all the time at mere criticism. If anyone has anger issues...
10.7.2008 4:09pm
Angus:

Just how many terrorists, racists and crooks has mccain been associated with.

At least one mafia figure and one convicted drug abuser in his immediate family. Plus, that Charles Keating guy. Plus there was the foreign relations group McCain joined in the 1980s that funded right-wing death squads in Latin America. Yeah, that was a real "character-builder."
10.7.2008 4:11pm
PC:
A.W., it's good to see that you are arguing the issues. Completely devoid of ideas. Character assassination is all you have.
10.7.2008 4:13pm
PC:
Oh, and I was McCain supporter in 2000. Take that for what it's worth.
10.7.2008 4:14pm
A.W. (mail):
Joseph

> McCain is lowering his character by having his campaign focus on this hateful trivia,

As opposed to Obama who made fun of his because of the disability he gained in service to his country? Who has gone negative far more often than McCain? Who lied about saying McCain wanted us in iraq for 100 years in a shooting conflict? As opposed to associating McCain with Limbaugh's views on immigration (and lying about what Limbaugh said on immigration)?

No, the reason why you lefties are screeching like howler monkies is not the belief it won't work, but the fear it will. Obama is at best a lightweight, at worst an American Hugo Chavez. McCain is the obvious choice to anyone who actually thinks deeply about the issue.

I am old enough to remember when Democrats thought he was a good choice for vice president, for Kerry! But since he is running on the republican ticket, the talking points is now that McCain is the devil. Whatever.
10.7.2008 4:15pm
JosephSlater (mail):
A.W.:

Are you saying Obama made fun of McCain's disability? If so, wtf are you talking about?

And yeah, McCain has gone negative more often than Obama. Indeed, that's when he started losing his convention bump -- the "Obama wants to teach full sex ed to kindergarteners!" stuff.

And nobody is screeching except you (comparisons to Hugo Chavez -- good grief). I just pointed at the scoreboard. The game's not over, but we both know who is winning, and if you were paying attention to today's polls and yesterday's polls, you would see that the attacks have had no effect. I'll repeat: Obama gains a point today in Gallup, and is now up 51-42 (51 being a high for Obama in that poll); he's up 8 points in Rasmussen, and as for state polls, well, go check www.fivethirtyeight.com or any site you like, really.

Nobody is saying McCain is the devil -- and how ironic of you to say that given your comparison of Obama to Chavez. But we are disappointed that he would go to this desperate and losing tactic instead of sticking to the issues. And by "we" I don't just mean Democrats, I mean independents. That's the problem you don't see. Fine, but don't say I didn't tell you.
10.7.2008 4:24pm
Elliot123 (mail):
The American people will decide what is important to them. If Obama's associations are important to them, then they will pay attention, and will vote accordingly, regardless of what Obama thinks should be important to them. I suspect the Obama supporters know this very well.
10.7.2008 4:29pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Elliot: Yes, the American people will. I suspect McCain supporters read the polls, though. I was just pointing out what they say after a few days of this nonsense. Kind of indicates what the American people think, IMHO.
10.7.2008 4:35pm
Michael B (mail):
Angus, your "commentary" wouldn't stand up to grade-school level scrutiny. If you - or anyone else - believe otherwise, then point me to your most compelling "commentary" herein. Your nose-pick "commentary" is precisely and only that, nose-pick snorts and sneers. But again, if I'm wrong, point me to your most compelling comment.

You won't because you can't. Which is why you use blowfish tactics in lieu of well argued appeals.

By contrast, I offered the following links and excerpts, now redacting those excerpts for purposes of brevity:

The Bomber as School Reformer: Voters - and debate moderators - shouldn’t let Bill Ayers and Barack Obama off the hook, Sol Stern writing in City Journal, excerpt:

"Calling Bill Ayers a school reformer is a bit like calling Joseph Stalin an agricultural reformer. (If you find the metaphor strained, consider that Walter Duranty, the infamous New York Times reporter covering the Soviet Union in the 1930s, did, in fact, depict Stalin as a great land reformer who created happy, productive collective farms.) ..."

Ayers-Dohrn-Obama Tie Shouldn’t Be Dismissed, R. Simon, PJMedia, excerpt:

"Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has consistently tried to discount the depth of his relationship with Bill Ayers, one of the founding members of the Weather Underground, a radical left-wing terrorist group that formed in 1969 and was most famous for a string of bombings in the 1970s."

Hypocrisy Doesn’t Begin To Describe It, Jennifer Rubin writing in Commentary, excerpt:

"But more than hypocrisy is at work here. It is not just far Left, American-hating radicals he now disowns. You get the sense that he believes everyone can be played. Rashid Khalidi can believe that Obama finds no one suffers more than the Palestinians. Jews can buy that he was moved by the Holocaust from a summer camp experience. Voters in his Congressional race in 1990 can be told that there is no difference ideologically between him and 100% ADA-rated Bobby Rush, but the rest of the state in 2004 (and eventually the country) can buy that he’s a post-partisan reformer. Terrorists come to believe he shares their scorn for America, but Iowa voters hear him talk about his appreciation that only in America could his story have happened. Primary voters in Ohio are coddled with protectionist promises - and then privately scorned while he is talking to San Fransciso liberal donors."

And that's far from the end of it, plenty of similar, supportive and responsibly reasoned material could be offered. There are additionally layers of irony on evidence in this topic since the Obama/MSM campaign has often attempted to deny access to the very information that forms the basis for this topic in the first place.

So, compare your commentary with what was both implicitly and explicitly offered in those links. I'm only too happy to submit to the comparison and let others judge for themselves.
10.7.2008 4:44pm
PC:
I was just pointing out what they say after a few days of this nonsense. Kind of indicates what the American people think, IMHO.

Statistics have a well known liberal bias.
10.7.2008 4:44pm
LN (mail):
So Michael B:

1) Bill Ayers is the Joseph Stalin of Chicago
2) Obama has tried to discount his relationship with Ayers (it's not important to argue if he is correct to do so, it's mainly important to repeat the words bombings and terrorist near Obama's name)
3) Obama played up his liberal bona fides when running for a Congress seat in a liberal district, but has a somewhat different message when running a national campaign

Meanwhile we're having an economic meltdown and the other candidate is by his own admission completely clueless about economics. The real question is, from a scale of 1 to 10, how close are Obama and Ayers? 2.7? 3.2? WE NEED TO KNOW. Bombing terrorist palling around doggone it there you go again say it ain't so Joe mainstream media filter.
10.7.2008 4:58pm
PC:
Michael B, why would a life long Republican and friend of Ronald Reagan fund a socialistterrorist?
10.7.2008 4:58pm
Anderson (mail):
First, Liddy has served time and shown repentance.

"Repentance"? Permit me to doubt.

He was sure repentant as all get-out when he was advising his listeners on how best to kill federal agents.

If Ayers had done that, you people would be squawking up blood.
10.7.2008 5:01pm
Angus:
Michael B,
My point is that those right-wing hit pieces you linked to are self-refuting. They don't offer anything substantive beyond what has been known since day 1. What they add is a lot of innuendo and suppositions. They are stuffed with "if" "maybe" "possibly" etc. In other words, many of their links are in their own heads, such as the second link theorizing, based on utter nothing, that Obama and Ayers were friends in New York while Obama was at Columbia.
10.7.2008 5:03pm
A.W. (mail):
Joseph

> Are you saying Obama made fun of McCain's disability? If so, wtf are you talking about?

The “he can’t use email” ad.

> And yeah, McCain has gone negative more often than Obama.

No, he hasn’t. The media cover his negativity more. there is a difference.

> comparisons to Hugo Chavez -- good grief

I said at worst, and there are creepy signs. But I also said at best he was a lightweight.

His thuggish attempts to silence his critics.

And then there is that whole plan to destroy the medical insurance industry. Of course he doesn’t claim it is such, but if you have even an elementary understanding of how insurance works, you will realize that if he imposes his rule that an insurance company cannot discriminate against a person based on a previous condition, it will destroy the industry.

How is that? Basic economics. You can’t go to an insurance company and say, “hey, I was diagnosed with cancer today. Here is $250, and I will pay that every month I shall live. Now please give me $50,000 in medical treatment. The money has to come from somewhere. So how it really works, is you buy insurance when you are not sick, on the fear that someday you might be. That creates a large pool of those who are not sick, and thus when one of us gets sick, then the rest of our money combines to pay that bill. But that only works if the insurance company can refuse to treat you based on a previous condition. If you can wait until you are diagnosed AND THEN get insurance, then that pool of healthy people disappears. Now somehow you are expecting to pay $250 to get $50,000 and that just doesn’t work.

Thus if Obama really did this, then he would bankrupt the entire insurance industry.

Now, how to explain that decision? First, maybe he is really, really stupid, or at least he thinks we are. Maybe. That goes to my lightweight thesis.

Or maybe he wants to destroy it, so he can bring in his own program. Which puts him in the category of scary radical.

Which is it? I honestly don’t know, but all these associations with socialists, communists, terrorists and so on, doesn’t exactly reassure me. I can only hope that the democrats won’t get a filibuster-proof majority, or at least enough blue dog democrats will hold it back until the republican cavalry can come in, assuming that is his plan.

And you combine that with all that creepy cult of obama silliness, singing stepford children, and pseudo-military marching. Yeah, it makes you wonder where this is headed.

> Nobody is saying McCain is the devil

You haven’t been listening.

And please, don’t pretend you are an independent. You would be honest if you were. Every time I have seen you here, you have been mendacious in the extreme.
10.7.2008 5:10pm
JosephSlater (mail):
A.W. I never, ever said I was an independent. I have identified myself as an Obama backer on a number of threads, including this one. So your accusation of "medacity" is a lie. The rest of your post is either lies or unsupported opinions about Obama that we will never agree on.

Bottom line, and pay attention: my claim was that McCain's tactic is hurting him with indepdenents. I've cited polls repeatedly to demonstrate that (not my own reaction). I've not heard a response from you on this objective evidence. I wonder why.
10.7.2008 5:18pm
Anderson (mail):
A.W., your argument re: insurance basically concedes the need for universal federal health insurance, because that creates the broadest possible pool and avoids adverse selection.

Health insurance is one of the things that gov't, vs. the free market, can probably do better.
10.7.2008 5:20pm
LN (mail):
The “he can’t use email” ad.

I loved this. The McCain campaign official counter to this ad was that "John McCain travels with a laptop." In other words, they claimed that the charge wasn't true. But AW knows that the charge is true, but reflects badly on Obama's character because it refers to McCain's war injuries! Whee, I'm spinning!

Obama has spent his entire campaign saying things like "I don't think Senator McCain is a bad person, and I respect his military service, but I think he is out of touch with the lives of ordinary Americans." Meanwhile Palin is out giving nutjob speeches inciting audience members to shout "treason!" when Obama's name comes up; the loons on this message board aren't much better.

What's awesome after all of this is that right-wing nutjobs clutch are still clutching their pearls and fainting after Obama's shocking attacks on McCain's character.
10.7.2008 5:21pm
Angus:

But that only works if the insurance company can refuse to treat you based on a previous condition. If you can wait until you are diagnosed AND THEN get insurance, then that pool of healthy people disappears. Now somehow you are expecting to pay $250 to get $50,000 and that just doesn’t work.

New McCain campaign slogan: "Let the sick die faster. Save money for the rest of us!" Yeah, that'll rake in the votes...

And please tell me where I can buy decent health insurance for $250/mo. My wife and I are both young and have no major health problems. We currently pay about $850/mo for mediocre insurance (combined employer &employee contribution). McCain's $5,000 per year credit wouldn't mean jack to us if we lost our $11,000 insurance plan because of his taxes.
10.7.2008 5:24pm
LPC (mail):
Do you people really not understand the difference between Walter Annenberg, personally, and The Annenberg Foundation, funded with money from Annenberg, but run by who knows who?
10.7.2008 5:31pm
LN (mail):
Do you people really not understand the difference between William Ayers, personally, and Barack Obama who at one point was on the same charity board as Ayers but is now currently a United States Senator running for President? I demand critical thought and reasonableness!
10.7.2008 5:34pm
Michael B (mail):
No Angus, they're not stuffed with ifs, etc. Which is why you (mis)characterize them in lieu of first comprehending what they are saying, then more accurately representing what they say, and only thereafter arguing some counter-point.

LN, you're also given to misrepresentation and misapprehensions. For example, note this commentary on McCain's economic speech yesterday. Excerpt, one which further substantiates the fact the "MSM" is not merely biased but is in fact an operating unit of the Obama/Biden campaign, effectively the Obama/MSM/Biden campaign:

"... if you rely on the mainstream media for your news, you probably have no idea that McCain gave an important speech on the economy yesterday. Patterico documents the fact that the Los Angeles Times quoted McCain's speech right up to the point where he started talking about the economy. Then, without acknowledging that the economy was in fact the main subject of the speech, the Times jumped to a quote from Barack Obama to the effect that McCain is afraid to talk about the economy."

But let me guess - you'd prefer to remain clueless about what that represents and what it reflects on a much more vast scale.
10.7.2008 5:34pm
A.W. (mail):
Joseph

> I never, ever said I was an independent.

I looked back and I can see where the words you wrote implied that you were, but, and this is key, I can also see how you might have made that implication inadvertent.

> The rest of your post is either lies or unsupported opinions about Obama that we will never agree on.

You don’t think his proposal will destroy the medical insurance industry?

> my claim was that McCain's tactic is hurting him with indepdenents.

Well, as an Obama supporter, I will take that with all the seriousness it deserves.
10.7.2008 5:38pm
Mac (mail):

Health insurance is one of the things that gov't, vs. the free market, can probably do better.

Anderson,

And what other "thing" besides the US Military does the Government do better than the private sector? If you want health care to have exhorbitant cost, a few people providing health care and many, many paper pushers and bean counters (see VA model), no innovation etc., etc. vote for Obama.

For Pete's sake, Obama doesn't want to make people get insurance even if it is the government providing it if they have to pay for it. Hilary was much better on this one. She would have required people to pay for insurance period.

How long would an auto insurer stay in business if people could buy insurance after the accident and have that accident covered?

Don't forget about the Liberal head of Parlament in Canada who came to Calif. to get surgery for breast cancer. If Canada's system is so great why did she, along with thousands of other Canadians come here for health care? Think about it.

PS My daughter-in-law's grandmother would not have died a week before their wedding in France except that she was deemed too old to receive treatment for breast cancer. Just remember, "free health care" is rationed health care.
10.7.2008 5:38pm
LN (mail):
I wasn't aware that McCain gave a speech on the economy yesterday; what did he say, Michael B? You've made 5 or 6 comments in this thread, but even you don't bother to tell us. Are you also a Soros-funded member of the radical mainstream news?

I have seen McCain say that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong," even after Obama had painted it as a slogan for the out-of-touch. I've seen McCain offer audience members $50/hour to pick lettuce and tell them they weren't up to the task; I've seen McCain define rich as having an income of $5 million a year; I've seen McCain forget how many houses he has; I've seen McCain say that a stimulus package might be OK, but the first thing we need to do is cut the spending; I've seen McCain emphasize eliminating earmarks and reducing government spending as the top budgetary priority for Congress, as recently as the first Presidential debate.

The policy divide between Democrats and Republicans is pretty clear. One party believes in smaller government, getting the government off our backs, cutting taxes, cutting spending. The other party believes in a more active role for government in improving the lives of the middle and lower classes. I don't think either party would be upset by this characterization. So why don't we stick to these important issues and debate that? Why are you wasting our time with meaningless blathering about Bill Ayers as if anyone gives a shit?

Here's a guess: with economy melting down, and after 8 years of a pretty crappy Bush Presidency, the McCain campaign realizes that the Republican economic message will not sell well. So their only hope is to distract people with meaningless bullshit, put forth some nitwit from Alaska to act as pit bull with lipstick, and blather about character and unfair attacks and the evil mainstream media filter. Nobody wants to hear about "trickle-down" and the ownership society today, so we'll hear about William Ayers and other stupid nonsense instead.

But let me guess, Michael B - you'd prefer to remain clueless about what anyone with half a brain can see. "Oh no it's the media!"
10.7.2008 5:49pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"And please tell me where I can buy decent health insurance for $250/mo. My wife and I are both young and have no major health problems. We currently pay about $850/mo for mediocre insurance (combined employer &employee contribution)."

If you are young and healthy, why do you have any health insurance at all? If you want it for an unforseen major disaster, then get a high deductable and set up a Medical Savings Plan.
10.7.2008 5:49pm
PC:
Do you people really not understand the difference between Walter Annenberg, personally, and The Annenberg Foundation, funded with money from Annenberg, but run by who knows who?

It is currently run by Leonore Annenberg, Walter Annenberg's widow, also a life long Republican and friend of Ronald Reagan. But Walter Annenberg was the chairman and president of the Annenberg Foundation while Ayers was on the board of the Annenberg Challenge.

So again, why would a life long Republican and friend of Ronald Reagan fund a domestic terrorist?
10.7.2008 5:51pm
JosephSlater (mail):
A.W.:

While I appreciate you backing off the claim that I had been intentionally lying about being an independent, I'm still not sure what I wrote that made you think I was claiming to one. But OK.

As to my opinion of what independents think, I was citing polls. You can take them for what you think they are worth.
10.7.2008 5:53pm
Michael B (mail):
LN, another incoherent sneer. This is the link provided. Following is the excerpt provided from that link, which has obvious and far wider import:

"... if you rely on the mainstream media for your news, you probably have no idea that McCain gave an important speech on the economy yesterday. Patterico documents the fact that the Los Angeles Times quoted McCain's speech right up to the point where he started talking about the economy. Then, without acknowledging that the economy was in fact the main subject of the speech, the Times jumped to a quote from Barack Obama to the effect that McCain is afraid to talk about the economy."

That you failed to respond in a coherent fashion to any of that is telling.
10.7.2008 5:57pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Anderson:
Jeez. Facts really don't matter to you, do they?
Here's the fact wrt Liddy and shooting. He said that if feds come in peacefully, cooperate.
If they come in shooting, he said, you're dead anyway, so the best thing to do is shoot for the head since they'll have body armor.
Point is, they're not supposed to come in shooting. But it works out well for civil forfeiture cases when the guy really is innocent.
Or you're minding your own business on Ruby Ridge.

But you knew this, didn't you? You knew exactly what he said and were hoping the rest of us had forgotten.
10.7.2008 5:57pm
LN (mail):
Sorry Michael, I'm not going to trust anything I read in Time Magazine's 2004 Blog of the Year. Do you have something outside of the Radical Mainstream News Media Filter that I can read?
10.7.2008 6:00pm
A.W. (mail):
Angus

> New McCain campaign slogan: "Let the sick die faster. Save money for the rest of us!" Yeah, that'll rake in the votes...

Mendacious as usual. Its not about being cheaper. It is necessary for the basic fiscal viability of insurance. But if you have a way to turn $800 into $50,000 I would love to hear it.

Instead, apparently you like the slogan: “let’s bankrupt an entire industry in the middle of an economic crisis!”

Regarding insurance, that is how it works. It is cold, but it is reality. You don’t have to buy insurance, indeed I would say under Lawrence v. Texas, it would be unconstitutional to try to force you to. But then if you get sick, you can’t come whining to them that you weren’t insured. That is the price of the right not to be insured.

Freedom means allowing people to make bad decisions and therefore forcing them to live with the consequences of those bad decisions.

> And please tell me where I can buy decent health insurance for $250/mo.

I’ll tell the truth. My wife is the one who has the insurance, and I have no idea how big a chunk of change they take out of her check. I am a contract worker, and don’t have benefits (and no withholding income taxes—yay!). But plug in your own figures and it still doesn’t work out. Health insurance depends on a pool of healthy persons paying in.

You can’t magically turn $800 into $50,000. I mean, take your example. Would you really keep paying $800 a month if you knew you could wait until that catastrophic diagnosis and then join the insurance company? The problem is, however, if everyone did that, then insurance wouldn’t work at all.

Thus, Obama’s proposal will destroy an entire industry. That is either boneheaded, a bullshit campaign promise, or a sign he is a dangerous radical. You make the call.
10.7.2008 6:10pm
Michael B (mail):
LN, poster child for the willfully, happily and contentedly self-blinded.

No, LN, I didn't expect you to engage on the level of thought or on any coherent level whatsoever. I was using your comment as a foil only since it encapsulates so much of the vacuous, sneering disdain in this thread and elsewhere. Aptly personified in this jpg image, for example (and no, Katie Couric's one finger salute is not a photo-shopped image).
10.7.2008 6:16pm
PC:
If you are young and healthy, why do you have any health insurance at all?

That, my friends, is awesome.
10.7.2008 6:21pm
Greg Q (mail) (www):
Seen this one a couple of different ways:

That assumes Obama could "dump" a guy who doesn't seem to be much more than a neighbor who moves in the same general circles.

1: That's not even a remotely true characterization of Obama's relationship with Ayers.

2: It would have been trivial to dump Ayers. He didn't even have to be proactive about it. He simply could have had something like the following speech ready:

When Mr. Ayers and I worked together, I was not aware that he was an unrepentant terrorist. Once I found out that he did not regret those bad actions from his past, I stopped associating with him.

No defense of Ayers, no justifications, just "hey, I didn't know how bad he was, when I found out, I dumped him."

Would it have been a perfect defense? No.

Is it what he really would have done if he was a decent human being?

Yes.

That, TurgidNoodler, is the point of all this. Yes, Barack Obama is "politically tone deaf" in not realizing how his association with an unrepentant anti-American terrorist would appear to normal Americans.

But, the reason why it appears bad to normal Americans is because it is bad. Decent human beings don't associate with anti-American terrorists. Obama's choice to do so therefore tells us things about Obama, none of them good.
10.7.2008 6:38pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Greg Q.:

I'll ask the same question of you I've asked of others on your side of this issue. If Obama is so "politically tone deaf" why is he ahead in the polls -- and holding steady or increasing his lead in the past few days when this suddenly became the talking-point-du-jour of the McCain campaign?

And as to "normal Americans," I'm guessing they/we want to hear more about the economy -- did anyone on this thread notice that the Dow dropped another 500 points today -- than about this nonsense.
10.7.2008 6:53pm
LN (mail):
GregQ: I dumped him

Dumped him from what? Is Bill Ayers on Obama's campaign staff? Is he his running mate? His boyfriend?

Michael B: enjoy the next few years in your bunker. And remember, if anyone points out that you're a delusional loon, it's just because they're sneering at you. Poor misunderstood Michael. You had a chance to steer the conversation towards substance (McCain's actual economic policies) but you would rather talk about a sinister media that has put John McCain on TV every Sunday morning for the last 15 years. Whatever gets you through your day.
10.7.2008 6:56pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Joseph Slater.
There's always another subject, isn't there?
10.7.2008 7:33pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"If Obama is so "politically tone deaf" why is he ahead in the polls -- and holding steady or increasing his lead in the past few days when this suddenly became the talking-point-du-jour of the McCain campaign?"

I'd suggest we really can't attribute any polling change to a single issue. How do we separate out all the partial functions that result in the final numbers? That would be a real contribution.
10.7.2008 7:40pm
Michael B (mail):
LM, it was an apt characterization. If you're whining because I'm failing to applaud your facile contempt and instead choose to represent it for what it is, see Katie Couric.

I offered the link and the excerpt concerning McCain and the economy, in response you chose spittle. Your choice.
10.7.2008 8:38pm
PC:
Ah yes, that hard hitting reporter Katie Couric, asking real gotchya questions like what news sources you read and what Supreme Court cases you disagree with. I hope you're stocked up on your canned goods, Michael B. You may have to flee to the woods once President Obama sends out the black helicopters to round people up for the reparation camps.
10.7.2008 8:54pm
Angus:

If you are young and healthy, why do you have any health insurance at all?

Because its insurance, for goodness sakes. A friend of mine was in great physical health, in his late 20s. Had a serious head injury and boom, several hundred thousand dollars worth of medical expenses in the last several years as he deals with ongoing problems.
10.7.2008 9:50pm
Michael B (mail):
PC, speaking of canned, do you have anything other than canned, grade-school level smarm to offer?

Of Katie Couric, good grief, of all things to bring up. It was Couric who had a positively ingratiating and at times almost obsequious interview with Biden, on the couch, Oprah-style. Katie should have been wearing an Obama/Biden campaign button.
10.7.2008 11:17pm
A.W. (mail):
Angus

Well, your guy would say that he could wait until he gets his injury and then demand the right to buy insurance.
10.7.2008 11:20pm
PC:
speaking of canned, do you have anything other than canned, grade-school level smarm to offer?

Palin's speechwriters give me all of my material, so, no.
10.7.2008 11:40pm
Grover Gardner (mail):

That was what was really wrong. That Obama took part in such morally vile politics. He went along even with this.
People are indeed making the wrong argument.


Indeed.
10.7.2008 11:52pm
LM (mail):
Michael B:

LM, it was an apt characterization. If you're whining because I'm failing to applaud your facile contempt and instead choose to represent it for what it is, see Katie Couric.

I offered the link and the excerpt concerning McCain and the economy, in response you chose spittle. Your choice.

I'm hurt that you can't distinguish my spittle from any random LM wannabee's.
10.8.2008 12:07am
Elliot123 (mail):
"Because its insurance, for goodness sakes. A friend of mine was in great physical health, in his late 20s. Had a serious head injury and boom, several hundred thousand dollars worth of medical expenses in the last several years as he deals with ongoing problems."

I agree it is insurance. But the mere fact that it is insurance tells us nothing about the desirability of purchasing it. What is the probability that a given healthy person between the ages of 25 and 30 will actually need the insurance? How much is that insurance worth to that individual? How much would they pay per year? $10? $100? $1,000? $10,000? $100,000? $1,000,000?

We make such probability evaluations all the time. Hang gliding? Skiing? Motorcycles? Sex? Insurance? We take risks and evaluate the likely outcomes and their probabilities.

2007 census bureau numbers tell us there are about five million young prople making $50-$75,000 who choose not to have health insurance. Another five million making more than $75,000 have choosen no insurance. I'm sure there are also many who have it, but each group has its reasons and each individual has a personal risk profile.
10.8.2008 1:14am
Elliot123 (mail):
"Well, your guy would say that he could wait until he gets his injury and then demand the right to buy insurance."

Correct. Obama said tonight that an insurance company could not refuse coverage because of a preexisting condition.
10.8.2008 1:17am
A.W. (mail):
Elliot

Okay, so do you see how that would be a disaster, if everyone could do that?
10.8.2008 1:51am
Michael B (mail):
LN, not "LM," sorry 'bout that
10.8.2008 2:17am
Anatid:

If you are young and healthy, why do you have any health insurance at all? If you want it for an unforseen major disaster, then get a high deductable and set up a Medical Savings Plan.


This is pretty much the philosophy that would prevent any kind of major government-funded healthcare from working. Even if the entire rest of healthcare remains in the private sector (setting aside Medicare, etc.), simply having government-funded walk-in clinics that offer cheap or free preventative healthcare will lift a huge burden from the healthcare system.

One reason why bills are so high is that everyone who is able to pay must help carry the load for those who can't - if you stagger into an E.R. gushing blood, they'll treat you first and figure out if you can afford it later. If the hospital can't afford it, then (for California, at least) the state gets to pick up the slack. If your $3000 root canal could have been prevented by a series of $50 dental checkups, or if your $250,000 surgery sequence could have been prevented by a $300 test, then it's in the state's long-term best interests to offer preventative healthcare. Not to mention, a healthier workforce who can see a doctor when they're sick instead of losing two weeks hoping they'll get better earns more money and pays more taxes.

Baseline preventative healthcare is a far cry from socialized medicine. There's still plenty of opportunity to buy your way to better healthcare, but for those who simply can't afford it and are willing to wait in line 6 hours to get their throat checked, why not encourage them?

It'll still be a financial black hole. But one important step is offering this service, and hopefully encouraging Americans to view healthcare as a helper, not a burden.

Otherwise, that young, healthy, and uninsured person can suddenly turn into a young, unhealthy, and uninsurable person who now has a pre-existing condition and no carrier in the country will take him.


You can’t magically turn $800 into $50,000. I mean, take your example. Would you really keep paying $800 a month if you knew you could wait until that catastrophic diagnosis and then join the insurance company? The problem is, however, if everyone did that, then insurance wouldn’t work at all.


This is why keeping healthcare channeled through an employer or other intermediary is crucial. If everyone has to go straight to the insurance companies, only the healthy will be insurable. Say you have a pre-existing condition - your current insurer is stuck with you, but you can never, ever change insurance carriers again. Say you develop a lifelong condition as a child, and as soon as you no longer qualify under your parents' family plan, you're now uninsurable for life. For now, at least, people in these positions can still have the same access to health insurance through their employers as the more fortunate.

Of course insurance companies have to stay in business. Government support could enable them to do so and be able to cover the uninsurable at the same time.
10.8.2008 9:32am
A.W. (mail):
Anatid

> If everyone has to go straight to the insurance companies, only the healthy will be insurable.

So you want us to be able to wait until we are sick to get insurance? Sheesh.

And tying is part of the problem. It reduces your choices in employment and in healthcare. Some don’t leave their bad jobs because they are afraid of losing insurance; and some can’t leave their bad healthcare company because then they would have to leave their job. Tying is normally a violation of the anti-trust laws because it is seen as unfairly distorting the market; but here it is mandated, almost.

> Say you develop a lifelong condition as a child, and as soon as you no longer qualify under your parents' family plan, you're now uninsurable for life.

Exactly, because insurance is about unexpected events. What that person needs is a financing arrangement, not an insurance arrangement.

I mean again, how do you turn $800 into $50,000. What BUSINESS could possibly do that for you and hope to stay in business?

What you really want is full on socialism, but that is a case of the cure being worse than the disease. But of course even the straight talk express doesn’t want to say that.

> If your $3000 root canal could have been prevented by a series of $50 dental checkups, or if your $250,000 surgery sequence could have been prevented by a $300 test, then it's in the state's long-term best interests to offer preventative healthcare.

The savings of preventative healthcare are overestimated.

But the real problem with free preventative healthcare is it rapidly becomes a right to control a person’s life. “Sorry, sir, but we cannot allow you to eat that Cheeseburger, because then you will get fat and will cost us money.” Don’t laugh. That is exactly the reasoning behind the anti-trans-fatty-acid bill in New York City.

> Not to mention, a healthier workforce who can see a doctor when they're sick instead of losing two weeks hoping they'll get better earns more money and pays more taxes.

Classic liberal thinking: I know what is better business than the business people themselves!

Socialized medicine is always a failure, period.
10.8.2008 4:22pm
Anatid:
Oh, come on. You're trying to paint me as a foaming-at-the-mouth socialist ... because I said we need the government to provide affordable healthcare to those that the unregulated market can't?

As you said, it's not profitable to give insurance to the sick. Your "financing arrangement" sounds an awful lot like a government service. Which would you prefer: the current, broken system; everyone with a preexisting condition is hung out to dry; the government helps provide these people healthcare; or the mysterious fourth option you are about to explain?
10.8.2008 6:28pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Okay, so do you see how that would be a disaster, if everyone could do that?"

Sure. What is the incentive to pay insurance premiums month after month? All I have to do is wait until I need care, then take out insurance. I can save $300 per month. That adds up over the years.

Since I and millions of others can quit making those monthly payments, then there is no money for the insurance company to pay for the care of someone who gets sick.
10.8.2008 7:02pm
A.W. (mail):
Anatid

> You're trying to paint me as a foaming-at-the-mouth socialist ... because I said we need the government to provide affordable healthcare to those that the unregulated market can't?

When you say people should get it free if they can’t afford it, yeah, that’s socialism.

> Your "financing arrangement" sounds an awful lot like a government service.

Who said the government should be involved at all in that?

My point is obama will try to make insurance do what a finance plan does... And it will drive them out of business. And that was in service of a larger point, that the man has a dangerous radical streak.

> Which would you prefer: the current, broken system; everyone with a preexisting condition is hung out to dry; the government helps provide these people healthcare

The first, because if the government takes over, then NO ONE will get care. Half a loaf is better than none at all.
10.8.2008 8:46pm