Sen. McCain wants the L.A. Times to release the video in its possession of a 2003 farewell dinner for Palestinian activist and one-time PLO ally (and some claim spokesman) Rashid Khalidi. No wonder. In 2005, the New York Sun reported:
In Chicago, the Khalidis founded the Arab American Action Network, and Mona Khalidi served as its president. A big farewell dinner was held in their honor by AAAN with a commemorative book filled with testimonials from their friends and political allies. These included the left wing anti-war group Not In My Name, the Electronic Intifada, and the ex-Weatherman domestic terrorists Bernadine Dohrn and Bill Ayers. (There were also testimonials from then-state Senator Barack Obama [who attended, and spoke at, the dinner] and the mayor of Chicago.)
Internet Wayback tells us that its access to the aaan.org website is blocked by robots.txt [update, not technically "blocked," but Wayback doesn't archive sites that use robots.txt to request that it not do so].
By the way, does the famously open-minded Sen. Obama, who by his own account has learned a great deal from his friendships with anti-American radicals such as Khalidi* and Jeremiah Wright, have any conservative friends (besides, perhaps, Tom Coburn)? Surely, he would have had the chance to make some at Columbia, Harvard Law, the University of Chicago when he taught there, or in the Illinois legislature--though admittedly they could not have helped him much in his early political career, as Wright and Khalidi did.
*His many talks with the Khalidis, Obama said, had been "consistent reminders to me of my own blind spots and my own biases. . . . It's for that reason that I'm hoping that, for many years to come, we continue that conversation — a conversation that is necessary not just around Mona and Rashid's dinner table," but around "this entire world."...
UPDATE: I figured that opening comments on this post was a bad idea, because of the vitriol that any mention on this blog of Obama's dubious associations gets, even when it happens to be all over the news, and even when the only actual implicit criticism in the post, as opposed to just noting that McCain has good reason for wanting a copy of a video that may (or may not) have some embarrassing footage of Obama with Ayers, or Obama sitting silently while speakers launch anti-Israel polemics, or who-knows-what, is "By the way, does the famously open-minded Sen. Obama, who by his own account has learned a great deal from his friendships with anti-American radicals such as Khalidi and Jeremiah Wright, have any conservative friends?" My initial instinct was right, so comments are now closed.
I've already explained, in a much-linked blog post, what I think is the relevance of Obama's ties to various Chicago radicals.
And by the way, my question about Obama's conservative friends wasn't merely rhetorical. It would, in fact, make me feel better about Obama on a variety of levels if it turns out that he has had deep conversations on political and cultural issues with knowledgeable friends "on the right," ranging from libertarians to Christian activists, and not just with a cohort ranging in ideology from Cass Sunstein to Rev. Wright. For one thing, no one on the "right" is likely to be happy with the thought that Obama thinks that Wright, Khalidi, et al., are worth listening to, even when he vehemently disagrees with them, but people of equivalent stature with views on the "right" (say, Richard Epstein at Chicago Law School) are not.