So what's a wingnut to do? you ask. Simple: beat the "William Ayers" drum. Again.
And that's what Jack Kelly does in this week's column. He begins:
Not really sure, but I think those two sentences contradict each other. And of course he doesn't list any of the "many" who are amazed referenced in that first sentence. In any event, as always what Jack leaves out is more illuminating than what he leaves in. And it tells us more about Jack than ever. Let's fact check. First, here's Jack:
It's hard to put out a fire by pouring gasoline on it, so many are amazed the Obama campaign is employing this technique.
The fire that Sen. Barack Obama wants to douse was small until his aides arrived with gas cans. For months, conservatives have been trying to direct attention to the relationship between Mr. Obama and William Ayers.
Mr. Ayers was a leader of the Weather Underground, which planted bombs in the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon during the Vietnam War. He went on the lam after a nail bomb his group was building to kill soldiers and their wives at a dance at Fort Dix went off prematurely, killing three of the conspirators.Jack fails to note, of course, that Ayers went underground in 1970 and turned himself in in 1980 and the "FBI misconduct" was (and there's no surprise that Jack doesn't mention it) COINTELPRO, that great and illegal surveillance program instituted by the patriots at the FBI.
Mr. Ayers was never prosecuted because of FBI misconduct. He became a professor of education at the University of Illinois-Chicago.
Then there's this from the now-infamous 9/11 article on Ayer:
In 1970 came the town house explosion in Greenwich Village. Ms. Dohrn failed to appear in court in the Days of Rage case, and she and Mr. Ayers went underground, though there were no charges against Mr. Ayers. Later that spring the couple were indicted along with others in Federal Court for crossing state lines to incite a riot during the Days of Rage, and following that for ''conspiracy to bomb police stations and government buildings.'' Those charges were dropped in 1974 because of prosecutorial misconduct, including illegal surveillance.He went underground with no charges against him. Something Jack doesn't tell you. Nor does Jack mention this from the Chicago Tribune:
Except for three comrades killed when one of the group's own devices accidentally exploded in a New York City townhouse in 1970, no one was injured by a Weatherbomb.And from the same article, we learn this from former SDS member Todd Gitlin:
OK, let's give them a medal for not killing anybody besides themselves. But they wanted to be terrorists. They planned on being terrorists. Then their bomb blew up and killed several of them and they thought better of it. They were failed terrorists.Failed terrorists who only killed their own. This is not, of course, to condone any acts of violence committed by the Weather Underground or their followers. Just trying to put things in perspective.
According to his CV (found here), Ayers became a professor in 1987. But you'd never know it from Jack. In 1999 (29 years after going underground and 19 years after turning himself in), he was named a "Distinguished Professor of Education" at U of I-Chicago. To read Jack, you'd think that the intellectual elites in Chicago rewarded Ayers with a professorship because of his radical past.
But what does Senator Obama think of Ayers' radical past? Something else Jack won't tell you. In a statement, the campaign said:
Senator Obama strongly condemns the violent actions of the Weathermen group, as he does all acts of violence. But he was an eight-year-old child when Ayers and the Weathermen were active, and any attempt to connect Obama with events of almost forty years ago is ridiculous.Something else Jack doesn't tell you. I'll write it again: Obama strongly condemns the violent actions of the Weather Underground.
Then there's this old war horse of an argument:
"I don't regret setting bombs," Mr. Ayers told the New York Times in an interview published on 9/11. "I feel we didn't do enough."The context is intended for you to think that Ayers meant "we didn't bomb enough." But is that really what he meant?
Uh, no. Jake Tapper has the statement from Ayers (via his blog):
It's impossible to get to be my age and not have plenty of regrets. The one thing I don't regret is opposing the war in Vietnam with every ounce of my being.Again, something Jack doesn't tell you.
During the Vietnam war, the Weather Underground took credit for bombing several government installations as a dramatic form of armed propaganda. Action was taken against symbolic targets in order to declare a state of emergency. But warnings were always called in, and by design no one was ever hurt.When I say, 'We didn't do enough,' a lot of people rush to think, 'That must mean, "We didn't bomb enough s---."' But that's not the point at all. It's not a tactical statement, it's an obvious political and ethical statement. In this context, 'we' means 'everyone.'
The war in Vietnam was not only illegal, it was profoundly immoral, millions of people were needlessly killed. Even though I worked hard to end the war, I feel to this day that I didn't do enough because the war dragged on for years after the majority of the American people came to oppose it. I don't think violent resistance is necessarily the answer, but I do think opposition and refusal is imperative.
A few more things. Jack asks rhetorically after posting Obama's statement that he was "only eight" when Ayers was bombing stuff:
Would you excuse a friendship with a Nazi war criminal on the grounds his crimes were committed before you were born?Normally, this would automatically spring Godwin's law (or some corollary of that law), but gee, I dunno:
George Bush's grandfather, the late US senator Prescott Bush, was a director and shareholder of companies that profited from their involvement with the financial backers of Nazi Germany.See? I can do it too!
I think I'll end it here.