Campaigns/Elections

Ten Years of Running and They Put You on the Woods Fund Board

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Had enough of the Bill Ayers pseudo-scandal? Me too, but it just sparked an exchange between Cass Sunstein and David Frum that is too jaw-droppingly silly not to mention.

First—this isn't the silly part—Sunstein wrote in The New Republic:

Ayers is one of numerous people, in the Chicago area, whom Barack Obama has run across. Obama has much closer relationships with numerous conservatives on the University of Chicago faculty, many of whom have given money to Obama's campaign, and many of whom have talked to him at length and been at social occasions with him.

I know for a fact that Obama has actually played basketball with Richard Epstein, a libertarian on the law school faculty who has written some pretty controversial things on property rights and government regulation. I also know that Obama has had a number of conversations with former law school dean Daniel Fischel, a Reagan Republican who has written some pretty controversial things on corporations and government regulation.

Sounds like a reasonable point to make. But not to Frum:

Obama himself has equated Ayers' record of treason and violence to the intemperate talk of Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn. Now Cass Sunstein goes further still—and compares unrepentant domestic terrorism to libertarian theorizing!

The point of Sunstein's comments, obviously, is not to "equate" Epstein with Ayers, just as the point of Obama's earlier comments, obviously, was not to "equate" Ayers with Coburn. The point is that Obama associates with a lot of very different people and that it's foolish to assume his loose connections to one of them define his politics. Serving on the same board as Bill Ayers doesn't make Obama sympathetic to Marxist terrorism any more than shooting hoops with Epstein makes him a libertarian.

If there's a legitimate story here, it isn't that Obama is one of the many Chicago politicians (even the mayor!) who have interacted with Ayers. It's that Ayers, after playing revolutionary for a spell, has managed to find a place in the Chicago establishment. The Weather Underground was made up of the children of the elite, and after all the shouting of the '60s and '70s died down those Weathermen who managed to avoid prison or self-immolation have often been able to return to high-status professional positions. I'd love to see a Marxist analysis of that class dynamic.

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  1. The point is that Obama associates with a lot of different people and that it’s foolish to assume his very loose connections to one of them defines his politics.

    True, but I think it is legitimate to look for a pattern, and to look at what the candidate has to say about his associations.

    I would be very interested to have someone ask Obama about his conservative/libertarian supporters, and whether he agrees with or repudiates any of their more extreme/controversial positions.

    Having been professionally associated with politically active people of all stripes, I have occasionally supported them in small ways out of professional courtesy. I have even had the pleasure of signing a ballot petition, together with the most conservative person I have ever met (a monarchist at heart) for a hard-left Congressional candidate, because her life partner partner was one of my law partners and had an office next to mine. I didn’t vote for her, but as a courtesy I signed the petition.

    I’d love to see a Marxist analysis of that class dynamic.

    The vanguard of the proletariat is always accorded special considerations.

  2. It’s that Ayers, after playing revolutionary for a spell, has managed to find a place in the Chicago establishment.

    Not that this fact alone should make us suspicious of the “Chicago establishment” or anything.

  3. I’d love to see a Marxist analysis of that class dynamic.

    Once a bourgeoisie, always a bourgeoisie?

    That wasn’t hard.

  4. Too bad Eric Dondero isn’t capable of seeing the stupidity of Frum’s remarks.

  5. It is worth noting that there is one former black panther who grew up dirt poor currently sitting on the supreme court and at least one former klansman in the Senate; it’s not just the elite who get to walk away from more radical pasts. I don’t know how more prominent members of the black panthers or the klan are doing, but it definitely seems like our society offers amnesty to most people who said and did radical things several decades ago, and I’m okay with that.

  6. Frum’s response isn’t stupid. What people who think the Ayers association is problematic think is that Obama should have refused to sit on a board with an unrepentant terrorist and that he should probably told him that he’s a piece of shit to his face every time he saw him. That he did not do so does not indicate that he agrees with Ayers but rather that he has a tolerance for the most virulently anti-American portions of the left that John McCain, for instance, simply does not have. Whether this tolerance will manifest itself in policy is unclear, but knowing that a candidate does not consider such people beyond the pale does say something worth knowing about him. The reason that associations with Epstein and Coburn are simply inapplicable is that the people who find the Ayers association problematic don’t think they’re the sort of people you should refuse to have any association with, while they think that’s exactly the appropriate attitude towards Ayers.

  7. He hangs out with Topanga?

  8. one former black panther who grew up dirt poor currently sitting on the supreme court

    Ginsberg was a panther?

  9. No, Ginsberg dated a Panther.

  10. P Brooks,

    Clearly Jorgen was talking of Souter’s well known alias: Brotha Madd.

  11. Having conversations with those of opposing views, even interacting with them socially, should not be a concern. Don’t most libertarians do it? However, did Ayers have an official fundraiser for Obama, which Obama attended, or not? If so, that crosses the line
    (assuming of course that Obama knew Ayers past and present views.)

  12. I don’t know how more prominent members of the black panthers or the klan are doing, but it definitely seems like our society offers amnesty to most people who said and did radical things several decades ago, and I’m okay with that.

    You don’t see a minute difference between being generally associated with a group such as the Klan, and having a direct hand in multiple killings? I’m just curious how far your benevolence extends. Stalin somehow gets reincarnated, runs for Obama’s VP, just because he killed a few million people, he’s with Obama, so that’s ok?

  13. Ginsberg was poor ?

  14. It is worth noting that there is one former black panther who grew up dirt poor currently sitting on the supreme court and at least one former klansman in the Senate; it’s not just the elite who get to walk away from more radical pasts.

    I strongly suspect that, proportionately speaking, more former Weathermen have done well for themselves than former Panthers. (There’s certainly a lot of Panthers who aren’t doing well.) And belonging to the Panthers was hardly equivalent to belonging to the Weather Underground. The more appropriate comparison would be between the Weather Underground and the Black Liberation Army.

    More importantly, I think the nature of the two groups’ success is important. Most of the Panthers who are serving in office right now got involved in urban politics at the grassroots and worked their way up. People like Ayers became middle-class professionals and got involved in politics through the side door. Are there any elected Weathermen in America?

  15. Other Matt,

    It should be pointed out that the Weather Underground (as an organization at least) to my knowledge never killed anyone. Some members of the organization did die when some explosives they were working on, well, exploded. I’m in no way defending the organization.

  16. Calidore,

    They never killed anyone? Are you sure? I know they set off a half dozen bombs at least and its not like they were targeting trash cans.

  17. You don’t need a weatherman to know the way the windbags are blowing.

  18. I’m just curious how far your benevolence extends. Stalin somehow gets reincarnated, runs for Obama’s VP, just because he killed a few million people, he’s with Obama, so that’s ok?

    Curious? That’s not the right word…

    When someone makes an argument and you respond by distorting it and attaching a gratuitous Hitler/Stalin/Mao counterexample, what do you call that?

  19. I’m to lazy to google at the moment

  20. The Democratic Republican | April 22, 2008, 10:34am | #

    Actually, I do find the comments by Obama’s pal offensive. Ayers shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same sentence with legitimate, law-abiding scholars. Saying that Epstein writes or says controversial things is even worse when it’s being said to mitigate the fact that that asshat Ayers actually WAS a terrorist and is saying things that are a hell of a lot worse than “controversial.”

    I wish you Obama apologists would wipe some of the magic stardust out of your eyes.

  21. Naga Sadow,

    It is my understanding that they targeted buildings, etc. after the staff had left, etc.

  22. The right needs to drum up silly stuff to talk about, because they sure as hell don’t want to talk about McCain.

  23. University of Wisconsin?

  24. I’m really looking forward to yet another election circling around 60s boomer culture war crap, which is a deadly bore to anyone under, I dunno, 50, 55?

  25. Serving on the same board as Bill Ayers doesn’t make Obama sympathetic to Marxist terrorism any more than shooting hoops with Epstein makes him a libertarian.

    People are so ignorant it amazes me. Do they live such self isolated lives that they only associate with those who hold similar views. Are thet so small minded that they cannot build a friendship with people who differ in outlook?

    Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan got along famously. Tempest in a teapot best describes this whole non-issue.

  26. TDR,

    Saying that Obama spend more time with libertarian scholars than Ayers is offensive?

  27. I’m really looking forward to yet another election circling around 60s boomer culture war crap

    Buck up, little trooper. It’s going to be a few more election cycles before we are rid of the boomer shit.

  28. And joe needs to keep talking about McCain because he is incapable of defending the silly comments that Obama’s other defenders keep making.

  29. The fact is Frum sees libertarians much the same way he sees the radical left.

    He’s nothing more than Rush Limbaugh without the weight.

  30. another election circling around 60s boomer culture war crap

    But it isn’t. Not in the real world anyway. The blogosphere and low-circulation magazines aren’t exactly representative of mainstream America.

  31. It is worth noting that there is one former black panther who grew up dirt poor currently sitting on the supreme court . . .

    Ben Stein is on the Supreme Court now? Supreme Court of what?

  32. I realize that what Obama was trying to say – just what you, Jesse, said above which is that he hangs out with lots of people of all ideological stripes, and that he shouldn’t have his ideology necessarily derived from any of those people. That said, I think Frum’s point, more charitably interpreted, was that Obama’s explanation was, at best, clumsy. Coburn is just a conservative, but Ayers was involved in a terrorist-type outfit, and is still unapologetic about it. I forget where I heard this, but it was suggested that Obama’s analogy would make sense, if Coburn had bombed abortion clinic back in the day, and though he’s legit these days, he still waxes nostalgic about his past. Far from regretting what he did, he says, “I should have done more.” So, anyone here want to take any bets on whether Obama would associate with Coburn in that case?

    Again, I realize what Obama was trying to say. But his analogy was clumsy, and potentially insulting. Perhaps if he thought less about trying to wrap up his response in a soundbyte, and just said directly that he doesn’t associate with Ayers for his ideology or his past, that might’ve been a little more successful in putting this all behind him.

  33. I’m really looking forward to yet another election circling around 60s boomer culture war crap

    Buck up, little trooper. It’s going to be a few more election cycles before we are rid of the boomer shit.

    The best description I’ve heard about the America’s relationship with the boomers is “A snake digesting a pig” We boomers have been distorting the culture and society sine 1950. We will continue to do that until we are excreted.

  34. Wait, weren’t the entire NR staff comparing libertarian theory to domestic terrorism just a few months ago during the Paul campaign?

  35. Calidore,

    It appears your right. 1969 “Days of Rage” . . . blah blah blah . . . “Declaration of War against the United States” . . . yeah, it seems you’re right. Whats the deal with all this memoranda crap? They must have been some arrogant pricks.

  36. Um, the Pentagon was not empty when Mr. Ayers had his associates bomb it.

  37. The ROTC dance at Ft. Dix, NJ was not going to be empty when the SDS was going to bomb it either. That bomb was the one that went off while under construction in a SoHo(?) house and killed several SDS members, with the survivors going “underground” and changing the name of their “club” to The Weather Underground.

    Happy Lennin’s Birthday!

  38. I strongly suspect that, proportionately speaking, more former Weathermen have done well for themselves than former Panthers. (There’s certainly a lot of Panthers who aren’t doing well.) And belonging to the Panthers was hardly equivalent to belonging to the Weather Underground. The more appropriate comparison would be between the Weather Underground and the Black Liberation Army.

    More importantly, I think the nature of the two groups’ success is important. Most of the Panthers who are serving in office right now got involved in urban politics at the grassroots and worked their way up. People like Ayers became middle-class professionals and got involved in politics through the side door. Are there any elected Weathermen in America?

    I have no doubt that it’s easier to escape from a violent and/or radical past if you’re born wealthy than if you’re born poor, and I’d be very suprised if Clarence Thomas could have gotten where he is if he’d actually done something violent as a panther. As for the side door, which I think is largely correct, it’s my understanding, based on what Ayers has said, that he got where he is by getting a job with the Chicago Public Schools on the south side and earning a reputation as a good teacher with a moderately Holt-like philosophy. I’m sure folks like Daley were more willing to give him a leg up because of his privileged past, but he did put in time working in shitty schools in dangerous neighborhoods.

  39. Guy,

    I’m using wikipedia, except for a bank robbery by former members in the 80’s there appears to be no loss of life. I’m not excusing the twisted narcissism of the group or the violence they committed. Sorry if that is wrong I’m working on a cultural geography paper while scanning through here, Calidore’s comment got my attention.

  40. Guy,

    Holy shit! They were going to bomb a ROTC dance? What the fuck!

  41. I was on the board of the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate. A board member solicited my resume, then I got a call saying I’d been appointed.

    I have no idea if there were any former radicals on that board. Ii didn’t get any say over who else was on the board, and I don’t care. Am I supposed to not help a good organization because someone else working to help that organization had a shady past?

    This is one of those “issues” that only matters to people who write “B. HUSSEIN Obama” and “Democrat Party.” Next.

  42. Naga Sadow,

    I was pointing out that although their “aim” was awful, they certainly were not going out of their way to keep anybody from getting hurt.

  43. John-David | April 22, 2008, 10:47am | #

    TDR,

    Saying that Obama spend more time with libertarian scholars than Ayers is offensive?

    No — saying that these scholars “write controversial things” is offensive, in that it is intended to say, “Hey, Esptein is controversial, and Ayers is controversial. Obama hangs out with all kinds of controversial.” It’s an underhanded attempt to draw attention away from the fact that writing something controversial as a lawyer is not the same as blowing things up and telling people to kill their parents.

  44. Now Cass Sunstein goes further still – and compares unrepentant domestic terrorism to libertarian theorizing!

    The paranoid part of me is always wondering when and how They are going to classify libertarians as terrorists.

  45. The paranoid part of me is always wondering when and how They are going to classify libertarians as terrorists.

    That is only the ones who use emacs, silly. Use vi and you will be fine.

  46. And Obama didn’t say this — one of his defenders did.

  47. Um, Senator Byrd was not “loosley associated” with the KKK, he was a prominant leader.

  48. Guy — Stop antogonizing those poor, well-meaning Democrats!

  49. On a related note, I find it odd how many “libertarians”, when push comes to shove, will defend Ds over Rs, or vice versa. I used to do that. And the day that I stopped, and I hated all authoritarianism and all muddled thinking equally, I knew I was a classical liberal that I could proud of.

  50. TDR,

    Got it. It still isn’t enough for me to really get my panties up in a bunch, and I think Frum is really reaching here. Now, if Sunstein wants to burn a flag or something, that’ll get my attention.

  51. Guy Montag,

    You mean the bombing of the bathroom? I wonder if they monitored it to see if anyone had gone in prior to the explosion?

    As for the ROTC dance, yeah, apparently they meant to bomb it. As I wrote, I am not defending the organization, just noting that as an organization no one outside the group was killed by any of their activities.

  52. Naga Sadow,

    Whats the deal with all this memoranda crap?

    For a number of reasons, that is par for the course for revolutionary groups of all stripes.

  53. You mean the bombing of the bathroom?

    Yes.

    I wonder if they monitored it to see if anyone had gone in prior to the explosion?

    Not from any account I ever read. Possible, but I think I might remember some detail like ‘the girls guarded the door to make sure nobody entered after they planted the bomb’ or something like that.

  54. Oh, in a related SDS note, if all of the explosives in the house making the bomb for the ROTC party had gon off it would have blown up the whole block. Only enough exploded to destroy the “safe house” and the remainder was a hazard to the fire fighters who responded.

  55. Kraorh and Creech make the best posts. Frum is expressing himself poorly at best (and being disengenuous at worst) to reduce it to a matter of “equating.” But this Ayers character has done violent things and defends them. That’s distinctly different from just expressing radical but nonviolent POV’s.

    I also think the sitting on the same board thing is a total non-issue, but attending a fund raiser at the guy’s house seems a bit of a lapse of judgement.

    That said, I don’t really see it as anything beyond that. It doesn’t make me think an Obama presidency is going to be guided by the former sixties leftist terrorist contingent.

  56. Hmmm . . . sounds like tight security at the Pentagon.

    Calidore, I don’t remember reading about Che
    writing manifestos. He was to busy executing people like a real revolutionary apparently.

  57. This is one of those “issues” that only matters to people who write “B. HUSSEIN Obama” and “Democrat Party.” Next.

    I WANT TO BELIEVE

  58. J-D:

    Well, if you think Frum is reaching, then you dont’ “get it”, if “it” is what I was trying to say. And, you’re a damned liar. Burning a flag would in no way get your attention. If Obama himself went out today and burned a flag, all of you Obama-lovers would just shrug and say “well, you know, it’s just a bunch of 60s left over culture war stuff. But it’s his right and that’s not what this election is about.”

  59. Obama’s “association” with Ayers and his beliefs is nothing compared to McCain’s association with Bush and his.

    And the choice we face is not between Obama and some paragon of virtue summoned mentally–our choice is between Obama and McCain.

  60. Guy Montag,

    FWIW, in the 1920s the KKK it was a popular organization throughout much of the U.S., particularly in what we call “Middle America” these days. It was seen as a patriotic society which upheld public morality, pushed for greater allocation of monies towards public goods like new roads and other programs that proved rather popular with much of the populace. BTW, I have also read that the KKK in the 1920s reached even into Canada.

  61. If Obama himself went out today and burned a flag, all of you Obama-lovers would just shrug and say “well, you know, it’s just a bunch of 60s left over culture war stuff. But it’s his right and that’s not what this election is about.”

    I want some of the drugs you’re taking.

  62. Naga Sadow,

    Back then we did not have restricted access to the Pentagon like we do today, er, I mean they of course.

  63. Calidore,

    I am familiar with the “popularity” of the KKK back-in-the-day, but a vast majority of folks had the decency not to join in, no matter what people who spell America with three Ks would like us to believe.

  64. our choice is between Obama and McCain

    Uh, not quite yet, Jumpy McGun. Maybe after today, but the fat lady hasn’t sung yet.

  65. You know I’m right. Obama can do no wrong to some people around here.

  66. And, you’re a damned liar. Burning a flag would in no way get your attention. If Obama himself went out today and burned a flag, all of you Obama-lovers would just shrug and say

    bitter

  67. If the thought of Barack Obama being on friendly terms with the college professor who lives down the street and has a shady past doesn’t drive you to repeatedly use the F-bomb, yoo ar teh partisan.

  68. Guy Montag,

    Well, it was popular; it had millions of members in the 1920s (back when the population of the U.S. was well under a hundred million). It was a time when notions of who was a “real American” was far more tied to religious belief and ethnic/racial background.

  69. If Obama himself went out today and burned a flag, all of you Obama-lovers would just shrug and say “well, you know, it’s just a bunch of 60s left over culture war stuff. But it’s his right and that’s not what this election is about.

    What makes you think that you know how a supporter of Obama would react if Obama were to do something completely out of character? I don’t pretend to know how McCain’s supporters would react if he were to, say, take a gay lover. I certainly couldn’t with any confidence write anything like “You McCain lovers would probably just shrug and say, “The guy is a war hero, he can do what he wants”.”

    And please note that both arguments, yours and my mock-argument, do not address the question at issue; rather, they attack the persons involved in the debate. That’s a basic logical fallacy.

  70. Wow, I’m not even trying to push buttons today. This is fun!

    (registered Republican)

  71. J-D: Don’t flatter yourself; you could let your words rattle like a tin can all day and you wouldn’t matter more than the piss ant I just stepped on.

    Ethan — I have been discussing the issue at hand, and Obama-lovers have been just shrugging it off or talking about how unreasonable Frum is. So I am merely speculating about what it would take to make someone actually see Obama for the manipulative, slimy politician that he is. And I’m not sure that flag burning would do it.

  72. And I’m not sure that flag burning would do it.

    Might win over Bill Ayers from his position that Mr. Obama is too “Right wing” for him.

  73. This guy says Frum’s argument doesn’t make sense.

    Yeah, well, we should ignore him. He’s an Obama-lover.

    How do you know he’s an Obama-lover?

    Didn’t you hear? He said Frum’s argument doesn’t make sense.

  74. Well, did he buy the flag himself in this case, or did he just take it from someone in a wanton display of destruction of another person’s property? If you are arguing for a transcendent meaning of the flag where the property value of that flag is of only a transitory nature to the property holder (they are temporal custodians in a socialist since) than you are engaging in Biblically defined idolatry. It is amazing the extent that many on the right assume a natural harmony between their religious beliefs and their Nationalism as if ‘God and Country’ went together like a horse and a carriage.

  75. alan,

    Maybe Mrs. Clinton will burn one in the next debate, after she gets feedback that her statements about wiping Iran off the face of the earth are making her look “hawkish” to her limosine-Leftist supporters?

  76. I also realize that this is essentially the Jehovah’s Witness interpretation I am bringing up, but even though they are a marginalized religious minority, the foundation of their argument is consistent within the context of the Bible. Mainline and Evangelicals tend to ignore the matters than conflict with their lifestyles to a much greater extent than JW members who don’t even celebrate certain common holidays because their is no Biblical foundation for them.

  77. Guy Montag | April 22, 2008, 12:10pm | #
    alan,

    Maybe Mrs. Clinton will burn one in the next debate, after she gets feedback that her statements about wiping Iran off the face of the earth are making her look “hawkish” to her limosine-Leftist supporters?

    I got a bit of a chuckle over that too. Any nation that can nuke Isreal would surely be in a position to blackmail us before doing so, so one of these journalist should pose the more interesting question, is Tel Aviv worth losing New York, Washington and LA over?

    That assumes the internal logic and validity of their argument, of course, but that is not what Iran is really after in this matter.

  78. I am mainly impressed with how trivial the attacks on Obama are.

    If you can’t do any better than “he knows this one guy who…” arguments, the guy is gonna have no problem moving past the mudslinging.

  79. Maybe after today, but the fat lady hasn’t sung yet.

    Hillary’s going to karaoke her concession speech?

    Any nation that can nuke Isreal would surely be in a position to blackmail us before doing so

    The Iranians can blackmail us all they want, but if they nuke Israel, I doubt there will be anything left after the Israel counterstrike for us to waste a nuke on.

  80. NM,

    Oh, I completly agree, but this thread is not about his Socialistic domestic policy or hang-out-with-the-terrorists foreign policy, it is on the Bill Ayres thing.

  81. Guy,

    Yeah, but why have a thread about “this one guy he knows who…”?

    What’s the point?

  82. I am not here to do your homework for you NM.

  83. Happy Lennin’s Birthday!

    I am the Walrus?

  84. Yeah, but why have a thread about “this one guy he knows who…”?

    Well NM, because that seems to be what the bulk of the reason staff want to bring up about Obama.
    -K

  85. R C Dean | April 22, 2008, 12:26pm | #
    Maybe after today, but the fat lady hasn’t sung yet.

    Hillary’s going to karaoke her concession speech?

    Haha! Because Hillary’s fat! Hmm, no…she’s kind of about average… So what’s the joke? Oh, it’s RC Dean. Don’t even try to understand…no habla douchebag.

  86. Ethan — I have been discussing the issue at hand, and Obama-lovers have been just shrugging it off or talking about how unreasonable Frum is.

    Perhaps your arguments aren’t any good. Perhaps the “Obama-lovers” are correct that Frum ain’t makin’ sense.

    So I am merely speculating…

    Indeed.

    …about what it would take to make someone actually see Obama for the manipulative, slimy politician that he is.

    Perhaps it would take something that makes sense–ya know, something other than innuendo and guilt by association. (p.s. did you know that McCain once spent months in a hotel full of communist agitators? pass it along. can we trust this guy?)

    And I’m not sure that flag burning would do it.

    You actually seemed certain that it would not.

    Anyone else made uneasy by the term “Obama-lover?”

  87. The Iranians can blackmail us all they want, but if they nuke Israel, I doubt there will be anything left after the Israel counterstrike for us to waste a nuke on.

    Doubt it. The Israelis have had an air of competency about their military prowess sense the ’67 war, but if there is anything their misadventures in the ’70’s, 80’s and all the way up to Beirut 2006, they can fuck up a wet paper bag if given the chance.

  88. but if there is anything their misadventures

    but if there is anything to be learned from their misadventures

  89. I am not here to do your homework for you NM.

    hear that, mejican? you still got a chance to pass!

    (har har get it?)

    but yeah, what’s up with this “Obama once bought a taco from a guy who had a moustache” routine?

  90. This is the biggest non-story I’ve ever seen.

  91. I agree with Sancho’s comment and find the only one being silly here is the author of the original post. Sunstein and Walker are trying to excuse Obama’s relationship with Ayers by comparing it to Coburn, et al.

    Several years ago I was a member of the NRA and let my membership laspe after Wayne LaPierre advocated shooting DEA and ATF agents. Personally, I do not care to associate with those type of people even if I remain a devotee of the 2nd Amendment.

    I wonder what Sunstein and Walker would say if McCain was hanging out, playing basketball, with Terry Nichols or attending a fundraiser hosted by Eric Rudolph. Then someone could post a stupid comment and say, a la Walker, that Rudolph was just a “right-to lifer” for a spell and has managed to find a place in the establishment. That’s sick. Have you no since of proportion?

    Do you notice how right wing terrorits go to jail, or like McVeigh, get executed, and left wing terrorists go into the academy? Tells you something, doesn’t it?

  92. The Unabomber was a left-wing terrorist and hes rotting in Supermax.

  93. I wonder what Sunstein and Walker would say if McCain was hanging out, playing basketball, with Terry Nichols or attending a fundraiser hosted by Eric Rudolph.

    I can’t speak for Sunstein, but personally I wouldn’t give a shit.

    Then someone could post a stupid comment and say, a la Walker, that Rudolph was just a “right-to lifer” for a spell and has managed to find a place in the establishment. That’s sick. Have you no since of proportion?

    Boy – you sure missed the point of that paragraph.

  94. I’d be willing to bet that 99 out of 100 Americans don’t know who Bill Ayers is.

  95. I’d be willing to bet that 99 out of 100 Americans don’t know who Bill Ayers is.

    And about the same percentage probably did not know who he was in the 1970s either. Not quite the point though.

  96. When someone makes an argument and you respond by distorting it and attaching a gratuitous Hitler/Stalin/Mao counterexample, what do you call that?

    When you don’t answer a question, and instead try to divert the issue, it speaks volumes. I pulled out the “tired standard”, that’s all. So I guess as long as it’s Obama related, it’s ok, regardless, of anything, ever?

  97. The Unabomber was a left-wing terrorist and hes rotting in Supermax.

    No, he was an anarchist, or an anti technology-ist if there is such at thing. It had nothing to do with left/right politics.

  98. His favorite book was Earth in the Balance by Al Gore. Sounds leftist to me.

    You could say Tim McVeigh was a kind of anarchist too and most people still say hes right-wing.

  99. anti technology-ist if there is such at thing

    The term is luddite.

  100. Besides isn’t distrust and hatred of modern technology a big strain of thought on the far-left?

  101. So, now the Clintons can reveal that Sen. Obama hangs out with Ward Churchill too and it will just bounce off.

  102. His favorite book was Earth in the Balance by Al Gore.

    What’s your source for that?

    Kaczynski’s manifesto is filled with attacks on the left. I wouldn’t call him a conservative by any means, but he arguably transcends the left/right divide.

    There are more clear-cut examples of leftists incarcerated for, shall we say, violent activism. The only “armed struggle” lefty with whom I’m personally acquainted — Lorenzo Ervin, an ex-Panther who hijacked a plane to Cuba (and who has a cameo in my book about radio) — spent 15 years in prison after the U.S. government caught up with him.

  103. So what’s the joke?

    Gee, I dunno, we’re talking about Hillary Clinton, and somebody mentions singing ladies if she loses, so, gosh, who would possibly flash to Hillary Clinton singing? Or think it amusing?

  104. Jesse,

    I can’t speak for Sunstein, but personally I wouldn’t give a shit.

    You are kidding, right? Would be no issue to you at all if McCain was attending fundraisers hosted by Eric Rudolph?

  105. Jesse,

    My favorite term from the day was being in a state of “armed snuggle” when all the radicals were one-upping each other on who had sex in the “best” Communist country while they had loaded shotguns in every room of their homes in Northern California.

  106. This is getting repetitive, but I’ll say it again.

    If my wife was a professor at a major university, and she dragged me to some party, and another professor at the same university was a former radical who had done all sorts of crazy illegal radical shit, he would be the first guy I would talk to at that party, if only out of morbid curiosity.

    That’s what really is going on here. Michelle Obama worked for the University of Chicago, and this guy did too.

    All of this “You must not associate in any way with X, to show your disapproval of X” stuff is crap. What are we, Amish?

    During the whole Ron Paul Newsletter debacle, I would have been perfectly satisfied if Paul named the guy who wrote the newsletters and said he didn’t agree with the parts that had generated the most outrage. I didn’t expect him to go kick Lew Rockwell in the balls, or not go fishing with the man.

    But I will agree that because Obama is running a campaign that is heavy on symbolic rhetoric, he should expect to be judged by purely symbolic crap like whether he showed the proper amount of outrage about a social acquaintance’s political history, or whether he wears the right lapel pin. Maybe one day there will be a candidate who can take all the symbolic nonsense the press wants to talk about, say “Fuck you!”, and jam it down their throats. But Obama isn’t really that candidate, unfortunately, and it’s by his own choice, really.

    It still isn’t going to help that rat bastard McCain.

  107. when all the some radicals were one-upping each other

    Sorry about that. Fixed.

  108. Burning a flag would in no way get your attention. If Obama himself went out today and burned a flag, all of you Obama-lovers would just shrug and say “well, you know, it’s just a bunch of 60s left over culture war stuff. But it’s his right and that’s not what this election is about.”

    HA! If Obama went out today and burned a flag, I for one would say, “Hey, I have a lot more respect for Obama now. I might have to vote for him! This really will show that bitch whore Hillary what he thinks about her history of supporting flag burning legislation!”

  109. “The Unabomber was a left-wing terrorist and hes rotting in Supermax.

    No, he was an anarchist, or an anti technology-ist if there is such at thing. It had nothing to do with left/right politics”

    Or as Virginia Postrel would say, a “stasist reactionary”.

  110. You are kidding, right? Would be no issue to you at all if McCain was attending fundraisers hosted by Eric Rudolph?

    If Rudolph was embedded into Arizona political circles and hosted a fundraiser for McCain, I would think that said more about Arizona politics than any particular politician. That’s basically my opinion in this situation: Ayers’ position in the Chicago establishment may be an indictment of Chicago, but it isn’t an indictment of Obama as an individual.

    If McCain traveled to some out-of-the-way motel for a fundraiser in which Rudolph announced “Elect this man and we’ll finally have a government that bombs abortion clinics for us!” while McCain sat there grinning, it would be a different story. But from what I can gather, there wasn’t any comparable leftist rhetoric at Ayers’ party for Obama.

  111. “Sunstein and Walker are trying to excuse Obama’s relationship with Ayers by comparing it to Coburn, et al”

    The fact that Obama KNEW Ayers, (or was that KNEW OF Ayers) doesn’t mean they had a relationship. So there’s nothing to excuse.

    Some people sound like a ditzy chick after three dates. Relationship, right.

  112. Ginsberg was a panther?

    No, Ginsberg IS a cougar! RAWR!

  113. If Rudolph was embedded into Arizona political circles and hosted a fundraiser for McCain, I would think that said more about Arizona politics than any particular politician. That’s basically my opinion in this situation: Ayers’ position in the Chicago establishment may be an indictment of Chicago, but it isn’t an indictment of Obama as an individual.

    In that context it makes sense.

  114. If there’s a legitimate story here, it isn’t that Obama is one of the many Chicago politicians (even the mayor!) who have interacted with Ayers. It’s that Ayers, after playing revolutionary for a spell, has managed to find a place in the Chicago establishment.

    Well, they wanted Osama, but he was busy, and Che was dead while Fidel had better things to do. So they had to take the second-stringer.

  115. If Rudolph was embedded into Arizona political circles and hosted a fundraiser for McCain, I would think that said more about Arizona politics than any particular politician.

    Yes, we’d hear how awful Arizona was, and McCain by extension. Constantly. A new NYT article on the front page every day.

    Let’s just put it right out there: lefty terrorists get a pass because lefties dominate the press, university, and urban politics. That’s just how it is.

  116. Once again the idiots at Reason cloud the whole fucking issue. The association between the two was not fucking casual. But even if it was, I sure as fuck would not vote for someone who was willing to work side by side with a guy who tried to commit mass-murder and to this day continues to be proud about it. If John McCain willingly served for a decade on a board that contained David Duke or Eric Rudolph, it would sure as fuck prevent me, and hopefully any other sane person from voting for him, regardless of whether some obfuscating assholes claimed it was casual. If you know what a guy is, and you still work side-by-side with him, don’t try to use some bullshit “it was casual” excuse.

  117. “If Rudolph was embedded into Arizona political circles and hosted a fundraiser for McCain, I would think that said more about Arizona politics than any particular politician. That’s basically my opinion in this situation: Ayers’ position in the Chicago establishment may be an indictment of Chicago, but it isn’t an indictment of Obama as an individual”

    Bullshit. Obama worked with the guy on the board of a fucking charity, and obviously didn’t give a damn. Any sane person, when given the choice of working with a wannabe mass-murderer or hitting the road would have been out the the fucking door. To choose to continue working side by side with a fucking terrorist for the purpose of furthering your political career is significant, even if Reason claims otherwise while inexplicably covering Obama’s ass. Who the fuck is vetting these stories, Keith Olbermann?

  118. Any sane person, when given the choice of working with a wannabe mass-murderer or hitting the road would have been out the the fucking door.

    If Obama had done this, you would be whining that he didn’t stop to spit on Ayers as he left. And if he did stop to spit, you’d complain that he didn’t throw Ayers on the ground and kick him in the crotch.

    As for how “any sane person” would behave — well, first of all, I don’t see how you would know, since you obviously suffer from Tourette’s Syndrome. But I’m gonna go out on a limb and suggest that most sane people would not behave as you suggest. And the vast majority of people, sane or insane, do not give a damn about the issue today.

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