The significance of Ayers

Today’s column by Charles Krauthammer gets to the meat of why the Ayers association is relevant, and why it is sticking to Obama’s suddenly un-teflon facade. Here is a long excerpt

Obama’s political career was launched with Ayers giving him a fundraiser in his living room. If a Republican candidate had launched his political career at the home of an abortion-clinic bomber — even a repentant one — he would not have been able to run for dogcatcher in Podunk. And Ayers shows no remorse. His only regret is that he “didn’t do enough.”

Why are these associations important? Do I think Obama is as corrupt as Rezko? Or shares Wright’s angry racism or Ayers’s unreconstructed 1960s radicalism?

No. But that does not make these associations irrelevant. They tell us two important things about Obama.

First, his cynicism and ruthlessness. He found these men useful, and use them he did. Would you attend a church whose pastor was spreading racial animosity from the pulpit? Would you even shake hands with — let alone serve on two boards with — an unrepentant terrorist, whether he bombed U.S. military installations or abortion clinics?

Most Americans would not, on the grounds of sheer indecency. Yet Obama did, if not out of conviction then out of expediency. He was a young man on the make, an unknown outsider working his way into Chicago politics. He played the game with everyone, without qualms and with obvious success.

Obama is not the first politician to rise through a corrupt political machine. But he is one of the rare few to then have the audacity to present himself as a transcendent healer, hovering above and bringing redemption to the “old politics” — of the kind he had enthusiastically embraced in Chicago in the service of his own ambition.

Second, and even more disturbing than the cynicism, is the window these associations give on Obama’s core beliefs. He doesn’t share the Rev. Wright’s poisonous views of race nor Ayers’s views, past and present, about the evil that is American society. But Obama clearly did not consider these views beyond the pale. For many years he swam easily and without protest in that fetid pond.

Until now. Today, on the threshold of the presidency, Obama concedes the odiousness of these associations, which is why he has severed them. But for the years in which he sat in Wright’s pews and shared common purpose on boards with Ayers, Obama considered them a legitimate, indeed unremarkable, part of social discourse.

Do you? Obama is a man of first-class intellect and first-class temperament. But his character remains highly suspect. There is a difference between temperament and character. Equanimity is a virtue. Tolerance of the obscene is not.

Read it all.

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10 Responses

  1. Then, by logical extension, Ayers relationship with Walter Annenberg implies that WA is suspect? Ayers was on the board of the Annenberg foundation at the behest of Walter’s wife, therefore she must be suspect as well

    John McCain colluded with the Viet Cong for personal gain. (He even said so).

  2. “But for the years in which he sat in Wright’s pews and shared common purpose on boards with Ayers”

    Sorry, didn’t quite read to the bottom. So I see you do agree that Annenberg and wife deserve the same smear because of their relationship with Ayers. Thank you.

    “Obama is a man of first-class intellect and first-class temperament. But his character remains highly suspect”

    At least you don’t malign a person because they are smart as do so many others, but you can not simply dismiss McCains violation of military code of conduct as a POW as OK – many of his fellow POW’s did not do what he did.

    Nor can you simply dismiss McCain’s association with Keating. Keating was a dominant contributor (money giver, fundraiser, call it any name you want) to McCain. McCain also ejoyed the free holidays provided by Keating. All of this was taking place WHILE Keating was fleecing thousands of investors and customers of their money.

    The real problem in the issues that you and others keep trying to promote as significant is that they are not. Nor do I really believe McCain is a malicious person.

    My main concern with Obama and his character with respect to the way he turned his back on those who helped him rise in the political ranks.

    My main concern with McCain is how much he has buckled in to the base republican support that he maligned not long ago, and how he is not at all like the person I would have voted for in 2004.

    The sad part is that neither has the ability to make the fundamental changes needed to make the government more effective and efficient. It ain’t going to happen.

    And both supported the bail-out and neither has come to understand that we are in the midst of a huge complex rats nest of issues that all relate to $$ and that all the myriad of promises they make won’t amount to a hill of beans when either one takes office.

    They both supported handing over $700B of our money to an unelected, non-controllable private citizen. (The only actual authority Congress has over Paulson is if he wants to spend more that $350B in one purchase – the word oversight is just that; he has to provide regular reports but they have no suasion over what he does)

    Both are totally focused on winning while we are in the process of losing.

    After Bush’s first four years, did you think he would do better second time around?

  3. If you can make a logical case for either of those tangents, then have at it. So far you fall short

  4. Which is giving you difficulty; the reading part or the logic part?

    If you can’t see the parallel with your logic, then you should immediately see a Dr.; you may be brain dead.

  5. if that’s the best you can do, go troll someone else’s blog

  6. Letter to the editor in today’s NYT from lead federal prosecutor in the Weatherman case:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/10/opinion/l10ayers.html?_r=1&ref=opinion&oref=slogin

  7. “After Bush’s first four years, did you think he would do better second time around?”

    No. Then, much as now, it reamins a choice of the lesser of two lessers.

  8. Interesting letter pirano. He says he is glad to know that Ayers is now a “responsible citizen.” I suppose that interpretation is arguable, but given the fact that the country will be defacto socialistic within the next 2 weeks under a Republican administration, raising the “better dead than red” objection just carry the same weight.

    Also, John, your original response got caught up in the spam filter. Sorry, I missed it.

  9. If socialism is the concern then you are aware that much of our taxes contribute to socialism and I, for one, am opposed:
    National Parks
    Public Lands (forest/grass)
    These should all be sold then we no longer need the National Park Service, Forest Service, BLM, USGS…

    The cost of all consumer related agencies:
    FDA
    Consumer Safety
    Transportation Safety, etc.
    They should either be disbanded, or the cost of their operations should be borne by the end user as a cost of the product.
    Why should my taxes support drug testing; I take very few compared to many others: User Pay

    Why should all of Congress be on the same pay scale and receive the same benefits. It would be dead simple to apportion the existing costs for each representative could easily be calculated including office space, power consumption, transportation, expense accounts, salaries, benefits, etc. Instead of paying taxes that are redistributed to provide similar support for all, the decision about total cost of representation should be left to the citizens of the state and districts they represent. Then each of us would only be paying the cost for our representatives, and since we are the employers, we can establish what the pay should be.

    How simple it would be to install chips in cars/roads (citiy, county, state, interestate) to charge drivers on a consumption basis. Why should the elderly woman across the street, who has no car, pay any taxes to support a road network she doesn’t use. This too is socialism.

    Why should I pay the same for municipal garbage service when I create < 1 plastic grocery bag’s worth of garbage a week as the neighbor who fills at least 2 and sometimes 3 can’s per weekl.

    If socialism is your concern, then, perhaps spending your efforts to undo the socialism that exists would be a good start.

    To unthinkingly support or oppose any candidate simply because of their party affiliation is not effective. Is not McCain’s new proposal to buy the hundreds of thousands of fragile home mortgages not socialism? I paid off my mortgage many years ago. If I wanted another, I’d buy another house.

  10. mccain’s mortgage proposal is half-baked political fluff. It’s a non-starter, and given the reaction it has received, will hopefully be quickly forgotten.

    You presume too much by saying that I unthinkingly support any candidate because of party affiliation. I do, however, oppose candidates on that basis.

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