Saturday, August 2, 2008

Barack Obama and William Ayers

There have been a lot of posts the last few days about William Ayers and The Weather Underground.

The Weather Underground took their name from the lyrics of Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues": You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. They were an early 1970's radical group that ran around plotting to blow up things they didn't like - The Pentagon, Nation Guard Armories, their parents, etc etc etc.

The group could have used a safety consultant, as three members accidentally blew up themselves in a Greenwich Village safe house.

Chicago magazine once published an excellent profile on Ayers. The funniest part is how the guy rants against globalization, but saw no problem with supporting Starbucks. I believe that he'd never thought about the contradictions until this interview:

What are you doing in a Starbucks? I ask the man who professes to hate globalization.
"Oh," he says. "I have an addiction to caffeine."

There you have the complexity of Ayers: a man who once tried to overthrow his country's government and now works for a state university; an opponent of the bourgeoisie who has been married for 20 years; a left-wing radical who loves a good cup of imperialist coffee. Maybe he's always known how to choose his battles. Once one of his sons wanted to hear about how Ayers had been a draft card burner. "Tell me again how you burned your credit card, Pop," his son confusedly asked.

Here's a video that gives you something to contrast with the frumpy academic in that interview:

Here's a YouTube of Hillary mentioning Ayers in a debate:

If I remember correctly, Obama immediately slammed Hillary for mentioning the guy, since Bill Clinton either pardoned or commuted the prison sentences of two convicted Weather Underground members near the end of his second term. Obama and Hillary shouldn't air dirty Democrat laundry during debates.

Ayers and Obama both live in the same high-toned Hyde Park suburb of Chicago. (Yeah, lots of the anti-capitalists seek out those places. But Ayers has the unique distinction of having said "Kill the rich". They've served on boards together, and Obama had one of his early state senate fundraiser/exploratory committee meetings at Ayers' home.)

I've been waiting on the Republicans to make a bigger deal out of this guy, but so far not much has happened. They've created a mock FaceBook page, showing Obama and Ayers as "friends". Kind of funny, but not enough to justify the trouble they went through to create it. If the Republican National Committee thinks this will save them from the horrors of one-party government, they're mistaken.

Republicans need to get kicked out of office nationwide so they can get back to their small government roots. But I've worked in manufacturing for a long time, and I just hate to see an underutilized resource like Bill Ayers. They could do so much more than FaceBook silliness.

William Ayers is god's gift to Republicans, but they're too timid to do anything with him. Or maybe McCain is too much the military gentleman to get down in the mud.

If that's the case, McCain is doomed.

You don't need a Weatherman to see which way the wind blows.


Francis Shivone said...

Very interesting. I have a feeling the Repub. campaign team will find use for it. The best is always saved for the last -- and that's a good one. It's the problem Senator Obama has to overcome -- liberation theology and its twin sister, old fashioned Hegelian socialism.As you know, we Catholics have yet to exorcise it from our ranks, though we are getting close.

The Red Son said...

I really don't see how this is relevant to the current campaign. Ayers has never been convicted of acts of terrorism and is now a free, law-abiding member of society. So Obama knows the guy and has briefly worked on projects with him. Does this make Obama an co-conspirator for bombings which occurred long before he ever met Ayers? Does this mean that Ayers is using Obama to push a terrorist agenda in the White House?

What is the greater significance of their association?

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Big Red,
There is no greater significance.
Nothing but emotion, which goes a long way in determining how people vote.

(I'm about 1/3rd into a GREAT book called "The Myth Of The Rational Voter" by Caplan. Depressing stuff.)

I'm not saying that Obama can't hang out with whoever he chooses. But to those who remember The Weather Underground, the Dem. Convention riots, the bombings, etc etc etc, this would be a huge issue, especially since Obama and Ayers both advocate a lot of the same policies.
I'm merely wondering why the Republicans haven't taken advantage of Obama choosing to hang out with this guy.

The Red Son said...

I gotcha. It is kinda weird that the GOP isn't running Willie Horton type ads; "Barack Obama's friends want to blow up your kids..."

Myth of rational voters? Who would fall for that one after the '04 elections?

Anonymous said...

Good Job! :)