Barack Obama has decided to push back against criticisms of his association with former Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers, but the arguments he offers sound less than convincing. Rather than chalk it up to political naivete and issue a non-apology apology, Obama has decided to argue that he can’t be expected to consider the actions of people that took place in his childhood, and that Ayers only was bad for a few days. No, really, this is his entire opening argument:
REALITY: OBAMA WAS EIGHT YEARS OLD WHEN THE WEATHERMEN WERE ACTIVE
Obama Turned Eight In September 1969, The Days Of Rage Occurred In October 1969. Barack Obama was born on September 4, 1961. He turned eight on September 4, 1969. The Days of Rage, in which William Ayers participated, occurred in October 1969. [Obama Birth Certificate, UPI, 10/21/81]
William Ayers Participated In The “Days Of Rage” In 1969. The AP reported, “In the autumn of 1969, the Weatherman, led by Bernardine Dohrn and Mark Rudd, converged on Chicago and planned a series of demonstrations to dramatize their beliefs. The riots, which came to be known as the “Days of Rage,” caused thousands of dollars in damage in the downtown and Near North Side areas and resulted in injuries to several policemen. Rudd and Ms. Dohrn were named in federal riot indictments with ten others — William Ayers, Kathy Boudin, John Jacobs, Jeff Jones, Michael Spiegel, Howard Machtinger, Terry Robins, Lawrence Weiss, Linda Sue Evans and Judy Clark. Another prominent activist, Cathy Wilkerson, was arrested on state charges of mob action and resisting a police officer. Some surrendered years ago. Two — Ms. Dohrn and Ayers, son of the former chairman of Commonweath Edison Co. — surfaced Wednesday. Charges against Ayers had been dropped in 1978 but Ms. Dohrn still faces charges of aggravated battery and jumping bail.” [AP, 12/3/80]
Well, at least he got his age right, unlike his association with events in Selma in his speech from March 2007. In that speech, Obama didn’t mind deriving authenticity with a march that occurred when he was less than four years old and with people he had never met, let alone with whom he partnered on foundation boards.
The age issue is a transparent dodge. When terrorists killed Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972, I was nine years old. Would that give me a pass if I chose to associate myself on a board with Mahmoud Abbas, the reported mastermind of the Black September operation? Of course not. Obama wasn’t eight years old when he sought Ayers out for his support and later worked with him at the Woods foundation.
He contests the notion — central to the objection to him, as opposed to other people who were bad actors 35 years ago — that he he has “no regrets” about bombings– but he doesn’t exactly contradict his 2001 line that “I don’t regret setting bombs.”
I’m sometimes asked if I regret anything I did to oppose the war in Viet Nam, and I say “no, I don’t regret anything I did to try to stop the slaughter of millions of human beings by my own government.” Sometimes I add, “I don’t think I did enough.” This is then elided: he has no regrets for setting bombs and thinks there should be more bombings …
Terrorism—according to both official U.S. policy and the U.N.—is the use or threat of random violence to intimidate, frighten, or coerce a population toward some political end…. I’ve never advocated terrorism, never participated in it, never defended it.
Ayers tries to argue that terrorism is defined by its randomness, but that’s absurd. Ayers committed acts of violence intending on forcing the kind of political change he couldn’t get through the democratic process. That’s not only terrorism but an assault on self-government. The fact that he still can’t acknowledge that shows the unrepentant nature of William Ayers very clearly.
Obama’s inability to grasp this has him grasping at straws instead. He winds up being an apologist for Ayers, most laughably in this passage:
REALITY: AYERS COMMENTS WERE PUBLISHED ON SEPTEMBER 11; THE INTERVIEW OCCURRED PRIOR TO PUBLICATION
On September 11, 2001, A Story About William Ayers’ Memoir Was Published In The New York Times; The Interview Occurred Prior To Publication. “‘I don’t regret setting bombs,’ Bill Ayers said. ‘I feel we didn’t do enough.’ Mr. Ayers, who spent the 1970’s as a fugitive in the Weather Underground, was sitting in the kitchen of his big turn-of-the-19th-century stone house in the Hyde Park district of Chicago.” [New York Times, 9/11/01]
I think almost everyone sophisticated enough to hold a newspaper right-side-up understands that an interview gets conducted before publication. No one claims that Ayers said this at the moment the towers fell. The point is that after a decade of terrorist attacks against American interests, Ayers still hadn’t reconsidered his own terrorism after 30 years, and the publication of that fact on 9/11 had its own twisted sense of irony.
The bigger question is why Obama spends so much energy defending Ayers. If he wasn’t that important to Obama, why offer this page on the campaign website to rehabilitate Ayers?