In his original post on the contacts between Weather Underground bombers Willliam Ayres and Bernadette Dohrn, Allah didn’t think much would be made of their 1995 visit:
It’s too old and the contact is too slight, I think, to do the Messiah any damage (although the GOP will certainly try)
At The New Republic’s blog, James Kirchick doesn’t think it ought to matter, again because it’s old news:
Again, I don’t believe that this loathsome couple’s history or their equally loathsome pride in it necessarily ought to reflect poorly on Obama. At best, he was totally naive about them. At worst, he knew who they were and what they stand for, but didn’t see anything wrong in using them to ascend up the Chicago political ladder. That would say something about Obama and his judgment. So far, Obama’s refusal to answer questions isn’t helping matters much.
Since then some Hot Air commenters pointed me toward this 2002 conference website, where Dohrn spoke and Ayres and Obama spoke on the same panel–“Intellectuals in Times of Crisis”.
There’s more: Rezkowatch links to this item to claim that Obama, Ayres and Dohrn all gave testimonials at a farewell dinner for Rashid Khalidi in 2005, although the exact date of the dinner isn’t clear from the article.
Now speaking on the same panel doesn’t mean Obama is sympathetic to their goals. It does suggest that there was no break with Ayres after the 1995 visits. Obama hasn’t distanced himself from these domestic terrorists, even after terrorism against the United States became a little…harder to ignore after September 11th, 2001. As did William Ayres himself, who had the laughably ill luck to spout off about how proud he was of his terrorism in an interview with the New York Times–an interview that ran in their September 11, 2001 edition.
Individually, these events aren’t much. Appearing on a panel with creepy people doesn’t mean you’re a creep. But taken together, these add up to a pattern of what is at best frightening tone-deafness toward terrorism, and a blithe ignorance of the evil and chaos these radicals represent. Kirchik said it’s not so bad if Obama just used Dohrn and Ayres to ascend the Chicago political ladder, but apparently Obie’s still running around with them long after he’s reached the top rung. Is the Obamessiah so profoundly unclued that he just doesn’t realize how bad it is to be buds with unrepentant anarcho-commie terrorists?
And, sadly, that’s the interpretation most favorable to the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. The other possibility is that he knew exactly who they are, what they stand for, and how it looks for him to be so comfortable with them–and he chose to continue hanging around with them anyway, long after their terror chic wore thin.
(Front page mugshot of Dohrn snagged from StopTheACLU)