Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 4, 2008
POLITICS: Whitewashing Ayers

We should not be surprised, exactly, that when the NY Times finally deals with the Bill Ayers story, it tells it entirely from the Obama campaign's preferred point of view...Stanley Kurtz looks at what is left out. Sample:

Obama was perfectly aware of Ayers' radical views, since he read and publically endorsed, without qualification, Ayers' book on juvenile crime. That book is quite radical, expressing doubts about whether we ought to have a prison system at all, comparing America to South Africa’s apartheid system, and contemptuously dismissing the idea of the United States as a kind or just country. Shane mentions the book endorsement, yet says nothing about the book’s actual content. Nor does Shane mention the panel about Ayers' book, on which Obama spoke as part of a joint Ayers-Obama effort to sink the 1998 Illinois juvenile crime bill.

Kurtz notes a tellingly Clintonian qualifier:

On the one hand, toward the end of the piece we read: "Since 2002, there is little public evidence of their relationship." And it’s no wonder, says Shane, since Ayers was caught expressing no regret for his own past terrorism in an article published on September 11, 2001. Yet earlier in Shane's article we learn that, according to Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt, Obama and Ayers "have not spoken by phone or exchanged e-mail messages since Mr. Obama began serving in the United States Senate in January 2005." Very interesting. Obama's own spokesman has just left open the possibility that there has indeed been phone and e-mail contact between the two men between 2002 and 2004, well after Ayers’ infamous conduct on 9/11.

A small detail taken in isolation, but yet another example of the kind of thing the media might have followed up on, if they were not sending all their available investigative resources to Alaska.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:59 PM | Politics 2008 | Comments (29) | TrackBack (0)

It almost seems like the NYT is just a subsidiary of the DNC and/or the Obama campaign....imagine that. BTW any hard breaking news on Piper Palin?

Posted by: dch at October 5, 2008 8:27 AM

Maybe the media isn't covering this one because it's a non-story that no one cares about.

Posted by: Mike at October 5, 2008 8:47 AM

Mike, the fact that the NYT takes that attitude towards this and basically any other story that's harmful to Obama is precisely the problem: with Palin, in particular, nothing is too small or too unproven to print. The media's supposed to give the voters the facts and let them decide what matters.

Posted by: The Crank at October 5, 2008 9:32 AM

Typical cold-war guilt by association garbage. It's obvious why McCain is using this angle now. He has nothing left. I hope to God the American people don't fall for this kind of distraction. I'll say this: Obama is too classy not to respond with McCain's involvement in the Keating Five.

Posted by: steve at October 5, 2008 11:30 AM

It's not classy Steve, it's self-preservation - Keating is like attacking Bush for his drinking...the whole point of McCain's record over the last two decades is that he learned his lesson from the Keating scandal - and when you look at Obama and Fannie Mae, you see him making today the mistakes of McCain's earlier years (with worse consequences, and with much more direct effects on public policy than McCain just showing his face in some meetings with regulators), and refusing to learn from them. That's the one place Obama can't afford to go right now.

And BTW: you have a problem with the Cold War?

Posted by: The Crank at October 5, 2008 11:46 AM

Classy! LOL the Chicago machine politician classy. "Cold war guilt by association"-what are you babbling about? Which kool aid site did you get the term from?

Everything regarding your candidate has been thrown down a memory hole by the media-his various names that he has been known as over the years as a child and teen , who paid for his college education, his state senate records, his total lack of any record, accomplishment or leadership , the racist church that he was a member of for 20 years and donated large sums of money, his comments to private groups when he doesn't think anyone has a recorder-if the media was just biased 60/40 to the Dems-there wouldn't be a Democratic party.

But you know the election is over, the media is not oversampling Dems by many multiples over their historical turnout, like they do every election. And as we get closer to the election the numbers won't narrow as the weighted sample becomes more and more in line with the historical averages, like every election and finally John Mc Cain is not going to get a higher percentage of the Dem vote then George Bush. PUMAs, Women and Independents are not going to vote for him at a higher percentage than they did for George Bush. And remember Obama didn't overpoll by 3-6% constantly during the primary season, that didn't happen. Its clear sailing for you guys. Oh and there is no Bradley effect either, right?

Posted by: dch at October 5, 2008 11:53 AM

I guess any criticism of McCain can be met with some response along the lines that you offered, Crank. Keating Five? Not a problem! McCain learned his lesson.

DCH, your objection to the media's glorification of Obama is laughable in light of the GOP's glorification of Palin. You know she is not up to the task. You watched the debate last week hoping against hope that she did not blow it. Ask her a single follow up question and the house of cards falls down. The executive branch is too complex for a simpleton like her to be second in command.

Posted by: Steve at October 5, 2008 2:50 PM

I thought that McCain was cleared of all wrongdoing in the Keating Five? I thought the investigator said he included McCain just so that it wouldn't involve all Democrats? Ayers is just a little, bitty part of Obama's horrible associations. Let's see. Tony Resko. Jeremiah Wright. ACORN. Jim Johnson. Franklin Raines. And I know that McCain knows lobbyists, but from all that I see, these particular lobbyists haven't done anything wrong/controversial, only that they are lobbyists.

Posted by: Jake at October 5, 2008 3:31 PM

dch - I agree that there are a few reasons why McCain's actual position, at least in most states, is stronger than it appears in the polls, but you are kidding yourself if you think he would win if the election was held today - there's no way the factors you mention account for more than 2, maybe 3 points tops in any jurisidiction, and he's down 7 or 8 in a lot of the national polls at last check.

steve - I don't shrug off all criticism of McCain. But he has a very long record you can judge. I think his record holds up, warts and all, when examined in context. McCain's record since the Keating thing isn't just campaign lip service, it's two decades of walking the walk.

And really, to shrug off Obama's preparedness you must feel pretty good that Biden won't die and leave Obama in charge....

Jake - You are right about no formal charge of wrongdoing and McCain being included largely to avoid a "Keating Four" of four Democrats in a Democrat-controlled Senate. But McCain did show terrible judgment, and did make appearances at meetings with regulators that amounted to putting his good name behind Keating's. The Ethics Committee's ultimate reprimand of his judgment was not unwarranted.

Posted by: The Crank at October 5, 2008 4:21 PM

Crank, my position is that this race today is anywhere from from +2 Mc Cain to +2 Obama. The recent historical weighted average for party identification for elections is Dems +2.7%. In 2006, a bad year for Republicans, the number was 3%, its going to be no worse than the average this year. When you see the internals of all these polls that have Obama ahead the numbers they are using are from a low of Dems +6 up to Dems +13. When you weight to the historical average, the Obama lead disappears.

Mc Cain is going to get a higher percentage of the Dem vote then Bush. I don't think anyone can really argue against that estimate. The Dems had a divisive primary and many Hillary supporters, moderate and conservative Dems are not going to vote for Obama. Bush got, I believe 12% of the Dem vote in 2004. Is an estimate of Mc Cain getting 15% really out of whack? Also, does anyone think the Republicans are not going to get a higher percentage of the women vote with Palin on the ticket? In addiiton, Obama all during the primaries constantly over polled compared to his final number-that is a historical fact. Finally, there is the whole issue of the Bradley effect.

Posted by: dch at October 5, 2008 4:55 PM

As I've said on previous threads about Ayers, I do think this is relevant. Not necessarily in regard to the things Ayers did in the late 60s and early 70s, but certainly in regard to the things Obama funded him to do in the late 90s.

Posted by: Jerry at October 5, 2008 7:06 PM

Obama inadvertently made this more relevant by initially lying about it and claiming "Ayers? Barely know the guy." If the media was honest they would have looked into this character before the primaries were well underway. It is one thing for the media to show no interest in researching Sen, Clinton - she is well enough known. It is another thing for the media to show no interest in Obama's warts. He came from out of nowhere a few years ago and refused access to most of his paper trail. With any other candidate the media would be all over themselves trying to find out what the guy is hiding. With Obama it's "No big deal, Barack. Just tell us what you want reported."

Posted by: LargeBill at October 5, 2008 8:14 PM

I knew this would be a problem for Obama when i heard him on Ayers radio show.
Oops. That was actually McCain who was speaking on his good friend, G. Gordon Liddy's, radio show.
For those under 40, Liddy is a convicted felon (due to his role in the Watergte and Ellsberg office break-ins). More recently he has instructed his listening audience in how to shoot government (ATF) agents.
It's about time the liberal (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha) NY Times reported on this sordid friendship.

In McCain's defense, Liddy's been "mainstreamed" which speaks volumes about the United States.

Posted by: Berto at October 5, 2008 10:51 PM

The media's supposed to give the voters the facts and let them decide what matters.

And the voters' collective yawn to the Ayers story has been deafening. No one except increasingly desperate GOPers cares about this story. It has no legs, Crank.

Move along. Time to go back to either "Obama has no experience" or maybe you guys can revisit Jeremiah White. It's a non-story but at least angry Black guys are deemed newsworthy in most places.

Posted by: Mike at October 6, 2008 6:42 AM

For some reason, politicians cannot associate in any way with leftists like Ayers. But they get away with associating with lunatics like Gordon Liddy.

Posted by: steve at October 6, 2008 8:56 AM


Just asking for a honest post. What is Ayers current status in Chicago politics? Is he a mover and shaker or still a 60's radical?

Posted by: javaman at October 6, 2008 12:27 PM

Ayers is very much still a 60s radical - he doesn't set bombs anymore but he doesn't regret it either, and his current philosophy is all about passing on the 60s radicalism through education. No decent person should associate with a guy like that. Instead, we see Obama funneling millions of dollars to 'educational' programs under Ayers' direction, Obama giving a glowing review to Ayers' radical book on juvenile justice, Obama working hand in glove with Ayers on a campaign to rewrite the juvenile justice laws.

And answer me again: if this isn't relevant to learning what kinds of criteria Obama would use to pick people to staff his Administration...what is?

Posted by: Crank at October 6, 2008 12:50 PM

Oh, the irony, asking about Obama's staff picks! Look at McCain's choice for VP! What does Palin say about Obama's judgment? Quite a bit. Would anyone ask her judgment on anything of substance? Doubtful. She would be another Dan Quayle.

Posted by: Steve at October 6, 2008 2:05 PM

according to Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt, Obama and Ayers "have not spoken by phone or exchanged e-mail messages since Mr. Obama began serving in the United States Senate in January 2005."

It also leaves open that they would have met in person in various places.

Posted by: skmckinny at October 6, 2008 2:10 PM

So Obama is deemed an indecent person - judging by the exact words of Crank in his comment today at 12:50PM - because of what this guy Ayers did 40 years ago, and because the Dems are downplaying any link between the two.

Conversely, McCain is given a pass because he's learned his lesson from the Keating affair only 20 years ago, the association with Liddy is swept under the rug because he's been "mainstreamed", Palin's Troopergate problems are reduced to a "partisan witch hunt", and finally, we are all just going to have to get used to the bold-faced lies from McCain and his supporters consistently pounding home a complete fallacy regarding Obama's tax policy.

In other words, it's far more honorable to constantly lie to the American public - even after your point has been proven ad infinitum to be false, than it is to associate with someone who pulled some pretty nasty tricks 40 years ago and makes no apologies for it. This is most disturbing.

If this is the most controversial stuff anyone can come up with - and believe me, were there anything else, we'd all know about it - then I would have to agree, the voters by and large are unconcerned.

And don't get me started about Jeremiah Wright - GASP! A black man who came of age in the 60's is still angry about how he and his race were treated in this country as a matter of policy?!!? And he's got the gall to talk about it during his sermons? What an outrage!

Everyone who's ever spoken to him in their lives should be locked up... that'll teach 'em.

Posted by: macsonix at October 6, 2008 4:06 PM

macsonix - Just to pick a few here (you guys love to go off topic six ways at once) - precisely what in the "troopergate" scandal involves Palin doing something you believe a Governor ought not to do?

And what's the complete fallacy? That Obama voted for the D resolution to repeal all the Bush tax cuts? That he's proposing to hike income, cap gains, payroll, and estate taxes while opposing cuts in corporate and gas taxes? That after the Clinton years we are wise to disbelieve Democrats who claim to be running on a middle class tax cuts? That a huge chunk of his "tax cuts" involve cutting govt checks to people who currently pay no federal income taxes, so they really aren't tax cuts at all? That Biden lied through his teeth when he claimed that Obama's plan would leave the top federal income tax rates lower than they were under Reagan?

You really willing to argue that G. Gordon Liddy=terrorist and anti-American radical?

Posted by: Crank at October 6, 2008 4:26 PM

The best that can be said for Obama re Ayers is that he associated with the man early in his career to get ahead. Political realities in Chicago demanded Obama do certain things, and Obama was no fool and was ambitious and did them-- these included cozying up to Ayers. This is what most Democrats, deep down, tell themselves about Obama's dalliance with Ayers. Obama doesn't actually believe that stuff ort like that guy. He just used him. Ditto Rev Wright. Taking comfort in such thoroughgoing cynicism, while at the same time actually believing Obama embodies a positive new direction in American politics does not mean Democrats are moral degenerates. It simply means they are naive, masochistic fools.

Posted by: seamus at October 6, 2008 6:34 PM

Liddy certainly was an anti-american radical. Read any book about Nixon and his dirty tricks of the early 1970's. Liddy was as bad as anyone in that regard. Breaking and entering to destroy political enemies is anti-american in my book. Unless you have a different definition of anti-american, i.e., left wing activity. How come right wingers are never accused of anti-americanism? probably because right wingers initiated the practice of questioning the patriotism of others.

Posted by: steve at October 6, 2008 7:27 PM

Breaking and entering to destroy political enemies is anti-american in my book

I must have missed you making this argument four years ago, given what derailed Kerry's 1972 campaign.

Posted by: Crank at October 6, 2008 7:40 PM

What are you talking about?

Posted by: steve at October 6, 2008 7:45 PM

Kerry's brother and campaign manager being arrested for breaking and entering in the basement of his opponent's headquarters on primary night in 1972. There was a reason why Kerry managed to lose a district that McGovern carried.

Posted by: Crank at October 6, 2008 7:54 PM

Its worth noting too that Nixon's headquarters were broken into during his initial Congressional campaign in 1948. Twenty five years later Pat Nixon rather wistfully remarked, "Nobody cared when they broke into our offices."

Posted by: seamus at October 6, 2008 9:00 PM

Troopergate tells me that Palin is willing to abuse the power of her office to punish those she considers her political enemies. And I personally consider that unamerican. That said, I will admit that the guy who was supposedly being protected by the guy Palin fired looks to clearly be a reprehensible lout. Perhaps not the best example.

The complete fallacy regarding the Republican tax argument is the notion that Obama is "raising taxes on American families", or the much more effective "proposing the largest tax increase in history". These are not my words - but it's too late to go drudging around to find out which GOP shrew is peddling this snake oil. The fact is, and we all know it, that Obama's policy proposes lowering taxes for the vast majority of Americans, and the GOP is using fear tactics to scare the bejeezus out of the middle class, who have already lost their shirts over inane Republican economic policies. I consider this strategy unamerican as well, but it is unfortunately the typical rhetoric, and McCain certainly learned how to sling the manure from the last go-round, when Dubya cleaned his clock using some of the lowest and dirtiest tricks in the book.

And as far as support for, or from, confirmed terrorists are concerned, I suppose you're right. We should have insisted that anyone associated with the Regan administration (which was/is a very large portion of Shrub's administration) be thrown out of government after associating so closely with - and openly supporting - the House of Saud, their close friends the Bin Laden Group, Bin Laden himself during the Soviet war in Afghanistan, and let's not forget the GOP's former best buddy, Saddam Hussein. Seems to me you can link that cast of characters up together with much more factual evidence than Obama to Ayers, and the behavior of our former "allies" is much more deplorable than anything that Ayers has ever done.

Posted by: macsonix at October 6, 2008 11:07 PM

abuse the power of her office to punish those she considers her political enemies

1. She had every right to fire Monegan, who served at her pleasure. That's not an abuse of power.

2. If a member of Bill Clinton's or - if it comes to that - Barack Obama's cabinet became one his "political enemies," I'd expect him to get fired.

The firing of Monegan was 100% justified. Guy was insubordinate and undermining her. You want your leaders to be accountable, and to do that they have to have the freedom to pick their own team.

As I said the other day, if this investigaton played out during normal time it would go nowhere, as there is nothing there. The only reason it's anything at all is the timing.

Posted by: Crank at October 6, 2008 11:14 PM
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