Thursday, February 28, 2008

Axelrod throws Ayers ball on ex-terrorist

It's not going to be easy for the Barack Obama campaign to explain Barack Obama's relationship with former Weather Underground terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, as Obama's media guru David Axelrod found out.

The married academics are unrepentant ex-terrorists.

A refresher: In 1995, Obama's predecessor Alice Palmer introduced him to prominent supporters in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood. Palmer brought Obama to the Ayers and Dohrn home for as part of this get-acquainted tour.

A couple of commenters here scolded me because they said Obama, who was eight years old when the October 8-12 1969 Days of Rage brought the group then known as The Weatherman into prominence, and they couldn't have known who they were. When he was eight, like myself, he didn't.

Obama and I are the same age, and by the time I was in high school, when the pair was still in hiding, I knew all about them. Well, not everything, since the teacher in my history class didn't bring free love or LSD usage into the discussion, but a lot other stuff.

Obama he doesn't specifically bring up the Weather Underground in Audacity of Hope, but he does broach the subject of 1960s radicalism.

In my teens, I became fascinated with the Dionysian, up for grabs quality of the era, and through books, films, and music, I soaked in a vision of the sixties very different from the one my mother talked about: images of Huey Newton, the '68 Democratic National Convention, the Saigon airlift, and the Stones at Altamont. If I had no immediate reasons to pursue revolution, I decided nevertheless that in style and attitude, I, too, could be a rebel, unconstrained by the wisdom of the over-thirty crowd.

So he must have known who Ayers and Dohrn were years before he met them.

In 1999 Obama began a three year stint on the board of The Woods Fund, which Ayers chaired. And in 2001, Ayers accepted a $200 campaign contribution from Ayers.

Since Obama is leaving it up to surrogates to explain his ties to Ayers, we still don't know the complete story. Ben Smith of Politico tracked down David Axelrod. here's an excerpt:

"Bill Ayers lives in his neighborhood. Their kids attend the same school," he said. "They're certainly friendly, they know each other, as anyone whose kids go to school together."

He called Ayers current defense of his 1960s bombings "objectionable, and I think Barack would also say that was objectionable. I don't think he's ever had an in-depth discussion [with Ayers] about them." And he cast the whole subject in the context of Obama's broader message.

"We can relitigate again and again these 40-year-old battles," he said. "He thinks what was done then was wrong and outrageous, and he believes that you can’t defend the indefensible – but he’s looking forward, he’s not looking back."

Okay...but there is a problem, as David Nasaw answers back in The Guardian:

Ayers' son Malik is roughly my age (27), his son Zayd is three years older, and Rhodes Scholar Chesa Boudin, Ayers and wife Bernadine Dohrn's foster son, is also roughly my age.

I know this because I went to summer camp with Malik and Chesa when we were little boys, at Ramapo Country Day Camp right across the Hudson from New York City. Ayers held a teaching post at Columbia that year.

Meanwhile, Obama's daughters Sasha and Malia are 6 and 9, respectively.

Unless 63 year-old Ayers and Dohrn, who is three years older, have much younger kids that I'm not aware of, I think Axelrod is mistaken about their kids going to the same school.

Back to Smith at Politico:

Obama's kids went go the the University of Chicago Lab Schools, where Ayers kids, who are much older, had gone. However, Bernardine Dohrn is still active at the school, and an Obama aide said that was the connection.

That's not the type of publicity the prestigious private school wants. But a search of the U of C Lab Schools site came up witn no match for "Dohrn" or "Ayers."

As for Obama: It's you, not your staff, who have to answer questions on Ayers and Dorhn. You are such a compelling speaker, or so I hear. So speak.

Related posts:

Jonah Goldberg: Left wing terrorists never have to say "sorry"
Obama visited home of ex-Weather Underground terrorists in '90s
Obama's Bill Ayers problem
University of Illinois at Chicago's Bill Ayers: Not a jarhead
The Weather Underground and Ward Churchill-UPDATED!
Bernardine Dohrn watch
David Horowitz says you should know about Bernardine Dohrn and William Ayers
Moron Professor Bill Ayers
More on Bill Ayers' wife, Bernadine Dohrn
Update on another campus radical: Bill Ayers of the Weather Underground
SDS' 1968 Tragical History Tour

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