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Euphemism of the Day:

Courtesy of SupportBillAyers.org.

See if you can fill in the blank. Bill Ayers didn't "join a domestic terrorist group and participate in terrorist activities such as the bombings of New York City Police Headquarters in 1970, the United States Capitol building in 1971, and the Pentagon in 1972," he ___________________

(show)

J. Aldridge:
That is like saying you were passionately in love with a woman and that passion led to killing her.

P.S. Did Ayers write "Dreams" you think?
10.22.2008 9:43pm
Johnathan Reale (mail):
I just want to know what Brett Somers said.
10.22.2008 9:44pm
LN (mail):
Oh yeah, Ayers wrote Dreams. The evidence is overwhelming.
10.22.2008 9:52pm
LN (mail):
I mean:



"Memory sails out upon a murky sea," Ayers writes at one point. Indeed, both he and Obama are obsessed with memory and its instability. The latter writes of its breaks, its blurs, its edges, its lapses. Obama also has a fondness for the word "murky" and its aquatic usages.

"The unlucky ones drift into the murky tide of hustles and odd jobs," he writes, one of four times "murky" appears in Dreams. Ayers and Obama also speak often of waves and wind, Obama at least a dozen times on wind alone. "The wind wipes away my drowsiness, and I feel suddenly exposed," he writes in a typical passage. Both also make conspicuous use of the word "flutter."

Not surprisingly, Ayers uses "ship" as a metaphor with some frequency. Early in the book he tells us that his mother is "the captain of her own ship," not a substantial one either but "a ragged thing with fatal leaks" launched into a "sea of carelessness."

Obama too finds himself "feeling like the first mate on a sinking ship." He also makes a metaphorical reference to "a tranquil sea." More intriguing is Obama's use of the word "ragged" as an adjective as in the highly poetic "ragged air" or "ragged laughter."
10.22.2008 9:53pm
Observer:
I thought the mistake was that Ayers didn't merely "join" a domestic terrorist group, but rather "founded" a domestic terrorist group.
10.22.2008 9:54pm
OrinKerr:
I didn't realize that Ayers was running, butI have reached the conclusion that I will not -- repeat not -- vote for him.
10.22.2008 9:57pm
Angus:

Oh yeah, Ayers wrote Dreams. The evidence is overwhelming.
Only in the right wing's dreams.
10.22.2008 9:57pm
Toby:
Trust MikeAndI to troll every post
10.22.2008 10:04pm
Greg Q (mail) (www):
To use Instapundit's favorite line:

He's not antiwar. He's just on the other team.
10.22.2008 10:04pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Orin, this isn't a post about the election. It's about the silly professors who wrote the letter of support for Bill Ayers.
10.22.2008 10:27pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Or maybe I should have written, the professors who wrote the silly letter of support for Bill Ayers.
10.22.2008 10:30pm
MartyH (mail):
Fill in the blank:

Obama and Ayers didn't completely waste $160 million of Annenberg and public funds meant to educate schoolchildren. They _________________.
10.22.2008 10:36pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
And besides, it's very funny. Here's how the professors, in context, characterize the controversy over Ayers. Note that the phrase "Weather Underground" does not appear, much less "bomb" or "terrorist."
The current characterizations of Professor Ayers---“unrepentant terrorist,” “lunatic leftist”---are unrecognizable to those who know or work with him. It’s true that Professor Ayers participated passionately in the civil rights and antiwar movements of the 1960s, as did hundreds of thousands of Americans. His participation in political activity 40 years ago is history; what is most relevant now is his continued engagement in progressive causes, and his exemplary contribution---including publishing 16 books--- to the field of education. The current attacks appear as part of a pattern of “exposés” and assaults designed to intimidate free thinking and stifle critical dialogue. Like crusades against high school and elementary teachers, and faculty at UCLA, Columbia, DePaul, and the University of Colorado, the attacks on and the character assassination of Ayers threaten the university as a space of open inquiry and debate, and threaten schools as places of compassion, imagination, curiosity, and free thought. They serve as warnings that anyone who voices perspectives and advances questions that challenge orthodoxy and political power may become a target, and this, then, casts a chill over free speech and inquiry and the spirit of democracy.
This is amusing on so many levels I don't know where to begin.
10.22.2008 10:39pm
EH (mail):
MartyH: For you and Jonathan Reale above, the answer is the same: "made whoopee."
10.22.2008 10:42pm
SImon Lefaux (mail):
Wait, what type of "Domestic Terrorist" group are we talking about?

The 60's hippy kind that had plenty of COINTELPRO operatives instigating events?

or

The 90's "Patriot Movement" kind that had plenty of FBI agents and operatives instigating events?
10.22.2008 10:44pm
Humble Law Student (mail) (www):
Granted I wasn't alive in the 60s, but the history books sure did miss the hundreds of thousands of American terrorist bombers who "participated passionately."
10.22.2008 10:45pm
Humble Law Student (mail) (www):
My God, this crap makes me sick. It really does show the widespread intellectual depravity of the left. I used to always think the claim that the left was on the side of the terrorists as riduculous and wrong. The claim was wrong, but only regarding which terrorist group.
10.22.2008 10:51pm
DDG:
Well, communism is just socialism in a hurry... And Ayers is a communist (small-c, as he says).

Prosecutorial misconduct is the only reason he's not in prison.
10.22.2008 10:55pm
Observer:
Any chance that this could be a well-done parody?
10.22.2008 10:55pm
Assistant Village Idiot (mail) (www):
I don't get how so many progressives are against our being in Iraq. Aren't we just passionately participating in the Iraqi freedom movement? What's the problem?
10.22.2008 10:57pm
Brooks Lyman (mail):
Any chance that this could be a well-done parody?

No. I remember the 60s. The active protesters were a relatively small part of the college population; the terrorist types were an even smaller part. The professors, many of them, were Old Left; most of them have passed on or retired; they were replaced by the New Left - the former protesters - and, apparently, a few of the terrorist types.

Well, actually, it could be a parody, but if so, it's so true to type that whether intended or not, it's non-parodic.
10.22.2008 11:03pm
stombs (mail):
This is the long-term cost of warehousing these nitwits in academia, where it was assumed they would be harmless as well as useless.
10.22.2008 11:08pm
ChrisIowa (mail):

Any chance that this could be a well-done parody?


Always look on the bright siide of life.
Always look on the bright siide of life....
10.22.2008 11:10pm
Tom Perkins (mail):

he ___________________



...became a community organizer?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
10.22.2008 11:33pm
Dan M.:
Anyone can sign the petition under any name, however. I signed it as Tookie Williams.
10.22.2008 11:33pm
Bleepless:
It is impossible to be more corrupt than those academics.
10.22.2008 11:34pm
Cris:
Some of Ayers' older material now available again!

THE BANNER OF CHE
The only path to the final defeat of imperialism and the building of socialism is revolutionary war.


Prairie Fire
10.22.2008 11:35pm
LCDave (mail):
Ward Churchill at the University of Colorado was passionate about other people's work. Other professors rallied around him after not only saying that 9/11 wasn't enough, but also that Americans should be conducting violence against the government. His professor buddies finally had to get quiet when the plagiarism eventually took him down
10.22.2008 11:37pm
Fub:
DDG wrote at 10.22.2008 9:55pm:
Prosecutorial misconduct is the only reason he's not in prison.
Which, if nothing else, is ample reason why even the slightest prosecutorial misconduct should never be tolerated, excused or ignored. One doesn't even have to be a libertarian to understand that.
10.22.2008 11:37pm
therut (mail):
These professors think very highly of what a University is and what they do. I have something to say to such people. The University was a place I went to as a adult(18y/o) and paid my hard earned money for them to do a job. That was it. Not a place to learn lefty politics, learn to protest, have sex , get drunk or high or catch a disease much less make out with some nut of a professor for a grade. It was for my future to be able to have a job and make a living in this GREAT capitalistic country. These people make me ill.
10.22.2008 11:39pm
llamasex (mail) (www):
Lord do I hate college professors, they are all such idiots.
10.22.2008 11:41pm
Albatross (www):
"His participation in political activity 40 years ago is history; what is most relevant now is his continued engagement in ... "

So, any action is excusable, given enough time? Even if the subject is unrepentant?

Good.

Then let's never discuss reparations again.
10.22.2008 11:49pm
nicestrategy (mail):
..."made sweet, sweet love to his BFF, David Bernstein?"
10.22.2008 11:53pm
Curious Lurker:
What an insightful post by Mr. Bernstein. Sure I'm struggling with it's relevance in any way shape or form to any legal issue. Apparently this isn't a legal blog anymore; it's just another partisan hack site.
10.22.2008 11:56pm
Hoosier:
llamasex
Lord do I hate college professors, they are all such idiots.

Yeah. We are.

Professor Ayers participated passionately in the civil rights and antiwar movements of the 1960s


And perhaps others shall participate passionately in the exercise of our Second Amendment rights. Perhaps in the direction of some faculty . . .

Wouldn't they feel the need to support that action? Just for, like, the sake of consistency?

Dan M.: Thanks for the tip. I have now signed the petition of support. Well, not me exactly. Actually, it was C. Lutwidge Dodgson, Department of Mathematics, Oxford University. I thought that they might not catch that one. We shall see.
10.22.2008 11:58pm
grackle (mail):
I note there are ten of Mr. Bernstein's George Mason colleagues on the list of supporters. Must be some mistake.
10.22.2008 11:58pm
Hoosier:
Curious Lurker:
What an insightful post by Mr. Bernstein. Sure I'm struggling with it's relevance in any way shape or form to any legal issue. Apparently this isn't a legal blog anymore; it's just another partisan hack site.

Congratulations C L: You figured us out. Now go make me some damn tacos!
10.23.2008 12:00am
cboldt (mail):
-- I have now signed the petition of support. Well, not me exactly. Actually, it was C. Lutwidge Dodgson, Department of Mathematics, Oxford University. I thought that they might not catch that one. We shall see. --
.
I wonder what sort of accuracy in attribution mechanism they have. I can imagine several mischief possibilities with a lax system. Have a joke at the expense of a friend, affix the name of somebody you dislike, and affix the name of some litigious bastard.
.
Has anybody attempted to sign the name "Barack Obama" to the petition?
10.23.2008 12:17am
JB:
Wow. There are idiot radical leftist academics. Who knew?

What's that you say? Leftists support the more liberal of the Presidential candidates? I'm shocked...shocked!

This is the equivalent of a DailyKos diarist writing a non-Rec'd post about something on the wingnuttier side of Sean Hannity's repertoire. No one should be surprised it was said, nor should anyone confuse the quote for the positions of the relevant party's candidate, but one should question the surprised and outraged tone of the person who noticed it.
10.23.2008 12:17am
second history:
Prof. Bernstein continues his increasingly irrelevant obsession with Prof. Ayers . . . . oh well, at least it will be over soon . . . .
10.23.2008 12:18am
Sam Adams (mail):
Dr. Bernstein's Reading Abilities:

"Note that the phrase "Weather Underground" does not appear, much less "bomb" or "terrorist."
The current characterizations of Professor Ayers---“unrepentant terrorist,”

So eight words after DB says the word "terrorist" does not appear, he quotes the word.

Now DB will no doubt argue the essay is DENYING Ayers a terrorist. Understood. But that means they raise the issue and deny it, or reinterpret it. Not that they ignore it.

DB might suggest I'm being picky, but he is the one that couldn't stop after didn't mention Weather Underground and didn't mention bombs.

What is the point here, anyway? DB says it's to lampoon silly professors. But DB no doubt admires the founders of this country, who as young men used violence to change the social order. So perhaps the silliness in DB's mind is not the willingness of Ayers as a youth to use violence or the willingness of others now to defend him, but merely that it's silly to use violence to promote communism, because communism doesn't work. I admit that IS silly, but I don't think DB is making his case all that well.
10.23.2008 12:20am
David Warner:
"his continued engagement in progressive causes"

I've known progressive causes. I've engaged in progressive causes. Subverting schools is not a progressive cause.

BTW, its not just professors. My very sensible Mom was actually making this argument to me the other day, saying his bombs were just to "scare" people. I pointed out that the last bomb was a nail bomb. End of conversation.
10.23.2008 12:20am
David Warner:
DDG,

"Prosecutorial misconduct is the only reason he's not in prison."

Actually it was Deep Throat:

William C. Ibershof also corrects a charge in the Times: "I do take issue with the statement in your news article that the Weathermen indictment was dismissed because of 'prosecutorial misconduct.' It was dismissed because of illegal activities, including wiretaps, break-ins and mail interceptions, initiated by John N. Mitchell, attorney general at that time, and W. Mark Felt, an F.B.I. assistant director."

How bizarre is that?
10.23.2008 12:23am
GoldwaterGirl (www):
J Reale: LOL. I love Match Game.

Anyway, head over to LGF and see just what sort of organization it was. Weather Underground manifesto.
10.23.2008 12:25am
second history:
In fact Felt was indicted with


. . . .violations of Title 18, Section 241 of the United States Code. The indictment charged Felt and the others

"did unlawfully, willfully, and knowingly combine, conspire, confederate, and agree together and with each other to injure and oppress citizens of the United States who were relatives and acquaintances of the Weatherman fugitives, in the free exercise and enjoyments of certain rights and privileges secured to them by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America."


He was convicted and got off with a fine (he could have received ten years) and was pardoned by Ronald Reagan in 1981.
10.23.2008 12:32am
JB:
He was pardoned by Ronald Reagan?

Only a traitorous communist would pardon such an evil man! Reagan was clearly unfit to be President, given this clear evidence of his support for Ayers's views! And didn't Reagan negotiate directly, even cordially, with the leaders of an enemy nation bent on world domination, one far more dangerous than Al-Qaeda, and who had supplied weapons to countries that killed tens of thousands of Americans?
10.23.2008 12:36am
Hoosier:
second history:
Prof. Bernstein continues his increasingly irrelevant obsession with Prof. Ayers . . . . oh well, at least it will be over soon . . . .

Why?

Has Ayers sent him a "package"?!!!!

DON'T OPEN IT DAVID!!!!
10.23.2008 12:46am
David M. Nieporent (www):
He was pardoned by Ronald Reagan?

Only a traitorous communist would pardon such an evil man! Reagan was clearly unfit to be President, given this clear evidence of his support for Ayers's views! And didn't Reagan negotiate directly, even cordially, with the leaders of an enemy nation bent on world domination, one far more dangerous than Al-Qaeda, and who had supplied weapons to countries that killed tens of thousands of Americans?
Snark is funnier if it's based on reading comprehension. It was Felt that was pardoned by Reagan, not Ayers.
10.23.2008 1:33am
Grover Gardner (mail):

Snark is funnier if it's based on reading comprehension.


And sarcasm is wicked--unless you follow the thread.
10.23.2008 1:41am
Grover Gardner (mail):

The University was a place I went to as a adult(18y/o) and paid my hard earned money for them to do a job. That was it...It was for my future to be able to have a job and make a living in this GREAT capitalistic country.


So, don't leave us hanging! Did you get a job and make a living in this great capitalistic country?
10.23.2008 1:50am
eric (mail):
Does it annoy anyone else when commenters seem to think that they should be able to decide what is and what is not the proper subject matter for a blog post? Go start your own blog, don't just piss and moan here.

Regarding the subject matter of DB's post, it is clear that Ayers is a domestic terrorist because Ayers admitted as much. However, leftist professors attempt to rationalize their support and perhaps friendship with him by characterizing his action in such absurd language. I guess Tim McVeigh was just fervently protesting perceived federal governmnet tyranny, not blowing up innocent people.

Ayers is a less competent McVeigh. Too bad he did not mean the same or a similar fate.
10.23.2008 1:51am
The Cabbage (mail):
Also from the letter:

"All citizens, but particularly teachers and scholars, are called upon to challenge orthodoxy, dogma,[etc. etc.] Without critical dialogue and dissent we would likely be burning witches and enslaving our fellow human beings to this day. "

If they're professors, they should be smart enough to stay away from imagery about fire and harming other people.
10.23.2008 2:29am
Milhouse (www):
Thought experiment: suppose McCain or Palin had a close political ally who had been charged with but not convicted of a string of rapes committed 40 years ago, but who admitted his guilt, never pretended to regret it, and openly said "those bitches deserved it". What would we be hearing from each side of politics?

Better still, suppose such a person had approached Obama during his Columbia years, offering such an alliance as he has had with Ayers; as soon as Obama found out what he had done and that he was unrepentant, would he not have dropped him immediately? In fact, wouldn't he have dropped the relationship even if the rapist did regret what he'd done? Is rape really worse than what Ayers did?
10.23.2008 2:49am
Russ (mail):
What is the point here, anyway? DB says it's to lampoon silly professors. But DB no doubt admires the founders of this country, who as young men used violence to change the social order. So perhaps the silliness in DB's mind is not the willingness of Ayers as a youth to use violence or the willingness of others now to defend him, but merely that it's silly to use violence to promote communism, because communism doesn't work. I admit that IS silly, but I don't think DB is making his case all that well.

Wow, comparing the Founding Fathers to Ayers. Who says moral equivilance isn't alive?

Here are a few other fill in the blanks:

Tim McVeigh didn't participate in terrorist activities. He passionately joined the Survivalist Movement.

James Earl Ray didn't assasinate MLK. He passionately objected to what Dr. King was doing.

The Japanese didn't bomb Pearl Harbor. They passionately protested the sanctions against their peace loving nation.

Anyone else come up with something?
10.23.2008 2:52am
Sam Adams (mail):
Russ, be serious. If I said Obama and Hitler have in common the rhetorical ability to passionately move millions of people, that would be making a comparison between Obama and Hitler, but not a moral comparison. Ayers, who is despicable, and several founders of this country, whom I admire, can be compared in various ways, without making a moral equivalence. Not all comparisons are moral comparisons. Please don't let your emotions devolve your reasoning ability to junior high level interpretive errors.
10.23.2008 3:22am
David Warner:
Sam you are,

Violently overthrowing tyranny to establish democracy: cool
Violently overthrowing democracy to establish tyranny: uncool

Serious enough?
10.23.2008 3:41am
Sam Adams (mail):
DW,

You write two sentences that make a distinction, perhaps simplistic but certainly not something to argue with, as far as it goes. It seems as if you are directing this distinction at me. Perhaps you did not read my original contributions, which offer nothing to which your post can reasonably be seen as a counterpoint.

My earlier posts noted that I admired the founders and found Ayers despicable. They noted that since both use violence, it cannot be violence alone that DB attacks Ayers for, or that DB lampoons others for ignoring about Ayers. Rather, I suggested, what DB actually opposes is likely Ayers' attempted use of violence to bring about communism, which is a tyrannical system.

It seems from your post you completely agree with me. Thanks. I appreciate the support.
10.23.2008 6:36am
Hoosier:
The Cabbage
Also from the letter:

"All citizens, but particularly teachers and scholars, are called upon to challenge orthodoxy, dogma,[etc. etc.] Without critical dialogue and dissent we would likely be burning witches and enslaving our fellow human beings to this day. "

If they're professors, they should be smart enough to stay away from imagery about fire and harming other people.


Maybe the "we" refers to those who signed the letter?
10.23.2008 8:49am
JB:
David M. Nieporent,
Sorry about that. I glossed over "Felt."
10.23.2008 8:54am
GMUSOL05:
That seals it. I am definitely not voting for Ayers this election cycle.
10.23.2008 9:16am
JosephSlater (mail):
I clicked, and was disappointed that the answer wasn't:

"became perhaps the most counterproductive attempt at a negative talking point in modern Presidential campaign history, almost as much of a drag on the McCain candidacy as Sarah Palin."
10.23.2008 9:29am
krs:
Dan (or should I call you Tookie?), signatures are reviewed before posting. Yours didn't make the cut, unfortunately
10.23.2008 9:48am
Cro (mail):
I like how the word "passion" has replaced the words "anger" and "hatred" in left wing discourse.
10.23.2008 9:54am
Wart Churchill:
> I guess Tim McVeigh was just fervently
> protesting perceived federal governmnet
> tyranny, not blowing up innocent people.

The workers in the Murrah building weren't innocent people; they were Little Eichmanns.

McVeigh -- a regular guy in the neighborhood -- was just bringing the chickens home to roost.
10.23.2008 10:02am
runape (mail):
David Bernstein - moonlighting as a DNC fundraiser. (A little more smug and you could moonlight as a DNC speechwriter.)
10.23.2008 10:26am
Jeffersonian22 (mail):
What, no higher-ed defense of Eric Rudolph? After all, isn't he just a guy who "participated passionately in the anti-abortion movement" like hundreds of thousands of his fellow citizens?

It's like beer goggles...the more the issue is blurred, the better it looks.
10.23.2008 10:35am
Annonymous Coward:
Much like Ted Kaczynski was a passionate supporter of the ecosystem and Timothy McVeigh was a passionate supporter of individual rights.
10.23.2008 10:38am
Annonymous Coward:
Late, as usual.
10.23.2008 10:47am
davidbernstein (mail):
Sam Adams:

Were the British out to capture George Washington because he "participated passionately in the anti-British movement" or because he "led a revolutionary army in revolt against British rule?"
10.23.2008 10:58am
will (truly a nobody here) (mail):
Just wanted to interject, for what it's worth, that September 11 was organized by people from Saudi Arabia. The current sitting president refers to at least one member of the royal family from Saudi Arabia in familial terms ... I'm sure you can see where this is going so I'll just leave the remaining extrapolation out. Are there similar apologists for the Saudi royal family?
10.23.2008 11:17am
josh:
DB:

"This is amusing on so many levels I don't know where to begin."

Please, don't let us stop you.

As I've said in your 473 previous posts on the subject, thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
10.23.2008 11:17am
nlcatter:
Proof?

.
.
.I thought so
10.23.2008 11:23am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Just wanted to interject, for what it's worth, that September 11 was organized by people from Saudi Arabia. The current sitting president refers to at least one member of the royal family from Saudi Arabia in familial terms ... I'm sure you can see where this is going so I'll just leave the remaining extrapolation out. Are there similar apologists for the Saudi royal family?
If Bush had been close friends with Osama bin Laden, the analogy would work well. But it isn't just that Obama was friends with members of the same nation as Bill Ayers, but friends and political allies with Bill Ayers.
10.23.2008 11:36am
Joel Rosenberg (mail) (www):
Does it annoy anyone else when commenters seem to think that they should be able to decide what is and what is not the proper subject matter for a blog post?

Yes.
10.23.2008 11:46am
DiverDan (mail):

-- I have now signed the petition of support. Well, not me exactly. Actually, it was C. Lutwidge Dodgson, Department of Mathematics, Oxford University. I thought that they might not catch that one. We shall see. --


And for those of you who complain that this Blog has gone off on an irrelevant topic, I can only say:

"The time has come," the Walrus said, "to talk of many things: Of shoes -- and ships -- and sealing- wax, of cabbages and kings, of why the sea is boiling hot, and whether pigs have wings."
10.23.2008 12:17pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
Yeah, what's the big deal with Obama having a long relationship with an unrepentant domestic terrorist? Everyone has a friend or two who has killed several people in the passionate participation in American civic life. If Obama were white, no one would have noticed.
10.23.2008 12:51pm
SeaDrive:
The biggest problem with the Ayers relationship as a campaign issue is that it is backward-looking. Does anyone think Obama is going to try to install Ayers in the White House, or in the Cabinet? No. Would the Senate confirm any such nomination? No. Would Ayers have any serious influence on an Obama presidency? No.

So it's straight character assassination via guilt by association.
10.23.2008 1:02pm
Thales (mail) (www):
Before you write in a vote for Ayers, please, truly consider the company he pals around with. Can you really trust him? Who *is* Bill Ayers?
10.23.2008 1:14pm
How to reform the MSM ======^ (mail) (www):
At least be thankful of one thing: no one above trotted out the line that BHO was just eight years old when Ayers passionately participated. (He was just 19 years old - barely a toddler - when they killed three people in a case for which Dohrn was jailed several months, but they always forget to include that).

Regarding the petition, when I checked a week or so ago they were moderating signatures, and Bobbie &Steve Dooley from the Western Estates Progressive Homeowners Coalition didn't make the cut.
10.23.2008 1:15pm
mariner:
Hoosier:
Dan M.: Thanks for the tip. I have now signed the petition of support. Well, not me exactly. Actually, it was C. Lutwidge Dodgson, Department of Mathematics, Oxford University. I thought that they might not catch that one. We shall see.

That was inspired.

Let's see how many here catch it. ;)
10.23.2008 1:17pm
Nunzio:
Why are educators praising Bill Ayers when his work in education has produced no beneficial results. He may have tried to reform public schools in Chicago but they still suck.

Shouldn't they be circulating a petition saying, "Do not blame the young, privileged Bill Ayers for blowing up government buildings and still wishing he had blown up more. Blame him for being a totally ineffective education reformer."
10.23.2008 1:21pm
DiverDan (mail):
mariner - I caught it immediately, so I quoted Dodgson in my earlier post.
10.23.2008 1:29pm
second history:
My standard for relevancy of the Ayers issue to Barak Obama becoming President rests on three questions:

1) Is Ayers running for President? No, therefore discussion is irrelevant.

2) Has Obama taken any actions that support the goals of the Weather Underground? No, therefore discussion is irrelevant.

3) Has Obama expressed any views that support the actions of the Weather Underground? No, therefore discussion is irrelevant.

My reaction, then is so what? Case closed.
10.23.2008 1:39pm
Nunzio:
second history,

Since Obama and Ayers worked together to "reform" education in Chicago and were total failures, this is is relevant. Obama's philosophy is to throw more money at the problem even though study after study shows this doesn't work and Obama's first hand experience shows it doesn't work.

I agree that the mere fact that Obama was at home with the Radical Chic crowd doesn't show anything other than he's pretty comfortable around left wing loons, which we know anyway.
10.23.2008 1:53pm
David Warner:
Second history:

You forgot:

(4) I want Obama to win. Therefore I'll change the referrant from Ayers to the whole WU in (2) or (3) and hope no one notices. Then I'll ignore any evidence that could answer (2) or (3) in the affirmative.

I want him to win too, so I'm not about to point you to that evidence, but your post does more to illustrate your cluelessness (on this issue) than a closed case.
10.23.2008 1:54pm
David Warner:
Sam,

So the problem with tyranny is that it "doesn't work"? The rotting corpse of William James so much in use these days by a legion of academic Edgar Bergens might agree, but I doubt James himself would, nor, you know, the Founders, nor the proverbial reasonable man.
10.23.2008 2:01pm
Thomass (mail):
Just cared too much. :)
10.23.2008 2:04pm
Hoosier:
The premise of second history's post is rather convenient for Obama supporters. "Obama's associations are irrelevant."

Here's why that won't wash: The Democratic Party chose to nominate a novice with no meaningful record of accomplishments in his limited time in the Senate. How are we to judge what sort of president he would make? Not based on his record of concrete successes and failures. That's too short and too thin.

So we are asked to vote for him based on (1) Who he is; and (2) What he thinks.

How am I to judge him on either of these? Since his history in office provides so little to work with, I'm going to look at other choices that he has made. And his choice of associates in one of those factors.

The goal of Obamaphiles around here seems to be making the case that anything that doesn't deal with policy issues is not legitimate. But it was they who chose to nominate a man with such a thin record of actual accomplishment on policy issues. This was their choice.
10.23.2008 2:05pm
Sarcastro (www):
Whomever a politician works with is clearly a close friend since politicians work with so very few people. Obama and Ayers worked together like three times!

That means it was incumbent on Obama to read up on and disassociate himself from this guy, like so many others who worked with Ayers totally did.

Thus, these attacks on Ayers are very effective attacks on Obama!

I must confess that I myself read G. Gordon Liddy's book and listened to his radio show a couple of times. Clearly, my judgment is impaired. Imagine if I had actually palled around out with the guy?!
10.23.2008 2:07pm
Nunzio:
Hoosier,

I disagree. Obama's failure as a community organizer and education reformer, his failure as an Illinois State Senator, and most of his policy views are plenty reason not to vote for the guy.

I could care less about Bill Ayers and Rev. Wright because I don't believe that Obama shares their personal beliefs. He's comfortable around people like them because Obama's pretty left wing, that's all.

Obama's also comfortable around Warren Buffet and Colin Powell nowadays.

Obama's a go along, get along type of guy, which isn't really a bad thing. He's just not a leader.
10.23.2008 2:12pm
David Warner:
Seadrive,

"The biggest problem with the Ayers relationship as a campaign issue is that it is backward-looking."

Is it?

The problem with Ayers (and the tens of thousands of his fellow denture-wearers sprinkled about the upper reaches of our institutions who share his views or wrongly sweep them under the rug) is that he is truly illiberal and (literally) anti-American. Ask him, he'll tell you.

A lot of us are concerned by how widely such views hold sway, if for no other reason than that they make liberal ideas and institutions look bad and thus lessen the likelihood that new generations will take them seriously. They also lead good faith efforts such as Annenberg to squander money on political goals rather than improving student achievement among those who need that improvement most. I've participated in more than one education course that encouraged us to "subvert" our students against their parents in pursuit of explicitly radical goals, cloaked in "social justice" language.

Like anyone who's pursued a no-enemies-to-the-left path to power, Obama's worked, at times closely, with many of these people, and at times has furthered their goals along with his own. If that's not at least a question in need of an answer, I wonder why that's so.

In his books, he talks about moving away from Alinsky after the failure of his community organizing, so I can only assume a similar dynamic is at work with Annenberg/Woods. How do I know this? By his present associates.

So innocence by association is fine, but not guilt in this case?

Per Josh, Rovely ignoring this question will not help you govern after you've won.
10.23.2008 2:25pm
SeaDrive:
In his books, he talks about moving away from Alinsky after the failure of his community organizing, so I can only assume a similar dynamic is at work with Annenberg/Woods. How do I know this? By his present associates.


I suppose that if you think all the positions that he has articulated on the campaign trail in the last very-much-too-many months have been crafted purely for political expediency, and that he has fooled his mainstream political associates about his intentions to somehow lead the Congress into passing the necessary legislation to turn the US into Finland or Switzerland or France, then you are right to vote against him. But even if his association with Ayers is closer than anyone has managed to articulate, it seems pretty weak evidence to me.

(I've never traveled in Europe, but from what I've read, Finland, Switzerland and France are all pretty nice places. Even nicer than Alaska, in some ways.)
10.23.2008 2:52pm
General Disarray:

I note there are ten of Mr. Bernstein's George Mason colleagues on the list of supporters. Must be some mistake.


No, no mistake. That's the difference between the main campus (where all the GMU signers of the letter teach -- in fields that make me laugh) and the law school.
10.23.2008 2:54pm
Thales (mail) (www):
"The goal of Obamaphiles around here seems to be making the case that anything that doesn't deal with policy issues is not legitimate. But it was they who chose to nominate a man with such a thin record of actual accomplishment on policy issues. This was their choice."

Speaking (charitably) for Obamaphiles around here, I think that's correct. It's a totally legitimate criticism of Obama that he's not old or experienced enough for some criterion. I happen not to agree with this view, and note in passing that policy views and past legislative accomplishments are distinct. I also note that by some lights conventional legislative experience can be both a positive and a negative.

The Obamaphiles also, and I think totally legitimately, think the Ayers supports domestic terrorists, guilt by association or bad judgment in choosing 'friends' memes are silly, and that many of the claims made by the McCain campaign and supporters are (in rough order of severity) desperate, outlandish, unsupported by fact, blatant lies or actively destructive of the civil democratic tradition and process. There's zero evidence that Obama is or was close to Ayers, did anything other than serve on a nonpartisan charity board and show up at his house for Hyde Park political community events, that Ayers ghostwrote his books, that Ayers has any political influence over Obama, that Ayers is part of his campaign in any way or that Ayers will be part of an Obama White House. Or, to sum up, the Ayers thing is bullshit, but feel free to keep peddling it (here I exempt you, Hoosier, since you're clearly not a mouthbreather or paranoiac). It's not working.
10.23.2008 4:02pm
wfjag:
Dear Prof. Bernstein:

How can you possibly question someone supported by such a literate educator as:


[#] 1299 Richard Levins Harvard School of Pulic Health

?

For further information, see www.pulic.com/index.htm
10.23.2008 4:03pm
EIDE_Interface (mail):
If the Volokh brothers found Dr. Bernsteins' political posts unacceptable they would ask him to leave already. So my advice for the trolls is - back off.
10.23.2008 4:13pm
David Warner:
SeaDrive,

"I've never traveled in Europe, but from what I've read, Finland, Switzerland and France are all pretty nice places. Even nicer than Alaska, in some ways."

Switzerland would actually be outstanding, but its an anomaly in Europe. Finland or France would obviously not be disastrous. But these are clearly not the sort of systems the Hard Left has in mind, on the rare occasions when they cease hating on extant western democracies long enough to consider the alternatives.


Thales,

"There's zero evidence that Obama is or was close to Ayers"

This is a premise, on which the rest of your arguments rely, which is simply not the case. Refusal to engage evidence is not the same as its non-existence. I'm moved enough by Obama's positive vision to assume he's either learned from past failures or worked with and supported Ayers (and accepted his support) because Ayers was an accepted part of the Chicago power structure (due largely to his father).

Ayers himself (sans terrorism) is emblematic of a pretty common character in progressive circles. If you could provide evidence of Obama speaking to the failure of the worldview Ayers represents, I'd be appreciative.
10.23.2008 4:18pm
Thales (mail) (www):
David Warner,

What evidence do you mean? Note that I concede that they served on a board and were active in the same neighborhood political community. If that is what you are talking about, I concede this kind of "closeness." I don't think this establishes they were "close" for purposes of the intimations of the McCain attack ads or Palin campaign rallies, which by insinuation attribute Ayers' views and acts to Obama.

As for the question about worldview, what view/"pretty common character" is it that you mean outside of willingness at one point to commit acts of terrorism? I would think the onus is on you to show that Obama has this "pretty common character," but I can't speak to it unless you clarify your remarks.
10.23.2008 5:06pm
Xanthippas (mail) (www):

This is amusing on so many levels I don't know where to begin.


No, what's truly amusing is that the vast majority of right-wingers didn't even know who the hell Bill Ayers was before they figured out that he and Obama crossed paths at some point. What's even more amusing than that is that they can't seem to convince a majority of Americans to care about this as passionately as they do. Why is that, exactly?
10.23.2008 5:34pm
Happyshooter:
The State is not executing Mumia Abu-Jamal, it is passionately objecting to his actions.
10.23.2008 5:42pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"So it's straight character assassination via guilt by association."

How about association with Bush? Does that matter?

"What's even more amusing than that is that they can't seem to convince a majority of Americans to care about this as passionately as they do. Why is that, exactly?"
10.23.2008 6:24pm
Elliot123 (mail):
(Sorry about that last cut-off post. I'll try again.)

"So it's straight character assassination via guilt by association."

How about association with Bush? Does that matter?

"What's even more amusing than that is that they can't seem to convince a majority of Americans to care about this as passionately as they do. Why is that, exactly?"

There is no need to convince a majority, and nobody is trying to do that. All they need is a few percentage points.
10.23.2008 6:27pm
Russ (mail):
The point is not Ayers, nor has it ever been. I don't believe that Obama will be implementing terrorist actions or jihad if he becomes President.

The issue is his judgment in his associations, and what potential policy implications they hold. If it was just Ayers, it could be dismissed. But a disturbing pattern has emerged - Ayers, Wright, Rezko, etc.

One bad association is a mistake. Several is a pattern, and they reflect on his judgment.

Obama - a man who won't sit down with an ally(Columbia), but will sit down with terrorists(Ahmadinajed). Sorry, but I expect my President to have better judgment in who he associates with.
10.23.2008 6:30pm
second history:
Since Obama and Ayers worked together to "reform" education in Chicago and were total failures, this is is relevant. Obama's philosophy is to throw more money at the problem even though study after study shows this doesn't work and Obama's first hand experience shows it doesn't work.

I don't mind the attacks if this is what the attacks were saying. However, the attacks aren't about the success or failure of school reform (it's not even mentioned), but his "association" with Ayers the terrorist.

The fact that Ayers and others from the '60s (including some from Chicago's Days of Rage) just shows the cluelessness of the academic profession.

Obama - a man who won't sit down with an ally(Columbia)(sic), but will sit down with terrorists(Ahmadinajed). Sorry, but I expect my President to have better judgment in who he associates with.

I haven't heard that Obama "won't sit down with an ally (Colombia) . . . ". He opposes a trade pact, but that is different from refusing to meet with an ally (unlike McCain and Spain.)
10.23.2008 6:54pm
Sarcastro (www):
[Russ
Politicians meet and work with lots and lots of people in the course of their careers. Cherry picking a few with questionable connections does not bad judgment make.

It's like the Clinton suspicious deaths list. There sure are a lot of them but that's because the Clintons knew a whole lot of people.]
10.23.2008 6:55pm
Michael B (mail):
"They serve as warnings that anyone who voices perspectives and advances questions that challenge orthodoxy and political power may become a target, and this, then, casts a chill over free speech and inquiry and the spirit of democracy."

Whose "orthodoxy" are we talking about? In general, the irony reflected in that excerpt is rich.

Yes, much of the Ayers/Obama rhetoric is overblown.

But an unthinking dismissiveness is likewise dubious and overblown, the flip side of the same coin.

Further and most critically, most basically, the issue at hand is a simple ability to transparently debate the pros and cons, to forward the evidence in a reasoned and transparent manner. That is the test of a more genuine republican and democratic process, small 'r' and small 'd' respectively.

Heaven forfend if questions are asked, if a more temperate discussion is sought and if the request is made that the baby be distinguished from the bath water.

Fact remains, Ayers and Dhorn as unrepentant radicals, with various ties to Obama for twenty years in N.Y., Chicago, via the Annenburg Challenge, the Joyce Foundation, other ideological interests as well - is a perfectly valid mode of inquiry. E.g., here, here, here, here, here, here. Or this review by University of Chicago associate, Law Prof. Richard Epstein.

Different people will apply different weights and measures to those facts, but the facts per se are deserving of a more honest, a more transparent vetting.
10.23.2008 7:15pm
Opher Banarie (mail) (www):
They serve as warnings that anyone who voices perspectives and advances questions that challenge orthodoxy and political power may become a target, and this, then, casts a chill over free speech and inquiry and the spirit of democracy.

I think that "Joe the Plumber" would agree with that. What private citizen in his right mind would ask Obama a question with cameras rolling? I suspect those with a "left mind" would see no issue here....
10.23.2008 7:46pm
Sarcastro (www):
[Opher Banarie I take it you don't watch "The Daily Show" or read many liberal forums.

Most agree what happened to Joe was a travesty, though they accept it was an inevitability of the ratings-driven media, and not some sort of NBC-Obama-FOC conspiracy.

BTW, here's the full clip of Joe the Plumber. It's a 5 minute conversation. A bit more nuanced than "Spread the wealth."]
10.23.2008 7:53pm
tsotha:
No, what's truly amusing is that the vast majority of right-wingers didn't even know who the hell Bill Ayers was before they figured out that he and Obama crossed paths at some point.

Oh, yeah, according to Obama Ayers is a guy "from the neighborhood" who he "crossed paths" with occasionally. Well. They worked in the same office building, on the same floor, for three years. Ayers launched Obama's political career in his living room. Ayers babysat Obama's children, for Chrissakes. Obama is lying about the nature of his association with Ayers. This, I think, is what David Warner meant by your refusal to engage with the evidence.

Obama's story on Ayers is only slightly less ridiculous than his contention he sat in the pews at the racist Rev. Wright's church for twenty years and never realized what kind of person the pastor was.
10.23.2008 7:59pm
Opher Banarie (mail) (www):
Sarcastro: No, I don't watch "The Daily Show" or any other TV. Nor do I read [m]any liberal forums. I have seen the entire Joe the Plumber clip, several times, and find that the nuances are on the Obama side - trying to make a silk purse out of a sows ear, as my grandfather might have said.

Basically, Obama is following the (Socialist) theory that "equality" (ie, everyone having the same - money, home, car, etc.) is "better" than those who work harder and show initiative being rewarded for their efforts - which I view as "liberty". Any "nuance" that denies this is just a lie.

And I would agree with everything Obama wants to do ... as soon as I see Michelle and their kids in line with my mother at Kaiser to see a doctor.
10.23.2008 8:05pm
Thales (mail) (www):
"Ayers launched Obama's political career in his living room. Ayers babysat Obama's children, for Chrissakes. Obama is lying about the nature of his association with Ayers. This, I think, is what David Warner meant by your refusal to engage with the evidence."

Again, the evidence for your claims is? Note that right wing blogs that don't have documents or witnesses are not themselves evidence.
10.23.2008 8:16pm
second history:
Michael B:

I would take your argument more seriously if you cited politically neutral sources rather than Powerline, the Weekly Standard, National Review, and American Thinker, all long time opponents of any liberal Democrat, let alone Obama. The only Democrat they like is Lieberman, and if trends continue he may not be Democrat for much longer.
10.23.2008 8:43pm
Michael B (mail):
second history,

That you opt for (quite literally) nothing more than an ad hominem type dismissiveness in lieu of taking up the evidence, facts and arguments presented is suggestive that you wouldn't take anything more seriously that didn't already conform to your own political inclinations. (This is doubly ironic and telling if "second history" is suppose to allude to a more thoughtful, a more penetrating and a more conscientious review of reporters' "first draft" of history.)
10.23.2008 9:06pm
stombs (mail):



No, what's truly amusing is that the vast majority of right-wingers didn't even know who the hell Bill Ayers was before they figured out that he and Obama crossed paths at some point. What's even more amusing than that is that they can't seem to convince a majority of Americans to care about this as passionately as they do. Why is that, exactly?



Nonsense. Anyone who knew how to read a newspaper in the sixties and seventies knew who Ayers and Dohrn were (a pair of despicable criminals, if you need to be reminded). And the answer to your question is: tireless Obama-protection from his media poodles.
10.23.2008 9:07pm
Simon LeFaux:
John McCain has killed more innocent civilians than the whole Weatherman Organization (Which nobody has definitively proved has killed any.)

Wait, this is about euphemisms, he didn't kill innocent civilian, he inflicted "Collateral Damage."

Of course Ayers was blinded by the lies of the Communist Manifesto, but McCain was following the wisdom of the "Gulf of Tonkin Resolution."
10.23.2008 9:47pm
Smokey:
More on Ayers here.
10.23.2008 9:48pm
Michael B (mail):
"Most agree what happened to Joe was a travesty, though they accept it was an inevitability of the ratings-driven media, and not some sort of NBC-Obama-FOC conspiracy." Sarcastro

No, as the final and absolute authority on what "most" people think, I can state with the utmost confidence that you're wrong. I love the "inevitability" though, it seems some things are inevitable for Obama/Biden while some very different things are inevitable for McCain/Palin.

In the link provided pay heed to the Martha Gellhorn's description of genuine journalism, that "Serious, careful, honest journalism is essential, not because it is a guiding light but because it is a form of honorable behavior, involving the reporter and the reader."

Then contrast that basic, all-important principle with the mephitic quality that represents itself as "journalism" today.
10.23.2008 10:42pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Again, the evidence for your claims is? Note that right wing blogs that don't have documents or witnesses are not themselves evidence."

Does anyone think elections are determined by evidence?
10.23.2008 10:46pm
Toby:
Thales:

The Obamaphiles also, and I think totally legitimately, think the Ayers supports domestic terrorists, guilt by association or bad judgment in choosing 'friends' memes are silly, and that many of the claims made by the McCain campaign and supporters are (in rough order of severity) desperate, outlandish, unsupported by fact, blatant lies or actively destructive of the civil democratic tradition and process.

I am just waiting for Thales to denounce:

- the politics of personal destruction as it applies to someone who dared to ask his candidate a hard question
- the Palin scenarios, whether illegitmacy, incest, or merely late-term behavior causing genetic changes to an infant in utero
- the "anyone who diagrees with the leftists is an idiot" meme, whtether referring to McCain, Bush, or Palin.

When he does, his opinions on acts that are actively destructive of the civil democratic tradition and process might be worth considering by those who feel that actual bomb-making is, perhaps, actively destructive of the civil democratic tradition and process

Without that consideration, his statement is bloviating hackery, perhaps better than frothing hackery, but not much.
10.23.2008 10:49pm
Clyde (mail):
Yeah, and the thug that robbed the McCain volunteer at the ATM in Pennsylvania, beat her and scratched a B into her face with a knife was just "passionately spreading the wealth around and participating in the political process."

Yeah, we love you too, Obamites. If your Messiah is elected, I hop you get everything you deserve.
10.24.2008 12:19am
David Warner:
tsotha and Thales,

"This, I think, is what David Warner meant by your refusal to engage with the evidence."

Well, marginally, but that's pretty much par for the course, politics-wise, and the supposedly terrible judgment of working with a terrorist who had so clearly been accepted by the Chicago establishment (thanks to his rich & powerful dad, shades of Bush, Kennedy, ad nauseum, and the nailbomb backfiring before it McVeighed) doesn't concern me so much since Obama grew up in Thailand/Hawaii (like Palin in Idaho/Alaska), and so didn't have a perfect feel for the lay of the land.

My concerns run along these lines. Diamond comes from a pro-union Dem perspective. Here's evidence of a rave review Obama wrote for Ayers' book A Kind and Just Parent, suggesting sympathy for Ayers' worldview at that time. In that view, the most hopeful force in the current world is the Bolivarian Revolution of Hugo Chavez, whom Ayers lauded in this recent speech, which also lays out Ayers' worldview pretty extensively. Sol Stern's article here notes the influence of that worldview in the educational establishment, an influence I have trouble seeing as altogether healthy, and one I would welcome seeing Obama denounce, Sista Soujah style.

I don't believe that Obama shares this worldview presently, but evidence exists that he once supported it, if only for his own ends. Evidence that needs to be meaningfully countered.
10.24.2008 12:27am
David Warner:
Book review here.
10.24.2008 12:29am
Hoosier:
Clyde
Yeah, and the thug that robbed the McCain volunteer at the ATM in Pennsylvania, beat her and scratched a B into her face with a knife was just "passionately spreading the wealth around and participating in the political process."

Yeah, we love you too, Obamites. If your Messiah is elected, I hope you get everything you deserve.


I bet Obama can heal her wounds.

Simon LeFaux:
Simon Says: John McCain has killed more innocent civilians than the whole Weatherman Organization

How many did he kill? What's the number?
10.24.2008 12:32am
Hoosier:
Elliot123

Does anyone think elections are determined by evidence?

Yeah. They teach in the political science departments in Big Ten U's. Rat-choice theory is the "dominant paradigm" in the poli-sci scholarship on voting.

All those silly Benthamites . . .
10.24.2008 12:45am
second history:
Michael B sez:

second history,

That you opt for (quite literally) nothing more than an ad hominem type dismissiveness in lieu of taking up the evidence, facts and arguments presented is suggestive that you wouldn't take anything more seriously that didn't already conform to your own political inclinations . . .

I have read your sources, and remain unconvinced becuase of their clear ideological bias. It is not "ad hominem dismissiveness" to acknowledge that the American Thinker, Weekly Standard, National Review, and Powerline are journals of conservative opinion (not that there is anything wrong with that) and their opposition to Barack Obama (and the Democrats in general) has been on-going for a long time. There is nothing "fair or balanced" in their approach, and that is their right. But in evaluating an argument, you must also take into account the ideological biases of the sources.

Now if a publication like The Economist, which has no horse in the race (so to speak), conducted a balanced investigation into the Ayers-Obama relationship, that is a something I would have to take seriously.
10.24.2008 1:05am
Perseus (mail):
They teach in the political science departments in Big Ten U's. Rat-choice theory is the "dominant paradigm" in the poli-sci scholarship on voting.

Those of us paradigm shifters in political science departments would remind you that the silly Rats still have a problem explaining that irrational phenomenon known as voting.

BTW, Hoosier, how's that October Surprise you've been slow cooking? It should be almost done.
10.24.2008 1:25am
David Warner:
Second History,

"Now if a publication like The Economist, which has no horse in the race (so to speak)"

Hold on, I'll reply when I'm finished laughing, or does Second History suggests that you're reading back issues circa 1992?
10.24.2008 1:44am
second history:
Why not, Sarah Palin reads The Economist. I find The Economist a much more serious publication than any published in the US--far better than Newsweek, US News, or Time (or the Weekly Standard, National Review or American Thinker). With its unsigned articles it doesn't practice celebrity journalism like the aforementioned publications.

While it endorsed John Kerry (“The incompetent George W. Bush or the incoherent John Kerry") in 2004 and Bill Clinton in 1992 (The Economist also called for Bill Clinton's impeachment), it endorsed the Conservatives in Canada in 2008, Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007, John Howard's coalition in Australia in 2004, George Bush in 2000 and Bob Dole in 1996.

And I finished my issues from the 1990s months ago. ;)
10.24.2008 2:10am
David Warner:
Second History,

I was for Clinton in 92 too (and 96, and now). But the reason The Economist and I supported him then was that his liberalism contained a true rebuke to the Left. I wrote a (First Class, woot!) paper in 1989 at Manchester University inspired by my reading of the The Economist and The Independent of that day predicting that Clinton would be the American Gorbachev, likening glasnost and perestroika to Peel's repeal of the Corn Laws, which liberated the British economy against his own party's interests and ideology. Gorby suffered Peel's fate. Clinton resurrected the brain dead Left to avoid his.

That Left has metastasized and now threatens the liberalism once championed by those papers, even in its own pages. I have some hope that Obama, having experienced that Left and its futility first hand, will rejoin the fight, or at least co-opt its resentments into a larger liberal project. I have little doubt that today's Economist either shares that hope or sees little to object to from the Left in any case.

Besides, Obama will be the first transnational President, and The Economist is all about transnationalism.
10.24.2008 3:25am
Michael B (mail):
second history,

I didn't say ad hominem, I said an ad hominem type of dismissiveness and additionally said you didn't attend to or refute the arguements, you dismissed them and literally nothing more than that. That you indicate you dismiss them in their entirety and absent any elucidation whatsoever - after noting their source - merely puts a certain spin on your dismissiveness; it remains an opaque, unreasoned, mindless dismissiveness regardless of what type of spin you apply to it.

You might tell me you don't accept the fact that 1 + 1 = 2 if I link to a "conservative" site that takes note of that fact, but without articulating your rationale, beyond a tout court dismissiveness and a harrumph, it remains a mindless, unreasoned dismissiveness only.

Bullshit is still bullshit, no matter what spin you apply to it.
10.24.2008 4:53am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
michael:

You might tell me you don't accept the fact that 1 + 1 = 2 if I link to a "conservative" site that takes note of that fact


The problem is not that the sites you link to are 'conservative.' The problem is that they are disreputable. You repeatedly link to sites that have a clear track record of saying that 1+1=3, and then failing to run corrections when caught (see here for pointers to proof). Therefore only a fool pays attention to those sites, or someone who treats those sites as credible.

It's also amusing that you whine about an allegedly "mindless, unreasoned dismissiveness," and in the same breath incessantly smear any sources you don't like ("the mephitic quality that represents itself as 'journalism' today").
10.24.2008 9:17am
second history:
Warner--

Since many of Obama's advisors and potential Cabinet appointees are ex-Clintonites (who knows, maybe even HRC herself), I think the activist Left (epitomized by the Kossacks) will be disappointed by an Obama Administration. Any Administration will also be constrained by the financial mess we are in.

Michael B--

You might tell me you don't accept the fact that 1 + 1 = 2 if I link to a "conservative" site that takes note of that fact, but without articulating your rationale, beyond a tout court dismissiveness and a harrumph, it remains a mindless, unreasoned dismissiveness only.

To quote Ronald Reagan, "Trust bu verify." I know 1+1=2 from independent sources. I have yet to see a analysis that explains why Obama's association with a "washed-up terrorist" is important, when the association has nothing to do with the "washed-up terrorist" 's activities in the '60s, except from sources with an ideologicasl axe to grind. Like McCain's alleged collaboration with the North Vietnamese, I think it is irrelevant, unless it can shown they condone those activities. Then again, the McCain citation is also ideologically driven.

It's been great guys--looking forward to Nov. 4th!
10.24.2008 9:38am
second history:
ideologicasl =ideological

That's what happens when you blog without your contacts.
10.24.2008 9:40am
Thales (mail) (www):
"I am just waiting for Thales to denounce:

- the politics of personal destruction as it applies to someone who dared to ask his candidate a hard question
- the Palin scenarios, whether illegitmacy, incest, or merely late-term behavior causing genetic changes to an infant in utero
- the "anyone who diagrees with the leftists is an idiot" meme, whtether referring to McCain, Bush, or Palin. "

I don't understand your first two bullet points, as they are incomplete thoughts. Hard questions are fine, however. I don't think that anyone who disagrees with a leftist is an idiot. I am a liberal, not a leftist (these are actually quite distinct, just as conservatism is distinct from authoritarianism or national socialism), and so too is Senator Obama.
10.24.2008 12:19pm
Hoosier:
Thales:

I am a liberal, not a leftist

You aren't either. You are a Milesian. Get your facts straight.

Re: Where you are on the spectrum--"Leftist" is a shade to the left of "liberal" on a right-left continuum. On the other hand, "National Socialism" was not in any way a form of "conservatism."
10.24.2008 12:29pm
Thales (mail) (www):
Incidentally, I am pleased to be called a "bloviating hack[. . .]" and have the view that I believe "actual bomb making" to be a good thing imputed to me. It cements my view that certain segments of the blogosphere are not worth engaging in constructive dialogue. But, to set the record straight, I believe bombs to be more antithetical to the democratic process than slander and stupid innuendo. I am sure my preferred candidate would agree.
10.24.2008 12:30pm
Thales (mail) (www):
Hoosier gets it right. Historically I am a Milesian--contemporarily I am a Millian.
10.24.2008 12:31pm
tsotha:
Thales,

You can start here. Yes, it's by Patrick Frey, a conservative blogger. But it's adequate documentation, in my opinion.
10.24.2008 2:13pm
David Warner:
Second History,

"Since many of Obama's advisors and potential Cabinet appointees are ex-Clintonites (who knows, maybe even HRC herself), I think the activist Left (epitomized by the Kossacks) will be disappointed by an Obama Administration. Any Administration will also be constrained by the financial mess we are in."

Agreed, except that I'll bet the Machiavellian Kossacks will be more satisfied than you think. It's always been about power more than policy with them, as Kos will tell you. Other activist Lefts may be at least mollified by Obama's ability to show respect for what it is they're attempting to do. On the flip side, Palin shows the same capacity for the conservative rank and file (her record shows little support for their policies).
10.24.2008 2:45pm
LM (mail):
Hoosier:

Clyde
Yeah, and the thug that robbed the McCain volunteer at the ATM in Pennsylvania, beat her and scratched a B into her face with a knife was just "passionately spreading the wealth around and participating in the political process."

Yeah, we love you too, Obamites. If your Messiah is elected, I hope you get everything you deserve.


I bet Obama can heal her wounds.

Right you are. And apparently The One works in mysterious ways, in this case by resurrecting Tawana Brawley as a Republican. Yes, the ATM attack story was a hoax.
10.24.2008 5:06pm
Hoosier:
Thales
"Historically I am a Milesian--contemporarily I am a Millian."

Please tell me you are kidding about the latter.
10.24.2008 5:17pm
Michael B (mail):
"Since many of Obama's advisors and potential Cabinet appointees are ex-Clintonites (who knows, maybe even HRC herself), I think the activist Left (epitomized by the Kossacks) will be disappointed by an Obama Administration. Any Administration will also be constrained by the financial mess we are in."
"Agreed, except that I'll bet the Machiavellian Kossacks will be more satisfied than you think."
Well, we simply don't know, do we? We do have commentary such as is reflected in David Gersons' decidedly more probative piece in the WaPo however, excerpt:

"... there is a reason we don’t generally praise Niebuhrian soldiers, Niebuhrian policemen — or Niebuhrian presidents. Sometimes events call for courage and clarity, not a sense of irony. And courage may be required to confront a genuinely radical and passionate Democratic Congress.

"Following an electoral victory, Obama is likely to face a massive challenge: The least responsible, least respected, least popular political institution in America — the Democratic-led Congress — would also be the most emboldened. Democratic leaders with large majorities would be pushed by conviction and hubris, and pressured by Democratic constituencies, toward divisive measures that punish and alienate businesses, seek backward-looking political vengeance and impose cultural liberalism. This predictable story of overreach, backlash and bitterness easily could destroy Obama’s presidency, even before his first achievements — unless he can suddenly find the ability to shape, tame, even fight, the self-destructive tendencies of his own party.

"A closet radical would not even resist. A conflicted Niebuhrian, with ambitions of reconciliation, might make the attempt. But maybe only a passionate, committed, courageous moderate could succeed."

And that most probably reflects a hopeful and best case scenario.
10.24.2008 6:43pm
Thales (mail) (www):
Hoosier:

Millian as in John Stuart Mill (mostly of the On Liberty variety). Not kidding.
10.24.2008 7:34pm
David Warner:
Michael B,

Thanks for the thought-provoking link. I'd need some more evidence that Niebuhr is one of Obama's favorite philosophers. Brooks' amazement at Obama's familiarity with Niebuhr says more about Brooks' shallowness than Obama's enthusiasm. Niebuhr would likely call himself a theologian, not a philosopher, in any case.

If Obama does look to Niebuhr for guidance, I think he'll find far more there of what he needs than Gerson imagines. One man who clearly did so before him was a Baptist preacher from Atlanta who gave quite a speech in front of some real Greek columns. Perhaps I missed the irony in that speech.

Maybe some of you midwestern Lutherans reading could give a proper sense of the man? It's been twenty years now since I read him closely. I don't get the sense that he lacked for courage, or the ability to inspire it in others.
10.25.2008 1:23am
Michael B (mail):
It makes little difference how completely Obama embraces Niebuhr in an outward, avowed sense. The point is that Gerson is framing, essentially, a "hope," a best case scenario, one grounded in Obama's avowed appreciation of Niebuhr but also grounded in a certain intuitive, best case sense of what Obama might represent as an executive in more practical terms.

Further Niebuhr per se does not reflect the depth many people attribute to him. Certainly not so in coming to terms with the (essential) radicalism and wastreling excesses reflected in the Pelosis, Reids, Schumers, et al. More appreciable interpretations of a Bonhoeffer, yes, but a Niebuhr, while he reflects the depth to counter various reactionary and debilitating impulses with right and center-right camps, is not at all appreciable in terms of the backbone needed to redress the Pelosis, Reids, etc.

And again, Gerson's is an attempt to plumb a type of best case scenario, not a worst case scenario.
10.26.2008 8:19pm
David Warner:
Michael B,

I don't think Pelosi, Reid, Schumer, et. al. are radicals. On the contrary, they're still wedded to a "New Deal" that is now going on 80 years old. They're reactionary. Niebuhr is associated with that same worldview because it was assumed to be the way the world was inevitably headed in his time. Given the stubbornness of New Deal ideology to this day, perhaps it was.

Were he to arise today, he might well have been a libertarian, or at least a Clinton/VDH type. Niebuhr very much came to terms with the reactionaries and the wild-eyed visionaries of his own day, both within the church and in the greater society.

See his very "constrained" (to borrow a term from other threads on this blog) worldview here. The backbone to counter the "unconstrained" left is very much there.
10.26.2008 10:21pm
Michael B (mail):
I appreciate Niebuhr in a positive more than a negative sense; the critique I'd weigh against him would be subtle, albeit critical at one or two junctures imo, but it would also be protracted. It is also less negative when viewed from the light of political praxis, rather than theoretical/ideal social and political criticism.

However, what is critical is Obama and what he has evidenced. At no point of note has he evidenced the contrariness or backbone you're indicating, in a manner that would run contrary to Gerson's suggestive, more optimistic account. He doesn't walk that talk and it's not at all clear how much he talks that talk in the first place. The contrary indicators - and indicators are all we have to go on since he's such a cipher to begin with - simply do not exist or, where they do exist, they are not at all substantial.
10.26.2008 11:03pm