Which One of These Is Not Like the Other:
(Apologies once again to readers for occupying the main space with this exchange. Feel free to skip if you're not following it.) In response to David's "analogy game" below, I'm just befuddled. As I explained earlier, Obama was making the point that he has personal relationships with other people who have views that he finds abhorrent, and that his personal relationship to them does not mean he agrees with their views. As an example, he picked his friend Senator Coburn, who has argued that abortion doctors should receive the death penalty.

  In response, David points out that Obama could have pointed out his personal relationship with three people Obama never met: John Brown, who died in 1859; Justice Hugo Black, who died when Obama was a boy; or Timothy McVeigh. What does it tell you, David asks, that Obama did not choose Brown, McVeigh, or Black as examples of personal friends of his who have abhorrent views? Maybe I'm missing a trick question, but I'm guessing it tells you that he is not personal friends with them.

  UPDATE: In his update below, David argues that Obama's comment is also objectionable because "it tells us that he simply didn't understand that his connection with Ayers was under attack not primarily because Ayers currently has radical views that one could, perhaps, analogize to Coburn's, but because unlike Coburn, Ayers was a terrorist who tried to kill innocent Americans, and he is not only proud of it, but feels he didn't do enough." But why does it tell us that Obama lacks that understanding? In my experience, sometimes politicians running for office do not come out and say things that would hurt them with voters. They try to put the best spin on things, presumably on the theory that it will help them win the race. Given that, it seems a bit odd to say that Obama's failure to volunteer an adverse point must mean that he doesn't understand it, and that his failure to understand it shows how out of the mainstream he is.