Patterico's Pontifications

4/21/2008

Obama’s Moral Hygiene

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 9:10 am



[Guest post by DRJ]

Today, Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribune editorial board notes William F. Buckley, Jr.’s “stalwart insistence on moral hygiene” in which “he rejected the temptation to join forces with anti-Semites, the John Birch Society and other extremists.” Chapman then examines the relationship between Obama and William Ayers, his “terrorist acquaintance:”

“Obama minimized his relationship by acknowledging only that he knows [William] Ayers. But they have quite a bit more of a connection than that. He’s appeared on panels with Ayers, served on a foundation board with him and held a 1995 campaign event at the home of Ayers and his wife, fellow former terrorist Bernardine Dohrn. Ayers even gave money to one of his campaigns.

It’s not as though Ayers and Dohrn have denied or repudiated their crimes. After emerging from years in hiding, they escaped federal prosecution because of government misconduct in gathering evidence, but they don’t pretend they were innocent. In 2001, Ayers said, “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.”

Dohrn has likewise rationalized the explosions, claiming that “our acts of resistance were tiny and symbolic.” She even went to prison for refusing to testify about an armored-car robbery involving her confederates. That crime was not tiny or symbolic to the two police officers or the security guard who were shot to death in the process.

All this is public record, and Barack Obama would have to be in a coma not to know it. Yet he showed no qualms about consorting with Ayers and Dohrn.

It’s hard to imagine he would be so indulgent if we learned that John McCain had a long association with a former Klansman who used to terrorize African-Americans. Obama’s conduct exposes a moral blind spot about these onetime terrorists, who get a pass because they a) fall on the left end of the spectrum and b) haven’t planted any bombs lately.

You can tell a lot about someone from his choice of friends. What this friendship reveals is that when it comes to practicing sound moral hygiene, Obama has work to do and no interest in doing it.

It must sting for a liberal to be compared to William F. Buckley, Jr., and not measure up.

— DRJ

66 Responses to “Obama’s Moral Hygiene”

  1. “William F. Buckley, Jr.’s “stalwart insistence on moral hygiene” in which “he rejected the temptation to join forces with anti-Semites, the John Birch Society and other extremists.””

    He had some not so nice things to say about the south’s ability to repress blacks. But there’s an out: those weren’t extreme ideas back then.

    stef (b7ee98)

  2. Buckley certainly didn’t avoid associating with Dixiecrats back in the day, and his fondness for Generals Franco and Pinochet was famous; it was much more than serving on “panels” and “foundation boards” with those despots. Say what you will about Ayres, there aren’t thousands of unmarked graves of his victims.

    Steve Smith (39f3b5)

  3. DRJ – For you to even point this out shows how deeply racist you are, and how unserious the Republikkans are, how corrupt the right wing MSM is, and how scared you are of the change that Baracky will bring.

    JD (5f0e11)

  4. Yeah, Obama’s moral flaws (i.e. being associated with people with people that espouse ignorance) are much worse than Buckley’s moral flaws (i.e. personally espousing ignorance). That makes sense.

    Leviticus (68eff1)

  5. It’s hard to imagine he would be so indulgent if we learned that John McCain had a long association with a former Klansman who used to terrorize African-Americans.

    Stealing from the InstaPundit – what about McCain’s long association with fellow Senator and former Klansmen Robert Byrd (D, W VA)?

    Well, the commenters here have convinced me – no way I’m voting for Buckley for President.

    Tom Maguire (b338c4)

  6. John McCain already has had a long association with a former Klansman. They work in the same place. Sen. Robert D. Byrd, WVa.(D). I think both ‘D’s’ stand for Democrat. BTW, Obama’s sleeping with someone that espouses ignorance.

    cts22 (742a20)

  7. Must post quicker.

    cts22 (742a20)

  8. There aren’t “thousands of unmarked graves” in Chile, either. Pinochet is a demon to the far left because he overthrew an elected communist, Allende. The fact that Allende was using the usual communist “One man, one vote, one time” route to dictatorship doesn’t matter because we are talking religion here. Pinochet gave Chile the most stable democracy and the best economy in Latin America. That doesn’t matter, just as losing revenue from a hike in the capital gains tax doesn’t matter.

    When considering Buckley’s (and Goldwater’s) reservations about the Civil Rights Act, you should remember that Hubert Humphrey, on the floor of the Senate, said; “If the Senator can find in Title VII … any language which provides that an employer will have to hire on the basis of percentage or quota related to color, race, religion, or national origin, I will start eating the pages one after another, because it is not in there.”

    Of course it wasn’t “in there”, they were too smart for that.

    Mike K (6d4fc3)

  9. Hey you lefties, especially Steve Smith, There would have been thousands of graves if Ayers and Dohrn had the resources to do it, and they have publically regretted not being able to do so.

    Nor were Ayers and Dohrn about peace. They were lefties who wanted to take over violently and didn’t care who they killed.

    You are moral slime to even condone anything about Ayers and Dohrn with your putrid moral relativism.

    PCD (5c49b0)

  10. “They were lefties who wanted to take over violently and didn’t care who they killed.”

    When Buckley states that the white South is entitled to ‘take such measures as are necessary,’ do you think he envisioned lynching?

    “The central question that emerges … is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not prevail numerically? The sobering answer is Yes — the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race. It is not easy, and it is unpleasant, to adduce statistics evidencing the cultural superiority of White over Negro: but it is a fact that obtrudes, one that cannot be hidden by ever-so-busy egalitarians and anthropologists”

    stef (c774c2)

  11. Of course Sen. Obama has no qualms about associating with unrepentant terrorists — in the Chicago political milieu to which he until until recently confined himself, there is no downside to consorting with the likes of Ayres, Dohrn, Wright, Meeks, etc.

    Which would be fine, if Sen. Obama were running for President of the Black Panthers or the Baader-Meinhof Gang (or Chicago Board of Aldermen). Except he’s not, and he’s going to have to answer for those associations, or be undone by them.

    Bully for Charlie and Stephi for subjecting Sen. Obama to a long-overdue vetting. Sharks will gut one of their own when its bleeding in the water, let’s hope their press brethren will follow suit.

    Pass the Popcorn…furious

    furioius_a (b6aff2)

  12. Well, stef, we now know better and that is why life in certain areas of Los Angeles is so pleasant. Remember he is talking about culture, not genetics or IQ. I don’t recall the circumstances of those statements and the white racist elements of the south used immoral and illegal measures to try to prevent blacks from voting and other political activities that were protected by the Constitution. Those are two different matters. The post-Civil War Reconstruction was botched and left us with 100 years of consequences. I’m sure Buckley never supported illegal activities such as lynching but you are suggesting he did to try to invalidate any criticism of the left’s plans for social engineering.

    Mike K (6d4fc3)

  13. #8
    Mike, I’ve lived in Chile and heard first hand accounts of some of the things Pinochet did. I have friends who saw mass executions with their own eyes. Pinochet did a lot for the country, and relinquished power voluntarily, but that does not excuse his actions. Reliable reports indicate around 3000 killed by order of Pinochet.

    He may have been the lesser evil in L America at the time, it was nasty all over, but evil he was.

    Dr T (69c4b2)

  14. Ayres and Dohrn weren’t terrorists for the cause of civil rights. Just some punk kids who thought they knew better than anyone else and were cheerleaded to do the things they did by a changing culture.

    Yes, those who participated in lynchings were for the most part some ignorant backwards peoples and the ones who weren’t were just trying to position themselves as their leaders since they were and could be easily led.

    Sounds like one of the lessons that Obama has learned at the feet of his mentor Rev. Wright.

    cts22 (742a20)

  15. stef attempts to divert with strawmen and non-sequiters. The fact is that Obama, like with Wright, had no problem closely associating with a known domestic terrorist. Only when it hinders his presidential aspirations does he attempt to distance himself from them. He is a crass political figure, offering nothing new, despite the protestations to the contrary.

    JD (75f5c3)

  16. When Buckley states that the white South is entitled to ‘take such measures as are necessary,’ do you think he envisioned lynching?

    No stef, he envisioned some people being the only people able to keep some other people from killing their own people.

    nk (35ac33)

  17. “I’m sure Buckley never supported illegal activities such as lynching but you are suggesting he did to try to invalidate any criticism of the left’s plans for social engineering.”

    He goes on to write:

    “Sometimes it becomes impossible to assert the will of a minority, in which case it must give way, and the society will regress; sometimes the numerical minority cannot prevail except by violence: then it must determine whether the prevalence of its will is worth the terrible price of violence.”

    http://powerofnarrative.blogspot.com/2008/02/our-saint-of-buckley-derided-defiled.html

    It’s from 1957. After Brown, but before the passage of the 1964 civil rights act.

    So maybe there is another out: it could be morally hygenic to people who find this morally ok.

    stef (8a983a)

  18. yada yada, and hillary clinton’s husband pardoned susan rosenberg, who had actually been convicted of participating in the robbery/murders you mentioned. john mccain got into bed with charles keating, who shamelessly stole money from vulnerable seniors, then escaped justice. i’ll take peace and prosperity over moral hygiene.

    assistant devil's advocate (f2ff34)

  19. “No stef, he envisioned some people being the only people able to keep some other people from killing their own people”

    “some people” or “those people”?

    stef (87fe55)

  20. Stop being a moron and take my comment in good faith. Who has the power to allocate law enforcement resources — to keep the poorest neighborhood as safe as mine?

    nk (35ac33)

  21. ADA,

    If you want prosperity, you should vote for the candidate that promises to cut taxes.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  22. “Who has the power to allocate law enforcement resources — to keep the poorest neighborhood as safe as mine?”

    I’m not following what this has to do with 1957.

    stef (87fe55)

  23. (i.e. being associated with people with people that espouse ignorance)

    I’m not sure announcing one’s bid for State Senate at the home of Ayers would be as slight as merely “associateing”…

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  24. I’m not following what this has to do with 1957.

    Since we are talking about Baracky in the 2008 election, I am not clear what 1957, 51 years ago before Baracky was born, has to do with this.

    JD (75f5c3)

  25. Scott

    He hardly knew him. True. I promise.

    JD (75f5c3)

  26. Buckley’s culpability…
    As far as I know, there are no graves due to the direct actions of National Review;
    the same cannot be said about the Weather Underground.

    Ayers and Dorhn are murderers, and should have been made responsible for their actions/crimes.

    Another Drew (f9dd2c)

  27. “Since we are talking about Baracky in the 2008 election, I am not clear what 1957, 51 years ago before Baracky was born, has to do with this.”

    The first sentence of the post talks about:

    “William F. Buckley, Jr.’s “stalwart insistence on moral hygiene””

    And then the post concludes:

    “It must sting for a liberal to be compared to William F. Buckley, Jr., and not measure up.”

    So lets talk about how to measure WFB’s “stalwart insistence on moral hygiene.”

    “As far as I know, there are no graves due to the direct actions of National Review;”

    Nor of Obama

    stef (87fe55)

  28. But there are due to the Weather Underground, a violent terrorist group that Ayers and Dorhn were leaders of.
    Obama associates with those two on a regular basis, and seems to be fine with that.
    I would think that Mr. Buckley (and National Review) were critical of those un-democratic actions taken by Pinochet; none of which were done in his (or NR’s) name.

    Another Drew (f9dd2c)

  29. Vote for Obama – he didn’t try to kill anyone!

    Vote for McCain – he tried to kill a murderous communist regime!

    I like this contrast.

    Ed (f28e9a)

  30. To follow stefs ramblings down the rabbit hole, there are deaths associates to Ayers, but not associated with Buckley.

    JD (75f5c3)

  31. Thanks for the back-up JD!

    Another Drew (f9dd2c)

  32. Obama talks to some dude who was a “terrorist” when O was about 8 years old, but not later. McCain talks to some dude who was a “terrorist” when McCain was the same age???? and we presume not later (actually we presume it for both of them huh?), Buckley sympathized with Jim Crow utilitarians and admired a dictator who “dissappeared” a lot of people who got in his way.
    All THREE of them are/were associated with asshats. All of whom were asshats coz they knew what was right better than anyone else and were going to stomp their point of view down everyone’s throat no matter what.

    Is this new? They are politicians, pundits, and power brokers.

    Where is our perfect white knight? Pure and free of stain? Give up.

    EdWood (c2268a)

  33. Ed, if you’re looking for a White Knight, I suggest you go back to reading fairy tales, for they only exist there.

    If you’re looking for the proverbial strong man on a horse…fascist history is full of them.

    Another Drew (f9dd2c)

  34. “Buckley sympathized with Jim Crow utilitarians”

    haha. Jim Crow utilitarians. too much

    stef (84a199)

  35. Obama talks to some dude who was a “terrorist” when O was about 8 years old, but not later.

    While Ayer’s acts might have been when Obama was 8, to this day Ayers is not only unrepentant for his actions, but thinks they should have done more.

    Obama did not merely “talk” to Ayers, but worked closely with him, and held a campaign even when he ran for Illinois State Senate at the home of Ayers. Ayer’s wife (also an unrepantant terrorist) donated money to Obama.

    Your attempts to minimize Obama’s contact with Ayers is pathetic…

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  36. EdWood,

    Ayers said he stood by his terrorist acts in a 2001 New York Times’ article and there’s no indication his views have changed since then. I wouldn’t socialize and do business with someone who thinks it’s okay to bomb someone, no matter how friendly they are.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  37. “I’m not sure announcing one’s bid for State Senate at the home of Ayers would be as slight as merely “associateing”…”

    – Scott Jacobs

    What would it be, Scott?

    Leviticus (b987b0)

  38. It sounds like Ayers was a sponsor or at least a host.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  39. If nothing else, BHO’s willingness to go to the home of an avowed terrorist proves he is no liar. The dude really will go to Tehran and Damascus and Gaza.

    Ed (f28e9a)

  40. Yes, Ed. But will he do us a favor and stay there?

    Another Drew (f9dd2c)

  41. I’m sure we will hear a lot about Keating this fall, which was the intent of the Democrat dominated ethics committee when they dragged McCain into the scandal created by Cranston, a left wing senator from California. Keating was his constituent and nothing was ever proven about McCain. It did have a bad effect on McCain by humiliating him and making him far too enthusiastic about limits on political fund raising.

    I was not nominating Pinochet for sainthood but the alternative with Allende in control would have killed more people only they would have been a different group.

    Mike K (86bddb)

  42. DRJ wrote: Ayers said he stood by his terrorist acts in a 2001 New York Times’ article and there’s no indication his views have changed since then. I wouldn’t socialize and do business with someone who thinks it’s okay to bomb someone, no matter how friendly they are.

    James Taranto of WSJ Online’s Best of the Web Today pointed out that if Ayers’ lack of repentance had been scheduled for the September 12th edition of the New York Times, Sulzberger’s crew would have killed the story altogether.

    L.N. Smithee (b17309)

  43. Another Drew #34
    About the white knight comment, I was being facetious. I’m not looking for a white knight, I’d settle for someone competent to do the job. THAT should be where the scrutiny on Obama should fall, not on whether or not he agrees with people who don’t want him in office anyway on whether old faux revolutionarys from the 60’s are suitable dinner companions.

    EdWood (dd1ba8)

  44. Scott Jacobs #36 Your attempts to minimize Obama’s contact with Ayers is pathetic…

    I am merely pointing out that Obama wansn’t a contemporary. He only can go on what people tell him about someone and his own impressions. Ayer’s put his own spin on those 2001 comment and maybe O believes him (see, the callow youth angle comes up AGAIN, not the “ooooh he hangs out with a terrorist angle”)

    He also may subscribe to the idea that if you don’t try to reach “far (left-right)” groups and convince them there is a better way to do things, that you never bring them back closer to the center.
    I don’t know the man’s motivations and neither do you. It would be interesting to see if an Obama presidency would walk the walk domestically and try and bring supremist groups (white black and latino) more towards the mainstream of society.
    (Oh and all those lunatic Texan sep’ratists too- Haw)

    EdWood (dd1ba8)

  45. Ayer’s put his own spin on those 2001 comment and maybe O believes him (see, the callow youth angle comes up AGAIN, not the “ooooh he hangs out with a terrorist angle”)

    That would be an option I was willing to buy if Ayers hadn’t gleefully claimed “Guilty as hell, free as a bird, America is a great country”.

    Ayers holds no remorse for what he did.

    If you think that sort of person is a great guy, then by all means, vote for Obama. You’ll be seeing far more like Ayers is positions of authority in this country should Obama win.

    I have no trouble with reaching out to groups to the far ends of politics (though I don’t recall having seen Obama reach Right, only Left), but the moment Code Pink tries to blow up a recruiting station, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t even speak there name unless I wanted to spit.

    Get the difference?

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  46. Scott,

    When you have “people” like stef pulling the Moral Relativism, you can’t reason with them as they have no real reasoning, just self-justification.

    PCD (5c49b0)

  47. DOesn’t mean I can’t ocationally try…

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  48. Scott Jacobs #46,

    Ayers said that “free as a bird” is NOT what he meant (the spin). That is what I mean by working the “”inexperience” angle with Obama, or the “judgement” angle. It could be argued that Obama should be more savvy or is too trusting or doesn’t read his history and is too quick to fall for some well spoken radical’s smooth line. You could even go farther and say that there are too few ACTIONS of Obama’s to let voters determine if his deeds belie his words. With govenors you can look at who they appointed as advisors etc. in their state level administrations.

    Squawking that Obama associates with a terrorist sounds over the top to me, since Ayers hasn’t bombed anything in 30 years and the government let the man off the hook.

    One could just as easily squawk about McCain’s association with a former KKK Congressman. So what if the good Congressman “repented” or “regretted” or whatever? That could just mean he’s learned to keep his mouth shut right?

    I don’t know about you but even reasonable doubts on a person’s character or judgement that are couched in innuendo-style ways just sound like another Rove-FOX-style con job. The libs have finally figured out that this kind of shock advertising works too. For me I find innuendo and gotcha and parsing annoying (unless it’s really funny or a really good gotcha).

    One of my fave moments in the Republican Debates was when Fred Thompson led a rebellion by the candidates against the latest insipid jackass question that some moderator had flung at him.

    EdWood (c2268a)

  49. Ed, #49, I can’t believe with all you analyzed that you can’t accept that O-Bomb-a has no moral compass or that with ALL the joint speaking appearances with Ayers that O-Bomb-a didn’t get the idea that Ayers was not someone to associate with.

    Also, Why didn’t O-Bomb-a ask Rev. Wright where the CASH donations to Katrina went? Did it fund the Rev’s retirement?

    PCD (5c49b0)

  50. and the government let the man off the hook.

    No, the government screwed up evidence collection in the 10 years the guy was on the lamb.

    Not exactly off the hook…

    Ayers has admitted to what he did, said he’s not sorry for having done it, and wishes he could have done more.

    Why are you even TRYING to defend the guy, and Obama’s association with him?

    And the question My Man Fred revolted against was “Raise your hand if you believe in Global Warming”

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  51. Ed…
    Unfortunately, we elected someone in ’92 who had unquestioned competancy, but whose moral failings were so glaring that he now finds himself the butt of late-night TV jokes.
    Richard Nixon was competant! Do we want to go there? I don’t think so.
    We need to examine the “content of a man’s character” to determine whether or not he is worthy of being elected to the highest office in the land.
    A man’s associates tell us what his character is.
    What a man does when no one is watching is the indicator of whether or not he knows the difference between right and wrong.
    This man has no content in that character, at least as far as I (and many others) can see.
    Your experience may be different.

    Another Drew (f9dd2c)

  52. Scott,

    Your comment made me nostalgic for Fred.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  53. Another Drew,

    Sure, your comment makes good sense. So. We look at ALL the associates of each candidate and that tells us the content of their character. But we look at them ALL right?

    And then we look at their ACTIONS which also tells us about the content of their character. Who they are willing to screw (or not) for political gain or expediency. What will they give up to stay in power or to keep their integrity. Will they debate their opponents fairly or spread innuendo in place of actual substance? See, I think Obama is weaker here in that he hasn’t done too much. It makes him scarier and more of a cypher. I am sure that he has plenty of good, moral, upstanding associates to balance out an Ayers or two.

    (Who I’m not defending. I’m not from the 70’s so I have only read about the weathermen. I was 8, like big O so I have no strong opinions about the guy).

    EdWood (c2268a)

  54. A man’s associates tell us what his character is.

    Sigh….

    No, no they don’t. When you describe yourself, do you define yourself in terms of your associates?

    Levi (76ef55)

  55. EdWood wrote: One could just as easily squawk about McCain’s association with a former KKK Congressman. So what if the good Congressman “repented” or “regretted” or whatever? That could just mean he’s learned to keep his mouth shut right?

    First of all, the most glaring fallacy of your argument is that Ayers hasn’t learned to keep his mouth shut. In fact, he was willing to run his yapper to America’s so-called paper of record.

    I presume when you refer to “McCain’s association with a former KKK Congressman,” you are referring to Robert Byrd, D-WV. If so, sure, you can “squawk,” but not without sounding ridiculous. McCain and Byrd are U.S. Senators, and as Senators remind us ad nauseam, they are immune to the acrimonious bickering of the House of Representatives. They have differences, they say, but more important is their decorum. They realize they have a mission to work together in order to get things done. That’s why they always call each other “my good friend” when they are on the Sunday shows.

    One of McCain’s selling points is that he is able to “reach across the aisle” and work with Democrats. Most conservatives would argue that this is his biggest flaw (whoa, not all at once). More than HRC or BO, he has a record of getting things done, be they correct or not. When was the last time people could list of the top of their heads three major laws with one person’s name attached?

    Could McCain have accomplished this record without that “former KKK Congressman?” Think about it, Ed: could he possible have without the cooperation of THE SENATE MAJORITY OR MINORITY LEADER?!

    NEXT!

    L.N. Smithee (e1f2bf)

  56. No Levi, you are right. But it does affect whether people will believe your self description….even if they are completely ignorant of the circumstances of your association with any one person. That is why, if we are going to use associates to define the content of a persons character, then we have to look at the ALL. And then look at a person’s actions, preferably the more recent ones.

    EdWood (c2268a)

  57. LN Smithee. Ayers said that he DIDNT mean they should have planted more bombs. You just don’t believe him.
    I was NOT, by the way, suggesting that Sen. Byrd is still in the KKK or that he supports them. It does sound like you are suggesting that politicians get a pass on who they associate with while at work though. Is that what you are saying?
    Wouldn’t it be a true mark of a strong moral compass to refuse to treat with a known ex-member of a known terrorist organization? Even if it made it harder to get money for the constituents back home?

    EdWood (c2268a)

  58. EdWood,

    “I don’t regret setting bombs,” Bill Ayers, said, “I feel we didn’t do enough.”

    Let’s assume that Ayers’ statement that he “didn’t do enough” meant he didn’t do enough to stop the Vietnam War, not that he didn’t bomb enough. Even so, it’s hard to misconstrue “I don’t regret setting bombs.”

    In addition, has Ayers ever expressed regret for his actions? Did he make restitution to the people hurt by his actions? Has he even apologized? I can’t find any indication that he did any of these things.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  59. That would be because he hasn’t…

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  60. EdWood wrote: Ayers said that he DIDNT mean they should have planted more bombs. You just don’t believe him.

    Two questions:

    1. Why should I assume the best of a self-described unrepentant domestic terrorist?

    2. Why do you?

    L.N. Smithee (b17309)

  61. EdWood wrote: Wouldn’t it be a true mark of a strong moral compass to refuse to treat with a known ex-member of a known terrorist organization? Even if it made it harder to get money for the constituents back home?

    Oh, yeah, that makes perfect sense for a Senatorial candidate to say. “Send me to Washington, I’ll get the job done. Unless I have act like I don’t despise the Senate Majority Leader. In that case, I’ll just do nothin’.”

    Now that Strom Thurmond is gone, Byrd is the last of a dying breed — an acknowledged bigot elected into national office — and he will probably continue to serve West Virginia as long as he can stay awake while standing. With that longevity comes power and respect, deserved or not. Anybody who ran for Senate thinking they can just work around Byrd is too stupid to be elected.

    As I wrote earlier, McCain is who and where he is now because he worked with power-broker Byrd when he got to Washington. OTOH, Obama is who and where he is because he worked with power-broker Ayers to get to Washington.

    Big diff.

    L.N. Smithee (b17309)

  62. well, power-borkers LIKE Ayers, at the very least…

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  63. DRJ, yes, you are right, I am still careful about labeling people from some time period that I didn’t experience. It’s so easy to start slapping the same labels on all sort of people.
    LN. Smithee, I see your point about WHEN an association happened, but the thread is talking about morality and one’s moral fiber. You are addressing my comment (and thank you for addressing the comment, not my toss away point about Ayers) with a utilitarian argument. You are right of course with that utilitarian argument but needing to work with a powerful person in the senate does not make it moral to do so.
    I am sure that one could make utilitarian arguments for associating with an Ayers to get to the senate as well. By talking to the man and the people with similar views that he represents, by showing him that people with access to power will listen to the likes of him, a pol might be able to turn the likes of Ayers from more radical acts by demonstrating that they are included in the political process in some real, connected, way.
    Don’t we use this exact same strategy in places like Iraq? Or Kosovo? Where all members of strongly opposing tribes/ethnic groups with strongly opposing interests are carefully included in the political process in some way so that they dont go pick up guns and start setting bombs?

    EdWood (c2268a)

  64. EdWood wrote: I am sure that one could make utilitarian arguments for associating with an Ayers to get to the senate as well. By talking to the man and the people with similar views that he represents, by showing him that people with access to power will listen to the likes of him, a pol might be able to turn the likes of Ayers from more radical acts by demonstrating that they are included in the political process in some real, connected, way.

    What? Where is it written that every problem child with a pipe bomb deserves his own pet politician? Would you use that argument for someone like Tim McVeigh or Eric Rudolph? Ayers can pound sand!

    L.N. Smithee (0931d2)

  65. “every problem child with a pipe bomb deserves his own pet politician”
    They don’t of course. But if they speak for some constituency (not a currently active bomb setting constituency) then maybe they should be engaged. In Ayer’s case I am thinking of the more fringy left wing.

    I don’t know about using the same argument with Tim McVeigh coz I’m not sure the man talks to anyone but the voices in his head. I am thinking about someone more like David Duke who I bet sanctioned many bad things to be done in his past and who speaks for a fringy right community. Talking to Duke doesn’t make you in agreement with the Klan or their ideas. It might demonstrate a willingness to listen to the concerns of its members that may be unrelated to but reaffirm their racism.

    If listening and addressing these concerns makes some Klan members feel that they do have some small say in the shaping of society (albiet not in a white power way of course) it may pull them away from their orbit in a group that still has race hatred as part of it philosophy… and maybe keep them from resorting to violence if larger societal events threaten them.

    This is EXACTLY the strategy that the Republicans took with more extreme evangelical Christians, some whom were to the point of shooting doctors at abortion clinics etc. etc. The Democrats were thinking that “those people” were kooks or “terrorists” and just wouldn’t listen.

    Obama says that he is willing to talk to all kinds of fringe groups and enemies to try and see a way around doing things the hard way with wars and bombs. So associating with people speaking for fringe groups is consistent with his stated philosophy. BUT
    1) Will he associate with the David Dukes as well as the Ayers? Has he? I don’t know.
    2) That’s why I think he is more vulnerable in the “hasn’t done much” department- because there may be few real actions to back up his words, thus no way to gauge their sincerity.

    EdWood (c2268a)


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