Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Palin and Ayers: Clueless Again

Buried on the fifteenth page of today's Chicago Tribune is an article by Eric Zorn that needs wide exposure. Zorn, it turns out, did an extensive historical fact check on the person Sarah Palin calls a "terrorist" and found, much to the surprise of no one, that whatever Ayers may have done in the past, he can no longer by any stretch of the imagination be called a "terrorist" today.

What continues to be puzzling to many is why the press hasn't pushed the McCain camp to explain how Obama's associations with William Ayers in the 1990's has anything to do with anything except what it was always about - working with someone who is a noted expert on educational reforms. "Paling around with terrorists" (note how Palin always uses the plural - as though Ayers is representative of a whole group of shady characters Obama consorts with) suggests at the very least that Obama and Ayers were hatching plots against America. If that were the case, if Ayers was, indeed, a "terrorist" when Obama was meeting with him, well, then our law enforcement officials have fallen down on the job. He should be in jail. He isn't because he isn't.

Here's just a few of the things Zorn turned up in his research:

  • The late celebrated Tribune journalist, Mike Royko, once wrote that Ayers was a jerk with a shady past. But now he ". . . is working for a good cause, improving public education. He's become a leader in the so-called school reform program."
  • Other articles written in the 90's did refer to Ayer's radical past, but most didn't. In fact, only two articles out of 60 mentioned it. Most referred to the books he had published on education reform and his laudable work to get grant money for schools which landed him the honor of being recognized as Chicago's "Citizen of the Year" in 1997 (the time when Obama was "paling around" with him).
Noting this, Zorn says:

Today, some would say that this was an outrage. Ayers should have been shunned and marginalized, loudly criticized, not embraced, by the city's political and academic establishment.

But the record shows he just wasn't a very controversial figure. Aside from Royko's "I still think he's a jerk" column in 1990, I found only two objections to Ayer's civic rehabilitation in the decade's news archives: a 1993 letter to the Tribune and a 1999 guest editorial.

Zorn goes on to describe McCain and Palin's attempts to smear Obama with Ayers as "revisionist history" of the worst sort, particularly in their use of the "implicit present tense" as though Ayers is still a terrorist, a charge that has not been challenged as it should be by the mainstream press. He is not, says Zorn. Nor was he a terrorist when Obama met him to discuss educational reforms in the 90s, he as well as many other prominent Republicans and Democrats who care about the education of our children.

Zorn's most cutting comment cuts right to the heart of the matter when he says:

If Ayers is a terrorist, then McCain is an adulterer and I am a 6th grader.

Which brings to mind another article that is worth reading - the Rolling Stones Magazine expose on a past that John McCain is desperate to keep buried.

You can read that one by clicking on the picture below.

From the Rolling Stone Magazine:

A closer look at the life and career of John McCain reveals a disturbing record of recklessness and dishonesty

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