Friday, February 22, 2008

Obama Associated With Known Terrorists

I've recently highlighted the disastrous implications of an Obama presidency for American politics and national security (see here and here).

More fuel for that claim is
out today at the Politico, which reports that Obama had known ties with domestic terrorists in the 1990s:

In 1995, State Senator Alice Palmer introduced her chosen successor, Barack Obama, to a few of the district’s influential liberals at the home of two well known figures on the local left: William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.

While Ayers and Dohrn may be thought of in Hyde Park as local activists, they’re better known nationally as two of the most notorious – and unrepentant — figures from the violent fringe of the 1960s anti-war movement.

Now, as Obama runs for president, what two guests recall as an unremarkable gathering on the road to a minor elected office stands as a symbol of how swiftly he has risen from the Hyde Park left to a man closing in fast on the Democratic nomination for president....

Obama’s connections to Ayers and Dorhn have been noted in some fleeting news coverage in the past. But the visit by Obama to their home—part of a campaign courtship—reflects more extensive interaction than has previously reported....

The relationship with Ayers gives context to his recent past in Hyde Park politics. It’s milieu in which a former violent radical was a stalwart of the local scene, not especially controversial.

It’s also a scene whose liberal ideological features – while taken for granted by the Chicago press corps that knows Obama best – provides a jarring contrast with Obama’s current, anti-ideological stance. This contrast between past and present—not least the Ayers connection—is virtually certain to be a subject Republican operatives will warm to if Obama is the Democratic nominee.

The tension between the present and recent Chicago past is also evident in some of his positions on major national issues. Many national politicians, including Clinton, have moved toward the center over time. But Obama’s transitions are still quite fresh.

A questionnaire from his 1996 campaign indicated more blanket opposition to the death penalty, and support of abortion rights, than he currently espouses. He spoke in support of single-payer health care as recently as 2003.

Like many of the most extreme figures from the 1960s Ayers and Dohrn are ambiguous figures in American life.

They disappeared in 1970, after a bomb – designed to kill army officers in New Jersey — accidentally destroyed a Greenwich Village townhouse, and turned themselves into authorities in 1980. They were never prosecuted for their involvement with the 25 bombings the Weather Underground claimed; charges were dropped because of improper FBI surveillance.

Both have written and spoken at length about their pasts, and today he is an advocate for progressive education and a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago; she’s an associate professor of law at Northwestern University.

But – unlike some other fringe figures of the era — they’re also flatly unrepentant about the bombings they committed in the name of ending the war, defending them on the grounds that they killed no one, except, accidentally, their own members.
Failed bombers who became academics? Oh, that's reassuring.

The Obama campaign needs to make a national campaign address disavowing his past ties to domestic radicals, as well as his campaign's recent controversy surrounding the displays of Che Guevara paraphernalia within the Obama organization.

This is not likely to happen, as the Obama campaign, amid a hot primary, doesn't want to anger the antiwar base, a constituency perfectly in tune with
the Obama organization's anti-American proclivities.

See more at Memeorandum.