I have to confess, I have been enjoying, with guiltless pleasure, the debacle Wednesday’s debate was, and the accompanying fracas it has created on the internet and in the media.
On Obama’s performance, two things lept out at me, first how he turns into a whining little mess when the media shows the slightest bit of skepticism towards him and second his ridiculous response to the Ayers question.
The first issue, which really speaks to the broader problem of denial for the Democrats, was evident in Obama’s responses and his demeanor. He was asked about the lapel pin, Reverend Wright, terrorist cum professor William Ayers and his demeaning and elitist comments in San Francisco. Each time, he deflected these questions as either unfair or “distractions.” This is the corollary to his San Francisco comments: “You people aren’t smart enough to focus on the real issues!” It would seem that anything on which Obama and the vast majority of Americans disagree are irrelevant distractions, security blankets, or unfair partisan attacks.
For example, most Americans (like it or not, Mr. Obama) believe in their religion. I assert that a majority of Americans believe that abortion is abhorrent and should be made illegal in most cases. (Polls on this point are debateable, but if Democrats believe that I am wrong, stop hiding in court, and let’s decide the issue by majority vote in Congress). Many Americans believe the Second Amendment protects their right to keep and bear arms and are actually afraid of what America will become if we, like the UK and France, lose that right.
Simply because your ivory encrusted sheepskins from Columbia and Harvard tell you such claims are unfounded does not make these issues irrelevant. We live under a system of laws, not one ordered by fiat from know it alls who don’t want to talk about religion, abortion, marriage, gun ownership or other topics on which they hold an unpopular stance.
Put another way, your “irrelevant distraction” is my “core value.” Your “core values” (which, though it’s hard to tell, seem to be government run health care, withdrawal from Iraq, and government bailout of people who made a bad decision on real estate) are my “irrelevant distractions.” I don’t want to live with government health care any more than I want live in government housing. If we wanted out of Iraq, we would have elected the Junior Snob from Massachusetts in 2004. If I wanted to pay for someone else’s mistakes, I would be a Democrat. People vote on what matters to them. Saying Republicans “scared voters” into voting against their interest is not an argument, it’s denial.
On William “I wish I had done more to kill innocent civilians” Ayers, Obama’s response would be funny if he wasn’t running for president. Ayers was part of the Weather Underground and, not only has he never renounced violence against the government (and innocent people), he is proud of his “work” and, on 9/11/2001 of all days, the New York Times ran a puff piece pitching his memoirs. He is scum and in a just world, someone would visit the violence and terror on him that he visited on others. He is, however, a force in Chicago politics and helped launch Obama’s political career in 1995. He and Obama have served on boards together, their relationship is far more substantial than Obama indicated.
Here is George Stephanopoulos’s question and Obama’s response:
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator, if you get the nomination, you’ll have to — (applause) — (inaudible).
I want to give Senator Clinton a chance to respond, but first a follow-up on this issue, the general theme of patriotism in your relationships. A gentleman named William Ayers, he was part of the Weather Underground in the 1970s. They bombed the Pentagon, the Capitol and other buildings. He’s never apologized for that. And in fact, on 9/11 he was quoted in The New York Times saying, “I don’t regret setting bombs; I feel we didn’t do enough.”
An early organizing meeting for your state senate campaign was held at his house, and your campaign has said you are friendly. Can you explain that relationship for the voters, and explain to Democrats why it won’t be a problem?
SEN. OBAMA: George, but this is an example of what I’m talking about.
This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who’s a professor of English in Chicago, who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He’s not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis.
And the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values, doesn’t make much sense, George.
The fact is, is that I’m also friendly with Tom Coburn, one of the most conservative Republicans in the United States Senate, who during his campaign once said that it might be appropriate to apply the death penalty to those who carried out abortions.
Do I need to apologize for Mr. Coburn’s statements? Because I certainly don’t agree with those either.
So this kind of game, in which anybody who I know, regardless of how flimsy the relationship is, is somehow — somehow their ideas could be attributed to me — I think the American people are smarter than that. They’re not going to suggest somehow that that is reflective of my views, because it obviously isn’t.
First, the fact that Ayers’s conduct occurred when Obama was 8 is irrelevant. The Unibomber was killing people when I was 8, does that mean it’s okay for me to have him launch my political career? Can I serve on a board with him? Ayers is only a professor because he’s a left-wing nutjob who tried to kill innocent people in the 70’s. Is this another pathetic version of the “I wasn’t in church that day” defense?
Second, Tom Coburn is an elected official who has, to my knowledge, never broken the law, nor advocated the overthrough of the government of the United States by force and violence. He advocated a change in the law that would allow the death penalty for people who violate that law, as changed. Comparing the two is absurd.
Third, he hasn’t given Obama his “official endorsement”? Talk about irrelevant. Louis Farrakhan gave Obama his official endorsement, should we interpret that to mean Obama exchanges ideas with him on a regular basis? (Speaking of which, you need not exchange ideas with someone if you know you share the same anti-American perspective). And what are we to make of the lack of an endorsement? Certainly Ayers, a Chicago political operative who launch Obama’s career, is in fact in favor of Obama’s candidacy. So why hasn’t Ayers “officially” endorsed Obama? The only reasonable explanation is that Obama has asked him not to. In other words, the two are close enough that Obama can ask him for such a favor.
Fourth, again with the “this is irrelevant because it makes me look bad.” This is not irrelevant. You have chosen to associate yourself with someone who tried to kill people. This is a statement of your character, your judgment and possibly your ideology. Either Obama agrees with Ayers on some level or Obama compromised his principles to cozy up to a terrorist for the sake of his political career. Which is it? Personally, I could not be in the same room with William Ayers for 5 minutes before security would be called. Obama gave a speech at Ayers’s home, with his terrorist wife and their friends. Obama moved into his neighborhood, knowing he lived there. Obama agreed to serve on a board of directors with this defective human.