Rejecting Obama's Radical Friends
Thursday, May. 29, 2008
By MICHAEL KINSLEY
Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, best known recently as friends of
Barack Obama, disappeared in 1969 after two of their colleagues in
the Weather Underground died while building a bomb. Ayers and Dohrn
spent 11 years setting off bombs and putting out statements
threatening violent revolution. They promised to kill innocent
Americans and praised the lunatic murderer Charles Manson. In 1981
two policemen and a security guard were killed in the botched holdup
of a Brinks truck. Fake IDs used to rent getaway cars in an earlier
robbery had been traced to a store where Dohrn worked. A grand jury
wanted her testimony. She refused. Said she didn't believe in grand
juries. Spent seven months in jail, and then the matter was dropped.
Other charges against Ayers and Dohrn were dropped because the
evidence was tainted by the Nixon Administration's illegal wiretaps.
Ayers put it well: "Guilty as hell, and free as a bird. It's a great country."
Years later, Ayers threw a fund-raising party for Obama. They sat
together on the board of a community group. Is this association
between Obama and these dangerous radicals a scandal? Or is the
scandal digging up all this ancient history? Those have been the
options in the debate. But the truth is a third option: Ayers and
Dohrn are despicable, and yet making an issue of Obama's relationship
with them is absurd.
In America we believe in redemption and even self-reinvention. And we
don't usually require stagy Stalinesque recantations. But Dohrn and
Ayers test the limits of that generosity. They remain spectacularly
unrepentant, self-indulgent, unreflective--still bloated with a sense
of entitlement, still smug with certainty. They are dead to irony.
Dohrn declared her contempt for the judicial system but wanted into
the bar association. The two of them encourage young people to "be outraged."
Ayers and Dohrn never posed any real threat to U.S. national
security. Their asinine chatter about killing people and their
anti-American sloganeering were as ineffective as their bombs. But
they did real harm. Their victims were liberals: the millions of
people who were part of the mainstream antiwar movement and who later
voted against Ronald Reagan. These people opposed the Vietnam War but
didn't hate their country. They were horrified by violence and
sincerely wanted the war to end. They believed in democracy, even
when dismayed by the result. The slogan of the Underground, by
contrast, was "Bring the war home." For strategic and psychological
reasons, the Underground wanted the Vietnam War to go on. They wanted
the killing and dying to continue and spread, along with anarchy,
dope and free sex.
The notion of doctrinal divisions among opponents of the Vietnam War
must seem ridiculously arcane to most people today. But perhaps you
can imagine how infuriating it was to the organizers of the big
marches on Washington--struggling to keep them peaceful--that there
were people of the left effectively in cahoots with the Nixon
Administration, determined to undermine all those efforts.
When it became clear even to them that there would not be violent
revolution in America, Ayers and Dohrn shrugged and rejoined society
in Chicago, where he had grown up. It wasn't difficult. While he was
in hiding, his father was CEO of Commonwealth Edison, the big
utility. Ayers the elder sat on every Establishment board in
town--Northwestern, the Tribune Co., the Chicago Symphony. Ayers the
younger and his wife were welcomed back into the fold.
This is the second insult that emerges from the story of Bill and
Bernardine. They set off bombs and talked about killing their
parents, and the Chicago establishment didn't even care. The
important thing is that he was Tom Ayers' boy. In a way, the joke is
on Ayers and Dohrn. For heaven's sake, what does it take to upset
these Brahmins? But in a bigger way, the joke is on the rest of us.
We thought they meant what they said.
If Obama's relationship with Ayers, however tangential, exposes Obama
as a radical himself, or at least as a man with terrible judgment, he
shares that radicalism or terrible judgment with a comically
respectable list of Chicagoans and others--including Republicans and
conservatives--who have embraced Ayers and Dohrn as good company,
good citizens, even experts on children's issues. Northwestern
created a "family justice" center for Dohrn to run. Ayers is a
"distinguished professor" at the University of Illinois. They write
Op-Eds and are often quoted in the Tribune, where, if they are
identified at all beyond their academic titles, it is usually as
"activists" who have never abandoned their noble ideals. In 1995 the
Trib reported on a party at their home to celebrate a new progressive
website, designed by the person who designed President Bill Clinton's
website. The designer said, "There is a lot of room for different
ideas in progressive politics, and we're proud to be associated with
Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers." Hillary, over to you.
Obama: Front Man for the Radical Left
By Kyle-Anne Shiver
National Review Online
Is Barack the one we have been waiting for? Or is it the other way
around? Are we the people we have been waiting for? Barack Obama is
giving voice and space to an awakening beyond his wildest
expectations, a social force that may lead him far beyond his modest
Tom Hayden, endorsing the Obama Movement
For a Boomer like me, following the threads of the Obama movement is
like a flashback from a bad 60s drug trip an old, unwelcome nightmare.
Whether it's Billy Ayers or Bernadine Dohrn, Tom Hayden or Jane
Fonda, or any of the other lesser-knowns, 60s Marxist radicals are
lining up behind Obama.
Obama's young worshippers think they see something altogether new, a
unique persona, seemingly magically transported to this moment in
history to help them finally be the ones to net the elusive butterfly
of socialism's never-realized promise.
The kids think they see something new. But do they?
Sixties' radicals see their as yet unfulfilled yearning for socialist
utopia in a well-groomed, glittery, establishment-approved package.
The college kids today, flocking to Obama rallies, don't look much
like we did, with our tie-dyed shirts and frayed bellbottoms, our
waist-length hair or wild Afros. And they seem to see Obama as the
antithesis of 60s' madness, with a
been-there-done-that-want-something-new kind of thirst, a quest for
which youth has always been known.
Obama is clean-cut. He talks unity, not subversion. He promises equal
outcomes without resorting to violence to get them. He endorses
marriage and fidelity for himself, without condeming other lifestyle
choices. He speaks in highbrow English, rather than the 60s
Kill the Pigs
Violence is as American as cherry pie
If America don't come around, we're gonna burn it down
Obama's followers make high-tech videos, mindlessly chanting, "Yes,
we can" instead of making bombs to blow up government buildings, or
holding up armored trucks and killing police officers.
This new generation seems to have the opportunity to do now with mere
votes what their predecessors tried and failed to do through
violence. We can finally seal the deal on the real revolution
democratically. Obama, the Closer, is at hand.
Evidenced by his list of supporters, from Ayers Dohrn, Hayden and
Fonda, to the New Black Panthers, the New SDS, the New Winter
Soldiers, et al., the radical Left has anointed Obama as the One.
Every aging, anti-war, anti-capitalist group and their new offshoots
are flocking around Obama like moths to a flame.
He is the One they've been waiting for. Biding their time during the
dark, dreary days of Reagan, throughout the self-absorbed Boomer
years, into the Yuppie sellout decade, and on through the
compromising Clinton years, they've waited and planned and hoped.
To these rabid Marxist radicals, Obama is the One, because he's
probably their last chance to see socialism triumph on our own soil.
They have grasped the reality of their own mortality.
And this could be very bad news for America. Who, in his right mind,
really wants anything these radicals were peddling?
The Revolutionary (and Generational) Vanguard
An odd fact often gets lost in 60s mythology: the key Marxist
radicals of those days were not themselves Baby Boomers.
Billy Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, of Weatherman infamy, were both born
during WWII, barely missing the Boomer cut-off of 1946. Tom Hayden of
the Chicago Seven, later a far-left California politician who was
married briefly to Hanoi Jane Fonda, was born in 1939. Every single
one of the Chicago Seven, in fact, known for their Days of Rage at
the Chicago Democratic Convention of 1968, were pre-Boomers.
The leaders of all the Marxist student groups of the 60s were either
Red Diaper Babies or upper-crust white kids born during or shortly
before WWII. For them, the time was ripe for revolution in America,
brought on by the convergence of post-war prosperity (they were
spoiled rotten), a new war on foreign soil (Vietnam) and forced
conscription (the draft). And the white radicals were able to latch
on to MLK's nonviolent successes in the civil rights movement, as
In truth, the genuine Marxist revolutionaries of that era mightily
disdain the Boomers for our mostly short-lived flirtation with their
ways, means, and mantras. They thought that we were the ones they had
been waiting for; but we copped out.
In fact, we grew up and remembered how great America is. They still
haven't. And they hate us for it.
Even though both Bill and Hillary Clinton were radicals of a sort
protesting against the Vietnam War (Bill was a draft dodger), and
supporting far-left causes at the time (the Black Panthers, SDS,
George McGovern, etc.) neither of them is technically of the same
generation as the real radical leaders, the ones who are now flocking
to Obama. Hillary and Bill are both Boomers, as is George W. Bush.
Although Hillary calls herself a modern "Progressive," and continues
to have close alliances with many former radicals, the true Marxists
prefer Obama. They are the authentic "Progressives," progressing the
Marxist cause in America, without regard for the will of the citizenry.
Hillary is, undoubtedly, of the same mindset, but she has lived at
least nine political lives, and more clearly understands the folly of
seeking ideological perfection without regard to practical results
over the long term. She also has, as we have seen over and over
again, a personal survival instinct so strong that it keeps her from
falling on her (and our) sword for the revolution.
The authentic do-or-die-trying arch-radicals see Hillary as a
pragmatic compromiser, like Bill. The pair are not nearly as
committed to the Revolution as they have become to Clinton power, the
Clinton legacy, and the Clinton bank accounts. These Marxist
revolutionaries reject politicians who stand up for America against
foreign enemies; Hillary's threats against Iran are the equivalent of
blasphemy to them. Anything pragmatic is blashemy to them.
Obama's appeasement seems a perfect fit with their own
These Marxist rabble-rousers, who refuse to grow up, or die, have
long considered nearly all of us real Boomers to be sellouts. While
most of the pre-Boomers remained Yippie revolutionaries, most Boomers
became Yuppies instead. Or far, far worse, Republicans.
Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman, both Chicago Seven defendants, were
co-founders of the Yippies, the socialist Youth International Party,
most known for its anti-establishment street theater and other public
antics, as well as their symbolic flag: a bright-red star on a black
field, with a dark-green marijuana leaf superimposed.
When Rubin went to work for corporate America in the mid-80s, he
debated Hoffman on the merits of his decision to sell out to the man,
and distilled the difference between Yippies and Yuppies thus: "if
the acronym IRA makes you think of the Irish Republican Army, you're
a yippie. But if you think that IRA stands for Individual Retirement
Account, then you're a yuppie."
In radical Marxist eyes, Hillary and Bill Clinton are definitely
Yuppies. And to these folks, revolution is a religion like Islam.
There are no honorable conversions. Period.
Judged politically mainstream sell-outs, the Clintons are now
unacceptable standard-bearers of the Marxist revolution an
important behind-the-scenes factor in the Democrat primary race that
the mainstream liberal media is loath to admit. Bill and Hillary may
still have many of the same old radical goals, but any compromise
with reality is too much for the pre-Boomer radicals to stomach.
Who's afraid of washed-up SIXTIES' radicals?
A couple of reminders on the political creed of Bernadine Dohrn
former Weatherman underground leader, now married to Billy Ayers, and
very chummy with Barack Obama seem in order here.
The best thing that we can be doing for ourselves, as well as for the
Panthers and the Revolutionary Black Liberation Struggle, is to build
a f**king white revolutionary movement.
Bernadine Dohrn, May 21, 1970
That Barack Obama's meteoric rise in American politics should have
Chicago as its political home base was perhaps not quite as
fortuitous and coincidental as it once appeared.
The first alliances Obama made in Chicago were with fellow travelers
of socialist Saul Alinsky and leaders of the ongoing "Black
Liberation" Struggle, Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrakhan. And before
Obama made even his first attempt to dip into Chicago's political
cesspool, he was introduced to and properly coronated by Ayers and
Dohrn. Then came one "magical" success after another, until now the
ultimate prize in American politics is stunningly within reach, in
little more than a decade since Obama's initial political grooming.
I'm going to read a declaration of a state of War. This is the first
communication from the Weatherman Underground. All over the world,
people fighting Amerikan imperialism look to Amerika's youth to use
our strategic position behind enemy lines to join forces in the
destruction of the empire. . . . Within the next fourteen days we
will attack a symbol or institution of Amerikan injustice.
Bernadine Dohrn, circa 1970
Bernadine missed the Days of Rage at the Democrat Convention in 1968,
because she was in Yugoslavia, meeting with communists from the
National Liberation Front, getting advice on how to assist the
worldwide revolution here in America. By far the communist radical
with the sexiest image, Bernadine was also on the front lines of the
"Smash Monogamy" campaign, which was designed to destroy the bedrock
of American society by sneaking the revolution through the bedroom
door, thereby crushing Americans' "bourgeois hang-ups" and making
them more amenable to groupthink.
And then, too, Bernadine and Ayers were busy helping their comrades
to shed their "white skin privilege," so they could identify with the
core of the revolution's oppressed, the Black Panthers. It seems more
than fitting to these old Marxists, I'm quite certain, that they have
found a black man to anoint, since they always believed that the
revolution would succeed in America on the tails of black liberation.
Some have surmised that the considerable political influence of
Ayers' father within the Daley machine and Chicago's halls of
"justice" is the reason that both Ayers and Dohrn paid only the
barest penalties for their numerous crimes against the United States.
As Ayers loves to make a habit of gloating, he is "guilty as hell and
free as a bird."
Obviously, without a viable contemporary standard-bearer, these
crusty old radicals would be no real threat to America, except at
their university podiums, in their dreary textbooks, and in a
sprinkling of local public offices.
But an eloquent, clean-cut, moderate-sounding black man is the
perfect instrument for these radicals to promote their revolutionary
program. Anyone who remembers the mayhem they caused and the citizens
they killed in many a city and town across America, should be
experiencing quite a lot of deja-vu angst right now, with Obama's
star rising, especially in the east and west.
Can Obama Seal the Deal?
Whether Obama proves to be The One, whom the 60s radicals have
anointed to seal the deal on their long-awaited Marxist revolution,
lies mostly now in the hands of Democratic National Committee, the
party's superdelegates, and eventually, if he receives the
nomination from the fractious Dems the American electorate.
The 60s are long gone, but the era's legacy lives on in the Democrat
Party. As Peter Collier and David Horowitz summarized in their book,
The decade ended with a big bang that made society into a collection
of splinter groups, special interest organizations and newly minted
"minorities," whose only common belief was that America was guilty
and untrustworthy. This is perhaps the enduring legacy of the Sixties.
Even if the Democrats manage to avoid a big-bang ending to this
nominating process (the rules for which were largely engineered by
the 60s radicals themselves) remains to be seen. The Party may yet
split on more traditional lines, between those who still love America
and those who clearly don't.
But the biggest sell Obama will have to make in November, if he is
the nominee, is that he's not just the handpicked new face of a very
old, and thoroughly discredited ideology.
Even a young guy like Barack can't revive the dead horse of
socialism. Or can he?
Obama Dogged By Praise From America's Foes
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
In a presidential race in which unwanted, damaging endorsements seem
far more plentiful than endorsements that actually could help, Barack
Obama has had the unfortunate distinction of being a magnet for such
The latest unsought praise for the Democratic front-runner came from
Fidel Castro, who wrote in a column for Cuba's Granma newspaper
Monday that Obama is "the most progressive candidate to the U.S. presidency."
Never mind that the column was used to criticize Obama for wanting to
uphold the U.S. trade embargo. The Florida GOP seized on it, posting
an article about it on their Web site and blasting out an e-mail
titled, "Fidel Castro Endorses Obama."
The reaction underscored the problems Obama continues to face as he
talks up his desire to hold high-levels discussions with leaders of
diplomatically black-listed countries, without preconditions.
His critics argue that the friendlier foreign policies he's proposing
toward countries like Iran and Cuba are in turn inviting kudos from
those countries' leaders or allies.
"That's really the question we're posing to the voters: In an era
where we're actively engaged in fighting the global war on terror,
why is he receiving these compliments from groups who are against
everything we stand for?" said Florida GOP spokeswoman Katie Gordon.
"He's agreed to meet with Ahmadinejad with no preconditions. He's
also agreed to meet with Castro. … It hits home for a lot of people here."
Few can argue a hearty thumbs-up from a Castro is good for poll
numbers. Even Castro acknowledged this in his column, writing "Were I
to defend (Obama), I would do his adversaries an enormous favor."
But in calling Obama "progressive," and praising his "great
intelligence" and "debating skills" and "work ethic," Castro gave
those adversaries more fodder.
Here's a rundown of the latest comments from the world stage that
have caused or could cause problems for Obama, if he becomes the
– In mid-April, Hamas adviser Ahmed Yousef told WorldNetDaily that
"We like Mr. Obama, and we hope that he will win the elections.
"I hope Mr. Obama and the Democrats will change the political
discourse," he said. "I do believe [Obama] is like John Kennedy, a
great man with a great principle."
The John McCain campaign had much fun with the published remark.
A spokesman said the apparent Hamas support is a "legitimate issue"
for voters to think about, and even referenced the comments in a
fundraising letter. The campaign said Hamas was clearly opening up to
Obama because of his willingness to meet with Iran.
McCain proudly stated Hamas would never support him and that he would
be "Hamas' worst nightmare."
The Obama campaign responded that it already had rejected Hamas'
legitimacy. Obama has said he would not negotiate with Hamas unless
the group renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel's right to exist and
holds to other agreements.
– On March 25, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez told foreign
correspondents that relations with Washington, D.C, would worsen if
McCain were elected.
"Sometimes one says, 'worse than Bush is impossible,' but we don't
know," Chavez said, according to an article in Reuters. "McCain also
seems to be a man of war."
He did not mention either Obama or Hillary Clinton but seemed to
indicate that he pined for the days when a Democrat was in the White House.
"Independently of who wins the elections, we are hopeful and it is
within our plans to enter an era of better relations with the U.S.
government," he said. "At the least one would hope for the level of
relations we had with ex-President Clinton."
– Also in March, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Spain's El
Pais newspaper he didn't believe Obama would be elected, but that he
wouldn't have a problem meeting with him if he were. "For us, there
is no difference in who wins," Ahmadinejad told the newspaper.
Tehran-based PressTV reported that Ahmadinejad afterward insisted he
"never voiced support for Barack Obama."
But that didn't matter in the blogosphere. A headline linking to a
posting about the story on Digg.com declared: "Barack Obama Gets
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Coveted Endorsement."
Obama also has struggled to shake off positive words from the New
Black Panther Party and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
Those controversies popped and fizzled during the Democratic primary.
But Obama is moving ever closer to clinching the Democratic
nomination, and several Democratic strategists have said these
controversies, like the one over Obama's former pastor Jeremiah
Wright Jr., would be used against him more vigorously in a general
election than a primary.
Gordon said her local party would not hesitate to "push that point"
with voters if Obama continues to receive "accolades" from Castro.
But Democratic strategist Dan Gerstein, an Obama supporter, said when
it comes to unsought compliments from far away, the damage is negligible.
"There's a very small universe of people that are going to be swayed
by whether someone in Cuba said something nice about him," he said,
adding that those voters probably wouldn't vote for Obama anyway.
Still, Gerstein said the campaign will need to push back hard against
attempts to exploit compliments or endorsements that could speak to
his broader judgment.
"In a vacuum, the Wright controversy and some of these other things
can take a toll if there's not a competing and truer narrative the
Obama campaign puts out," he said. "I'm confident they will (fight back)."
Democrats also historically don't discount the ability of foreign
factors to sway domestic elections.
Former Democratic nominee John Kerry privately complained after his
2004 loss to President Bush that the Usama bin Laden video that
surfaced days before cost him the election.
In the video, bin Laden told Americans "your security is not in the
hands of Kerry of Bush or Al Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands."
It revived a security issue that Bush tried to make his strong suit.
Obama, of course, is not the only candidate batting back
endorsements. McCain and Texas pastor John Hagee recently parted ways
after the GOP candidate was dogged for weeks by stories about Hagee's
anti-Catholic remarks. McCain finally rejected Hagee's endorsement
after a report surfaced that he once said the Holocaust was part of
God's plan to expedite the re-establishment of the Jewish state of Israel.