Michael Barone’s US News article this week is titled “Why Won’t the Mainstream Media Question the Obama Narrative?” A desperate lefty, Dave in TN, wrote a comment trying to protect Senator Obama from the (justifiable) costs of his association with the terrorist William Ayers. In responding to him, I finally came up with the appropriate analogy to explain the situation.
Imagine a man. In his early 20s, he was a member of the KKK. He started out just marching through black neighborhoods with his white hooded buddies, but he decided that wasn’t enough. So he got together the more radical of his chums, and they formed a sub-group that engaged in cross-burnings, and fire-bombing NAACP and “pro-black” newspaper offices. Some of his buddies killed themselves putting together a nail bomb they were going to use on the NY Times, and he and his girlfriend (eventually wife) went underground.
Because of some prosecutorial misconduct, neither he nor his wife were ever convicted of any crimes. A decade ago, he wrote memoirs (popular on the KKK circuit) about his life and actions. In an interview published in the NY Post on September 11, 2001, he said “I don’t regret setting bombs or burning crosses. I feel we didn’t do enough.”
Now, try to imagine any Republican national politician having anything to do with that guy (Robert Byrd might do it, but he’s a Democrat Senator, not a Republican). Try to imagine what would happen to any Republican who actually was morally degenerate (and stupid) enough to associate with that KKK thug.
Now, understand that Senator Barack Obama is an associate of such a man, and that he has described this terrorism supporter as just “a professor of education at the University of Illinois.”
In the long run, that’s not going to work, because those who haven’t been morally gelded instinctively understand that William Ayers is not a morally acceptable human being, and that decent human being don’t associate with the likes of him.
So, why did I title this “The Lost Generation“, not “Obama and the Terrorist“? Because this is not an isolated problem. Oh, in intensity this is a bit of an outlier, but in general most 1960s Democrats have this same type of problem.
Most, if not all, people do some extremely stupid things when they are in their late teens / early twenties. It’s part of growing up. You screw up, you learn from your screwups, and you move on. The problem with the 1960s “liberals” is that they are unwilling to admit that they did screw up, and therefore are incapable of learning. And thus they’re incapable of moving on.
Consider Bill Clinton. When the things he did to avoid being drafted came to light in 1992, he could have said “look, I was desperate not to get drafted, and I did and said things, things that I’m not proud of, in order to keep out of the military. I regret that I behaved so poorly, and if I could do it again I would not do the same.” Mature, responsible (complete BS), would have dealt with the situation in a day, and been done with it. But he was a 60’s “liberal”, and the one thing they cannot do is admit wrong. Admit that their behavior was utterly selfish and self focused, admit that, instead of being something transcendently special, they were just typical spoiled kids.
There’s a great deal of separation between the wrongs of Bill Clinton, and the wrongs of Bill Ayers. As anyone who’s not a moral idiot will tell you, that difference matters. But there’s a great similarity in attitude between the two.
And the problem for the “moral worth” of the Left is that the American Left is dominated by that similarity. The “anti-war” movement among 1960s youth wasn’t driven by moral outrage over the wrongs of the American War Machine, it was driven by chickenshit momma’s boys who didn’t want to have to put their precious butts on the line for America. (Which is why the “anti-war movement” disappeared as soon as the draft did. IMHO, America in the 1960s would have been a far better place if there’d been no college draft exemption. You become eligible for the draft, you get taken (or not), and the “threat” is over and done with. It would have destroyed the support for the radicals.) The need to lie to themselves about what they were doing, and why they were doing it, started there. Unfortunately, it has never ended.
And thus we come back to Barack Obama and William Ayers. If the Left were even slightly honest about the 1960s, then either William Ayers would (publicly, if not in reality) repent of what he’d done, or else Barack Obama, 1990s up and coming politician, would not have come within a mile of that terrorist. Unfortunately, he did. Because all the 1960s “liberals” made a name for themselves when they were young and stupid, and thus they all have massive amounts of stupid decisions hanging over their heads. This seems to have stunted their emotional growth, and as a consequence essentially none of them have ever developed the maturity to say “hey we screwed up here, here, and here. We went too far here.”
Lacking that emotional maturity, none of them, and none of their intellectual progeny (like Senator Barack Obama) know how to reject a William Ayers. None of them know how to say “You know, Bill Clinton was a dumb kid back then, and made some mistakes, but Bill Ayers was evil, and we shouldn’t have anything to do with him.”
And because of that, on Tuesday Stanley Kurtz of NRO will be getting access to the papers of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, which Senator Obama chaired and William Ayers co-founded. And press people who don’t have Senator Obama’s best interests at heart will be looking into exactly what Senator Obama owes this supporter of terrorism. I don’t believe Senator Obama will come off well during this examination. That is because I don’t believe Senator Obama should come off well during this examination.
Because someone who sees nothing wrong with associating with a current supporter of terrorism, is not someone who’s got the judgment to be President of the United States of America.