Why does Obama’s association with Bill Ayer’s matter again?

Barack Obama has tried to make his association with Bill Ayers as innocuous as possible. He tries to brush it off as radicalism that faded as he got older, or misguided youthful rebellion. He tries to minimize the possible damage that could be done by his close friendship with a man that bombed the Pentagon, bombed the Capitol, bombed police headquarters in New York, and said he wished he had done more. Liberals like to brush off this friendship as no big deal, and they especially like the defense that Obama was “only eight!” when all of this happened, but it’s irrelevant. Why you would choose to make an unrepentant terrorist a friend and mentor is beyond me, and it shows at the very least a disturbing lack of good judgement. At the worst, it should make you question Obama’s radicalism and views. Bill Ayers and his organization murdered people. They destroyed property and tried to destroy lives. How anyone can defend that is beyond me, and in my opinion, it’s completely reprehensible.

John Murtagh writes a brilliant article about his experience with the terror Bill Ayers wrought:

In February 1970, my father, a New York State Supreme Court Justice, was presiding over the trial of the so-called “Panther 21”, members of the Black Panther Party indicted in a plot to bomb New York landmarks and department stores. Early on the morning of February 21, as my family slept, three gasoline-filled firebombs exploded at our home on the northern tip of Manhattan, two at the front door and the third tucked neatly under the gas tank of the family car. (Today, of course, we’d call that a car bomb.) A neighbor heard the first two blasts and, with the remains of a snowman I had built a few days earlier, managed to douse the flames beneath the car. That was an act whose courage I fully appreciated only as an adult, an act that doubtless saved multiple lives that night.

I still recall, as though it were a dream, thinking that someone was lifting and dropping my bed as the explosions jolted me awake, and I remember my mother’s pulling me from the tangle of sheets and running to the kitchen where my father stood. Through the large windows overlooking the yard, all we could see was the bright glow of flames below. We didn’t leave our burning house for fear of who might be waiting outside. The same night, bombs were thrown at a police car in Manhattan and two military recruiting stations in Brooklyn. Sunlight, the next morning, revealed three sentences of blood-red graffiti on our sidewalk: FREE THE PANTHER 21; THE VIET CONG HAVE WON; KILL THE PIGS.

Only a few weeks after the attack, the New York contingent of the Weathermen blew themselves up making more bombs in a Greenwich Village townhouse. The same cell had bombed my house, writes Ron Jacobs in The Way the Wind Blew: A History of the Weather Underground. And in late November that year, a letter to the Associated Press signed by Bernardine Dohrn, Ayers’s wife, promised more bombings.

As the association between Obama and Ayers came to light, it would have helped the senator a little if his friend had at least shown some remorse. But listen to Ayers interviewed in the New York Times on September 11, 2001, of all days: “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.” Translation: “We meant to kill that judge and his family, not just damage the porch.” When asked by the Times if he would do it all again, Ayers responded: “I don’t want to discount the possibility.”

Though never a supporter of Obama, I admired him for a time for his ability to engage our imaginations, and especially for his ability to inspire the young once again to embrace the political system. Yet his myopia in the last few months has cast a new light on his “politics of change.” Nobody should hold the junior senator from Illinois responsible for his friends’ and supporters’ violent terrorist acts. But it is fair to hold him responsible for a startling lack of judgment in his choice of mentors, associates, and friends, and for showing a callous disregard for the lives they damaged and the hatred they have demonstrated for this country. It is fair, too, to ask what those choices say about Obama’s own beliefs, his philosophy, and the direction he would take our nation.

At the conclusion of his 2001 Times interview, Ayers said of his upbringing and subsequent radicalization: “I was a child of privilege and I woke up to a world on fire.”

Funny thing, Bill: one night, so did I.
Actions have consequences. If Barack Obama didn’t want to be associated with an unrepentant terrorist, then he shouldn’t have struck up a friendship with him. What would’ve been even better is if Obama had declined an association with Ayers not because of how it would look to be associated with him, but because it went against his values. Shouldn’t that have been enough? Shouldn’t the fact that Bill Ayers was a terrorist who said he didn’t do enough be enough for Obama to not want to be his friend? These are the kind of people Obama associates with — Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, Tony Rezko — and yes, it does matter. The people you choose to surround yourself with can be more telling than anything you can possibly say to the contrary, no matter how pretty a speech you can give.

Obama’s entire defense — that he was a kid when it happened and it doesn’t make a difference now — is ludicrous. Danny Rolling went on a killing spree in Gainesville when I was six, but if I buddied up to him as an adult right before he died, wouldn’t that say something about my character? Knowing what kind of person Bill Ayers is, Obama should’ve had the good sense, judgement, and character to not befriend him. But he didn’t. And that speaks volumes about him, no matter how much liberals scream about it.

Hat Tip: Ace of Spades

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