Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Ayers’s Delusions

I never thought the Bill Ayers-Obama connection was significant enough to make Obama a problematic candidate. (This connection seems of even less importance considering Obama’s initial weak response to the Blagojevich scandal). Obama has had some troubling connections, but Ayers isn’t the most problematic of the bunch. However, Ayers himself is a different story. Throughout the campaign, the press treated him with shameful indifference. Today, finally, Charles Lane of the Washington Post gives Ayers the treatment he deserves – calmly, politely, and without political bias.

Ayers seemed to interpret Obama’s victory as confirmation of his own decency. Last week, in a long and sanctimonious article published by the New York Times, Ayers labeled those concerned about his relationship with Obama silly hacks playing silly pre-election politics. He was almost magnanimous in tone, as if willing to forgive his detractors their idiocy:

With the mainstream news media and the blogosphere caught in the pre-election excitement, I saw no viable path to a rational discussion. Rather than step clumsily into the sound-bite culture, I turned away whenever the microphones were thrust into my face. I sat it out.

Unfortunately – and unwisely – instead of sticking to that strategy, Ayers decided to speak up.

Peaceful protests had failed to stop the war. So we issued a screaming response. But it was not terrorism; we were not engaged in a campaign to kill and injure people indiscriminately, spreading fear and suffering for political ends.

“Some people might buy this, but not if they know the actual history,” writes Lane today. He exposes Ayers’s posturing and destroys the credibility of the New York Times piece:

As Todd Gitlin, a former ’60s leftist and a historian of the period, put it: “They planned on being terrorists. Then their bomb blew up and killed several of them and they thought better of it. They were failed terrorists.”

Ayers told me this week that he did not know about the nail bomb in advance — and condemned it afterward. I take him at his word. So why obfuscate in the Times? Editors cut the article, he protested — before conceding that his original version left it out, too.

The former terrorist mellowed into a self-righteous liar.


Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.