February 22, 2008

Shaking Hands With Terrorists (Bump: The Hand Of Hillary?)

The Left has a big blind spot when it comes to the history of violence among its radicals in the 1960s. Rather than seeing it for what it was -- political terrorism -- and rejecting it completely, they continue to romanticize its use and rationalize its effects. Most of the bomb-throwers repented of their actions, but not all -- and two that remain proud of their terrorism may impact the presidential election, according to Politico's Ben Smith:

In 1995, State Senator Alice Palmer introduced her chosen successor, Barack Obama, to a few of the district’s influential liberals at the home of two well known figures on the local left: William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.

While Ayers and Dohrn may be thought of in Hyde Park as local activists, they’re better known nationally as two of the most notorious – and unrepentant — figures from the violent fringe of the 1960s anti-war movement.

Now, as Obama runs for president, what two guests recall as an unremarkable gathering on the road to a minor elected office stands as a symbol of how swiftly he has risen from the Hyde Park left to a man closing in fast on the Democratic nomination for president. ...

Obama’s connections to Ayers and Dorhn have been noted in some fleeting news coverage in the past. But the visit by Obama to their home—part of a campaign courtship—reflects more extensive interaction than has previously reported.

Ayers and Dohrn belonged to the Weather Underground. They disappeared for a while after the group's activities put them on the FBI radar, and they surrendered themselves in 1980. Federal prosecutors could not put them on trial, thanks to illegal surveillance conducted by the FBI. Dohrn later served almost a year in jail for contempt of court, refusing to testify in the case of the Brinks armed robbery that left three dead, including two New York state troopers.

Have Ayers and Dohrn repented of their violent past? Hardly. Ayers told the New York Times that he didn't regret setting bombs and using violence to intimidate people into adopting their demands. Indeed, he regrets not planting more bombs to effect the change he desired. Both Ayers and Dohrn have written about their continued support for the political terrorism of the 1960s.

Which brings us to the visit of Barack Obama and the apparent blessing he received from Ayers and Dohrn. This doesn't mean that Obama professes the same support for political violence as the Weather couple, but it does show a lack of backbone in rejecting those that do. If Obama can't stand up to two discredited American terrorists in Chicago ... well, you get the drift. What does it say about Obama's politics that Ayers and Dohrn approved of him, and what does it say about Obama that he felt he needed their blessing?

Let's also look at the mainstream media disinterest in this story. Imagine what the media would report if John McCain had met with Timothy McVeigh in 1995 to secure his blessing for re-election to the Senate, or if he had met with Eric Rudolph the following year. After all, both men planted bombs to effect political change in which they completely believed. Rudolph killed about the same number of people as the Weather Underground did. None of these people ever repented of their actions.

Would the media be as understanding? Would it fall to Politico to report it, or would the New York Times have it in a two-column, front-page spread next to a picture of a smiling Barack Obama?

UPDATE & BUMP: The Blotter reports that Team Hillary has been moving this story today, but that they got a little blowback for their efforts:

The Hillary Clinton campaign pushed to reporters today stories about Barack Obama and his ties to former members of a radical domestic terrorist group -- but did not note that as president, Clinton's husband pardoned more than a dozen convicted violent radicals, including a member of the same group mentioned in the Obama stories.

"Wonder what the Republicans will do with this issue," mused Clinton spokesman Phil Singer in one e-mail to the media, containing a New York Sun article reporting a $200 contribution from William Ayers, a founding member of the 1970s group Weather Underground, to Obama in 2001.

In a separate e-mail, Singer forwarded an article from the Politico newspaper reporting on a 1995 event at a private home that brought Obama together with Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, another member of the radical group.

Unfortunately for Hillary, some of that "experience" on which she has run includes a big fat pardon to a Weather Underground bomber, Susan L. Rosenberg. Rosenberg got the pardon on the last-day flurry that also included a pardon for Marc Rich. It also recalls the fiasco of the FALN pardons, in which Hillary played a major blundering role. What a great way to get that story back in the headlines!

Still, John McCain hasn't issued pardons to domestic terrorists, and he hasn't met with them to get blessings for political campaigns, either. Singer is correct to wonder how Republicans use this information.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Shaking Hands With Terrorists (Bump: The Hand Of Hillary?):

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