When George Stephanopoulos so rudely queried Sen. Barack Obama about his long-standing connections to unrepentant domestic terrorist William Ayers during a recent Democratic debate, many conservative newshounds cheered. At long last, Americans had been introduced to a name that only a handful of right-leaning news sources had previously explored. Obama challenged the question's relevancy, carefully avoided details, and pivoted to another topic of discussion. The damage was done, though, and his campaign was forced to issue a "fact" sheet to debunk any nasty implications the "distraction" of a question may have raised. Team Obama informed readers that a) Obama himself is far too young to have been a member of the Weather Underground, b) The mainstream media consensus is that Obama's ties to Ayers are irrelevant, c) All charges against Ayers were dropped, and d) Ayers and his wife, Bernadine Dohrn, are actually pretty "mainstream" these days. Three of these four defenses ring hollow.
First, let's stipulate the obvious: Barack Obama was a young boy when Ayers and Dohrn were blowing up federal buildings, running from authorities, and warning Americans to "guard your children." Obama is not a terrorist, and he should not be held responsible for the Weather Underground's criminal acts.
Next, let's examine Obama's claim that his connection to Ayers and Dohrn is "tenuous" and "phony." Is it phony that Obama's political coming-out party in the mid-1990s was hosted by Ayers and Dohrn? What about the panel discussions in which Ayers and Obama both took part—that were organized by Michelle Obama? Tenuous? I suppose the goodbye party for prominent Israel basher and Arafat apologist Rashid Khalidi, attended by Obama, Ayers and Dohrn, is also unworthy of discussion. That Khalidi himself hosted a fundraiser for Obama's first Congressional campaign must be completely irrelevant, too.