When George Stephanopoulos asked Barack Obama about the presidential candidate’s friendship with William Ayers, the Clinton staffer-turned-ABC-talking-head touched off a storm of protest on the left. While no one could deny that Ayers and his wife had been part of the terrorist group The Weathermen, many rushed forward to assert that both were now well-respected members of the Chicago mainstream.
The controversy looked likely to die out at least within the MSM after a few days of focus because of the general theory that even hard core and violent revolutionaries like Ayers and Dohrn can atone and make amends, and that their friends of today ought not to be tarred with their sins of 30 years ago. This was Obama’s defense –“when I was 8 years old!—and it was working.
Then Guy Benson, a young journalist friend of mine who works for Chicago’s Sandy Rios Show in my network and hosts his own weekend radio show, went digging, and what he found was the tape from a 2007 reunion of the SDS, on which both Ayers and Dohrn talk at length about how they view America today –or at least six months ago when they gathered to celebrate the good old days of revolutionary sparkle.
Rios and I both played excerpts from the tap earlier this week, and Powerline posted the audio to make listening and distribution easy. The MSM hadn’t looked very hard into the background of Ayers and Dohrn, and hadn’t looked at all at their current political opinions, but the new media, led by a recent product of journalism school, scooped them again.
Reactions to the tapes cross the spectrum, from the usual pointed observations by Mark Steyn –“This is the pool that Obama swims in.” to the usual incoherent denunciations by Andrew Sullivan of the critics of Obama's friends as a "Freak Show" that will eventually accuse Obama of being a terrorist.