Linda Chavez

Staples goes on to describe that "(w)hen the Weathermen move underground, (Ayers) likens the group to 'black Americans who must know everything about the dominant culture while remaining ... invisible to that culture.' When the group blows up a building, the act is cast as revenge for the power structure's ruthless attacks on the 'black struggle.'"

Obama has said of his relationship to Ayers, "the notion that ... me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values, doesn't make much sense." But Ayers published his memoir in 2001 after he and Obama had become friends. And it was in a Sept. 11, 2001, New York Times article about the book that Ayers said, "I don't regret setting bombs," adding, "I feel we didn't do enough." And when asked by the Times whether he would do it all again, Ayers said, "I don't want to discount the possibility."

Most Americans know very little about the young senator from Illinois. He speaks eloquently about his love of America, so why does he gravitate towards those whose hatred of America is even more palpable?

It's a fair question, which voters will be asking in November -- and it has the potential to trump whatever electoral advantages Democrats now think they have. The Democrats are counting on Americans' disillusionment with the Iraq War and worries about the economy to propel them to victory no matter whom they nominate. But it may not be as easy as it looks.

Linda Chavez

Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .

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