Monday, October 13, 2008

Crowd control

Glenn Reynolds, a.k.a. Instapundit, says (via my mom's blog):

So we've had nearly 8 years of lefty assassination fantasies about George W. Bush, and Bill Ayers' bombing campaign is explained away as a consequence of him having just felt so strongly about social justice, but a few people yell things at McCain rallies and suddenly it's a sign that anger is out of control in American politics? It's nice of McCain to try to tamp that down... but, please, can we also note the staggering level of hypocrisy here?
Does Reynolds (who's single-handedly responsible for a lot of the traffic this blog has received) really not see any distinction?

There might be a genuine parallel if McCain and Palin hadn't actively attempted to stoke hateful feelings toward Obama. But they have.

Or there might be a parallel if Obama had been conducting his campaign by insidiously playing on "lefty assassination fantasies." He hasn't.

Palin deliberately caused people to associate the word "terrorist" with "Obama." As just about everyone has now heard, she says Obama likes to "pal around" with terrorists and hang out in their "living room." The McCain campaign put out a press release last week referring to "the terrorist group founded by Barack Obama's friend William Ayers." Those are just a couple examples of many. While none of that is literally calling Obama himself a terrorist, any competent politician understands the effect of repeating two words or phrases together over and over. (See Bush's constant repetitions of "Saddam Hussein" and "September 11" in rapid succession.)

All of that rhetoric is carefully constructed to avoiding mentioning that Obama has only associated with Ayers long after he became a reformed, productive member of society. Even the lead prosecutor who prosecuted Ayers said, in a letter to the New York Times:
I am amazed and outraged that Senator Barack Obama is being linked to William Ayers’s terrorist activities 40 years ago when Mr. Obama was, as he has noted, just a child.

Although I dearly wanted to obtain convictions against all the Weathermen, including Bill Ayers, I am very pleased to learn that he has become a responsible citizen.

Because Senator Obama recently served on a board of a charitable organization with Mr. Ayers cannot possibly link the senator to acts perpetrated by Mr. Ayers so many years ago.
I've seen this ad in my web browser countless times (the screen shot is from this blog post):

McCain ad with face of Barack Obama next to President Ahmadinejad of Iran - Should we meet with dictators?
Clearly someone at the McCain campaign noticed that Obama and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have the same light-brown skin tone (if the lighting is just right) and that their faces are vaguely similar (at just the right angle, in carefully cropped photographs, etc.). Then that person decided to track down photos of them that would highlight this resemblance, and placed them right next to each other. I have to assume McCain knows what he's doing with this ad.

I know that many people who read this post will dismiss my suggestions. I understand that there's a deep human impulse to vehemently deny that subliminal messages are effective or even being attempted. The notion that our thoughts are susceptible to being manipulated makes people mad.

Keep in mind that the McCain campaign has been flinging the "terrorist" language at Obama for months and months (going back to the days when McCain used to have the nerve to say this out of his own mouth rather than cowardly saying it through his surrogates). The Obama/Ahmadinejad ad has also been showing up on the internet for months and months.

None of this is an accident.

If you use those kinds of images and buzzwords over and over, trying to firmly implant them in Americans' minds, you shouldn't be surprised if the language at your rallies starts to run along the lines of: "Terrorist!" "Kill him!" "We're scared, we're scared of an Obama presidency." "I can't trust Obama ... he's an Arab." And so on.



UPDATE 1: According to a commenter on my mom's blog responding to this post, I am "a very callow youth with a limited understanding of American political campaigns." I would like to respond to this, but I'm only 27 years old so I'm not smart enough to know whether he's right.

UPDATE 2: Lots of comments on this post (over 40 right now). Most are vigorously disagreeing with me. I always welcome vigorous disagreement.

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow.

Your ideas make "conspiracy theories" appear sane and sound by comparison.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Luckily, it all backfired among the majority of voters, if you look at McCain's free fall in the polls.

What the McCain camp has trouble understanding is that they can't win this thing by riling up what's left of the conservative base. So now, this week, they've supposedly relaunched their campaign, again, and are taking on a "new message," which isn't really new but has some sort of theme of McCain "fighting" and "never giving up," whatever that means, for the 1000th time, again.

McCain is a "throw everything at the wall and see what sticks" kind of candidate, and any serious person can see that this would be a disastrous kind of man to put in the White House in today's tumultuous times.

Pastafarian said...

I don't think that McCain really needs to "stoke hateful feelings" in order for McCain supporters to hate Obama. Take it from me -- I absolutely loathe this son of a bitch.

And it's not because he has light brown skin -- it's because I'm one of those "typical white people" that this arrogant bastard looks down on, one of these rural idiots who clings to his guns (not so much my bible, though).

And I'm from Ohio, so I can rest assured that my vote has already been canceled out 10,000 times over by fraudulent votes in Cleveland and Cincinnati, via ACORN. 10,000 fraudulent registrations were found in Cincinnati, 8,000 in Cleveland. And those were just the bad registrations that were found -- Republicans asked for the rest of the ACORN names so that they could verify them independently, and the Secretary of State turned them down.

Do you want to hate Obama too? Then take a look at this:

http://www.wewillnotbesilenced2008.com/video/index.htm

Obama has brought Chicago machine politics to the national scene. Bravo. And after he wins, he'll cement ACORN-style fraud into the system, and my vote will be canceled out for the rest of my life, and I'll just put my head down and get back to work to make money for this bastard to direct...to ACORN.

So, yeah, I hate him. And I'd be a little careful about throwing around words like "cowardly" in describing someone like McCain -- he's taken one more bayonette to the groin than you or me.

John Althouse Cohen said...

Your ideas make "conspiracy theories" appear sane and sound by comparison.

As I said...

InternetFred said...

You're paying more attention to the alleged subliminals and not enough to the real message.

Obama clearly lacks the judgment to stay away from America-hating preachers, America-hating ex-bombers, and socialistic political parties.

Obama didn't know what was wrong with bombing, socialism or damning America.

In a debate with Democrats, Obama was asked if he would have a summit conference with America's enemies. Not about diplomats meeting. Him. He didn't know what was wrong with that. Hillary knew. Now Obama does, and talks about "Preparations".

Obama, the student President.

VP Palin is taking heat for trying to fire a trooper who tased his own 10-year old stepson, and people can say bombers and damners don't matter?

John Althouse Cohen said...

VP Palin is taking heat for trying to fire a trooper who tased his own 10-year old stepson, and people can say bombers and damners don't matter?

She broke the law while she was in office.

therandomelectron said...

She broke the law while she was in office.

Actually she didn't break the law. The report cast some skepticism about her motives/actions, but admits that the firing was a just and legal exercise of her authority as governor.

Pastafarian said...

John -- I think I'd rather have someone in office who broke the law to have that nut fired (he drove his cop car drunk, he threatened someone's life, etc.), than have someone in office who very deftly bends the law to his will in order to short-circuit democracy itself.

But that's me. I'm bitter. I'll just get back to work now, to make more money, so that it can be taxed and redirected to ACORN, so that they can cancel out my vote next time, too.

Donna B. said...

I wholeheartedly disagree that Palin broke the law while in office, and point to the report just issued to back that up.

An ethics violation that could not be prevented no matter what she did, is not breaking the law.

Now... back to subliminal. I'm not sure we understand the term in the same way. McCain and Palin have not exactly been subliminal about mentioning that Obama has some unsavory associates. Seems to me they are pretty upfront about it.

I also think you are mistaken that these messages are aimed at the Republican base - they are aimed at a subset of the Democrat base.

I cannot vote for Obama because I have read his books, some of his policies on his website, and listened or read many of his speeches and I disagree with almost everything I think he would or could do to promote them.

Wayback said...

For the last several weeks, Rush Limbaugh has been telling his audience that Barack Obama is not black, but really an Arab. That, too, helps feed into the hysterical right wing fears of Barack Obama.

The question is what's going if Obama is elected. There are going to be millions of people who believe some combination of (1) he rigged the election (ACORN), (2) he's a secret muslim, and (3) he's a terrorist or friend of terrorists.

Historically Republicans have a hard time accepting the legitimacy of Democratic rule. During the 1990s, membership in paranoid, far-right anti-government militias increased exponentially. They blew up one federal building, planned attacks on US military installations, and prepared for civil war.

If Obama is elected, we'll again see massive explosion of far-right paramilitary groups, but it will (I fear) be much worse than it was under Clinton, because unlike with Clinton, the fears of Obama as an enemy of the US are being directly encouraged and fueled by the leadership of the Republican Party, including both McCain and Palin.

McCain does deserve some credit for correcting the woman who repeated Rush Limbaugh's line about Obama being an Arab, but that was one small gesture when many were needed. The Republicans are riding a tiger, and I doubt they will be able to control it.

Wayback said...

VP Palin is taking heat for trying to fire a trooper who tased his own 10-year old stepson...

When I first heard the kid was tasered by his dad, I thought it sounded like classic child abuse and obviously an indication that they guy was severely disturbed.

But it has since been reported, I believe, that the kid wanted to be tased, and repeatedly begged his father to "let him try it."

This is not at all uncommon among men and boys who know that there is no permanent damage or harm, and who merely want to experience the overwhelming sensation of being tased.

If this is true, people need to take that into account when judging the character of the trooper.

Mark Linder said...

It seems to me that Reynolds's point is that national observers took basically no notice of anger in American politics when directed against George Bush, that defenders of Ayers are attributing his bombings to commendable passion for social justice rather than anger, but some of the same national observers and/or defenders are suddenly overcome with concern about anger because of a few individuals at McCain rallies yelling hateful things. There’s the distinction he sees.

And given what I would characterize as the relatively limited number of individuals expressing anger at Obama to date, I’d say there’s a clear distinction between that and the extent of angry death wishes directed against George Bush and the anger behind the actions taken by William Ayers. That’s the hypocrisy Reynolds notes, and rightly so.

Mark said...

What law did Governor Palin break in office, according to whom?

Stupe said...

Callow isn't quite the word. Naive comes a bit closer. Smart-aleck? Know-it-all ???

Impertinent and arrogant, perhaps.

I'm not sure what they're teaching in Comparative Gov. classes these days, or if that's still mandatory like it used to be....in High School.

But, your "light-browned" Candidate is preaching a kind of Marxist economic plan that's dressed up in a pretty-package, which today's youth laugh-off as some kind of groovy new 'share-the-wealth' system.

Of course, there've been Democrat presidents before, but never with a full-scale Democrat legislature.

Should you ever manage to shake off the smug false-assuptions of youth and, somehow, attain a higher income bracket.....you'll not like the kind of creeping-socialism that "The One" has in store for your hard-earned largesse.

Podunk said...

She broke the law while she was in office.

That's a bit of a stretch. An investigator has said that the firing was not unlawful, but some of her actions prior to that may have been. Obviously, an accusation by an investigator is not grounds for conviction, since otherwise we could dispense with all those silly judges, juries, and trials.

But regardless, when you read the report (and I have no doubt that, having made this statement, you read the report), you find that the actions taken were either Sarah Palin's before she took office or Todd Palin's after she took office. There is little doubt that Todd wanted the guy fired and leaned on people to try to get it done. But as the report says, he's not an employee and isn't subject to the ethics laws in question.

Instead, the case is built on the fact that Todd tended to say "we" a lot, implying that Sarah agreed with him. She probably did, and she was probably frustrated that Wooten was still a state trooper. But thinking that a guy should be fired is a far cry from unlawfully pressuring him to be fired.

Terri said...

She broke the law while she was in office.

What law was broken? Will there be a trial? Will she go to prison? I'm not exactly sure that "she broke the law" is the best way to describe it. Seriously.

I am just curious, why do you support Obama and his supporters when they do everything to shut down any criticism or threat of criticism? See the St. Louis libel threats, the anti-Stanley Kurtz email campaigns, the Texas caucus brownshirts? Is this really the American way of free expression and dissenting opinion? Perhaps "subliminal" is the only way that anyone can get their message across..... although I think you're confusing 'subliminal' with politics as usual (see "McCain doesn't know how to use email because he's old, etc"

Terry said...

JAC: "Palin deliberately caused people to associate the word "terrorist" with "Obama."".

Wrong.

Obama chose - repeat chose - to associate with a person who admitted to having committed terrorist attacks against Americans.

Ayers is to this day, at this very moment, an unrepentant terrorist. And he will be such tomorrow as well.

And if the Palin's description of Obama's relationship with Ayers is too colloquial, then what term or terms would you use to describe their long term relationship that captures the reality of the matter without unfairly beating up on Obama or ignoring the gravity of his choice?

John Althouse Cohen said...

What law was broken? ... I'm not exactly sure that "she broke the law" is the best way to describe it. Seriously.

Read the report. It cites the specific statute that she violated. Seriously.

Will she go to prison?

Not all violations of the law are things you can go to prison for. You're confusing "broke the law" with "committed a crime." I don't remember whether criminal law was the issue here, but I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

Looking at your Reading List, both on here, and Library Thing.....

---I'd say you've got a bit of maturing to do.

By the way, I judge someone's Reading List by what isn't on there, and I'd say you're missing more than a few key picks.

John Althouse Cohen said...

That's a bit of a stretch. An investigator has said that the firing was not unlawful, but some of her actions prior to that may have been.


Page 8 of the report says she "abused her power by violating ... the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act." That's saying she violated the law. It's not saying she "may have" violated the law.

You're right that it said that something else she did was legal. I would hope that everything she does in office would be legal.

John Althouse Cohen said...

Looking at your Reading List, both on here, and Library Thing..... ---I'd say you've got a bit of maturing to do. By the way, I judge someone's Reading List by what isn't on there, and I'd say you're missing more than a few key picks.

What list on Library Thing?

Care to be specific? What books should I have put on my reading list?

John Althouse Cohen said...

But regardless, when you read the report (and I have no doubt that, having made this statement, you read the report), you find that the actions taken were either Sarah Palin's before she took office or Todd Palin's after she took office.

I have skimmed the report, and what you're saying is simply not true. The report talks about her conduct while in office and concludes that she behaved illegally and unethically. You're right that it also talks about things Todd Palin did while she was in office.

Anonymous said...

Zachary Paul Sire: How is it that you consider a five point difference "free fall" ?

I'd say Someone has demonstrated an uncanny failure to close the deal, and five points could be nothing but a lingering margin of error.

Dangerous Dreamer said...

You know I can see your point except for one thing, Ayers is kinda, you know, a terrorist. He's also the kind of terrorist that wishes he could, you know, still be a terrorist.

So keep up the reasoned posts, they're very entertaining.

Terri said...

Ayers is a terrorist. Case closed. Now let's talk about the other "subliminal" elephant in the room. Let's talk about race, shall we? Every single day, on just about every single news site there is another headline about "race being the deciding factor" if Obama loses. Every single day it's there- whether it be yahoo, cnn, the NY Times, wherever you go to read the news and look at headlines.... So, they are sending the message in every way possible that if you don't vote for Obama you are a racist. How about if Obama tells all of those "supporters" to knock it off? How about if he loses the election and cities burn because people have been fed a steady diet this whole campaign that if he loses it will be because Americans are racists. How about that? How about a very strong statement from the Obama campaign that the race reporting is not helpful and that they completely disavow it? Where is that statement? A strong statement. And keep repeating it so that it gets into everyone's subconscious. I'm waiting. Every day. Still waiting.

There are tons of reasons I will not vote for Obama, but his race is not one of them. He wasn't given the nomination by the people, it was a gift from the party hacks.

It should have been Hillary.

Wayback said...

*Reynolds's point is that national observers took basically no notice of anger in American politics when directed against George Bush*

That's fine, but I have never seen mobs of Democrats and political rallies calling for Bush to be killed. There has been a lot of hysterical ranting on the left about Bush shredding the Constitution and declaring himself king, etc., but that's a far cry from the blood-thirsty mobs we've been seeing recently at Republican events, expressing their dark murder fantasies with direct encouragement from the top ranks of the Republican Party. And it's not just McCain and Palin. Rudy Giuliani, for example, was on MSNBC last week essentially calling Obama a terrorist; sure, he didn't explicitly call him a terrorist, but as Jac implies, when you combine Rush Limbaugh's "he's an Arab" with Palin's "he hates his country" with "he pals around with terrorists," the conclusions drawn by the unhinged right are easy to predict -- and we all saw the horrifying results on our televisions last week.

Post 9/11, when people hear "terrorist" they think of Muslims and Arabs who are targeting the US for complete destruction; they think of people who "hate our way of life."

Considering the already existing underground campaign suggesting Obama is a secret Muslim, McCain's strategy could not be more dangerous. People have expressed a lot of concern about what Republican mobs will do before the election, but to my mind, the far greater concern is what will happen if Obama is elected. We are sure to see, as I pointed out above, a drastic increase in far-right militia activity.

One thing is for sure: Thanks to the election strategy chosen by Sarah Palin and John McCain, if Obama is elected the Secret Service will have its hands full for the next 4 or 8 years, trying to control the dangerous impulses of Rush Limbaugh fans and Republicans who have gone off the deep end.

John Althouse Cohen said...

You know I can see your point except for one thing, Ayers is kinda, you know, a terrorist. He's also the kind of terrorist that wishes he could, you know, still be a terrorist.

I have no idea if Ayers "wishes he could still be a terrorist." I haven't seen any evidence to contradict what the guy who prosecuted Ayers said: that Ayers has been a reformed, productive member of society for decades.

I'm going to vote for Obama, not Ayers. I don't really care what Ayers "wishes" he were doing.

John Stodder said...

Well, I realize I am voting for Obama, based mostly on the increasingly apparent fact that McCain isn't capable of being a good president. Campaigns tell you things.

However, this is sheer nonsense. McCain isn't stoking hate, and neither is Palin.

It diminishes Obama that on his trip up the greasy pole, he would find common cause with, to use McCain's accurate phrase, "an unrepentant terrorist." It is precisely true.

It doesn't disqualify him, at least for me. But it is a fact, the kind of fact that is used in politics by Democrats against Republicans all the time. So the outrage here is unwarranted.

You're also falling for a media stunt in thinking there is an unusual degree of "anger" or "hatred" in McCain crowds. There's not very much, and certainly there has been a lot more hatred against Republicans among Democratic crowds. The only difference is the Democrats have been haters for eight long years and the media agrees with them.

In short, vote for Obama, but don't vote for the media.

Terry said...

Obama made the concious choice to associate with Ayers on more than one occasion. The association was at least political that much is obvious.

Ayers not only admitted to his acts of terror with the Weather Underground, he openly claims to be a "little 'c' communist".

He had a picture taken of himself desecrating our flag by standing on it...

Obama wrote a glowing promo blurb for Ayers book on the juvenile justice system.

A worthy politician would have at worst said thanks but no thanks to the "opportunity" to work with Ayers.

Obama could have and should have avoided these 'dangerous liaisons'.

But he didn't. And he is being held accountable for his choices.

John Stodder said...

Just semantically: It is irrelevant how Ayers has lived his life since his acts of terrorism. At what point do you stop calling a murderer a murderer? Ayers was an active terrorist in the 60s and 70s, by his own admission. It is completely fair to call him a terrorist today, despite all that time having gone by.

Especially because he has never asked anyone for forgiveness.

He hasn't asked for forgiveness because he doesn't want forgiveness. Therefore, it is even more appropriate to call him a terrorist. Ayers should have no problem with the appellation, frankly. If he did, it would imply remorse, which he has never shown.

Mark said...

Wayback's comment illustrates that the repeated association dynamic works both ways. If he really believes that there are blood-thirsty mobs congregating around McCain/Palin campaign events, his thinking has been completely manipulated into a false perception of what is really occurring. John Stodder has good words of council: vote based on the ideas the candidates are likely to enact, not perceptions of them promulgated by media reports or ads.

John Althouse Cohen said...

Just semantically: It is irrelevant how Ayers has lived his life since his acts of terrorism. At what point do you stop calling a murderer a murderer? Ayers was an active terrorist in the 60s and 70s, by his own admission. It is completely fair to call him a terrorist today, despite all that time having gone by.

Well, no. Not everyone who ever commits a crime is fairly described as "a criminal" for life. In fact, if you brand people for life like this, you make the possibility of rehabilitation less attractive to those who have gotten in trouble with the law in the past. Same goes for terrorists. You might enjoy the feeling of righteousness it gives you to brand someone for life, but that doesn't mean life is that simple.

I know that Ayers made one statement (though not on September 11, 2001, as McCain likes to falsely claim) that he's sorry he didn't do more. That's awful of him to say, but I don't know how it inculpates Obama. And even that is not an instance of him being "a terrorist" since the time Obama came to Chicago; that just means he's made an incorrect moral judgment about his own behavior from decades ago.

By the way, the very fact that this is the discussion we're having, when the election is 3 weeks away and the country is in a crisis, is a result of the basic unseriousness of the McCain campaign.

Terry said...

John Stodder, I was seriously considering Obama due to my dislike of McCain as a RINO and my naive belief that Obama would be, at worst, near harmless as POTUS. I was interested because back then he was claiming that he would straddle the two parties and take into consideration the interests of both sides.

But I'm afraid that is not who he is.

All these associations with America-hating radicals - in the words of JAC's Mom - "means something".

As you are going to vote for him, tell me what do those relationships say about the man you would have be president?

John Althouse Cohen said...

You're also falling for a media stunt in thinking there is an unusual degree of "anger" or "hatred" in McCain crowds. There's not very much...

Then why did McCain exhort the crowd at the beginning of one of his recent rallies to "be respectful"? (See the YouTube clip at the end of this post.) That's a pretty awkward way to kick off an event -- presumably he felt it was necessary.

EDH said...

JAC,

Son, you're young and you've got a lot to learn about how Democrats use the ethics laws.

The "ethics law" the report accuses Palin of violating is a catch all that says you cannot use a public office to advance personal interest.

I don't think self-interest can be construed from any attempt to have Wooten disciplined for cause, especially if alimony was involved in the divorce.

Personally, I find it refreshing that a public official tried to get a no-good brother-in-law off the public payroll as opposed to the thousands of others who routinely -- out of "self interest" -- put them on it.

Consider Obama. Self interest to me is more like having an earmark directed to the hospital your wife works for just before she gets a hefty raise to $300k+ as VP of Community Relations.

I beleive Palin didn't even fire the public safety chief, which was her prerogative, only reassigned him, and he quit.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

I was inspired to respond to some of the silly comments here and the post itself on my own blog, and encouraged my readers to come on over here and leave their own responses.

Mark said...

It seems that John McCain's preemptive statement shows that he takes it seriously at any level, that he's not going to wait until molotov cocktails start getting tossed to speak out against it. This takes us back to Reynolds's post, which is why we're having this discussion, that the media observers who are highlighting scattered hateful comments at McCain campaign rallies seem to have very different thresholds at which they take anger seriously.

Mark said...

BTW, clearly I'm not persuaded by your case, but comparing your responses to some of the comments, esp. at althouse.blogspot.com, I appreciate the tenor of your reactions, giving as good as you get with good cheer. The link to the definition of "ad hominem" was an understated masterstroke. I wish I could stick around for more.

Kirk Parker said...

Regarding the Obama and Ahmadinejad ad, all I can say to you is: Good grief! Do you really think that ad would resonate one bit less with its target market if the American depicted were Ramsey Clark or "Baghdad" Jim McDermott? Skin color has nothing to do with it.

John Althouse Cohen said...

Do you really think that ad would resonate one bit less with its target market if the American depicted were Ramsey Clark or "Baghdad" Jim McDermott? Skin color has nothing to do with it.

Oh, that ad might resonate. So what? They didn't run that ad.

John Stodder said...

Then why did McCain exhort the crowd at the beginning of one of his recent rallies to "be respectful"? (See the YouTube clip at the end of this post.) That's a pretty awkward way to kick off an event -- presumably he felt it was necessary.

Because McCain noticed there were some reporters at the event with their notepads out and he was covering his ass.

How do you know the people in the crowd who are saying these vile things aren't provocateurs? The easiest way to assure McCain a shitty day of press coverage would be for an Obama supporter to go to a McCain rally and start screaming one of the supposed subliminal messages he's accused of putting out. Call Obama an Arab terrorist or something, then run away. Does that sound difficult? Left wing groups do that all the time. The head of the Democratic Party in California (if it's still Bob Mulholland) is an avowed expert at it.

Even if there are no provocateurs but instead some extreme right assholes, the fact is, the vast, vast majority of the members of his crowds are there to support their candidate, to cheer him and boo Obama, but in the right, patriotic spirit of an adversarial campaign. The media wants to inhibit one side in this campaign, so the other side can have a monopoly.

Again, I can't really believe you aren't smart enough to see that. You come from such great stock!

Jal Arky said...

Here's a hypothetical analogy:

During the 1990s, John McCain collaborates with a 1960s-era segregationist on some worthwhile community initiative. They're not buds, but working together on a common interest. Later, while running for office in 2008, McCain says he did not share the segregationist's views, and in any event, McCain was a POW in Vietnam during the segregationist's glory years.

The national press accepts this explanation? Or uses the association as proof-positive McCain is a racist?

The concern with Obama/Ayers has always been JUDGEMENT, but you're more comfortable in your intellectual dishonesty.

brian said...

You know how a tortured argument just screams "started with the conclusion and backed up to the justification.... no matter how far a stretch"?

Someone is running for the President of the United States who launched his political career with the help of a terrorist who to this day professes all the same extreme beliefs that drove him and his wife to plant bombs in the first place.

The opponent of this candidate rightly points this fact out, and the first thing that jumps to your mind is a conspiracy to associate the word 'terrorist' with Obama? On top of that, you think what really had the McCain's campaign rubbing it's hands together was the color of Obama's skin?

To not even acknowledge that this is even an issue for Obama while in the same breadth accusing McCain of racism through Jedi mind tricks is about the finest example of a tortured argument I've ever seen.

For the last time, the point isn't that Ayers set bombs off in the 70's, it's that he has the same extreme ideas to this day and Obama found enough common ground with the man that he helped him enact those ideas on Chicago school kids ...wasting over $50M in the process. Ayer's premise for improving education was to set up programs to teach kids that America is an evil and racist country and help recruit them for community organizing. Money wasn't sent directly to any school at all, but was set up to go through “partner” organizations as slush funds. Coincidentally, the vary same recipients of this money were all too willing to help Obama get into office ...which he ran for specifically citing his experience on the Annenburg challenge.

A triple whammy: extreme leftist views, burns through over $50M providing no improvement at all in the school kids of Chicago, and he immediately cashes in political favors bought with money intended to improve education for kids.

The fact that anyone has to point out this is kind of important to know about a candidate for President of the United States is sad indeed.

T J Sawyer said...

Timothy McVeigh, Ted Kaczynski. How do they differ from Bill Ayers? Body count?

Let's say we release Tim and Ted from prison - er, make that just Ted. How long will it be before he becomes a "reformed, productive member of society" and you are willing to have him host a fund-raiser for a cause of your own?

And on the subject of subliminal messages: when someone takes their two daughters to a church where Jeremiah Wright is preaching, does he have a subliminal effect on them or does his message come in right over the limen?

Anonymous said...

I think that "Jac" is really just another one of Ann Althouse's many alter-egos.

I wouldn't be surprised if Ann created 'Jac' to be a kind of subversive protege of hers. ---Someone for whom Althouse could more easily float all her really rebellious, unconventional ideas, without fear of retribution or blow-back.

'Jac' isn't really all that different from all the other flamboyant Sock Puppets that Professor Althouse routinely unloads, on readers, in her regular blog.

sonicfrog said...

The best and most comical thing about this is, today on Rush's show, he was lamenting that some cowardly "moderates" (that's in parenthesis because it's an invective in Rush's world) are getting their way and McCain is starting to tone down the rhetoric. Rush and other conservatives want more... even though it is not helping, and almost certainly hurting, any chance McCain has of getting elected.

Ernst Blofeld said...

The problem is that Obama is in fact palling around with terrorists.

Ayers is not "reformed" in any meaningful sense. He doesn't regret anything of what he did. It's more accurate to say that he's a terrorist in abeyance.

Certainly you would not give anyone a pass for working closely today with a Birmingham church bomber if that bomber expressed no regret for his actions, still worked with small-w white power groups, and had gotten out of punishment on a technicality because of an over-enthusiastic FBI investigation.

Shanna said...

Clearly someone at the McCain campaign noticed that Obama and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have the same light-brown skin tone (if the lighting is just right) and that their faces are vaguely similar

I really think you seeing a similarity between them that isn't there. They don't look a thing alike to me.

I wish people in general would stop all this effort to get at subtext, because alot of it is nonsense. Let's talk about the text. BO hung out with an unrepentent domestic terrorist. Now, you can certainly defend that, many have. But facts are facts. His pastor made a lot of terrible comments. His buddy Rezko is currently on trial. Can we all see that this guy is a Chicago pol, and thus has many dirty associations? Defend that if you like, but it should be ok to bring it up. I don't personally think it's a good strategy of the mccain camp, but it should be fair game, imo.

But it has since been reported, I believe, that the kid wanted to be tased, and repeatedly begged his father to "let him try it."

I think the bigger problem is that he was threatening her father's life, or something like that. Also, driving drunk in a squad car.

John Althouse Cohen said...

I wish people in general would stop all this effort to get at subtext...

As I said...

Ernst Blofeld said...

It would be wrong to call the Annenberg Challenge a "worthwhile community initiative". It was wrong-headed and destructive from the start. That Obama bought into it as an idea is a mark against his judgement. That it was ineptly executed is a mark against his ability to manage a public policy project. That he involved himself with terrorists in order to participate in it is jaw-dropping.

The entire enterprise is a comprehensive brief against voting for the guy.

david said...

You are obviously correct about the "Obama is a terrorist (or at least a scary brown guy)" insinuation. Even Biden was openly stating it on national TV interviews. You have to really love McCain/hate Obama not to see it. I mean, McCain says "Who is the REAL Barack Obama?", which is a line straight out of a smear email saying he's a Muslim. I think McCain's official topic at the time was Obama's tax policy--and then he just slips in a line like that, as if it has anything to do with taxes. The problem for McCain with these messages is that they're not supposed to be made explicit, so that the non-idiot media who clearly know what's going on aren't able to actually say it because of journalistic conventions. But the problem for McCain is that some idiot in he crowd actually shouts out what was supposed to remain implicit. Judging by McCain's facial expression when the guy shouted "terrorist," it's possible that McCain himself didn't understand the significance of the line, and that a staffer put it in the speech. I noticed that it disappeared from his speech immediately.

I have had the same thought about that web banner, too--particularly the choice of photo for Obama. If the message was supposed to be that he was naive and would be run over by Iran, they should have used a photo of him all innocent and doe-eyed. Actually, the fact that the web ad has been running for so long makes no sense otherwise. As someone who does not think of Obama as a brown-skinned America-hater, but who is a little hesitant about him meeting with dictators without preconditions, I actually find the photo flattering. Obama stares confidently as the dictator pleads for mercy. Clearly, I'm not the target audience.

But then, we don't need to speculate about the web ad, because there is a new mailer (I'm pretty sure from McCain, although it may be the RNC) which says we need to stare evil in the eyes. They have a real close up shot on Osama bin Ladin's eyes, but with an expression that makes them REALLY look like Obama's. (A lot of people on liberal blogs thought they were Obama's eyes, and I know I did at first glance.)

david said...

You are obviously correct about the "Obama is a terrorist (or at least a scary brown guy)" insinuation. Even Biden was openly stating it on national TV interviews. You have to really love McCain/hate Obama not to see it. I mean, McCain says "Who is the REAL Barack Obama?", which is a line straight out of a smear email saying he's a Muslim. I think McCain's official topic at the time was Obama's tax policy--and then he just slips in a line like that, as if it has anything to do with taxes. The problem for McCain with these messages is that they're not supposed to be made explicit, so that the non-idiot media who clearly know what's going on aren't able to actually say it because of journalistic conventions. But the problem for McCain is that some idiot in he crowd actually shouts out what was supposed to remain implicit. Judging by McCain's facial expression when the guy shouted "terrorist," it's possible that McCain himself didn't understand the significance of the line, and that a staffer put it in the speech. I noticed that it disappeared from his speech immediately.

I have had the same thought about that web banner, too--particularly the choice of photo for Obama. If the message was supposed to be that he was naive and would be run over by Iran, they should have used a photo of him all innocent and doe-eyed. Actually, the fact that the web ad has been running for so long makes no sense otherwise. As someone who does not think of Obama as a brown-skinned America-hater, but who is a little hesitant about him meeting with dictators without preconditions, I actually find the photo flattering. Obama stares confidently as the dictator pleads for mercy. Clearly, I'm not the target audience.

But then, we don't need to speculate about the web ad, because there is a new mailer (I'm pretty sure from McCain, although it may be the RNC) which says we need to stare evil in the eyes. They have a real close up shot on Osama bin Ladin's eyes, but with an expression that makes them REALLY look like Obama's. (A lot of people on liberal blogs thought they were Obama's eyes, and I know I did at first glance.)