Category Archives: primary election

>OP ED: Putting on Ayers

>He was among the chief architects of what was known as the “days of rage.” He organized bomb squads that damaged university buildings, the pentagon and the U.S. Capitol building. His schemes of violence inadvertently blew up three of his amateur bomb-building compatriots — including his own paramour. He, along with his criminal cohort-cum-wife, Bernadette Dohrn, went on the lam for more than a decade. He narrowly avoided prison due to technicial screw-ups by the feds. She served time.

In short, he was the guy who put the “rage” in those “days of …”

Today, he is a “respected” professor at the University of Illinois, and his convicted felon wife similarly at Northwestern. He is on the board of civic organizations. He is a national leader in his profession. He has been a valued advisor to the Chicago Mayor Richard Daley. He is a prominent member of the social elite of the city. He is a friend, colleague and informal advisor to president wannabe Barack Obama.

This sounds like a story of conversion — how a misspent youth was rehabilitated. There is only one problem. Such stories usually converge on a point of repentance – recognition of a wayward past as one embarks on the road of righteousness.

Not so in the case of Bill Ayers.

The one-time leader of the notorious and violent Weather Underground regrets nothing of his past. “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.” In challenges to his extremism, Ayers retorts. “We were not extreme enough.”

He was recently elected as Vice President of the American Educational Research Association, where he advances a liberal activist education curriculum for our nation;s K-12 students. He makes no pretense regarding his desire to use the public education system as a means to foment radical action against the American free-enterprise, capitalist system. Like all elite totalitarians, Ayers subverts true civic education for philosophic indoctrination. In one course syllibus he admonishes, “Be a teacher capable of hope and struggle, outrage and action, a teacher teaching for social justice and liberation.” On the surface, who can be against social justice and liberation? However, when you get to the details, these are Ayers’ buzz words for radical and even violent civil action. He hopes to build a new generation of Weather Underground recruits.

The fact that Ayers and wife hold jobs (her a convicted felon teaching law) shaping the minds of future generation, and is “highly regarded’ in elite social and political circles, is a testimony to the connections of his wealthy upbringing, the extreme liberal bent of academia and a political correct mentality that relinquishes accountability for the misdeeds and misconduct of anyone left of center — no matter how far left.

Mayor Daley says Ayers’ personal days of rage were 40 years ago. “That was then. This is now,” he bellows. In rejecting any degree of regret and remorse, and even wishing he had been even more radical and extreme, Ayers merges the then with the now.

Should America be concerned that Obama considers his Chicago neighbor a friend and confidante? Is Hillary Clinton grasping at desperate straws in hanging Ayers around the neck of Obama like a rotting albatross?

Perhaps. Perhaps not.

Were the friendship the casual cordiality of coincidental neighbors, the concern might be exaggerated. However, Ayers provided more to Obama than over-the-fence conversation. They were close friends over a significant number of years, with the older and wiser Ayers counseling the younger and impressionable Obama. They shared leadership positions in civic enterprises. Ayers donated to Obama political campaign. Ayers hosted events for Obama in his home. Like Reverend Jeremiah Wright and Tony Rezko, Ayers was one of those close enough to influence Obama’s view of the world. Indeed, many of Obama’s more extreme views (which have never been fully vetted by the press) parallel the extremism of people like Wright and Ayers.

They say a man is known by his friends. If there is any truth to that, Ayers is only the latest person from Obama’s formative past to bring controversy. Standing alone, any one of these individuals might be excused as the exceptional bad apple. Combined, there is a critical mass of old relationships that raise legitimate questions regarding Obama’s character, philosophy, opinions and, above all, good judgment. How many times can Obama say of a long-standing friend, “I reject what he said, did or stands for, but he is still my friend.”

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>REACT: Missing the point in Mississippi

>As expected, Barack Obama cruised to an easy victory in the Mississippi Democrat primary, picking up about 20 of the states 33 delegates, with the remainder going to Hillary.

His victory, however, is more evidence that he will be an extreme underdog in the General Election. Mississippi has the highest percentage of African-Americans of any state in the nation. They represented and overwhelming 70 percent of the voters in the Democrat primary. They gave Obama more than 90 percent of their votes as an expression of racial solidarity. (Dare we call it racism?) Conversely, Hillary took the vast majority of white votes. (Dare we call it ethnic pride?)

And yes. There is irony in the fact that the Mississippi flag (pictured) incorproates the old confederate “stars and bars.” Even more so when you consider that a new flag proposal was soundly defeated by two-thrids of the voters in 2001. That referendum could foretell Obama’s future in a general election. His impressive victory in the Democrat primary may be counterintuitive in terms of November.

Whatever you call it, racial voting has floated Obama’s campaign to the top – and it will sink it in a general election if he is the Democrat standard bearer.

As I have previously written, as soon as Obama picked up the racial cudgel in South Carolina, he began to position his campaign on the great American racial fault line. Race — not the audacity of hope or the promise of change in the White House, other than skin color — is the underlying defining issue.

It is not unheard of for a candidate to do what is necessary to win a nomination, only to find the winning formula in the primary is a receipe for defeat in the general. Obama finds himself in that position. After running as the son of his father in the primaries, can he run as the son of his mother in the General Election? That takes a lot of hope — and more change than one can believe in.

Footnote: I have been hearing a lot of my conservative compatriots a’hopin’ and a’prayin’ for a Clinton nomination in the belief that she is the more beatable of the two candidates. I disagree. Without a monumental disaster in the McCain camp – never to be discounted —
I think Obama is predestined to be an also-ran. I think it is dangerous to underestimate the Clintons, just as the Democrats always underestimated Ronald Reagan when they were a’hopin’ and a’prayin’ that he would be the opposing candidate.

>REACT: Handicapping the candidates

>Oh my God! I woke up this morning with the thought that the General Election could be a race between Hillary Clinton and John McCain. For any conservative, this is a Hobson’s Choice.

If this is the case, the Democrats will have nominated the stronger of their two leading candidates, if not the most personable. The Republicans will again have blown a Presidential Election with a Dole-like nomination – a man too old, too accommodating (read that liberal) and too much a Beltway insider. I can almost see McCain in plaid bermudas, brown socks and tennis shoes trying to look “kewl.”. I just cannot see the bedrock conservatives wasting gas money to get to the poles to choose between Clinton and McCain.

Or course, it is still possible the Democrats, with their inordinately liberal (and minority) voting base, will bubble Barack Obama to the top as the most left wing of the candidtates. It is what they mostly have often done since the radical left took over the nominating process with the 1972 reforms. They barely beat Jerry “I beg your pardon” Ford for one term for Jimmy “empty suit” Carter, the peanut farmer from Plains; and they knocked off the incumbent squishy middle roader George Bush with a relatively moderate Bill Clinton.

The Dems do better when they nominate to the right of there ideological epicenter, while the Republicans flounder when the move to the left of what is right. So, the most competitive race would be Romney-Clinton – where conservatives have more of a champion and the donkey party has a salable candidate.

McCain-Clinton would likely doom any GOP surge in 2008. McCain-Obama gives the GOP a chance, but nothing for conservatives to celebrate – maybe a big stay-at-home, none-of-the-above vote. A Romney-Obama campaign is a slam dunk for the GOP, and Romney-Clinton would be the Massachusetts former governor’s to lose.

Now, I know a lot of folks think the GOP is facing further humiliation this year. Only if they ignore the American middle-class, good politics, core values and common sense. Not hard to imagine, unfortunately.

>OBSERVATION: Iowa and New Hampshire (yawn)

>Well … finally we are in the home stretch of the Iowa caucuses, to be quickly followed by the New Hampshire primary. Like Paris Hilton, they seem to enjoy an enormous amount of publicity solely because they exist.

The “first in the nation” status gives them unique advantage. First, the start off position provides them with disproportionate publicity for many weeks leading up to the votes. Succeeding primaries have to wait to receive press attention until the results of earlier votes. In some cases, the national media spotlight does not hit a state until a week or two before the vote.

Secondly, they have an appearance of importance that is belied but hindsight. Rarely do the outcomes of these states provide any real insight or advantage to the future candidacy. In fact, they are venues in which the most obvious front runners do well or where the future losers seem to look like winners for a very short time. In either case, the impact of Iowa and New Hampshire on the race is dubious at best.

This may be due to the fact that, despite chest beating to the contrary, the folks in Iowa and New Hampshire are not representative of the American fabric. For one thing, they don’t have any big city, urban citizens. Their “opinion” of the candidates does not carry much weight in the rest of the country. These two small states produce warm homilies and pretty imagery – classic Americana – but little political capital.

After all, what is the importance of a win in Iowa and New Hampshire if a candidate is going to take a drubbing in states like California, New York and Illinois? Conversely, what is the importance of a win in Iowa and New Hampshire if a candidate already is poised to carry states like California, New York and Illinois? We tend to give a lot of importance to Iowa and New Hampshire prior to the vote, and then completely ignore the results as the contest heads to the big delegate states.

Iowa and New Hampshire are like the coming attractions at the movies. No matter how interesting they try to make them, you’re glad when they are over and you can move on to the main feature.