Saturday, October 4, 2008

No There There

The righties have been telling anyone who will listen that Barack Obama has had a long and involved history with William Ayers, one of the founders of the Weather Underground, the 1960’s radical group (not to be confused with the excellent weather service site.) Today the New York Times has a major expose on the Obama/Ayers connection and comes up with bubkes.

At a tumultuous meeting of anti-Vietnam War militants at the Chicago Coliseum in 1969, Bill Ayers helped found the radical Weathermen, launching a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and United States Capitol.

Twenty-six years later, at a lunchtime meeting about school reform in a Chicago skyscraper, Barack Obama met Mr. Ayers, by then an education professor. Their paths have crossed sporadically since then, at a coffee Mr. Ayers hosted for Mr. Obama’s first run for office, on the schools project and a charitable board, and in casual encounters as Hyde Park neighbors.


[T]he two men do not appear to have been close. Nor has Mr. Obama ever expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of Mr. Ayers, whom he has called “somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8.”

So why bring it up? Perhaps the Times thought that it was worthwhile to debunk the rumors, knowing full well that the righties will still beat this issue to death no matter what and the McCain campaign thinks the Times is in the tank for Obama anyway.

Seems like a big waste of time to me, and as Steve Benen notes, “We can, of course, look forward to the Times’ 2,100-word piece on the Keating Five now, right? You know, just to help push the story back into the political discussion of the day?” Yeah, I wouldn’t count on it.