…And so I quote from the 487,982nd hothouse paragraph at NRO this week alone, in which the author attempts, through the comical disgorgement of ridiculous detail, to prove that Barack Obama may be too much of a Nut for ordinary Americans to accept. It’s like getting fashion tips from a man wearing a clown nose & fruit hat, with a live salmon down his pants: “Your tie does not match your socks. Giggle! Calm down, Mr. Wriggles!” Frap frap slap. “Eeeek!” (Exit, pursued by a bear.)Forward into the background:
It is a very edifying spectacle. Strangely admirable, though, like the band that kept on playing as the Titanic slowly slid ‘neath the frigid tide. Except in this case they’re all playing kazoos. Badly.
As you know, Bob, The Corner is the bloggy opinion-mongering operation of National Review Online. Their fame recently spiked, not in a good way, when Rich Lowry wrote an infatuated review of Sarah Palin’s performance in the VP debates that earned him Keith Olbermann’s Worst Person of the Day award. The Corner was embarrassed enough to remove Lowry’s piece from their site, but you can still hear Olbermann read the whole thing verbatim on YouTube.*
They’ve continued their slide into bizarre behavior with their focus on Obama’s supposed (i.e., nonexistent) radicalism. In this, they’re taking their cues from the McCain campaign—which, with the country embroiled in the worst financial crisis since the Great Crash of 1929, has chosen to concentrate on Obama’s connections with Bill Ayers, an elementary education theorist and a Distinguished Professor at the University of Illinois in Chicago, who happens to be an old Weatherman.
Obama’s ties with Ayers are pathetically slight, and boringly respectable. They met at a luncheon meeting about school reform. Ayers hosted a coffee for Obama’s first run for office. Between 2000 and 2002 they both were on the board of a community anti-poverty group, the Woods Fund of Chicago, which met a dozen times during that period. In April 2001, Ayers contributed $200 to Obama’s re-election campaign for the Illinois State Senate. Oh, and they live in the same neighborhood. That’s it. That’s the whole thing.
(It’s obvious, if you take a look at the list of their meetings, that Ayers and Obama weren’t plotting revolution there. Lenin and Trotsky themselves couldn’t have plotted revolution at those meetings. None of them were occasions for Ayers and Obama to talk to each other. They were all attended by lots of other people, all of whom had quite different agendas.)
The idea that this connection says anything about Obama’s politics is a giant heap of BS. Nevertheless, that’s the tune McCain and Palin have been playing on their fiddles while our financial system has burned.
Quoting from Wikipedia:
Since 2002, there has been little linking Obama and Ayers. The senator said in September 2008 that he hadn’t seen him in a year and a half.” In February 2008, Obama spokesman Bill Burton released a statement from the senator about the relationship between the two: “Senator Obama strongly condemns the violent actions of the Weathermen group, as he does all acts of violence. But he was an eight-year-old child when Ayers and the Weathermen were active, and any attempt to connect Obama with events of almost forty years ago is ridiculous.” CNN’s review of project records found nothing to suggest anything inappropriate in the non-profit projects in which the two men were involved. Internal reviews by The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time magazine, The Chicago Sun-Times, The New Yorker and The New Republic “have said that their reporting doesn’t support the idea that Obama and Ayers had a close relationship”.Translation: “Their reporting doesn’t support the idea” is the media’s mealymouthed way of saying that McCain and Palin pulled this one out of their collective ass. But McCain and Palin are so desperate for talking points that they’ve continued to misrepresent the trivial Ayers connection as proof that Obama is “palling around with terrorists.” (I suppose McCain thinks it’s preferable to admitting that he was wrong the last seventeen times he said “the fundamentals of the economy are sound,” and called for more deregulation of the financial industry.)
You’d think the crack political analysts at The Corner would have recognized this as the act of political desperation it is. Not so! They’ve flung off their tinfoil hats and embraced the theory that Obama is secretly a dangerous radical. Worse, they’ve endorsed the even loonier theory advanced by a blog called Politically Drunk on Power: Web Archives Confirm Barack Obama Was Member Of Socialist ‘New Party’.
Wayback doesn’t confirm any such thing, by the way. What it does confirm is that the NP endorsed Obama and claimed he was a member. It’s hardly an unknown thing for marginal political groups or individuals to claim others as fellow travelers.* For instance, look at all those members of the Alaskan Independence Party who claimed that Sarah Palin was a member. They may come by that impression honestly, seeing as how (1.) the secesh First Dude, Palin’s chief political crony, really was a member of the AIP from 1995 to 2002; (2.) she attended their 1994 and 2002 conventions; (3.) earlier this year, she made an encouraging video for the state AIP convention; and (4.) she has close ties with Wally Hickel, a former Alaskan governor elected on the AIP ticket, who served as the co-chairman of Palin’s 2006 gubernatorial campaign.
The only response the Republicans have to this still-pending question is that Palin is a registered Republican. If that’s good enough to prove her bona fides, it should be good enough to prove Obama’s. If it isn’t, the question of the Palin’s ties with the AIP is still open. That could get interesting, seeing as how her own ties to domestic terrorism are a hell of a lot broader, more recent, more persistent, and scarier than Obama’s.
Joe Vogler, the AIP’s founder and for many years its guiding spirit, preached armed insurrection. He’s repeatedly on record as hating the United States, with lines like “My government is my worst enemy. I’m going to fight them with any means at hand.” As David Talbot reported in Salon:
Vogler wasn’t just a blowhard either. He put his secessionist ideas into action, working to build AIP membership to 20,000—an impressive figure by Alaska standards—and to elect party member Walter Hickel as governor in 1990.From Talking Points Memo, Founder Of Group Palin Courted Professed “Hatred For The American Government”; Cursed “Damn Flag”:
Vogler’s greatest moment of glory was to be his 1993 appearance before the United Nations to denounce United States “tyranny” before the entire world and to demand Alaska’s freedom. The Alaska secessionist had persuaded the government of Iran to sponsor his anti-American harangue.
That’s right … Iran. The Islamic dictatorship. The taker of American hostages. The rogue nation that McCain and Palin have excoriated Obama for suggesting we diplomatically engage. That Iran.
The founder of the Alaska Independence Party—a group that has been courted over the years by Sarah Palin, and one her husband was a member of for roughly seven years—once professed his “hatred for the American government” and cursed the American flag as a “damn flag.”That’s the kind of political organization Todd and Sarah Palin were hanging out with when they didn’t think anybody in the Lower 48 was watching.
The AIP founder, Joe Vogler, made the comments in 1991, in an interview that’s now housed at the Oral History Program in the Rasmuson Library at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
“The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government,” Vogler said in the interview, in which he talked extensively about his desire for Alaskan secession, the key goal of the AIP.
“And I won’t be buried under their damn flag,” Vogler continued in the interview, which also touched on his disappointment with the American judicial system. “I’ll be buried in Dawson. And when Alaska is an independent nation they can bring my bones home.”
At another point, Volger advocated renouncing allegiance to the United States.
Meanwhile, as I say, The Corner and its cronies continue their descent into conspiracy theory, as they attempt to “prove” that Obama is really a socialist. Ironically, the last few weeks have seen socialism’s biggest advance in decades at the hands of the Bush administration, which has nationalized Fannie Mae, Freddy Mac, and AIG. As of this morning, it appears likely that the feds will also be taking ownership stakes in many U.S banks. (Which is probably a good thing, given current conditions. It’s certainly better than McCain’s proposed solutions, which do more to justify the “more of the same old same old” criticisms leveled against him than almost anything else in his career.)
Are The Corner, Powerline, and Politically Drunk on Power screaming about that sort of socialism? They are not. It’s enough to make you think that the “issues” they normally go on about are just flags of convenience, and that the only issue to which they’re truly committed is that their side should always win.
Down in the comment thread, Chris explains:
#13 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2008, 06:44 PM:OMFG: Jonah has trumped everything thus far by pointing out:
#10: For once, the Freepers are ahead of the curve. They already know McCain will fail; therefore he must not be conservative, because the defining axiom of conservatism is that conservatism cannot fail, it can only be failed. Anyone who fails just wasn’t conservative enough.
All the other conservatives will come around to this after McCain fails, but the Freepers are starting the party early.
#17 ::: Jonah ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2008, 07:15 PM:
And in case you had any doubt that the folks at NRO are completely around the bend, John Derbyshire has a column up in which he attempts to make the case the Obama will cut funding for life sciences because he is afraid of research showing that the white folks are inherently superior to black folks.