Palling around with terrorists in S.C.


A lot of y’all think I’m way harsh on our gov. Well, the guy deserves to have someone stick up for him on this one. Barack Obama’s campaign has done him a rather grave, although ridiculous, injustice.

As Sanford says, the attempt to tie him to Obama’s old friend Bill Ayers (that’s him above with Bernardine Dohrn in 1980, and below in 1981) is "bizarre." From the story in the Greenville News:

Obama’s campaign responded in recent days, noting in a fact-check release to reporters this week that Ayers "is currently a distinguished scholar at the University of South Carolina where Republican Gov. Mark Sanford, who supported Sen. McCain’s campaign as far back as the 2000 primaries, serves as an ex-officio member of the board of trustees. By Gov. Palin’s standards, that means Gov. Sanford shares Ayers’ views."

In an interview with Fox News, Bill Burton, Obama’s press secretary, said Sanford "employs" Ayers.

"He’s the governor of the state and he’s in charge of the board, so that means he employs Bill Ayers," Burton said, adding that, "We don’t think that Mark Sanford or John McCain share the views or condone what Bill Ayers did in the 1960s, which Barack Obama said were despicable and horrible."

Gosh, where do we start?

  • First, if supporting John McCain is a crime, then Mark Sanford is as innocent as a lamb. Did he, years ago (as, once upon a time, Obama associated with Ayers)? Yes. But he basically gave the McCain campaign the big, fat finger this year. Sanford was the only leading Republican in the state (and in his case, one uses the term "Republican" loosely, which is one thing I’ve always liked about the guy, but even that can wear thin) NOT to take a stand as to who should win the primary in S.C. As one McCain supporter complained to me, Sanford never so much as invited McCain to drop by for a cup off coffee during the primary campaign; his disdain was breathtaking. His post-primary "endorsement" came through a spokesman, in answer to a question.
  • Next, and this is the most telling point, one must have a staggering ignorance of South Carolina to hold the governor of the state responsible for ANYTHING that happens at a public college or university. Should he have such say? Absolutely. Sanford thinks so, and we’ve thought so for a lot longer. But the higher ed institutions continue to be autonomous fiefdoms answering to boards of trustees appointed by the Legislature — one of the powers that lawmakers guard most jealously. USC and its fellows are famously, notoriously independent of executive control, which is one reason why we lag so far behind such states as NORTH Carolina, which has a board of regents. You say the gov is an ex-officio member of the trustee board? Yeah, with the emphasis on the EX, in the original Latin meaning. He’s also an honorary member of my Rotary Club, but I can’t remember seeing him at any meetings.

So I’ve defended Sanford, who in this case was most unjustly accused. But what the silly Obama allegation DOES do, however, is raise this very good question: What on Earth is USC doing paying stipends to an unrepentant terrorist?


27 thoughts on “Palling around with terrorists in S.C.

  1. Janet

    It is hypocritical for McCain to make an issue over Ayers, considering McCain’s own terrorist friends. Unlike Obama, where the close connection is a speculation, McCain’s association is open and documented.
    Consider someone who McCain is openly friends with, and who has actively supported McCain’s political career. That Person is G. Gordon Liddy.
    G.Gordon Liddy went to jail for his major participation in Watergate, a crime that attempted to undermine the Democratic process and harmed America far more than the Weatherman ever did. Liddy even admitted to proposing bombings, kidnappings and other criminal acts to accomplish his goals. Just last year McCain expressed to Liddy on his radio show how proud he was of Liddy. Proud of a man who praised Hitler and advised those who were under fire from ATF officers to shoot the officers in the head, because the officers would be wearing flak jackets (and this was said as recently as 1994).
    Check it out for yourself.
    Terrorism comes in many forms. Liddy is a terrorist against our fundamental rights as Americans.

  2. Tim C

    The point was just made by you just how stupid the Ayers issue is. The Obama campaign was just pointing this out. Is the USC Board palling around with terrorist? Then SC must be a terrorist state as it allows it to happen? Of course not. But this is the distorted logic being used right now by McCain’s campaign. McCain also has questionable ties to Iran Contra groups and the like. Palin’s husband belonged to a secessionist group. If you live in glass houses… I see desperation by the McCain campaign and with that comes the risk of taking personal attacks too far. McCain, the self proclaimed patriot, has to realize that one of the two will eventually have to govern. Riling up supporters with hate, terrorist allegations and insinuated racism most certainly is not honorable and is in no way patriotic. It is a way to divide our country further at a time it needs uniting.

  3. bud

    Brad, you sort of get it here, if you would just connect the dots. Sanford does not condone Ayers. That’s pretty clear. But neither does Obama. That is exactly the point the Obama campaign is trying to make. All this guilt by association nonsense can easily be thrown at McCain, a man who has had ties with the U.S. Council for World Freedom, a European terrorist organization, in the past. Or with Palin’s association with the Alaska Independence movement. The the media has completely ignored these wayward associations, as well they should since it’s pretty clear that McCain is no terrorist. The same with this Ayers nonsense which is nothing more than a desparte, despicable, contemptuous diversion by the self-described “maverick” McCain. It’s all about fear.
    What we need in this country is Change. Change from the Atwater/Rove dirty politics. Change from the failed Bush economic policies. Change from the failed Bush foreign policies. John McCain has demonstrated throughout his campaign that he’s the same ole GOP politician that will use scare tactics and intimidation to gain the White House. We don’t need a third George W. Bush term. And that’s exactly what we’ll get with John McSame. Or is it John McShame. Either way I’m sick of this phony old man. Let’s send him and his lipstick laden attack dog back to the wild west where they belong.

  4. Phillip

    First of all, on the surface of it, of course Burton’s linking of Sanford to Ayers is silly, but as Tim C points out, you’re completely missing the whole point which is this “linking” is no more ridiculous than the utter absurdity (along with the incendiary intent and possible incitement to violence) of the McCain/Palin comments regarding Obama, Ayers, and “palling around with terrorists.” Wish you had devoted similar energy to condemning that.
    This material from the USC School of Education’s website will give some context into the Ayers connection, and the school’s use of some of Ayers’ best-known writings on education. I don’t know the extent of the connection, though a “visiting scholar” situation can often be nothing more than paying someone to come and give a lecture and spend a day available for consultation with students.
    Like it or not, for many years now Ayers has been recognized as an authority in the field of public education, and his academic standing as professor at the University of Chicago attests to that. That’s the reality as it exists today. If USC is to be a place where academic freedom exists, where students are able to be exposed to a wide variety of competing ideas, the School of Education would be remiss in not at least including Ayers’ writings as part of their curriculum. You can see from the website I cited that the conflicting issues raised by Ayers’ presence or the study of his work were indeed freely “ayred.” (sorry, couldn’t resist that one.)
    Anyway, as someone who has a strong record of supporting public education in this state, it would seem that you would want our USC students to have the widest knowledge possible in that field, as they grapple with the challenges they will face in that terrain.
    It’s not up to USC to make political/law enforcement judgments above and beyond what our courts and domestic institutions have arrived at. The University’s only role is to judge the academic worth of what a scholar has to offer. There are no outstanding criminal charges against Ayers; beyond that, if he is good enough to be a tenured professor at U of C, you can (to borrow another 60’s phrase) bet your sweet bippy that he’s good enough to give a visiting lecture or two at USC. In those situations, if a student wants to walk out, or picket, that is also absolutely appropriate and their right to do so.
    I think you’ve met Dr. Pastides. Ask him what he thinks. I bet you’ll find him echoing the points I’ve just made.

  5. Brad Warthen

    Methinks thou dost protest too much. The Obama-Ayers connection is what it is. In his career as a community organizer, Obama associated with a number of folks who would give Middle America ulcers. (Reading his first autobiography, I find myself wondering how he kept all these peoples’ names straight.) Ayers was one of them. The connection was quite definite, and yet not that of bosom buddies.
    It’s a problem for Obama, although perhaps to a lesser extent than Jeremiah Wright (who inspired the title of Obama’s SECOND book) still is. Everybody’s got problems. McCain is old. Hillary was married to Bill. Everybody’s got problems. No candidate is perfect.
    What the Ayers connection expresses that is true is that Obama has been associated with a lot of folks who could fairly be described as of the disaffected Left in this country, for good or ill. Those folks inhabit a world that is utterly alien to John McCain. The converse is that a lot of folks on the Left might associate McCain and other aviators with dropping napalm on kids (although they’re not going to say it, because such sentiments have become unfashionable). As much as both Obama AND McCain are expressions of moving beyond those old culture wars of the 60s, their roots are in that era (McCain literally and personally, Obama more as a sort of spiritual heir), and fairly or unfairly, if you’re forced to place them on one side or the other of that divide, you could do so easily. And obviously, you wouldn’t place them on the same side.

  6. Phillip

    Nice try, Brad, but I think you still fundamentally misunderstand this race as being between Left and Right, or some relic of the culture wars.
    You mention the problem each candidate has; how come, then, the vast preponderance of ads about sinister “associations,” and other codespeak about the devotion to country of a particular candidate are coming from ONE side.
    No, Brad, this is between the politics of division as demonstrated by this latest piece of garbage from John McCain and a new politics that disdains the old games and demagoguery.
    Since you felt moved to write on this little silly Sanford-Ayers thing but not similarly moved to post on the original problem, I strongly recommend viewing this footage of folks at a McCain/Palin rally in Ohio to perhaps come to an appreciation that McCain and Palin are not just playing with fire, they are setting the blaze.
    Thankfully, I think most voting Americans will reject the kind of thinking we see in the video, but when these appalling prejudices and lies are actively encouraged by a Presidential and VP candidate against their opponents, there are greater dangers than simply the winning or losing of a given election.
    What’s it going to take, Brad, for you to condemn John McCain for this? I shudder to think. Watch that video, folks.

  7. bud

    Brad, in the words of Ronald Reagan, there you go again. You continue with this overt effort to be equal to both candidates. But it’s the McCain campaign that continues to utilize fear tactics and guilt by association attacks to try and scare people into voting his way. Obama has largely refrained from those tactics. Just check out any of the fact checking websites and you’ll find many more references to mendacious, vicious attacks by McCain than you will with Obama. What’s more McCain has framed his candidacy, indeed his entire senate carreer, on the proposition that he’s a different kind of politician. He claims to be a man who thinks of country first, a man willing to lose an election rather than a war. He throws the word maverick around to impress folks that he’s different and bipartisan.
    And it’s not just Brad. It seems like the entire press corp is treating John McCain delicately. Heck, the Palin choice alone deserves a strident rebuke by the press. That was a horrible pick and certainly one that does not suggest McCain putting country first. Obama is the real change agent in this election. McCain is a fraud.

  8. bud

    McCain is old? Is that the worst thing about McCain? Really Brad, even for you that comment is reprehensible given McCain’s sorry, partisan, nasty campaign. How about this: “McCain associated with Charles Keating in a reprehensible attempt to undermine the Savings and Loan scandal investigation.” That would be a bit more meaningful.

  9. p.m.

    Bud, in the face of Ayers, Wright and Michelle Obama, you accuse McCain of not putting country first?
    How many bombs did McCain drop on the Pentagon? When has McCain said, “God damn America!” When has McCain said he hasn’t been proud of his country?

  10. Curly Reid

    Don’t come down hard on Mark for not haveing coffee with McCain. I to don’t care for him and the reasons I will vote for him are Gov Palin and Hussien Obama

  11. Tim C

    Our country is dividing further and further each day propogated by the hate filled propoganda machines of the far right led by McCain and Palin. He won’t even look Obama in the eye. Brad, I never thought you too would stoop this low and would push this ludicrous nazi like behavior. It is nothing but a desperate attempt at victory. One that has now become extremely unpatriotic. And coming from a once dignified man. He has lost any and all respect I ever had for him.

  12. just saying

    Is it just me, or is likening the opponent to a Nazi not helpful when you’re trying to sound non-divisive?

  13. Brad Warthen

    Does seem a tad over-the-top, doesn’t it?

    About that looking-at-the-other-guy thing. I noticed that McCain made a point of doing it in the second debate, probably because so many said he didn’t in the first one.

    I found what Broder said about that insightful. He noted that McCain’s behavior in the first debate was Alpha Male like, that Obama placed himself in a subordinate position by looking at McCain when he wasn’t looking back. Not that most people would read it that way. Ours is no longer an Alpha Male-oriented society, so McCain probably just looked rude to most.

    But — and forgive me if this is too much of a digression — it put me in mind of a study I read about in a psychology class in college. Two people sat at desks facing a wall. Neither knew that the other person was on the other side of the wall facing in their direction, not having x-ray vision. Suddenly, the wall was dropped out of the way. Both subjects automatically looked up to see what the disappearing wall revealed, and simultaneously looked into each others’ eyes.

    Here’s the interesting part: The person with the more dominant personality (determined through a separate battery of personality tests) would look away first.

    To some extent, that may seem counterintuitive. You think of dominant types staring less-resolute people down, and the less dominant looking away out of weakness or some such. But apparently, the dominant person sums up the other more quickly, and sees no need to keep looking. Or something.

    As I said, a digression. But that study has always stuck in my head. Come to think of it, I described similar behavior in a column long ago, one about the three dogs at my house, and how the dominant female acted toward a young challenger:

    One day last week, as I was leaving for work, new dog Spot was barking insistently in the face of alpha female Morgan, and she wasn’t doing anything about it. What’s going on, I thought. Is this a bid on Spot’s part to take over?

    Morgan just casually lay down in a sphinx-like position, holding her head up with great dignity, pointedly looking away from the loud newcomer. Spot shut up and wandered away.

    I just shook my head and went to work, hoping that would be the end of it.

    So I guess it works with dogs, too.

  14. Lee Muller

    Obama’s problem is that he has no normal people for close friends. He is a loner, with his ONLY close associates being communists, racists, and radical Muslims who spew their hatred of whites and Jews.
    Obama = racist socialism

  15. Lynn

    Quite a few people haven’t been bothered by being associated with Bill Ayres. These include Mrs. Annenberg at the Annenberg Foundation, widow of Richard Nixon’s ambassador to Great Britain. She is not a left wing terrorist and has been identified by McCain as a supporter of his candidacy. Does McCain believe that his friend Mrs. Annenberg is a terrorist because she voluntarily chose to be associated with Ayres? Are the University of Chicago and University of South Carolina faculty terrorist sympathizers? I know nothing of Ayres work in education, but apparently those who do know of it believe that it deserves attention. This does not mean that they approve of blowing up things or people.
    Obama’s campaign was right. Condemning Obama for his limited association with Ayers, although Obama has never provided any hint of approving of Ayres’ past to a greater degree than the U.S.C. faculty does, is absurd.

  16. Roy

    After 911 the term “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” was changed, in my little mind, to : all terrorists are deserving of the most brutal forms of retribution imaginable. Then someone has the gaul to place one of my all time heros into the “terrorist” category.
    George Gordon Liddy was and still is a freedom fighter in the best meaning of the term. His sometimes ” admiration” of Hitler is nothing more than stateing the facts that he and his henchmen devised some of the most effective military strategies in the history of warfare. Just ask any WWII vet who served in Europe. We all hate every thing Hitler stood for but he could fight a war. Some will say that by my saying that I am a terrorist sympathiser , or worse–OK
    To lump Ayers and G. Gordon Liddy together shows an exterme lack of historical knowledge, and worse yet, not being able to discern good from evil.

  17. Lee Muller

    Obama LIE: “Obama had a limited relationship with Bill Ayers.”
    * Obama has known Bill Ayers since 1987.
    * Obama’s book, published in 1995, may have been written by Bill Ayers, starting in 1992.
    * Ayers and Obama worked together in various socialist groups in 1994.
    * Ayers had Obama appointed to the board of the Woods Foundation in 1995.
    * Obama funnelled over $2,000,000 of grants, illegally, to Ayers’ projects from 1995 to 2000.
    * Ayers and his terrorist wife, Bernadine Dorn, hosted Obama’s campaign announcement party and helped manage his Illinois Senate campaign.
    * Ayers was an advisor to Obama’s US Senate campaign.
    * Ayers and fellow communist Weatherman, Mike Klonsky, set up Obama’s presidential operation. Klonsky ran the official blog site.
    * Ayers met with dictator Hugo Chavez of Venezuala, and helped secure Chavez’s endorsement of Obama.

  18. Michelle

    Okay here are the facts. Yes, I know, facts are frowned upon here and anonymous sources culled from emails rule but let’s see what the NY Times had to say about Ayers and Obama: “A review of records of the schools project and interviews with a dozen people who know both men, suggest that Mr. Obama, 47, has played down his contacts with Mr. Ayers, 63. But the 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.”
    Okay so the NY Times is a “liberal rag”. Let’s try the Associated Press instead. “Her (Palin’s) reference to Obama’s relationship with William Ayers, a member of the Vietnam-era Weather Underground, was exaggerated at best if not outright false. No evidence shows they were “pals” or even close when they worked on community boards years ago and Ayers hosted a political event for Obama early in his career. Obama, who was a child when the Weathermen were planting bombs, has denounced Ayers’ radical views and actions.”
    And CNN: “CNN Fact check wrote about Palin’s claim that Obama is palling around with terrorists, “Verdict: False. There is no indication that Ayers and Obama are now “palling around,” or that they have had an ongoing relationship in the past three years. Also, there is nothing to suggest that Ayers is now involved in terrorist activity or that other Obama associates are.”
    I’ve posted this in another thread here but I’ll repost it here too in shortened form. The widow of Ambassador Annenberg, a close friend and advisor of Ronald Reagan’s, endorsed Sen. McCain this week. The Annenberg Foundation of course funded the project that Ayers started and where Obama served on a committee advisory committee with Ayers. So by the logic being used here, that makes McCain’s campaign is being endorsed by known funders of domestic terrorists.
    Honestly people–where does this stop? If you live in the neighborhood where someone has been convicted of drunk driving does that mean you endorse drunk driving? Someone you work with cheats on his wife. Does that make YOU an adulturer? You attend an event, say a concert, or go to a movie where someone in the audience is a convicted criminal. Does that mean you either are or that you endorse criminals?
    Does anyone have any common sense anymore?

  19. Ralph Hightower

    It sounds like Lee Muller is like your dog Spot, always barking and never getting attention.

  20. Lee Muller

    Ralph, you’re the little dog barking.
    Man up and try to defend just one of Obama’s sleazy communist, Muslim or mortgage swindler pals.
    Obama has been joyriding with Bill Ayers since 1987, drinking his Kremlin Kool-aid. Obama is guilty by association, lots of times, with lots of enemies of America.

  21. Lee Muller

    Obama LIE: “Obama barely knew Bill Ayers, only serving on a board with him.”
    TRUTH: Bill Ayers is only one of many communists who played major roles in Obama’s formulation of his hate for America, hate for business, hate for Jews and white people.
    Obama has associated with Bill Ayers since 1987. Obama, whose father, brothers, and his mother’s boy friends were all hard-core members of the Communist Party, knew exactly how to find people like Bill Ayers in Chicago.
    Bill Ayers probably wrote Obama’s memoir for him.
    Bill Ayers got Obama appointed to the board of the Woods Foundation. Obama voted to illegally misdirect funds from that foundation into ACORN and more radical groups also run by Bill Ayers.
    Bill Ayers home was the site of Obama’s announcement for his campaign for Senate.
    Obama gave a speech at two banquets in 2005, held to honor major American communists. Bill Ayers sat beside him at both dinners.
    Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dorn and Michael Klonsky, all Weathermen from the 1960s, worked on Obama’s campaign for President, starting in 2005.

  22. Bill C.

    If justice had been done, neither Sanford or Obama would have had to worry about Ayers. Because if just had been done, Ayers would have been shot by a firing squad for his involvement in terrorist attacks to the United States.

  23. Roy

    Let’s face it. If Obama is elected. Our enemies will have accomplished at the ballot box what they could not win on the battle field for the last 250 years. Our country will be flushed down the toilet of socialism.

  24. just saying

    Not to bog things down with the facts, but hasn’t the US been a combination of socialist and capitalist for quite some time now? And doesn’t the president need the support of, I don’t know, a majority of congress and for the supreme court to agree with its constitutionality to get anything done anyway?

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