When Illinois State Senator Alice Palmer decided to retire in 1995, she hand-picked local left-winger Barack Obama as her successor. In order to introduce Obama to influential liberals in the district, she held a function at the home of Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn. This was, really, the beginning of Obama’s political career, and it linked him forever with Ayers and Dohrn, with whom, as his campaign has acknowledged, he continues to have a friendly relationship.
Ayers and Dohrn were famous radicals, and fugitives from the law, in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Dohrn, actually, was the more famous of the two; she was the head, as I recall, of Students for a Democratic Society or one of its factions. Dohrn was crazy. She is the only public figure, to my knowledge, to approve publicly and enthusiastically of the Charles Manson murders.
Ayers was a would-be murderer of soldiers and policemen, but he wasn’t a very good terrorist. He had the ill fortune to be the subject of a profile in the New York Times on September 11, 2001, in which he said that he didn’t regret his attempted murders and only wished that he had planted more bombs.
In last week’s Pennsylvania debate, Barack Obama was finally asked about his friendship with, and the political support he has accepted from, Ayers and Dohrn. Obama replied that Ayers had done reprehensible things forty years ago, when Obama was eight years old, and scoffed at the idea that Ayers’s ancient history could be relevant. That was disingenuous, of course, given Ayers’s 2001 regrets.
It turns out that we don’t have to go back as far as 2001 to find that Obama’s friends are as unrepentant as ever. Just last year, Ayers and Dohrn attended a reunion–no kidding–of what must have been the tiny remnant of SDS members who still haven’t figured out that they were wrong about everything. Listen to what Bill Ayers, who hosted Barack Obama’s first fundraiser, has to say about the United States. Not when Obama was eight years old, but in 2007:
At the same event, Obama’s friend and supporter Bernadine Dohrn described the United States as “the monster.” Obama was 47 years old at the time:
Barack Obama has declined to repudiate or distance himself from his neighbors, supporters and friends, Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn. There is a certain consistency of perspective among Obama’s friends and mentors, which can be summed up in Jeremiah Wright’s memorable phrase: “God damn America.”
Much more to come, tomorrow.
PAUL adds: Michelle Obama also takes a fairly dim view of America. But with all those student loans to pay off, I guess it’s understandable.
SCOTT adds: Hugh Hewitt notes:
Keep in mind a young radio producer –Guy Benson of WYLL’s The Sandy Rios Show — found audio that no one else in all of the MSM found to launch this story.
Hugh asks: “What else will we be discovering about Barack Obama’s friends, and about the candidate?”
UPDATE: More clips are posted, in downloadable form, in The Friends of Barack Obama, Part 2.