What price Ayers? The finale

In “What price Ayers?” we reported on the Illinois Humanities Council’s remarkable online fundraising auction item: dinner for six with Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, the unrepentant terrorists and at least onetime friends of Barack Obama. In search of funds, the IHC made the item available for immediate purchase for $2,500; at the time we noted it the item had attracted one bid of $350.

The IHC offered supporters the priceless opportunity to walk down memory lane with the celebrity terrorists over dinner, revisiting their life and crimes in the Weather Underground, or to ask the author of Fugititve Days to compare his memoir with Dreams From My Father by “Barack Obama.”

Well, Jack Cashill was a little slow off the mark, but Daily Caller proprietor Tucker Carlson moved quickly to fill the void. Carlson bought the dinner.

This past Sunday evening was the big night. Joining Carlson for dinner with Ayers and Dohrn were Carlson’s brother Buckley, Daily Caller columnist and Weekly Standard senior writer Matt Labash, online media mogul Andrew Breitbart, a Daily Caller contest winner and Daily Caller reporter Jamie Weinstein.

Ayers and Dohrn had their own seconds for support. According to Weinstein, they enlisted friends such as University of Chicago history professor Adam Green and dinner host Lisa Yun Lee, among others, to serve dinner, while the two principal hosts sporadically joined the table for conversation.

Weinstein reports:

Though guarded and seeking to avoid controversial topics, the two former terrorists revealed interesting tidbits about their lives, political philosophy and relationship with President Obama.

“I’m so unhappy with electoral politics that I switched to sports radio,” Dohrn said early in the dinner, adding that she has dropped NPR in favor of ESPN radio’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning.”

Speaking of her disenchantment with politics, Dohrn later said that in her adult life, she has felt hopeful about electoral politics only once: “in Grant Park when Obama was elected.” But that, she said, was “short-lived.”

As for Ayers, he said that he likes some policies of Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

“I find some unity with Ron Paul,” he said. Ayers noted earlier, however, that he has only voted for a Democrat or Republican in a national election once in his life, presumably for Obama in 2008.

Speaking of the situation in Syria, whose government is massacring pro-democracy demonstrators, Dohrn said that while Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is unsavory, she believes “humanitarian intervention is a ridiculous idea.”

Later, Dohrn told Tucker Carlson that the United States is becoming “like Sparta”: strong militarily, but weak in everything else. “It has happened to a lot of countries, including in recent history.” Asked by Tucker Carlson to name one, Dohrn cited Nazi Germany

Weinstein reports that the DC crew covered Jack Cashill’s angle on the authorship of Obama’s Dreams:

Before leaving, TheDC asked Ayers about reports that he helped write Obama’s memoir, “Dreams From My Father.” Initially, as he has done several times in recent years when asked this question, Ayers answered that of course he wrote it — with tongue planted firmly in cheek.

But when TheDC cited a book by non-partisan author Christopher Andersen, which straightforwardly reports from interviews with mutual friends of Ayers and Obama in Chicago that Ayers contributed significantly to Obama’s book, Ayers said he hadn’t heard of Andersen’s claim — but that it was “bullshit.” An agitated Ayers didn’t offer any insight into how he imagined Andersen could have gotten it so wrong despite his seemingly extensive reporting.

Weinstein concludes by noting that the Daily Caller had invited President Obama to join the dinner with Ayers and Dohrn. In an email response, the White House scheduling office declined the request, but did state that the president would miss the event with “sincere regret.”

There is of course a real issue buried in the chain of events leading up to last night’s dinner. “The real issue,” Ron Radosh explains, “is the legitimization of Ayers and Dohrn. That was not the fault of those who attended the dinner, but of the Illinois Humanities Council, the state’s facilitator and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, which is subsidized by your taxpayer dollars.”

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