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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

You don't need a weatherman to know when Palin's blowing smoke

by bert

Pallin' around with terrorists? That's the best this pitbull with lipstick can do?

On the one hand I can see why McCain strategists and their servile pundits are playing up the Bill Ayers connection with Barack Obama. Palin carried that message yesterday. Ayers, who said in 2001 he opposes the "indiscriminate killing of human beings by either fanaticism or official policy", was nonetheless a member of the most notoriously militant anti-war radical group of the 1960s, the Weather Underground.

This group's use of bombs, which in one case killed a police officer, was wrong and contemptible.

Almost all anti-war activists and politicians of the time would also agree, which is why this splinter group earned the acrimony of just about everyone else at the time. Yet all that matters is the perceptions of voters today, and strategists think they can wound the Obama campaign with someone else's old splinter.

On the other hand, I don't see this working for a lot of people. Is our collective perception of the Vietnam Era -- what historians call our public memory --that mangled and highly selective? Did the 1960s gives us just one bad guy: the dirty hippies?

I am obviously not the base that this talking point is aiming to energize. And that's not because I was a hippie; like Obama I was still a little boy in the 1960s. I just don't get why he the wayward militants were the only domestic terrorists of the day.

Take Henry Kissinger, for example. While I don't admire Ayers, I am way more troubled by Sarah Palin's link with Kissinger, from whom she sought to learn about world affairs two weeks ago. Kissinger is a war criminal with blood on his hands shed during the Vietnam War period. Why Ayers bad, Kissinger not so much?

This is the period that also gave us National Guard soldiers at Kent State University in 1970. Chicago police officers who laid open the heads of young women in Chicago in 1968, and Milwaukee had those young guys waiting at the south end of the viaduct with two-by-fours and tire irons for the open housing marchers to arrive.

If I try to take it all in, some wistful sadness comes but not much selective outrage anymore. According to the New York Times, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley views the actions of a young Ayers 40 years ago "in the context of a polarized and turbulent era."

Sarah Palin and theMcCain campaign think a majority of voters aren't wise enough to do the same.

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