Friday, October 17, 2008

Another missed opportunity--UPDATED

And I don't think he's going to get many more softballs like these.

Tonight on David Letterman, McCain was put through a pretty decent grilling. And I don't find it the least bit objectionable, because they were remarkably straight-forward questions. They just happened to be good, probing questions--the kinds of things that we'd LOVE someone to do to Obama. (Although so generous were the questions that Obama would have passed a similar exam with flying colors.) What's good for the goose is good for the gander, right?

So how did McCain do? Well, somewhere between awful and really really bad, at least in my opinion.

The most puzzling aspect of the evening to me was when Letterman asked straight-up about William Ayers. There it was, a gift from above, and something that McCain will NEVER be given again. After I got over the shock that Letterman would ask such an easy question, I started salivating, just waiting for the red meat to be swallowed whole. . .

And that is NOT what I got.

First, a generality: Team McCain, please understand that William Ayers is a big deal because he's a big deal to himself and to the extremist movement in this country. Here is a man who sought violent means to rebel against the U.S. Government and who has NEVER APOLOGIZED for it.

And it's that lack of contrition--still very current today-- that combines with the extremity of his actions from yesteryear that make him a perfect example of the kind of guy that should not be "normalized" by our leaders.

And by "normalized", I mean the kind of guy that can be described as "a guy from down the street", or "a college professor in the University of Illinois system"--or any of the other wonderful gloss-bys that Obama has used this campaign season.

Now I don't care how close Ayers and Obama are, were or will ever be. I really don't. Proximity is not the reason that I think Ayers is a troublesome figure in Obama's life.

I care that the leaders of my government can look at someone who responded violently against the government's interests and realize that the "actor" should be shunned until he makes a genuine effort to rejoin civil society.

All it takes is an apology.

Has Ayers ever apologized for what he did? NO! Has he, in fact, continued in his rebellious ways, celebrating the very freedom our great government provided for him (due to its incompetence, to be sure--but in how many other countries would this guy have been this free for this long with the record of things that he did?) by urging the youth to violently overthrow the authoritative structure of this country?

The issue to me is not WHEN Ayers laid the bombs. The issue is that he EVER laid the bombs or participated in other such activities. . .and he STILL has not sought absolution for those activities. Therefore, he has no place being defended by any leader of this country as anything other than a problem child. Period.

Now, to specifics: Letterman framed his question about Ayers using the traditional "excuse" provided by Obama, saying that the violent actions he did were a long time ago. Why is it an issue today?

Seriously, a softball of that size and comfortable speed may have never existed in the history of Presidential campaign politics.

Is it too hard for McCain to say that acts of violence against the United States make you a pariah, plain and simple. Ayers commited unthinkable acts against innocent Americans, and he has still not apologized for them. Is it too much to ask that leaders in this country treat him as the pariah that he should be?

If Ayers wants to join normal, civil society, he has recourse: he can APOLOGIZE! But he hasn't. And I don't think it's the job of individual candidates to give this guy the time of day--much less legitimize his current status in life!--until such time that Ayers seeks to make peace with America for his actions, regardless of when they occured. People who did what Ayers did should not find a champion of any stature--much less a presidential candidate--until they show some serious reconsideration of their actions. Is that too much to ask?

Obama tries to make him sound like just some plain old college professor. Ayers is anything but that: he's a symbol of the weakness of the American state in protecting its own interests against extremist activity.

And Obama provides this man, his crimes and his ideology unjust legitimacy by "assuming" he's reformed when in fact he has never taken the first step towards changing his ways.

And it's such a simple step.

Shouldn't we all, as a civil society, agree to treat him as a bad guy until he shows that he actually wants to be a part of the America that all the rest of us live in?

McCain didn't even come close to hitting this pitch for a base hit. It was so frustrating. His campaign WANTS to make a big deal out of Ayers, but when given the unbelievable chance to swing for the fences, he was caught with the bat on his shoulder.

It was disgusting.

It's going to be a long 3 weeks!

UPDATE: For the record, IF another McCain surrogate is ever given a chance to answer questions about Ayers between now and the election, here's the 45-second version of why it matters:

"You know, this started out as an issue about Obama's judgement. Months ago--before it received enough attention for it to be taken down--Obama's website called Ayers "mainstream". Now in the America that I think we all love, someone who builds bombs to plant at social events for our uniformed soldiers, someone who attacks public buildings of import such as the Pentagon and the Capitol, and someone who leads an organization that killed policemen is far on the other side of the line from "mainstream". That person, in fact, has to do an awful lot of repayment to society to even cross the line back into "civil", much less to earn the title "mainstream". Where is Ayers' contrition? When did he apologize? What actions has he taken to right the wrongs of his past? What leads Obama to categorize this unrepetant terrorist as "mainstream"? SO right there, there is reason to question Obama's judgement.

And it also brought about other questions, and, I hate to say it, but Obama has not been truthful in answering those questions. And that's what the problem has become: Obama's lack of disclosure to the American people. It's one thing to have made bad judgements in the past; it's a whole other thing to be less than truthful with the American people TODAY. We don't expect our leaders to be perfect--but we do expect them to exercise good judgement, to stand up for the interests of the American government, and to be honest. And in every instance of answering questions about Bill Ayers, Obama has failed those simple tests, and THAT'S what makes Ayers an issue today."


Post a Comment

<< Home