Sunday, October 5, 2008

Ayres, again? Really?

The Republican brain-trust has apparently decided to, in the last month of this campaign, attack the character of Barack Obama. The first salvo of many came from Sarah Palin yesterday, as she launched a broadside at Obama's supposed connection to former radical William Ayres.

Not that I want to repeat or quote myself, but five months ago, when his fellow Democrats (well, Hillary Clinton) were attacking Obama for this loose association, I wrote what is pretty much my last word on the subject. It came from a knowledge of Chicago and Illinois politics that isn't shared by many on the national scene, apparently.

To summarize what I wrote, everything political in this state goes through Mayor Daley of Chicago. There may be things he doesn't care about, and he doesn't involve himself with them, but, if Da Mare doesn't like something, it doesn't happen. Obama has tried to portray himself as separate from the political machine, and, as much as anybody, he has been, but make no mistake, had he at any time offended the Daley machinery, his political life would have been dead in the water.

Bill Ayres, unrepentant domestic terrorist, has somehow (likely through his father, big player in Chicago circles as head of the electric company) gotten an in with Daley. You can question that (very quietly), but it is a fact. Put these things together, and you can see that anyone who wants a political future in Illinois is going to have to cozy up to folks like Ayres. The trick is to shake hands with, but not embrace, these questionable figures.

And Obama has, by all accounts, done that admirably.

Every politician makes these sorts of accommodations. John McCain was one of the Keating Five, something I don't find directly relevant to his qualifications for the presidency. (His willingness to continue to surround himself with lobbyists, while insisting he has no such ties, is hypocrisy that does have a bearing on his fitness for the job.) If you start going through the links, and links to links, that any public figure has, you're going to find something. William Ayres an advisor to the Obama campaign? Is there a shred of evidence that there has been any connection in the past 10 years? No? Then keep quiet.

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