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I'm not sure on the best strategy for this but I find it interesting that William Ayers, terrorist extraordinaire according to McCain was chosen as Citizen of the Year in 1997 for his work on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge.  Obviously, he has made some mistakes in the past, but his work as a college professor and with the Chicago public school system has dignified him.  

So, the question is, should we engage the media in telling a deeper story about William Ayers, or still work the strategy of pointing out how tenuous the ties between Ayers and Obama really are.

Originally posted to apeshi on Thu Oct 09, 2008 at 08:34 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This is not a diary, (6+ / 0-)

    http://politicz.wordpress.com/

    by GlowNZ on Thu Oct 09, 2008 at 08:36:00 AM PDT

  •  A bio of Ayers would help (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    orangeuglad, Xtatic, Rebecca74

    ALways better to have more information

  •  The best defense (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snazzzybird, orangeuglad

    Is simply to list the other members of the two boards Obama served on with Ayers.  Several Republicans on the list.

    Bush will be impeached.

    by jgkojak on Thu Oct 09, 2008 at 08:36:39 AM PDT

    •  No, this.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      snazzzybird, zhimbo

      Run a commercial saying that John McCain...

      1. Voted to raise taxes on those making as little as $42,000 (then site the same vote on the amendment that both he and Obama voted for without mentioning Obama).
      1. Voted to cut funding for our troops in Iraq (site the funding bill that had the timetable that he voted against).
      1. accepted the endorsement of the founder of a Foundation that has a terrorist as a member (and site McCain's own add).
      1. is often on stage with a person who is in an intimate relationship with a member of an organization that wants to end the sovereignty of the USA (show Todd Palin's AIP membership.

      Say nothing else, let him try to defend these claims without clearing Obama as well.

      P.S. Someone from the campaign should ask Cindy in which one of the 13 houses can he find the shoes to borrow.

      You usually get what you paid for.

      by IowaMike on Thu Oct 09, 2008 at 08:37:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here is what you do... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snazzzybird, orangeuglad

    Run a commercial saying that John McCain...

    1. Voted to raise taxes on those making as little as $42,000 (then site the same vote on the amendment that both he and Obama voted for without mentioning Obama).
    1. Voted to cut funding for our troops in Iraq (site the funding bill that had the timetable that he voted against).
    1. accepted the endorsement of the founder of a Foundation that has a terrorist as a member (and site McCain's own add).
    1. is often on stage with a person who is in an intimate relationship with a member of an organization that wants to end the sovereignty of the USA (show Todd Palin's AIP membership.

    Say nothing else, let him try to defend these claims without clearing Obama as well.

    P.S. Someone from the campaign should ask Cindy in which one of the 13 houses can he find the shoes to borrow.

    You usually get what you paid for.

    by IowaMike on Thu Oct 09, 2008 at 08:36:53 AM PDT

  •  I feel sorry for the man (0+ / 0-)

    I don't think you can argue the fact that he has a real passion to help society.  

    Obviously he was a real screwup in the '60s.

    •  I don't (0+ / 0-)

      He obviously has become a contributing member to society as many / most of us are.

      Don't forget that his actions resulted in people getting killed - regardless of the cause (in protest of the Vietmnam War) - it's unacceptable behavior.

      I feel sorry for those who lost their lives.

      •  your facts are incorrect... (0+ / 0-)

        no one was killed by the weathermen or the weather underground.

        after the weather underground members, including Ayers, turned themselves in in the early 1980s other groups took more direct, dire action. For instance the Black Liberation Army--not the weathermen--were responsible for the Brinks truck killings.

      •  see, we don't know what he did (0+ / 0-)

        as far as I know, we don't know what conspiracies he was really involved in.  Granted, that's because he hasn't told us.  We are left to assume the worst.  But I also think it's clear he has had second thoughts about that aspect of the '60s.  We should be clear that the government at the time had reasons to exaggerate the threat from these people.

        And he certainly seems to be leading a fairly admirable life at this point.

  •  My sister is an education professor (4+ / 0-)

    and she says he is really well respected for education policy and actually does excellent work bridging theory and practice. He is actually really HUGE in education policy.

    If anyone has not seen Weather Underground (the documentary), I recommend it highly

    "Four seconds is the longest wait " -Sleater-Kinney

    by delphil on Thu Oct 09, 2008 at 08:45:09 AM PDT

  •  Support Bill Ayers Statement (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vivadissent

    http://www.supportbillayers.org

    ENDORSE THIS STATEMENT by clicking here.

    Dear friends and colleagues in the field of education,

    It seems that the character assassination and slander of Bill Ayers and other people who have known Obama is not about to let up. While an important concern is the dishonesty of this campaign and the slanderous McCarthyism they are using to attack Obama, we also feel an obligation to support our friend and colleague Bill Ayers. Many, many educators have reached out, asking what they could do, seeking a way to weigh in against fear and intimidation. Many of us have been talking and we agree that this one gesture, a joint statement signed by hundreds of hard-working educators, would be a great first step. Such a statement may be distributed through press releases or ads in the future.

    Please click on ENDORSE THIS STATEMENT in order to sign the following statement in support of Bill Ayers and, just as importantly, FORWARD it to other friends and colleagues who would like to stand up against these attacks. (*Title/Affiliation will be listed for identification purposes only. Please be assured that we have no intention of using your name for any other purpose than beneath the words on this page.)

    Thank you!

    Friends and supporters of Bill Ayers

    EDUCATOR STATEMENT - 1854 Current Endorsements -

    We write to support our colleague Professor William Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who is currently under determined and sustained political attack. Ayers is a nationally known scholar, member of the Faculty Senate at UIC, Vice President-elect of the American Educational Research Association, and sought after as a speaker and visiting scholar by other universities because of his exemplary scholarship, teaching, and service. Throughout the 20 years that he has been a valued faculty member at UIC, he has taught, advised, mentored, and supported hundreds of undergraduate, Masters and Ph.D. students. He has pushed them to take seriously their responsibilities as educators in a democracy – to promote critical inquiry, dialogue, and debate; to encourage questioning and independent thinking; to value the full humanity of every person and to work for access and equity. Helping educators develop the capacity and ethical commitment to these responsibilities is at the core of what we do, and as a teacher he has always embraced debate and multiple perspectives.

    All citizens, but particularly teachers and scholars, are called upon to challenge orthodoxy, dogma, and mindless complacency, to be skeptical of authoritative claims, to interrogate and trouble the given and the taken-for-granted. Without critical dialogue and dissent we would likely be burning witches and enslaving our fellow human beings to this day. The growth of knowledge, insight, and understanding--- the possibility of change--- depends on that kind of effort, and the inevitable clash of ideas that follows should be celebrated and nourished rather than crushed. Teachers have a heavy responsibility, a moral obligation, to organize classrooms as sites of open discussion, free of coercion or intimidation. By all accounts Professor Ayers meets this standard. His classes are fully enrolled, and students welcome the exchange of views that he encourages.

    The current characterizations of Professor Ayers---"unrepentant terrorist," "lunatic leftist"---are unrecognizable to those who know or work with him. It’s true that Professor Ayers participated passionately in the civil rights and antiwar movements of the 1960s, as did hundreds of thousands of Americans. His participation in political activity 40 years ago is history; what is most relevant now is his continued engagement in progressive causes, and his exemplary contribution---including publishing 16 books--- to the field of education. The current attacks appear as part of a pattern of "exposés" and assaults designed to intimidate free thinking and stifle critical dialogue. Like crusades against high school and elementary teachers, and faculty at UCLA, Columbia, DePaul, and the University of Colorado, the attacks on and the character assassination of Ayers threaten the university as a space of open inquiry and debate, and threaten schools as places of compassion, imagination, curiosity, and free thought. They serve as warnings that anyone who voices perspectives and advances questions that challenge orthodoxy and political power may become a target, and this, then, casts a chill over free speech and inquiry and the spirit of democracy.

    We, the undersigned, stand on the side of education as an enterprise devoted to human inquiry, enlightenment, and liberation. We oppose the demonization of Professor William Ayers.

    ENDORSE THIS STATEMENT by clicking here.

  •  People Change . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snazzzybird

    .. Not sure politically if this is somewhere Obama wants to take this, but there was an citizen of the fledgling state of Israel in the immediate post war period who was on the British most-wanted list for numerous acts of terrorism including blowing up buildings and hanging captured British soldiers. He was denounced and disowned by David Ben-Gurion.

    35 years later, he won the Nobel peace prize. his name was Menachem Begin.

    "We have the habeas corpus act, and we respect it." Dwight D. Eisenhower - November 23, 1953

    by malcolm on Thu Oct 09, 2008 at 08:48:33 AM PDT

  •  Another thought . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rebecca74

    Would not a quick way to diffuse all this be to have William Ayers do an in-depth, prime time TV interview with a reasonably sympathetic host? Surely part of the problem here is that a basically invisible man is proving easy to demonize.

    "We have the habeas corpus act, and we respect it." Dwight D. Eisenhower - November 23, 1953

    by malcolm on Thu Oct 09, 2008 at 08:53:01 AM PDT

    •  Absolutely not (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vivadissent, Rebecca74

      The public doesn't seem interested in it - no reason to elevate it unless it's necessary.  

      •  Valid point (0+ / 0-)

        Here's my reply - is that not the logic that got Kerry into trouble? My worry is, for all the Huffington Post's pronouncements today that "Voters Reject Negative Campaigning" . . the Repubs know that even while the electorate are (or claim to be) disgusted by these tactics, for a certain percentage the message is getting through. It's the exact same reason why spam works. Everyone says they hate it, but in the end, the Viagra does get purchased.

        If Mr. Ayers  is a reformed citizen, one who repaid society for his crime decades ago and has since (including during the time that Barack had dealings with him) has led a life  that would make most people proud, if he is a basically decent human being, would not his exposure deflate their entire argument?

        "We have the habeas corpus act, and we respect it." Dwight D. Eisenhower - November 23, 1953

        by malcolm on Thu Oct 09, 2008 at 09:13:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's interesting (0+ / 0-)

    On the one hand it may be beneficial to do something that puts him in a positive light and shows that he is a "repentant" terrorist and not an "unrepentant" one. People say that he is unrepentant based on a 2001 NY Times article where he said he wishes he could have done more. Most people took that to mean more violence but he was talking about more to end the war in Vietnam (based on his wiki profile).

    I frankly trust Obama's judgement and don't think he would have befriended an unrepentant terrorist. Clearly the fact that Ayers is a distinguished member of society in Chicago shows that he is not a demon.

    Maybe it helps if he came out with a statement saying he was sorry for his actions 50 yrs ago and his present day position has been misrepresented?

    On the other hand, maybe we should just focus on the economy and the middle class because that's what people care about. I am truly in 2 minds. Any thoughts?

  •  I don't give a damn about Ayers. (0+ / 0-)

    Every moment you spend thinking about him vindicates the Republican view that parsing a candidates tenuous associations is the way to make an electoral decision.

    -5.38/-3.74 I've suffered for my country. Now it's your turn! --John McCain with apologies to Monty Python's "Protest Song"

    by Rich in PA on Thu Oct 09, 2008 at 09:03:32 AM PDT

  •  after Nationwide demonization by the wingruts (0+ / 0-)

    I hope Ayers hires some body guards and buys a bulletproof vest.

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