billayers.thumbnail.gifThe McCain campaign is implying that Barack Obama’s association with former 1960s radical Bill Ayers is a big deal. It’s a pathetic ploy by the McCain camp paint Obama as a dangerous foreign terrorist. It’s a tactic on the same intellectual level as pointedly referring to the Democratic nominee as Barack HUSSEIN Obama. 

What Ayers did 40 years ago has zero relevance to Barack Obama’s fitness for office. By the time Obama met Ayers, he was part of the Hyde Park establishment, a minor municipal political power broker, and a respected academic.  

The bottom line is this: Ayers is the son of a CEO who went through an early criminal phase only to emerge reborn as a bourgeois college professor and community activist. Like many Republicans I could name, Ayers’ privilege and connections bought him a second chance. He seized the opportunity to change his life. He became an expert on kindergarten. 

Ayers’ connection to Obama is incidental. Ayers hosted a coffee klastch for Obama thirteen years ago. By that point Ayers wasn’t dangerous radical, he was part of the establishment. It’s not clear that Obama was even aware of Ayers’ sinister past when he attended the event. After all, Ayers crimes took place when Obama was eight years old. 

Lindsay Beyerstein

Lindsay Beyerstein