Sarah Palin declared, "This is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country."Obama is known to work across all types of party lines with people, many of whom he disagrees with, to accomplish broader mainstream goals. And his assocation with Ayres simply fits into that category.
The New York Times article, which prompted Palin's remarks, actually concluded that "the two men do not appear to have been close. Nor has Mr. Obama ever expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of Mr. Ayers."
CNN Political Ticker evaluated Palin's "palling" charges and concluded, "False. There is no indication that Ayers and Obama are now palling around, or that they have had an ongoing relationship in the past three years. Also, there is nothing to suggest that Ayers is now involved in terrorist activity or that other Obama associates are....CNN's review of project records found nothing to suggest anything inappropriate in the volunteer projects in which the two men were involved."
Back in February, the Washington Post reported in a fact check, But the Obama-Ayers link is a tenuous one.(Washington Post, 2/18/08)
The rest of this post deconstructs the lies the rightwing is willing to tell in their desperate attempt to keep power. Perhaps one of the most important lies, though, is that Ayres was even a terrorist. The definition of a terrorist is one who would kill innocent people to create fear and panic. While Ayres actions were despicable, he was not a murderer as the wingnuts are claiming. Nobody died in any bombing committed by Ayres. Apparently, people were not the target, and it was by design that none perished. This absolutely does not excuse the action of Ayres or his fellow conspirators. For starters, they were lucky nobody got killed accidentally. Despite the best of intentions, an innocent bystander, a building guard, an employee staying after hours, anybody could have been caught up in the explosion. You just don't play with bombs, ever. Period!
But the fact remains that Bill Ayres never intended to harm people and nobody was harmed by his foolish and reprehensible actions. That said, Obama condemned those actions, which occurred when Obama was only eight years old.
The adult Obama served on a board that Ayres headed and attended an event for another politician in Ayres' home. William Ayres and his wife, Bernhadine Dorn, another former member of the Weather Underground, apparently were rehabilitated. They are not fugitives. They are currently law abiding citizens who have the same rights as anybody else. And Ayres is currently a respected Chicago educator. None of that makes his past actions acceptable. It just means people change. It also means that any one of us could brush up against somebody who ran afoul of the law and committed heinous deeds in the past but who has changed. It might even be a co-worker or neighbor. And if we befriended that person today, we would be no more guilty of condoning their past actions than Obama is in this instance.
That's what makes guilt by association and smears like this so unacceptable.