Friday, September 26, 2008

The Bill Ayres Well Is Still Dry

And was to begin with, although this hasn't prevented John McCain's elves to dig, dig, dig into the relationship between the former Weather Underground fugitive foot soldier and Barack Obama.

This unholy alliance is back in the news not because of new revelations. We're still stuck where we were months ago.

That is that Obama, in his rookie run for the Illinois Senate, attended a fundraiser hosted by Ayres, and while they had some incidental contact, it was minor, fleeting and so long ago as to not really matter except where it might matter: Did Obama at any time approve of Ayres conduct? Nope. Did Ayres mind meld with Obama and some of his radical drivel rubbed off on him? Nope.

This has not phased Steve Schmidt and Rick Davis, the co-chairmen of the McCain Cue Card Club, who beat the guilt-by-associate drum loudly again this week in a conference call with reporters.

For the record (and doncha love it when a writer says that), I knew several of Ayres' cohorts back in the day and am a longtime friend of one whom I invited into my home when he was a fugitive. Even in the context of those crazy times, the Weathermen were a bunch of zonked-out wannabe revolutionaries who ultimately diverted attention from their occasionally worthy causes by doing a lot of really bad stuff.

Ayres himself remains shamefully remorse free for the role that he and his missus, Bernadine Dorn, played in a 1970 Greenwich Village townhouse bomb factory blast that killed three fellow Weathermen. For what it's worth, and it's damned little, Ayers turned himself in to authorities in 1981 but was never arrested.

Among those aforementioned elves are two right-of-center bloggers with keen intellects.

Both Rick Moran at Rightwing Nuthouse and Ed Morrissey at Hot Air have been all over the Ayres non-story like a pair of cheap suits, most recently because of Republican lapdog Stanley Kurtz's Wall Street Journal op-ed piece headlined "Obama and Ayers Pushed Radicalism on Schools" that not only failed to deliver but never even explained what the radicalism was.

Kurtz was so determined to find dirt in the dry well that he demanded and got access to the internal files of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, which Ayres helped lead and of which Obama was a board member.

But after sifting through 70 linear feet of material (that's 70 boxes more or less the same size as a case of 12-ounce beer bottles), Kurtz was unable to find anything damaging beyond this smoking gun (and I hope you're sitting down): Ayres was one of five people who signed off on Obama joining the Challenge's board. (Kaboom!!!)

It's easy to say that Kurtz, Moran and Morrissey are desperate to find anything remotely concerning about someone whom they seem to fear if not actively dislike, but that is giving them too much credit. It's simply a matter of them being so far in the well for John McCain (and Sarah Palin, whom Moran waxes about in boy-crush terms) that they don't realize that they're coming up with dust and not dirt.

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