Political Articles

Understanding The Obamas

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I know that I have already covered Michelle Obama's appearance on the Mike Huckabee show, but there was something more that I got out of that speech that has been playing around in my mind all week. I believe that one statement from Michelle on that show is perhaps the most crucial point to understanding who these people are and how they think. Once one understands this statement, it is easy to wrap your mind around where they are coming from.

 OBAMA: But I try to stay away from, you know, news because, you know, I want to formulate my opinions based on experiences that I have.

Now I'm sure many liberals out there probably found this to be a deep and profound statement.  I personally found this to be perhaps the most anti-intellectual and self absorbed statement I had heard in quite some time. In order for me to explain this, let's look at an example of this logic in action with the Obamas. Many of you will remember the controversy surrounding William Ayers. Let's look at this case using the world view of Michelle Obama vs. the views of many who watch the news.

 William Ayers

Personal Experiences

To President and Michelle Obama, William Ayers is an education professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His wife, Bernadine Dohrn, is a law professor at Northwestern. Their relationship with the Obama's is detailed in a Chicago Sun Times article.

In the mid-1990s, Ayers and Dohrn hosted a meet-and-greet at their house to introduce Obama to their neighbors during his first run for the Illinois Senate. In 2001, Ayers contributed $200 to Obama's campaign. Ayers also served alongside Obama between December 1999 and December 2002 on the board of the not-for-profit Woods Fund of Chicago. That board met four times a year, and members would see each other at occasional dinners the group hosted.

In addition, Ayers and Obama interacted occasionally in their roles with the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a not-for-profit group charged with spending tens of millions of dollars it obtained through its affiliation with a school-improvement foundation created by late Ambassador Walter H. Annenberg. Obama chaired the Chicago Annenberg Challenge's board of directors. Ayers served on the Chicago School Reform Collaborative, which made recommendations to the board on which organizations should get grants. The groups worked on school-reform efforts between 1995 and 2000.

Based on these personal experiences, one could paint a very nice picture of Bill Ayers. He is an educated man who is involved in charity. He teaches and writes textbooks. He has been very nice to the Obama's, donating money to Barack's campaign, and hosting a meet-and-greet to introduce Obama to politically connected individuals at the start of his political career.

But this opinion requires one to ignore the news. You see, following the news accounts of William Ayers's life paints a much different picture.

Ayers In The News

William Ayers was interviewed on September 11th, 2001 by the New York Times about his youth. Here is a part of the resulting piece.

''I don't regret setting bombs,'' Bill Ayers said. ''I feel we didn't do enough.'' Mr. Ayers, who spent the 1970's as a fugitive in the Weather Underground, was sitting in the kitchen of his big turn-of-the-19th-century stone house in the Hyde Park district of Chicago. The long curly locks in his Wanted poster are shorn, though he wears earrings. He still has tattooed on his neck the rainbow-and-lightning Weathermen logo that appeared on letters taking responsibility for bombings. And he still has the ebullient, ingratiating manner, the apparently intense interest in other people, that made him a charismatic figure in the radical student movement.

Now he has written a book, ''Fugitive Days'' (Beacon Press, September). Mr. Ayers, who is 56, calls it a memoir, somewhat coyly perhaps, since he also says some of it is fiction. He writes that he participated in the bombings of New York City Police Headquarters in 1970, of the Capitol building in 1971, the Pentagon in 1972. But Mr. Ayers also seems to want to have it both ways, taking responsibility for daring acts in his youth, then deflecting it.

That's a much different picture than the one painted by the personal experiences of Michelle Obama.  I'm sure that her experiences with Ayers also exclude the following quote.

"Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home, kill your parents, that's where it's really at"

President Obama has also expressed a desire to opt for his personal experiences with Mr. Ayers rather than allowing his judgment to be altered by factual historical accounts. 

This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who's a professor of English in Chicago who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He's not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis. And the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was eight years old, somehow reflects on me and my values doesn't make much sense, George.

Canada, on the other hand, decided that when it comes to entering their country, the news is a bit more important than ones personal experiences.

 An American education professor, one of the founders of a radical 1960s group known as the Weather Underground, which was responsible for a number of bombings in the United States in the early 1970s, was turned back at the Canadian border last night.

Yet the fact that the terrorist activities of a man so closely linked to the first family left him denied entry into Canada should not be the real focal point here.  As disturbing as it is, it pales in comparison to the more recent implications of the Obama world view.

Holder, in a letter to Grassley, admitted that nine of the agency's appointees had done some kind of work on behalf of terror suspects.

"To the best of our knowledge, during their employment prior to joining the government, only five of the lawyers who serve as political appointees in those components represented detainees," said Holder in the letter, which is dated Feb. 18.

"Four others either contributed to amicus briefs in detainee-related cases or were otherwise involved in advocacy on behalf of detainees."

Holder refused to reveal the names of any of the DOJ lawyers who worked on behalf of terrorists or their positions in the department, except for two officials whose advocacy for Gitmo detainees had already been reported.

Neal Katyal, the department's principal deputy solicitor general, was once the lawyer for Osama bin Laden's driver. Jennifer Daskal, part of Obama's Detention Policy Task Force, advocated for detainees at Human Rights Watch.

During the campaign, I made my own video ad about this situation. How on the money was that commentary? You see, it wasn't my suggestion that President Obama would try to make William Ayers the head of the Department of Homeland Security. I never suggested that the he would make Jeremiah Wright the White House Chaplain. My concern was the poor judgment shown by these associations. I must, however, admit that even I didn't imagine that this judgment was so bad as to result in the lawyer for Osama Bin Laden's driver receiving a position in the justice department. But then again, looking at the statement of the First Lady, it all makes a little sense, doesn't it?

When one's personal experiences with terrorists are family, friends, dinners, and charities, and one chooses to ignore the news accounts of crashed planes, dead bodies, and collapsing buildings, I guess the terrorists don't seem all that bad. Rather empathetic, huh? I suppose for the terrorists it is. But where is the empathy with the victims?

I understand that lawyers have to work, and even the worst members of our society need representation. That's just how it is. But there is no law stating that, especially in a time of war, the lawyers for our enemies must serve in the justice department. It is rather the failed word view of President and Michelle Obama that cause such dilemma's.  Be it the 60's radical who attacked us, or the lawyer for the Islamic extremist that brought us down, it all comes back to one thing.

 OBAMA: But I try to stay away from, you know, news because, you know, I want to formulate my opinions based on experiences that I have.