Another politician of questionable honesty. This is not the Barack Obama I thought I knew.
In a new afterword to his memoir, 1960s radical William Ayers describes himself as a "family friend" of President-elect Barack Obama and writes that the campaign controversy over their relationship was an effort by Obama's political enemies to "deepen a dishonest narrative" about the candidate.
Ayers describes phone threats and hate e-mail he received during the campaign, and he bemoans Obama's guilt by association.
During the campaign, Ayers' friendship with Obama was a favorite subject of conservative bloggers and talk show hosts who insisted the two were closer than the candidate was admitting. Ayers' new description of the relationship seems to contradict Obama's statements.
Obama had dismissed Ayers as "a guy who lives in my neighborhood" and "somebody who worked on education issues in Chicago that I know."
It wasn't a "dishonest narrative" because the narrative was never what it was characterized as by the media and the Obama campaign. Rather than indicating anything anti-American about Mr. Obama it indicated a lack of judgement in associating with someone who hated enough about America to resort to a domestic bombing campaign. And it indicated a lack of honesty in discussing that association. "just a guy who lives in my neighborhood" indeed.
The admission by Mr. Ayers of a closer relationship than Mr. Obama and his campaign admitted has essentially verified the gist of the conservative blogosphere's discussion of Ayers-Obama. The right insisted that a) Mr. Obama wasn't telling the truth about the relationship because it b) would reflect poorly on his judgement to have had a friendship with an unrepentent domestic terrorist and far left radical. That judgement is in question not because of acts of the Weathermen in 1969, but because as the NY Times story that came out on 9-11 indicated Mr. Ayers continued to hold his radical beliefs and espoused violence. Mr. Obama was 40.
Next thing you know we'll find out that Mr. Obama actually did hear most of the anti-American and racist diatribes of Jeremiah Wright, since he was in that church "every week," leaving his church only when it became politically untenable.
11/16/08 2350: Howard Kurtz noticed the media's creation of what they want a President Obama to be, and the endless fawning that creation spawned. Well, that is his job.
What's troubling here goes beyond the clanging of cash registers. Media outlets have always tried to make a few bucks off the next big thing. The endless campaign is over, and there's nothing wrong with the country pulling together, however briefly, behind its new leader. But we seem to have crossed a cultural line into mythmaking.
"The Obamas' New Life!" blares People's cover, with a shot of the family. "New home, new friends, new puppy!" Us Weekly goes with a Barack quote: "I Think I'm a Pretty Cool Dad." The Chicago Tribune trumpets that Michelle "is poised to be the new Oprah and the next Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis -- combined!" for the fashion world.
Whew! Are journalists fostering the notion that Obama is invincible, the leader of what the New York Times dubbed "Generation O"?
Each writer, each publication, seems to reach for more eye-popping superlatives. "OBAMAISM -- It's a Kind of Religion," says New York magazine. "Those of us too young to have known JFK's Camelot are going to have our own giddy Camelot II to enrapture and entertain us," Kurt Andersen writes. The New York Post has already christened it "BAM-A-LOT."
Aaacck! I'm sorry. I just threw up a little in the back of my throat. Excuse me.
Note to the media: Settle down. He's just an inexperienced child of the Chicago political machine, and given that he's only been a senator for 4 years, and was running for president for three of those, it's extremely unlikely he's all that you've made him up to be. Had you done the job you were hired to do, rather than the one you wanted to do, we'd know a lot more about him.