PRUDEN: Smells from the shadows

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ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Something odd is going on. The Obama campaign boasts of a landslide in the making even as his polling lead slips a point or two, and there’s anger bordering on rage when John McCain and Sarah Palin raise questions about Barack Obama’s judgment in his unexplored past in Chicago.

An investigation of ACORN, a cabal of “political activists” hired to register voters in the neighborhoods where few friends of John McCain abide has now spread to 10 states. Investigators discovered that the entire offensive line of the Dallas Cowboys had signed up to vote in Las Vegas, unless it turns out that someone forged their signatures to make a quota. The rules for this game were written in Chicago.

The senator’s campaign only wants to talk about the economy, and who can blame him? Wall Street is tanking to uncharted depths, banking is at a standstill and fear stalks Main Street and all the avenues and boulevards running across it. But Sen. Obama wants certain questions about the economy, and how it got this way, declared off-limits. Harry Reid, the leader of the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate, declares questions about Franklin Raines, his stewardship of Fannie Mae and his relationship with the senator to be racist because both men “are African-American.”

Sen. Obama, who has tried to avoid questions about his associations with shady Chicago figures, was asked again Thursday, this time by a television talking head, about William Ayers, the ‘60s terrorist and bomb-thrower with whom Republicans say he “palled around.”

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“Why don’t we just clear that up right now,” he told ABC News, and then repeated the bloviating response he gave last summer when the Ayers connection was first raised in Internet buzz.

“This is a guy who engaged in some despicable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old. By the time I met him, 10 or 15 years ago, he was a college professor of education at the University of Illinois … and the notion that somehow he has been involved in my campaign, that he is an adviser of mine, that … I’ve ‘palled around with a terrorist,’ all these statements are made simply to try to score cheap political points.”

This “explanation” hardly clears up anything, or addresses the questions raised first by Sarah Palin and now by John McCain.

Nobody has accused little 8-year-old Barack of anything, not even of tiny misdemeanors in the nursery, of wetting his bed or not eating all his carrots and broccoli. No one has accused the grown-up Barack of taking lessons in bomb-making or plotting with Mr. Ayers and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn, to make one more attempt to blow up the Capitol and the Pentagon and everybody in it.

The senator has never explained why, at the age of 33, or 38, or however old he was when he did, in fact, “pal around” with Bill Ayers, he inevitably preferred to walk in the shadows on the shady side of the street. He even served with Bill Ayers on the board of a charity that dispensed millions of dollars to left-wing Chicago enterprises.

The unanswered questions are not about crimes, but about his judgment. Just as Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn have never repented for terrorism against their country, the senator has never expressed repentance for his association with them.

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About the Author
Wesley Pruden

Wesley Pruden

Editor Emeritus — American journalist legend and Vietnam War author James Wesley Pruden, Jr. is Editor Emeritus of The Washington Times. Pruden’s first job in the newspaper business dates back to 1951 as a copyboy at the now defunct Arkansas Gazette where he later became a sportswriter and an assistant state editor. In 1982, he joined The Washington Times, four ...

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