- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 23, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

You jaded citizens may be bored silly by these seemingly endless candidate debates. But the last encounter between the two Democrats was an entertainment milestone. I say give me more!

Who has ever seen a politician admit to lying before? Asked yet again about the corkscrew landing, Sen. Hillary Clinton introduced her mea culpa with this odd formulation: “I can tell you that I may be a lot of things, but I’m not dumb.” She then proceeded to admit she said things that “weren’t in keeping with what I knew to be the case and what I had written about in my book.”

So by stressing she isn’t dumb, she was suggesting what? That she flat-out lied with no excuse? Perhaps what she meant to say was “I’m not dumb, but I really did a brainless thing this time. Heck, I even wrote the truth in the book. Don’t know what I was thinking.”

For someone else, that tack might have been acceptable. But this is the woman who told us she converted a $1,000 stock investment into a $100,000 windfall by “reading the Wall Street Journal” and who miraculously “found” the missing Rose Law Firm billing records on an East Wing credenza after being unable to locate them for two years.

From one point of view, it’s a shame she is so tainted, because she delivered some body blows to His Serene Highness. She reminded viewers that Sen. Barack Obama’s church had offered its bulletin as a forum for a message from Hamas, and cheerfully piled on when George Stephanopoulos raised the troublesome matter of Mr. Obama’s connection to William Ayers.

Bill Ayers is no run-of-the-mill lefty. Along with his wife, Bernadine Dohrn, he was a founding member of the Weather Underground, a radical spin-off of the SDS that “declared war” on “Amerikkka” in 1970 and planned a terrorist attack on Fort Dix, N.J., that the group anticipated would be “the most horrific hit the United States government has ever suffered on its soil.” Alas for them, three of the Weathermen were blown up in a Greenwich Village apartment while mixing the ingredients for the bomb.

The Weathermen had more success on other outings, planting bombs in a New York City police precinct house, the U.S. Capitol building, and, this was a nice touch, on Ho Chi Minh’s birthday in a women’s bathroom at the Pentagon. The group claimed credit for a total of 25 bombings and assorted other acts of incitement and mayhem.

Reflecting on his life as a revolutionary, Mr. Ayers told the New York Times that he didn’t regret setting bombs. In fact, he found “a certain eloquence to bombs, a poetry and a pattern from a safe distance.” The New York Times profile was published on Sept. 11, 2001.

Other than zinging Mrs. Clinton by pointing out that Bill Clinton had pardoned two members of the Weather Underground (there’s that taint again), Mr. Obama’s response was lame and deceptive. “The notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values doesn’t make much sense, George.” Doesn’t it? Mr. Obama and Mr. Ayers served together on the eight-person board of directors of the Wood Fund.

An early organizing meeting about Mr. Obama’s political career was held in Mr. Ayers’ living room. This isn’t just “somebody he knows.” Some of us wouldn’t even shake hands with Mr. Ayers, far less accept a $200 donation and his hospitality. Suppose Sen. John McCain had a similar relationship with abortion clinic bomber Eric Rudolph?

With every peel of the onion, Barack Obama is revealed to have hard-left friends and allies. The list of questionable friends extends not just to Mr. Ayers, Tony Rezko and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, but also to Rashid Khalidi, professor at Columbia and another fund-raising host for Mr. Obama. Khalidi, whose heroes include the late Edward Said and Noam Chomsky, is a cheerleader for the Palestine Liberation Organization who spits contempt for Israel.

In his memoir, Mr. Obama recalls that in his college days, he sat up late with friends discussing “neocolonialism, Franz Fanon, Eurocentrism and patriarchy.” To “avoid being mistaken for a sellout,” he selected his friends carefully. “The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk-rock performance artists.”

On first reading, I thought he had achieved ironic distance from this jejune leftism. But maybe not. And now, to paraphrase his pastor and mentor, the chickens are coming home to roost.

Mona Charen is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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