From a comment string, which I’m not promoting here for more exposure about the connection between Mr Ayers and Mr Obama. The contention (from the left and Mr Obama) is that their relationship was casual and distant. Mr Kurtz has dug up some at this stage possibly circumstantial evidence that it was more than that. There is support in Mr Obama’s own writing that this is likely not to be truthful. Recall at this point in his campaign, Mr Obama has well established that like Mr Clinton before him, and perhaps like many modern educated lawyer/politicians, he has at best a spotty history at being forthright and truthful about his past.

Consider the following excerpt:

To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets. We smoked cigarettes and wore leather jackets. At night, in the dorms, we discussed neocolonialism, Franz Fanon, Eurocentrism, and patriarchy. When we ground out our cigarettes in the hallway carpet or set our stereos so loud that the walls began to shake, we were resisting bourgeois society’s stifling constraints. We weren’t indifferent or careless or insecure. We were alienated.But this strategy alone couldn’t provide the distance I wanted, from Joyce [a former girlfriend] or my past. After all, there were thousands of so-called campus radicals, most of them white and tenured and happily tolerated. No, it remained necessary to prove which side you were on, to show your loyalty to the black masses, to strike out and name names.(pp 100-101 of Dreams

Now consider that young man going to Chicago. Might Mr Ayers qua Mr Ayers-the-bomber cum activist/radical be exactly whom/what a young Mr Obama would seek as an acquaintance? After all, here is a person for whom the accusation “sellout” and who “showed whose side he was one” was established.

If that is in fact the case, I’ll admit that many on the left who idolize and view with rose tinted lenses the “heady activism” of the 60s and 70s don’t find such things off putting and therefore find there no reason to disassociate oneself from Mr Ayers company. However in the center and the right … a past which includes preparing nail bombs to use on military bases at best makes one a pariah.

I find it unlikely that Mr Obama, on (and before) meeting Mr Ayers, did not know of his past. I for example did not, and would not have, for I have not even a passing interest or knowledge of the membership of the “who’s who in the hagiography of the radical loony left.” It is hardly feasible that Mr Obama, on the other hand … had such lack of knowledge. And from that account it is also highly likely that he sought out Mr Ayers friendship and company. I also find it disingenuous at best to think that interviews of the people in question will be forthright about answering question at this date about such a relationship.

The real question isn’t however “what did Mr Obama see in Mr Ayers”, but the converse, i.e., What did Mr Ayers see in Mr Obama which he found worth promoting?

I will also observe, being a contemporary of Mr Obama’s, myself at the U of Chicago while he at Columbia … I will say that there were some small number of campus “activists” who might be similar to Mr Obama’s disposition/description. I didn’t think much of them then. I have to say I haven’t  changed my opinion on that now almost 30 years later (We stayed up at night discussing things like <em>Godel Escher Bach</em>)

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