Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Not Just Ayers

Steve Diamond is now the expert source on the web for all things Ayers and Annenberg, but one of his earlier posts mentions a man named Carl Davidson. Who is he?

Well, he's the man who allegedly arranged the anti-war rally that Obama made his famous 2002 anti-war speech that propelled him to victory over Hillary, and might propel him to the White House.

Since that speech is the crux of Obama's "superior judgment" argument I'd like to diverge on some points therein for context, back when he wasn't on the national stage:
What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income - to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression.
Populist class envy 101. He sets up the strawman--Karl Rove--to be responsible for corporate scandals and host of other ills, which is designed to divide people amongst the rich and poor, not bring people together.
But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.
This is the section that looks the best in hindsight, as long as one considers it factual that Saddam was indeed no threat to anyone, including his neighbors. That has not been determined and will not until all the available documents and information are analyzed, for instance, the extent of Saddam's exact relationship with Zawahiri's Egyptian Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups not officially labeled "al Qaeda", who represent the only terrorists we have the moral authority to chase--a dangerous myopia illustrating a lack of judgment as to the nature of world threats.
You want a fight, President Bush?

Let’s fight to make sure our so-called allies in the Middle East, the Saudis and the Egyptians, stop oppressing their own people, and suppressing dissent, and tolerating corruption and inequality, and mismanaging their economies so that their youth grow up without education, without prospects, without hope, the ready recruits of terrorist cells.
So it's OK for Saddam to do all that but not OK for the Saudi Royals or Mubarak, neither of whom had expressed public ill-intent for America, attacked their neighbors, funded families of suicide bombers or tried to murder a former president?

But aside from sounding like one of bin Laden's screeds his comments suggest a tendency towards seeing true evil in the struggles between rich and poor championed by socialists rather than an understanding that Mohammed Atta and several of his hijacker friends came from well-to-do families. Such a view totally ignores the philosophy of radical jihadism or the fact Saddam was exploiting that for his own purposes.
Let’s fight to wean ourselves off Middle East oil, through an energy policy that doesn’t simply serve the interests of Exxon and Mobil. Those are the battles that we need to fight. Those are the battles that we willingly join. The battles against ignorance and intolerance. Corruption and greed. Poverty and despair.
As he made clear in the debate, his energy policy is more focused on stopping the use of energy than getting more energy. In other words, 'our fault'. Again, look who he demonized--American oil companies. He spares no venom for corporations yet seems willing to give our enemies the benefit of the doubt, leaving a person to wonder whom he thinks is the true enemy.

As to Davidson, he had an opinion about how America should proceed forward on Iraq in 2006, expressed on his own blog:
But how can an unjust war be ended?

Apart from what happens in Iraq and the stubbornness of the White House, it requires three things:

-- First the antiwar insurgency has to expand, with majority support, until the streets are ungovernable.

-- Second, the antiwar views among soldiers and their families have to intensify to the point that young people refuse to join and soldiers refuse to fight.

-- Third, the antiwar bloc in Congress, which will grow in response to the growth of the first two, has to become a majority that will vote to cut off funds for the war, impeach the president, or both.
Until the "streets are ungovernable", ie, civil unrest. Seems in line with his history but is it in line with Obama? On opposing the surge, most definitely.

Backers like Davidson and Ayers and others, including Bernadine Dohrn, arguably even more radical than her husband and someone Obama probably first met when he began work at Sidley Austin in the late 80s, continue to maintain their independence.

That leaves open the possibility that Obama is simply a climber--someone who'll give lip service to the people he needs to impress at the moment only to later change his mind. Maybe. Or maybe they are running interference in hopes the clock will run out before they're fully exposed. They would call it wing nut paranoia, surely.

But this is the presidency we're discussing. The only reason to investigate his associations is to gauge what's really important to the man. Assuming he's not a sociopath--and I don't think he is--without an extensive public record we have no other way to judge him other than the company he's kept. Barack should approve, after all he recently said "sunshine is the best disinfectant" when it comes to government. Shouldn't that also the person running the government? Why hide things from the people?

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