You may (or may not) have noticed that I’ve been posting more parochial US-political stuff than usual, lately, and you may (or may not) have wondered why. I mostly ignored the subject in 2004, and during the endlessly long primary process from 2006 on; why have I stopped ignoring it now?
Well, partly, frankly, just because I find Obama more interesting – more worth paying attention to – than any Dem candidate in decades. I think Obama is better than McCain on several dimensions – a better human being, a better candidate, a better potential president. A lot better. To that extent my posting could just reflect plain old political bias. But another part has to do with the flagrant dishonesty of the McCain-Palin campaign, which interests me. It interests me that Republicans pretty much always stoop to dishonesty, and Democrats don’t to the same extent.* Lots of Dems get angry at Dem campaigns because they don’t fight dirty enough. But – fighting dirty is a bad thing. The McCain-Palin campaign is a revolting spectacle. It interests me that there seems to be no braking mechanism, no floor, no point at which they just can’t stomach it any more. I realize they want to win, but I assume they also want to be able to live with themselves. Yet there is no floor. There is (as with good old Joe McCarthy) no shame.
However that may be – the prosecutor’s letter to the Times is interesting.
As the lead federal prosecutor of the Weathermen in the 1970s…I am amazed and outraged that Senator Barack Obama is being linked to William Ayers’s terrorist activities 40 years ago when Mr. Obama was, as he has noted, just a child. Although I dearly wanted to obtain convictions against all the Weathermen, including Bill Ayers, I am very pleased to learn that he has become a responsible citizen. Because Senator Obama recently served on a board of a charitable organization with Mr. Ayers cannot possibly link the senator to acts perpetrated by Mr. Ayers so many years ago.
He didn’t put that last very well – he meant something like ‘the fact that Obama served etc cannot possibly link him etc’ – but we get the drift. There are two issues here. One, Ayers has changed; he is not the guy he was in 1968. Two, Obama was a child when Ayers was the guy he was in 1968. It’s just not morally respectable to ignore those two facts in order to pretend that Obama is now a fan of what Bill Ayers was in 1968.
The thing is – I can perfectly well imagine conservatives and Republicans that I would disagree with but still respect. Well I should hope so – it’s not that hard! And it would be pretty absurd to be unable to respect anyone one disagreed with. But all the same, there it is; I can. But I can’t respect these people; it seems to me they have covered themselves in ordure. I find that interesting.
*Do correct me if I’m wrong – seriously.