Monday, October 13, 2008

The Old Double Standard - Revised and Edited

When posting this one last week, I had misread the original article I'd linked to. I thought Sarah Palin had made the quotes herself, but Graham was very clear. His point was that she is guilty be association with Joe Vogler, Founder of The Alaska Independence Party, who really did say them.

I'm absolutely embarrassed about this, but at least now I understand what you commenters were talking about.

I'd like to extend my sincerest apologies to Sarah Palin, first of all, and to anyone else who noticed and minded. Even though I want this to be entertainment and not journalism, what I wrote was unacceptable and won't require all that much research to avoid in the future.


On the wonderfully informative site called The Cognoscenti, Graham asks a very pointed question.

Why does Sarah Palin get a free pass?

This question is in reference to her membership in the Alaska Independence Party. I've read about this here and there, but frankly didn't pay much attention. But, while reading what Graham has to say about it, I realized there's a major double standard going on. Imagine if Obama had selected a VP running mate who had said the un-American things Sarah Palin has said? (here's where I went wrong) Do you think the Republican mud-slingers would have been so quiet about it? Examples:

"I'm an Alaskan, not an American. I've got no use for America or her damned institutions."

"And I won’t be buried under their damn flag. I’ll be buried in Dawson. And when Alaska is an independent nation they can bring my bones home.”

I'll answer my own question. If Joe Biden had ever said things like that, we would have been bombarded with it like there's no tomorrow. Look at what they've done with the Ayers business, the desperate, straw-clutching Republicans. The explanation is obvious. Obama must have instructed his advisors to try, as much as is possible in a presidential campaign, to maintain some dignity, to not stoop to using every low blow they could. And the reason for that is also obvious. He could afford to do it. He's the better candidate. People are ready for a change.

What do you think?


  1. Mike,

    I don't think that Sarah Palin is getting a free pass at all. I truly think that the left stream media has looked at the facts and realized it will gain no traction.

    The reason it won't have any traction is because there really isn't much of a story. The AIP may have been started by a secessionist, but AIP is turning into a viable independent party.

    I'll challenge you to look at the AIP website and tell me what you find objectionable about their goals and objectives.

    Why is it wrong to have conservative candidates associated with extreme conservative positions but okay to have liberal candidates associated with extreme liberal positions; e.g. William Ayers?

  2. @Bob S.
    I think the reason that folks bring it up is that Vogler had made statements that were extremely anti-American with a radical agenda.

    If it is fair to bring up Obama's association with a former radical, then it should be fair to brink up the Palin's association with one as well.

    And really, since both the AIP and Ayers no longer hold their radical views (Ayers is a respected educator, the AIP is a viable independent party) then why is it even an issue?

    Shame on both parties for playing this game!

  3. B.E. Earl,

    I never said that it shouldn't be brought up. I completely agree that it should be discussed. I just don't see that Palin is getting a free pass on it.

    The difference I see is in the "former" aspect. AIP is a party founded by a radical and, in my opinion, has changed into a fringe but legitimate party.

    Ayers on the other hand hasn't changed. In previous interviews he's stated that he doesn't regret the bombings only that he didn't do more....hardly a "former" radical wouldn't you agree?

    I think that the issue I have the most problem is Obama's covering up or lying about his association with Ayers. "Just some guy in the neighborhood", right. As someone said you don't kick off your political campaign in the home of "just a guy in the neighborhood".

    If Obama wants to associate with Ayers that is his right, but the people have a right to know who Obama is associating with. I think the media is in the bag for Obama; that is why this story isn't getting much air time.

    I also think that it is important to find out about Ayers and the Chicago Annenberg foundation to bring up the goal of that foundation. It wasn't improving education but politicizing the students. Making the foundation sound like an "educational non-profit" hides the truth behind what Obama was doing.

    Again, for me it is an issue of his actions speaking louder then his words. In trying to hide his past, Obama is trying to hide how liberal he really is.

  4. @Bob,
    Understood. I see no real problem with being a liberal so I would hate to think Obama is hiding that aspect of his character.

    Still, it seems that because of your beliefs you are willing to give a pass to one group for their former agenda while not giving another on the opposite side the same benefit. Ayers, while un-repentant of his past, doens't have a current agenda that includes bombings and the like. Regardless of how you feel about his views on educaton.

    I, personally, don't feel that there is anything sinister about Obama's relationship with Ayers. He isn't part of Obama's brain trust. He isn't a close advisor. He is what he is. Someone who he has worked with in the past from the neighborhood (not "just some guy from the neighborhood") whose past radical actions he considers deplorable.

    I believe Obama when he says that when he met Ayers he was a college professor who was eager to work with him on education issues they both agreed on.

    And when you say that Ayers wishes he did more, this is what he meant per his own words ""It's impossible to get to be my age and not have plenty of regrets. The one thing I don't regret is opposing the war in Vietnam with every ounce of my being. During the Vietnam War, the Weather Underground took credit for bombing several government installations as a dramatic form of armed propaganda. Action was taken against symbolic targets in order to declare a state of emergency. But warnings were always called in, and by design, no one was ever hurt.

    "When I say, 'We didn't do enough,' a lot of people rush to think, 'That must mean, "We didn't bomb enough s---."' But that's not the point at all. It's not a tactical statement, it's an obvious political and ethical statement. In this context, 'we' means 'everyone.' The war in Vietnam was not only illegal, it was profoundly immoral, millions of people were needlessly killed. Even though I worked hard to end the war, I feel to this day that I didn't do enough because the war dragged on for years after the majority of the American people came to oppose it. I don't think violent resistance is necessarily the answer, but I do think opposition and refusal is imperative.

    I don't condone the bombings and I firmly beleive that Sen. Obama doesn't either. Hardly "palling around with terrorists", if you ask me. Just like I beleive the Palin's aren't palling around with anti-American secessionists.

    And I think that there has been plenty of media coverage of their relationship. There is an entire cable news channel devoted to it, it appears.

  5. b.e. Earl,

    I don't think that Obama is trying to hide the fact that he is a liberal, but just how liberal he truly is. That is a big difference.

    Take his recent conversion to supporting the 2nd amendment. This is a drastic change to the center from a person that has consistently supported gun control laws. Increasing excise tax on firearms and ammunition, supporting the patently unconstitutional D.C. handgun ban, banning the manufacture and sale of semi-automatic pistol; the list goes on.
    Now what doe he say in his current campaign; he supports the 2nd amendment. That is trying to hide how liberal he is.

    I also never said there was anything sinister with his association with Ayers.
    I do think it shows the alignment of his philosophy with Ayers, Wright, Pfagler, et al. This is Obama's past showing where he spends his time and energy. Who he supports and listens to, who supports him. Ayers and Obama also served together on the Wood Fund, not just the CAC. So it sounds like greater interaction then Obama is claiming.

    I find Ayer's comments to be highly suspect given his behavior:
    I don't think violent resistance is necessarily the answer, but I do think opposition and refusal is imperative.

    He doesn't think violent resistance is necessary but was part of the bombings and murder. Don't forget his wife's role in the 1981 arm robbery where 2 cops died. Didn't she serve 7 months in prison for refusing to cooperate with grand jury investigation?
    Also, consider that 3 members of the group were killed when a nail bomb being built exploded. A nail bomb is used against people, not buildings. Sorry but that sounds like violent resistance to me.

    To me, it's about determining where a person is coming from; with Obama since there is a limited voting recording it is important to look at his associations, efforts, and goals.
    When I take all of his past together, it presents a picture of someone I don't want to vote in as President.

  6. @Bob
    Gotcha. As these polictical cats are fond of saying, sounds like we have a "fundamental" difference of opinion here, but it's good to hear from the other side. Especially when the other side is informed. Nice job.

  7. That's a wonderful quote provided by Earl, one from which I've only heard little pieces taken out of context. And what Bob pointed out is extremely interesting, the nail bomb explosion and all that.

    Wonderful thread.

  8. Mike,
    Yeah. The nailbomb explosion killed Ayer's girlfriend at the time. He has stated that she may have purposely set off the bomb because she disagreed with someone else in the group over targetting people with the bomb. But Ayers later married the woman who she supposedly argued with, so who knows what he was thinking. But it certainly seems as if the Weathermen were ramping up their attacks when the explosion at the Greenwich Village townhouse occurred.

  9. am i really the only guy here who thinks what's happening in the country right now might have more relevance to the coming election than squabbles between small-time wanna-be bomb throwers forty fuckin' years ago?

    Obama was in bloody grade school back then, and i wasn't even born yet. why should either he or i care more about that than any number of things that are happening currently?

  10. Nomen,

    Ayer's actions are 40 years old as far as the bombing, but Obama's actions are far more recent.

    The phrase "you are known by the company you keep" comes to mind. Who does Obama spent time with, what does he spend his time doing?

    The answer to those questions help me understand where he intends to try to take the country.

    McCain has 25 years of voting record, statements about positions and actions for us to use in judging his intentions.

    There is a video clip out of Obama talking to a plumber.

    Obama says "It's not that I want to punish your success. I just want to make sure that everybody that is behind you, that they have a chance for success too."
    Okay, I can agree with everyone having a chance for success, how does Obama plan on doing that?
    "By spreading the wealth around".

    Sorry, but I see Marxist theory in the Black Liberation Theology and that statement. I see that Obama may talk about cutting taxes but he also talks about taking from those that have succeeded just because they have succeeded.

    Watch the video, think about Obama's past associations, is it credible that he wants to tax people who have succeeded to help those who haven't?

  11. There have been plenty of Presidents elected in this nation without "25 years of voting record, statements about positions and actions for us to use in judging his intentions". Our current Emperor, just to name one.

    I agree that when actual experience is missing, personal and professional associations become more important. It just seems that this year, with Obama, the rhetoric and the accusations have been based on something more than his experience or lack therof.

    And I'm not accusing anyone here of anything. I'm just talking about some of the things I have seen and read elsewhere during this election. My humble opinion, of course.

  12. Sarah Palin doesn't have two brain cells to rub together.

    Let's hope they keep babbling about Ayers while everyday-people panic over their money; this out-to-lunch blather is a real boon to the Obama campaign!

  13. Nomen, I'm with you on the idea that we've got more important things going on than the Ayers story or the latest nonsense about Palin.

    I read today that McCain is missing a good opportunity to take that position. If he would strongly insist on dealing with the issues over the next three weeks he might stand a chance, supposedly. He's not and he doesn't. That's my take on it.

  14. Mike,

    If McCain had spent years working on a foundation with a known racist/member of the KKK, would it matter?
    Would the media be all over it?

    Yes, it would matter. People are known by the company they keep. The intention of people can be determined by the influences they encounter.

    Palin is being raked over the coals for AIP, but don't you think that there is double standard on the media coverage of Wright & Ayers?

  15. Bob, You should read Daisy's post today.

    She describes very well what it was like back then. Reading it might help you to understand Ayers statement about being unrepentant. The fact that he's integrated into society apparently made an academic career for himself, for me, detracts from the "terrorist" argument, in fact it makes that argument ridiculous. Obama's association with him is even less of an issue in my opinion, which by the way John McCain said he agrees with.

  16. Mike

    A couple of comments from Daisy's post and the lyrics:

    Hippies, bikers, housewives who frequented the same beauty salon my grandmother did, my neighbors, et. al. talked about revolution as if it might be inevitable, and there was even a revolutionary faction of ex-GIs against the war.

    Yes, many people spoke about revolution, some people even acted out in their beliefs.

    From the lyrics
    Like good Christians, some would burn the witches
    Later some got slaves to gather riches

    The majority of those acting out were non-violent; sit ins, protest marches etc. A few, a radical few took far different actions. Physical violence was their response and Ayers was one of them.

    From your comment you say that The fact that he's integrated into society apparently made an academic career for himself, for me, detracts from the "terrorist" argument,
    Isn't this the same argument used in the death penalty? The person has changed, s/he isn't the same person that committed the crime. Sorry but a person is the results of all their actions and thoughts.
    Ayers past is what shaped who he is today.
    If a person gets away with a crime for dozens of years, is s/he any less of a criminal?
    If a person who murdered/raped/robbed doesn't murder/rape/rob again, does it change the past behavior?

    I'm not discounting what Ayer's is doing now, I'm questioning the judgment and beliefs of a person who willingly associates with someone like Ayers.
    And Wright, and Pfalger, etc.

    Again, I'll ask. If McCain was known to have associated with a racist would it make a difference?
    Would it make a difference if the racist had bombed minorities homes, even if not body was hurt?

  17. If McCain was known to have associated with a racist would it make a difference?

    anybody who's lived in the USA for as long as McCain has, and associated with as many people as a professional politician of his seniority must, is guaranteed to have associated with quite a few racists. and no, this does not necessarily make a difference.

    what would make a difference would be if he had pandered to the racist vote, or supported racist policies, or pointlessly insulted racial minorities through his conduct in office. by, oh, just for instance --- repeatedly opposing the creation of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. that would be quite a black mark on his record, i'd say.

  18. "Again, I'll ask. If McCain was known to have associated with a racist would it make a difference?
    Would it make a difference if the racist had bombed minorities homes, even if no body was hurt?

    I'm not sure why you picked racist rather than sticking with the topic of terrorists other than to point out that Obama is black. Lets stick with terrorists, shall we.

    McCain DOES associate with men who could be classifed as either terrorists or former terrorists. He is good friends with G. Gordon Liddy, for example. A man who orchestrated the Watergate burglaries (served 4 and 1/2 years for that) and planned the firebombing of a think tank, the assasination of a journalist and the kidnapping of anti-war protestors. He is unrepetant and unapologetic. This is fact, even though no one got hurt.

    On his radio show in 1994 he advised his listeners to "shoot the officers in the head" if the ATF comes to disarm you because they wear full body armor. No one was hurt, by the way, from these remarks.

    In 1998 he held a fundraiser for McCain at his home where the two posed for pictures. I'm assuming on one was hurt here.

    In 2007 McCain appeared on his radio program where he greeted Liddy as an old friend and told him how proud of him he was. He also congratulated him on adhering to his the principles and philosophies that keep our nation great.


    Now, c'mon. If Obama, who has condemed the actions of the Weathermen, can be called out for "palling around with terrorists" because of his association with Ayers, then why isn't McCain called out for the same reasons for his friendship with Liddy?

    Talk about your double standard!

    (Not to mention the fact that McCain's transition team leader and advisor, William Timmons was formerly a lobbyist for Saddam Hussein. Oops! I mentioned it)

  19. b.e. earl,

    Please show me where Liddy acted on his comments and "plans". I can definitely show you were Ayers acted on his. People died because Ayers and his wife founded or co-founded the Weatherman Underground.

    Show me where property was damaged by Liddy.

    Comparing Liddy to Wright might be a better comparison, because it was rhetoric involved, not action.

    That is an incredible reach to compare someone who served his time and used his right of freedom of expression to say asinine things. Does Liddy not have the right to free speech that Wright and others enjoy?

  20. Bob,

    It's easy to dismiss Liddy as a wingnut who spouts off on stupid shit but never acts on it. Well, except for the burglary, conspirac and illegal wiretapping of course. Who knows what he would have done had he not been caught?

    Ayers himself never hurt anyone, although you are correct that his organization did. I see your "property damage" with "breaking and entering" and we can move on.

    The whole point of my argument is that it IS a stretch. And McCain himself has said he doesn't care about the deeds that Ayers did. He cares about Obama's association with a man who believes as Ayers did/does. Shouldn't that apply to McCain's associations as well?

    I don't believe that McCain believes in Liddy's radical agenda and philosophy. I don't believe that Obama belives it either. It would be ridiculous to assume that, despite McCain's public statements of approval of Liddy.

    All I'm saying is that it should be equally as ridiculous to claim that Obama believes in Ayers' radical agenda and philosphy. ESPECIALLY since he has publically denounced those actions.


  21. b.e. earl,

    If Obama didn't agree with Ayer's philosophy, why did they work together on 2 different boards.

    Why did they agree on the dispersing of funds to liberal groups that were focused on politicizing the school children not improving education.

    Ayer's philosophy, Wright's philosophy; they show where Obama is focused and spending his time.

    I'm not saying that Obama agrees with Ayer's philosophy from 40 years ago, but he agrees with his current position that I don't agree with.

  22. Bob
    Agreed and I understand what you are saying. The problem is that even though you aren't saying that Obama agrees with Ayers positons from 40 years ago, the McCain campaign was implying exactly that by saying that Obama was "palling around with terrorists".

    If the McCain campaign believes, as you do, that it a philosophical difference on education reform and socialist polices then they should have said exactly that. But that isn't sensational or sexy enough for the American people, so they took the low road.

    And even if it were okay to bring up the Ayers issue the way they did, they certainly haven't focused on what matters to voters such as yourself. I certainly haven't heard it spoken about the way you speak about it from the McCain campaign.

    And that, I believe, is what this entire argument was about.