Geese, Ganders, Etc.
Steve Chapman wonders if John McCain should be so quick to judge Barack Obama for his association with Bill Ayers, given McCain’s own associations with G. Gordon Liddy.
Can a presidential candidate justify a long and friendly relationship with someone who, back in the 1970s, extolled violence and committed crimes in the name of a radical ideology—and who has never shown remorse or admitted error? When the candidate in question is Barack Obama, John McCain says no. But when the candidate in question is John McCain, he’s not so sure.
Obama has been justly criticized for his ties to former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers, who in 1995 hosted a campaign event for Obama and in 2001 gave him a $200 contribution. The two have also served together on the board of a foundation. When their connection became known, McCain minced no words: “I think not only a repudiation but an apology for ever having anything to do with an unrepentant terrorist is due the American people.”
What McCain didn’t mention is that he has his own Bill Ayers—in the form of G. Gordon Liddy. Now a conservative radio talk-show host, Liddy spent more than 4 years in prison for his role in the 1972 Watergate burglary. That was just one element of what Liddy did, and proposed to do, in a secret White House effort to subvert the Constitution. Far from repudiating him, McCain has embraced him.
How close are McCain and Liddy? At least as close as Obama and Ayers appear to be. In 1998, Liddy’s home was the site of a McCain fundraiser. Over the years, he has made at least four contributions totaling $5,000 to the senator’s campaigns—including $1,000 this year.
How does McCain explain his howling hypocrisy on the subject? He doesn’t. I made repeated inquiries to his campaign aides, which they refused to acknowledge, much less answer. On this topic, the pilot of the Straight Talk Express would rather stay parked in the garage.
Frankly, I don’t much care about McCain’s and Obama’s associations with Liddy and Ayers, respectively. One of the unfortunate things about politics is that lots of unsavory, nasty little people happen to be politically influential. So, unfortunately, sometimes even a decent person has to hang out with unsavory characters if they want to get anything done. So over the course of their long political careers, there’s no doubt that both Obama and McCain have done business with those kinds of people. It’s part of the game, and quite honestly I don’t know why people are so shocked that it is. If you don’t like it, pay more attention to your local politics–that’s where scumbags become influential. But I do agree with Chapman on one thing–if John McCain is going to criticize Obama’s political relationships, then McCain’s own are up for criticism, too. That, sadly, is also part of the game.