In Defense of Bill Ayers: He's a Professor:
The right-wing and the McCain campaign continue to push the Barack Obama-Bill Ayers association because, truly, it is the last desperate, craven move they can make to slow the Obama train before it smashes them like a herd of deer on the tracks at the wrong time. It's an idiotic move because, unlike every other specious attempt to take down a Democrat with lies and insinuation, it doesn't involve an actual action by the candidate. Think about it: Willie Horton? Well, Michael Dukakis did support the furlough program as governor. Bill Clinton? Well, he did get blown by that woman. Max Cleland? Well, he did want union protection for Homeland Security employees. It was all spin and bullshit, yes, but it was at least based on things the actual candidates actually did.
Not so with Ayers. As Keith Olbermann and Obama flack Robert Gibbs have shown, once you start to go down the road of "people what you know," that way lies madness.
But these bastards are not letting it go. The McCain campaign released an online ad that flatly asserts that Obama is unfit to be president because he knows William Ayers, even quoting such unbiased sources as the National Review to impugn Obama's work on a charitable organization. Dick "Hooker Toe Sucker" Morris and Eileen McGann say that "Barack Obama should have run screaming at the sight of William Ayers" in the mid-1990s. Morris and McGann also say that the only reason Ayers and his wife didn't go to jail for the bombings they were involved in as part of the Weather Underground was that the charges were thrown out for illegal FBI evidence gathering. They leave out the fact that Ayers turned himself in.
In fact, by the mid-1990s, when Obama encountered him, Ayers was a major figure in the field of education, a professor at the University of Illinois, Chicago, who was routinely praised by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley for his work on elementary and early childhood education. In other words, in the dark ages before the Google began working its stalker-like miracles, who the fuck cared who Ayers was? He was the dude who wrote books on empowering students in the classroom and on problems with the juvenile justice system.
The Rude Pundit has a friend who was a student in one of Ayers' classes during the time Barack Obama was working with Ayers, over a decade ago. So he called up the friend and asked about the crazy ass bomber. This is what the friend had to say:
"There was nothing radical about Ayers. He did not talk about radical political beliefs in the class. He was a reformer, not a revolutionary. He didn't say anything anti-American. In fact, he didn't mention the government or economics or anything that didn't have to do with research and education.
"He never brought up his past. He did not talk about his radical days. I'd say 95% of the students didn't know anything about him other than he was a great professor. Students were told by other students to take him. They raved about him. And he was a brilliant, smart guy. A captivating teacher. We were in awe of him, of his charisma, and we just sat there listening to him talk about his teaching experiences and research. He filled the room.
"He kept pushing our creativity. He didn't want us to do boring projects. And he encouraged dialogue in the classroom. He practiced what he preached. Even now, when I see him, he remembers me and the work I did in his class."
And lest you think that the Rude Pundit's friend is just ready to drop to his knees and give Ayers a hummer, he adds, "He had the biggest ego and he was a name dropper who thrived on attention. A very self-centered guy. While I think he's trying to stay out of things right now, I know he's loving all of this." Can you hold those two thoughts in your head at once: egomaniac and great teacher? Can you hold these two: former violent radical and important scholar/citizen?
Oh, yeah. Big bad radical bomber William Ayers just got elected to the faculty senate at UIC. No doubt when he votes on changes to the prerequisites for computer science courses, it'll be with an itchy trigger finger.
Anyone else out there a student now or a former student of Bill Ayers? Tell the Rude Pundit your story, good or bad. Send it to "rudepundit[at]yahoo[dot]com". Let's try to end this insanity.