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Mona Charen

You jaded citizens may be bored silly by these seemingly endless candidate debates. But Wednesday night’s encounter between the two Democrats was an entertainment milestone. I say give me more!

Who has ever seen a politician admit to lying before? Asked yet again about the corkscrew landing, Hillary Clinton introduced her mea culpa with this odd formulation: “I can tell you that I may be a lot of things, but I’m not dumb.” She then proceeded to admit that she said things that “weren’t in keeping with what I knew to be the case and what I had written about in my book.” So by stressing that she isn’t dumb, she was suggesting what? That she flat-out lied with no excuse? Perhaps what she meant to say was “I’m not dumb, but I really did a brainless thing this time. Heck, I even wrote the truth in the book! Don’t know what I was thinking.”

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For someone else, that tack might have been acceptable. But this is the woman who told us that she converted a $1,000 stock investment into a $100,000 windfall by “reading the Wall Street Journal” and who miraculously “found” the missing Rose Law Firm billing records on an East Wing credenza after being unable to locate them for two years.

From one point of view, it’s a shame that she is so tainted, because she delivered some body blows to His Serene Highness. She reminded viewers that Obama’s church had offered its bulletin as a forum for a message from Hamas, and cheerfully piled on when George Stephanopoulos raised the troublesome matter of Obama’s connection to William Ayers.

Bill Ayers is no run-of-the-mill lefty. Along with his wife, Bernadine Dohrn, he was a founding member of the Weather Underground, a radical spin-off of the SDS that “declared war” on “Amerikkka” in 1970 and planned a terrorist attack on Fort Dix, N.J., that the group anticipated would be “the most horrific hit the United States Government has ever suffered on its soil.” Alas for them, three of the Weathermen were blown up in a Greenwich Village apartment while mixing the ingredients for the bomb. The Weathermen had more success on other outings, planting bombs in a New York City police precinct house, the U.S. Capitol building, and, this was a nice touch, on Ho Chi Minh’s birthday in a women’s bathroom at the Pentagon. The group claimed credit for a total of 25 bombings and assorted other acts of incitement and mayhem. Reflecting on his life as a revolutionary, Ayers told the New York Times that he didn’t regret setting bombs. In fact, he found “a certain eloquence to bombs, a poetry and a pattern from a safe distance.” The New York Times profile was published on Sept. 11, 2001.

Other than zinging Sen. Clinton by pointing out that Bill Clinton had pardoned two members of the Weather Underground (there’s that taint again), Obama’s response was lame and deceptive. “[T]he notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values doesn’t make much sense, George.” Doesn’t it? Obama and Ayers served together on the eight-person board of directors of the Wood Fund. An early organizing meeting about Obama’s political career was held in Ayers’ living room. This isn’t just “somebody he knows.” Some of us wouldn’t even shake hands with Ayers, far less accept a $200 donation and his hospitality. Suppose John McCain had a similar relationship with abortion-clinic bomber Eric Rudolph?

With every peel of the onion, Barack Obama is revealed to have hard-left friends and allies. The list of questionable friends extends not just to Ayers, Rezko, and Wright, but also to Rashid Khalidi, professor at Columbia, and another fundraising host for Obama. Khalidi, whose heroes include the late Edward Said and Noam Chomsky, is a cheerleader for the PLO who spits contempt for Israel.

In his memoir, Obama recalls that in his college days, he sat up late with friends discussing “neocolonialism, Franz Fanon, Eurocentrism and patriarchy.” To “avoid being mistaken for a sellout,” he selected his friends carefully. “The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk-rock performance artists.” On first reading I thought that he’d achieved ironic distance from this jejune leftism. But maybe not. And now, to paraphrase his pastor and mentor, the chickens are coming home to roost.

© 2008 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.



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