The Corner

Ayers & Dohrn

I am amazed, simply amazed, at the amazement of many liberals that Ayers and Dohrn should matter to anyone. I was one of the first to write about Ayers (for which Alan Colmes denounced me as some kind of McCarthyite, though not in so many words) and I’ve been getting email ever since for my mule-headedness. Apparently the groupthink is so thick that at the Obama campaign they actually think this rightwing or Republican obsession is a weakness. How else to explain the stupidity of their Ayers’ ad? Okay, there are some other possible explanations — some deadly polling numbers they’re discovering, for example. But the consternation at such horrible “guilt-by-association” is still very real. But it runs even deeper than you might think. Consider Bernadine Dohrn, Ayers’ wife and the co-host of Obama’s career-launching fundraiser. When she was in the Weather Underground she was one of those members typically fascinated with Charles Manson (I discuss this briefly in my book). Speaking of Manson’s famous murders she exclaimed, “Dig It! First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, they even shoved a fork into a victim’s stomach! Wild!” In appreciation, her Weather Underground cell made a threefingered “fork” gesture its official salute.

Well, it seems puzzlement over the inability of others to get over this stuff extended to Dohrn herself. Fast-forward to 1993. In a predictably sympathetic profile in the New York Times, she said: “I was shocked at the anger toward me. I think part of it’s reserved for women. You stepped out of the role of the good girl.”

That’s right. People were angered at Dohrn because of her feminism. That’s the problem with conservatives and this conservative society, we just don’t like uppity women. Why can’t we just move on?

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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