The outrage over ABC’s handling of last night’s debate is getting ridiculous. Pro-Obama types are freaking out because Stephanopolous apparently got the idea to ask Obama about William Ayers from Sean Hannity. So what? Obama’s pally relationship/non-profit partnership with a remorseless terrorist isn’t going to be an issue for him in the general election? “Nobody” cares about it? On the Media Blog, Kevin Williamson asks:
Why isn’t Mr. Obama’s longtime association with the Rev. Wright and various and sundry other radicals an “issue”? It’s certainly an issue to many, many Americans, who understand that we elect men, not abstract aggregations of policy positions, to office, and that a man’s history is often a good indicator of what he values and of how he will comport himself (cf. “Clinton, William J.”)
Stephanopolous was right to bring up Ayers. Obama’s past associations will be an issue in the general election, and the question of electability in the fall is the only one that matters anymore in the race for the Democratic nomination, for reasons I explained in my piece today:
The Democratic party’s superdelegates will face a momentous decision when its convention rolls around in August. If Hillary Clinton is still contesting the nomination, she will most likely be asking them to overturn the will of the primary voters and make her the nominee. They will only take such a risk if they are totally convinced that Obama can’t win in November. This was a debate for their benefit, and ABC did the right thing by testing the candidates on the issues that are bound to take center stage in the fall.
ABC did Obama a favor by asking him these questions now. By the fall, he’ll have rehearsed his answers a few more times and won’t sound as bad as he did last night.
UPDATE: Geraghty: “Welcome to the big leagues, rookie.“