Over the weekend Governor Palin brought up Bill Ayers, a founder of the radical 60s Weather Underground group, saying that Barack Obama has been “palling around” with terrorists. During the 60s and 70s, the Weather Underground wanted to blow up establishment buildings in protest of the war in Vietnam, but Ayers was never successfully prosecuted because of illegal evidence collection.
Ayers has since gone on to become an education professor at the University of Illinois, Chicago. I have crossed paths with many education professors, and I will say that all of the ones I have met, both conservative and liberal, are committed to increasing the education levels and accessibility of quality education for everyone. They are usually so busy with their research and teaching that they don’t have time for extensive political involvement unless they are being paid as consultants.
Also note that Barack Obama was 8 years old when Ayers was involved with The Weathermen, but the issue that Palin was referring to involved both men sitting on a charity board in the 1990s in Chicago and a gathering in 1995 at Ayers’ home when Obama was first entering politics. In 2001, Ayers donated $200 to Obama’s state senate re-election campaign.
I find it odd that Governor Palin, who is supposed to be known for her political “instinct” and savvy, not so much her substantive knowledge, decided to bring up the Professor Ayers’ connection. We’re talking about a Professor, who lives in Obama’s neighborhood, who had been more involved with the senator when he was embarking on a political career and gave a total of $200 to Obama’s political endeavors, when Senator McCain has a more clear and relevant connection to Charles Keating, a former banker who was a target of a regulatory investigation in the late 80s. McCain took in $112,000 from Keating and his associates and took his family on vacation to the Bahamas on Keating’s dime. John McCain was already in his 50s when he was associating with Charles Keating, a man who fleeced his savings and loan customers and then asked U.S. Senators, including McCain to have the regulators back off.
So in flexing its strategic wisdom, the Obama campaign released a video on “Keating” economics, which is really relevant to the financial crises we are enduring today. Blogger Ezra Klein points out that this video was not released from a point of weakness. A few weeks ago, when the media was abuzz about Palin and her rock star debut and McCain had built a slight lead, the Obama campaign kept working diligently and focusing on the issues. The Obama team didn’t panic and release this video, as they could have (note the high production value). This video looks like it was carefully planned and like it has been ready for viral distribution on the net for more than a few weeks. It certainly wasn’t slapped together overnight.
I find it ironic that John McCain has been damning the greed and excess of Wall Street and saying that he now wants to bring reform to big business having once been a crusader for deregulation for Charles Keating. Keating caused some 21,000 people to lose their investments and life savings in his failed savings and loan scheme. The Keating 5 scandal that John McCain was involved in makes both the Ayers and Rev. Wright drama seem like child’s play. Check out the video for yourselves and get a lesson in Keating economics:
Charles Keating is the epitome of greed and excess, and Senator McCain wanted to provide cover for him. What does this say about John McCain’s new stance on regulation and his criticism of corporate excess? You can learn more about Keating economics here.