April 22, 2008
http://hughhewitt.townhall.com/talkradio/transcripts/Transcript.aspx? ContentGuid=e335c455-c58f-4d92-ac37-6c2bbc7f4ace 1
Columnist to the World Mark Steyn reacts to the one year old audio of
Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers, and whether these two friends of Obama
will hurt his presidential chances.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008 at 1:19 AM
HH: We begin as we do on any broadcast when weíre lucky with Columnist
to the World, Mark Steyn, www.steynonline.com. Mark, what do you make
of Hillaryís win?
MS: Well, I would have been surprised if she hadnít won. I gather Chris
Matthews came on the air at 8:00 and predicted an Obama win, which
would have ended the race. It would have showed that he was resilient to
the worst kind of scandals, which is to say when you yourself put your
foot in it, which he did with his guns and God remarks. And it would
also have showed that mainstream Democrats in a critical state were
prepared to discount those kind of stories. So what would have changed the
race would have been an Obama victory. Once itís as predicted a Hillary
Clinton victory, then I think the only question is how big the final
figure is. If it isnít double digits, then itís a poor night for Hillary
and itís a good night for Obama, because it shows that his numbers can
hold up under quite a sustained assault. But I think that both
candidates are really getting weaker as this thing goes on.
HH: Terry McAuliffe, campaign director for Hillary Clinton, was out
today saying I donít need to raise twenty, though I could raise $20
million. These media markets ahead in Oregon and Kentucky and West Virginia
and Indiana and North Carolina arenít that expensive, sounding every bit
like a campaign guy whoís going all the distance. I just canít see
Hillary Clinton quitting if she won.
MS: No. Hillary Clinton isnít going to quit, because I think she
realizes that Obama is a weak candidate. Heís weak in the sense that heís
unknown. And an unknown candidate always has vulnerabilities. Some of
those have been raised on your show, not just long distant past
associations, but a lot of current associations. So sheís got to figure that at
some point, if he doesnít get stronger, then her argument to the
superdelegates is look, this guy canít win. Heís not the glamour puss the media
make him out to be. The big glamorous Obama guy that they love, and
when they do these messianic cover stories on him, itís simply not
reflected in the numbers.
HH: Now Salem producer Guy Benson discovered some audio from a reunion
of SDSíers in 2007. I want to play you four clips, two from Bernardine
Dohrn, and two from William Ayers. Again, this is them talking last
year, and these are the people who have supported Barack Obama since his
first fundraiser in 1995. Bernardine Dohrn last year, talking about her
husbandís comments, and what she thinks of the United States. Cut
BD: And it was an incredible thing for him to say, the greatest
purveyor of violence on this Earth is my own country. There were certainly
other purveyors of violence. I think that thatís still true today. If we
think itís true today, that has incredible implications for all of us
right now. We who are, as we used to say, in the belly of the beast. It
again means not that itís the only purveyor of violence in the world,
but that we have an extraordinary, special responsibility, not
necessarily the most enviable one, of how to act here inside the heart of the
HH: The monster being the United States. Cut number 17, Bernardine
BD: A couple of things still animate me. And one is the question of
empire and imperialism, the merger of capitalism and empire, and how that
plays out in the globe, and why all of us get to live the lives we
live, even if we try to live simply, and even if we try to constantly brisk
what we have. You know, where does our wealth come from? And where
does our good teeth come from? And you know, our longevity?
HH: So, Mark Steyn, before we move on to Bill Ayers, what do you make
of Bernardine Dohrn last year?
MS: Well, you know, I think this is where Obama is really off the
charts. Most Americans, including most DemocratsÖI mean, I would be stunned
to hear a New Hampshire Democrat talk like that. We have a Democratic
governor in my state at the moment, and heís a conventional Democrat in
many ways, which is to say he doesnít go along with this idea that
being, having the great privilege to live in the United States of America
means youíre living in the belly of the beast. I mean, this is simply
the worst kind of hateful anti-Americanism, and this is where Barack
Obama lives. This is the pool he swims in. And I think this actually gets
to the heart of some of his more absurd statements. When he said today
that we, I think it was yesterday, that we donít need just to end the
war, he says he wants to end the mindset that got us into war. In other
words, the United States is always the problem. And this is the
absurdity of Democratic Party far left anti-Americanism taken to its logical
conclusion. If dissent is the so-called highest form of patriotism, then
as my friend John OíSullivan says, treason is the highest form of
dissent, therefore treason is the highest form of patriotism. When you
listen to Bernardine Dohrn, for her, treason is the highest form of
HH: Here is more now from Bill Ayers, again, last year, 2007. This is
not the ancient stuff. Bill Ayers, cut number 20: Heís talking about
what he views the United States as today:
BA: Empire resurrected and unapologetic, war without end, an undefined
enemy thatís supposed to be a rallying point for a new kind of
energized jingoistic patriotism, unprecedented and unapologetic military
expansion, white supremacy changing its form, but essentially intact, attacks
on women and girls, violent attacks, growing surveillance in every
sphere of our lives, on and on and on, the targeting of gay and lesbian
people as a kind of a scapegoating gesture to keep our minds off of
whatís really happening.
HH: And hereís cut number 21. Listen closely, Chou En Lai debuts here.
BA: Itís worth coming together forty years later and saying what is
that spirit that we recognize that we can build on? What is that spirit
that we want to connect to? That spirit of rebellion, the spirit of
resistance, the spirit of insurgency, and spirit. Itís that spirit that we
should be talking about. But just to give us a little perspective, Iím
reminded of something that Chou En Lai, the Chinese premier under Mao
Tse Tung, Chou En Lai was asked by a European reporter if he could
comment on the impact and his thinking of the French Revolution, in terms of
the Chinese experience. And Chou En Lai thought about it for quite a
long time, and he said the French Revolution? Too early to tell. And I
think thereís something to that, you know, that I mean if you take the
long view, empireís in decline. If you take the long view, thereís a lot
to look forward to. So many of us have watched with absent horror as
weíve been marched, step by step, towards an authoritarianism that was
unthinkable forty years ago.
HH: Now Mark Steyn, three things. One, these people have picked Barack
Obama. Heís going to say I donít believe that, but they have picked
him. Number two, how is it that a first-year producer, you know, less than
a year out of journalism school, finds this and mainstream media
doesnít? And number three, just generally, these people are cracked.
MS: Yeah, yeah. No, I think they are cracked. Itís interesting to me,
the whole spirit of these people is unchanged since the 60ís. They were
wrong in the 60ís. And the idea that sort of ineffectual terrorism is
just like a kind of political fashion accessory, which seems to be what
the people, the apologists for Ayers are arguing, I think is disgusting
and discreditable. And it insults millions of people around the world
who know what itís like to live with people who donít just posture and
pose, and plant a few bombs, and then live off the chic of it for the
rest of their careers, but who understand what it is when those
revolutionaries get their way and destroy a society. So itís insulting, and the
problem is thereís not much evidence among Barack Obamaís associates
of any counterweight to this. And when he says, when he attempts to pose
a counterweight, he makes grotesque comparisons like comparing this,
as you say, cracked nut to Senator Coburn, simply because Senator Coburn
happens to be pro-life. I mean, I think Obama is off the charts. He
doesnítÖhis friends live in the belly of the beast, as they put it. I
donít know where Obama lives, but itís not where most Americans live.
HH: Now do you think with enough attention, and I think media now has
to begin to ask why couldnít he close the deal in Pennsylvania, and he
has not closed the deal in Pennsylvania, even if itís a narrow win for
Hillary. Heís won, heís kept it close because of overwhelming
HH: Do you think the media begins to finally ask who are you, what do
you believe, what do we know about you?
MS: No, I donít think they do, because I think they look on him as a
movie star. If youÖand I think thatís the appropriate comparison. Theyíre
not looking at him in the political sphere, because I think itís true
to say that he has a sheen and a glamour and a cool that is extremely
rare among politicians. And so in a sense, they look on him as one of
these movie stars, and movie stars do whacky things like theyíll fly to
Havana and kiss up to Castro, and theyíll fly to Venezuela and kiss up
to Hugo Chavez. But in the end, they then go on TV and get a fawning
interview as if thereís nothing contemptible and discreditable in what
they do. And so I think the same pass thatís accorded to idiot movie
stars is being accorded to Obama because of his glamour.
HH: Mark Steyn from www.steynonline.com, Mark, thanks for kicking off
our special election coverage of the Keystone State.
Star Tribune columnist James Lileks weighs in on the Ayers-Dohrn audio.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008 at 3:49 AM
HH: Iím joined now by James Lileks of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and
blogger at www.lileks.com. James, first, your thought on what this
means, if anything?
JL: Can I finish my waffle? [Reference to an Obama comment]
HH: Go ahead.
JL: Can I finish my waffle?
HH: Go ahead.
JL: What does what mean? Hillaryís stunning performance?
JL: It means that weíre going to have fun in Denver, but Iím not
exactly sure how sheís going to translate this into the nomination.
HH: She waits, doesnít she, for drip, drip, drip, drip to destroy him?
JL: Well, it depends as to whether or not people think that the drips
are significant, whether or not they think thatís arsenic in the IV, or
whether or not itís just the pure, undistilled poison of American
politics that can be brushed off by the penumbra of the emanations of the
holiness of Obama. It depends. I donít know. I canít see them right now
going back on the fellow. And a lot of the responses that weíve been
hearing to the Ayers-Bernardine Dohrn flap give you a clue as to how
little this seems to matter to some people, and how eager they are to just
simply shrug their shoulders and move along. Iím stunned by this stuff.
I am fascinated by the audio that was brought out. It goes to the
things that weíve been talking about for a while about the new left, and
the unrepentant nature of some. And the way that this old counterculture
has been completely been co-opted into this wonderful narrative of the
glowing 60ís, even the Chicago Tribune, I believe it was, had an
editorial on Ayers, and was saying well, you know, you really canít move in
Chicago academic circles without running into Mr. Ayers. And Iím sure
that truck drivers and pizza deliverymen all over the city of Chicago
nodded their head and said, ďTrue dat.Ē And they said that you know, times
were, as Mayor Daley said, those were difficult times, and so we
should all now wrap it up and move it along. Well, and I wrote about this at
the Bleat. So to paraphrase myself from what I wrote today is that you
know, they were difficult times, yes, but they were difficult for
different people in different ways. While some were hunched in these
roach-infested squalor pads where they were hanging out, trying to escape
from John Law plotting the next way to bring down the man. You know, some
people were having a difficult time at the Hanoi Hilton getting their
teeth bashed out by North Vietnamese torturers, okay? So to wrap it all
up into one glorious narrative that those were hard times and letís
move along is a bit difficult. But even if you do concede that, itís
different when forty years later, somebodyís standing up there and quoting
Chou En Lai about how we have to wait and see how the French Revolution
turns out. Well you know what? We know how the French Revolution
turned out, and we knew pretty quickly how it turned out, that itís a really
bad idea to completely upend a civilization by violent means, kill
everybody in the old order, establish an anti-clerical terror, and devolve
into the modern terror state, which has been replicated with varying
degrees of success, decades and centuries hence. It was a bad idea. And
when China tried to do the same thing and uproot their traditions, it
was a bad idea. And one of the glories of the United States is that
weíve been able to change and grow and adopt and evolve without having
these catastrophic, cataclysmic upheavals as Europe and the rest of the
world have been want to do. So for Ayers to be trotted out now as some
wise, grey solon whoís preaching on the virtues of what they tried to do,
just shows that he hasnít changed a single bit. And if thatís the case,
and if his wife is still out there talking about ridiculous notions
like where do we get our good teeth, well, you know, in my case, itís a
dentist who happens to listen to the Hugh Hewitt Show. In her case, itís
the dental plan from the college where she works. If sheís still
coming out about these wonderful, old ideas, then we have to hang around her
neck the things that she said then, when she glorified the Manson
killers, when she and her husband talked about the necessity of killing
your parents, which is really amusing, given that Mr. Ayersí father was
the president of ConEd, a large electrical utility. So in other words, if
they havenít changed at all, then everything theyíve said is relevant,
and you have to ask why is somebody swimming in the same waters with
these particular toothless, old, miserable sharks? That, Iíd like to
know. But to have these two come up again in the context that they are,
with the success that theyíve had, is like going to sleep in 1960, and
waking up in 1980, and finding that the Rosenbergs have been granted
HH: Very well put. Now you know, James, whatís interesting is they
built the defense that was that was then, this is now, Americans are a
forgiving people, and we were all young, and it was crazy. Now thatís off.
Thatís gone. Now I just donít know whether or not MSM is so heavily
invested in Obama that they will examine these tapes, and then ask the
question which is obvious. Barack Obama was at their house, he served on
boards with them. Heís had conversations with these people. There must
be tape, there must be tape of Barack Obama going along to get along.
And we all know what itís like to be on the stage when someone says
something that you cringe at. He cannot not know what they believe.
JL: No, the tapes would be interesting, but I would think that the tape
that you just played is enough to get people asking questions, because
it blows apart the whole that was then, this is now defense. So there
you go. Whether or not theyíre going to do it, I donít know. I donít
believe that people sitting around in the newsrooms and the editorial
boards of the country are themselves unreconstructed, old, Red diaper
babies who yearn for the days of Dylan and recruitment centers blown up in
America, blood in the streets. Thatís not who they are. Thatís not who
they were then, and thatís not who they are now. But there is still, I
think, among a lot of people, an instinctual desire not to side with
the man, you know? Not to be too harsh on who these people were, as if
somehow you would be betraying the noble idealistic spirit that you
believed you were then, and in some ways, still are today. So are they going
to be inclined to go after it hammer and tong? No. And if they do,
weíll see the stuck pig shrieking of the blogosphere if they ask a few
more tough questions.
HH: You know, you picked up on a very interesting phrase, where do we
get our good teeth from.
HH: Because packed into that, itís like code. Her SDS reunion audience
will understand that we get it from the exploitation of the masses,
that itís aÖ
JL: Right, because right at this very moment, because Iím having some
work done tomorrow, I know that Haitians, poor Haitians who are eating
oil and dirt were toiling in the resin mines to bring up the composite
plastic that theyíre going to be using, and that third world children
were forced to write the software that expertly crafted the particular
nuances of the crown. I mean, please.
HH: But we hear that, and we immediately know what she meant, and they
know what she meant. But does your average political journalist even
JL: Oh, yeah, butÖ
HH: Okay, I hope youíre right.
JL: Your average political journalist hear so much, and has just
developed a shrugging of the shoulders as an instinctive reaction to a great
deal of it. What really ought to stick out more is things like belly of
JL: Because this isÖI mean, if she is describing the comfortable,
almost absolutely no ramifications of her actions existence in which she
lives as living inside the belly of a beast, a beast that is doing all
these preposterous things that her husband alleged, that theÖwhat was he
talking about, young girls and women, the violence against young girls
and women? Whatís he talking about?
HH: Yeah, I donít know what that meant.
JL: What is he talking about when he says that persecution of gay
people in order to distract our minds from something else? Was there a
great, I mean, was I heading off to the anti-war rally, and was I distracted
by the lynching of somebody from the Home And Garden TV cable channel?
I mean, I do notÖI mean, yes, I know what heís talking about.
HH: White supremacy is still here.
JL: Yeah, white supremacy is still here. The very fact that anybody
would have any arguments with the defense of marriage, or the redefinition
of the such, is regarded as a persecution campaign to blind our eyes,
and avert our eyes. And that, you know, thereís resonances of old
bittergate in there, isnít it?
HH: Oh, my goodness. Thereís so much in this, and yet I just donít know
if it will be reflected upon. We will be watching with great interest.
When Illinois State Senator Alice Palmer decided to retire in 1995,
she hand-picked local left-winger Barack Obama as her successor. In
order to introduce Obama to influential liberals in the district, she
held a function at the home of Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn. This was,
really, the beginning of Obama's political career, and it linked him
forever with Ayers and Dohrn, with whom, as his campaign has
acknowledged, he continues to have a friendly relationship.
Ayers and Dohrn were famous radicals, and fugitives from the law, in
the late 1960s and early 1970s. Dohrn, actually, was the more famous
of the two; she was the head, as I recall, of Students for a Democratic
Society or one of its factions. Dohrn was crazy. She is the only
public figure, to my knowledge, to approve publicly and enthusiastically
of the Charles Manson murders.
Ayers was a would-be murderer of soldiers and policemen, but he
wasn't a very good terrorist. He had the ill fortune to be the subject of
a profile in the New York Times on September 11, 2001, in which he said
that he didn't regret his attempted murders and only wished that he
had planted more bombs.
In last week's Pennsylvania debate, Barack Obama was finally asked
about his friendship with, and the political support he has accepted
from, Ayers and Dohrn. Obama replied that Ayers had done reprehensible
things forty years ago, when Obama was eight years old, and scoffed at
the idea that Ayers's ancient history could be relevant. That was
disingenuous, of course, given Ayers's 2001 regrets.
It turns out that we don't have to go back as far as 2001 to find
that Obama's friends are as unrepentant as ever. Just last year, Ayers
and Dohrn attended a reunion--no kidding--of what must have been the
tiny remnant of SDS members who still haven't figured out that they were
wrong about everything. Listen to what Bill Ayers, who hosted Barack
Obama's first fundraiser, has to say about the United States. Not when
Obama was eight years old, but in 2007:
At the same event, Obama's friend and supporter Bernadine Dohrn
described the United States as "the monster." Obama was 47 years old at
Barack Obama has declined to repudiate or distance himself from his
neighbors, supporters and friends, Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn.
There is a certain consistency of perspective among Obama's friends and
mentors, which can be summed up in Jeremiah Wright's memorable phrase:
"God damn America."