McCain’s “Swift Boat” won’t float

by Kiley Larsen

I’m not going to go as far as former Clinton advisor Howard Wolfson and say this thing is over, (I am a lifelong Red Sox fan after all, think 2004 ALCS!) but the McCain campaign looks downright desperate right now. We all know that the “Swift Boat” ads from 2004 pretty much single-handedly killed Kerry’s campaign, but in these rough times, small ball politics are not going to win an election.

This election’s “Swift Boat” has turned out to be Bill Ayers, former “terrorist” and now respected professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. As co-founder of the Weather Underground organization, he participated like many others in the late 60’s, in radical movements (blowing up empty buildings), but has turned into a powerful community member who pushes education.

Now Sean Hannity is playing right along with this, and in an effort to counter the propaganda, John K. Wilson of The Huffington Post has posted 30 lies about the association of Obama and Ayers. Here is just a sampling of what he found:

LIE: “My view is that the community organizer was really a sham event. Bill Ayers was testing him.”(Andy Martin, Hannity’s America, October 5, 2008, “Obama and His Friends: History of Radicalism”)
TRUTH: Bill Ayers had nothing to do with Obama’s community organizing job. It’s pure lunacy to imagine that Ayers was “testing” Obama.

LIE: “They live half a mile from William Ayers, the unrepentant terrorist” and “Just a half a mile from those homes is Louis Farrakhan.”(Hannity’s America, October 5, 2008, “Obama and His Friends: History of Radicalism”)
TRUTH: It’s true, of course, that Obama lives in this same neighborhood, as do tens of thousands of other people who presumably are also guilty by geographical association. The logic of this argument would be, if you live half a mile from a sex offender, then you agree with child molesters.

LIE: “Bill Ayers is an unrepentant terrorist.”
TRUTH: Bill Ayers is not, and apparently never was, a terrorist. The conventional definition of a terrorist is someone who tries to kill innocent people for political purposes. As noted, In fact, nobody died as a result of bombings in which Ayers said he participated as part of the Weather Underground. (

LIE: “Obama is hanging around with Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright. By the way, Bill Ayers advertised himself as being a communist with a small c just when he was beginning to
partner with Obama on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. (Stanley Kurtz, Hudson Institute, Washington DC, October 1, 2008)
TRUTH: Contrary to this McCarthyist attack, there’s no evidence that Obama ever knew that Ayers supposedly called himself a communist, nor is that a good reason for Obama to end his work on school reform and charitable activities.

When Wilson says McCarthyist attack, he hits the nail on the head. The McCain/Palin campaign, is full of this accusation with no fact fluff. If this was just another election, people might fall for it, but the real issues are much more important than apparent associations with people who are viewed as unconventional. This may round off things a bit for McCain but is by no means going to change his fortunes.


Filed under McCain, Obama

3 responses to “McCain’s “Swift Boat” won’t float

  1. Tony Robinson

    Nice, Kiley. “A moose with giant fangs?” Yeah, I saw that tag. Love the title too.

    Ayers was “testing” Obama???! What kind of bizarre world do these people live in? I watched part’s of Hannity’s “History of Radicalism” and am genuinely a bit surprised that the campaign hacks are once again trotting out the 1960s as the central organizing theme of the debate. They’re hoping to one more time win an election against the McGovern hippies of yore. It’s just like Obama said in his book, the Audacity of Hope, it’s like watching the ancient grudges and psychodrama of the 1960s played out time and again in our elections. What is it about that era that we just can’t seem to get over?

    I actually think that this year, finally, we may be able to say goodbye to all that. Unless Obama shows up to the debate with a big fattie rolled up behind his ear, like someone else we both know who wandered around with us on our European adventures.

  2. Matthew Wolf

    Kiley, I want you to know that I have a big fattie rolled up behind my ear while I write this…j.k.!

    I’ll tell you (and Tony) what it is about that era that I can’t seem to get over; the music (now playing Frank Zappa’s “Trouble Every Day”). Notwithstanding the fact that it reflects the confusion and unbridled radicalism of the day, the music also contained so much of the creativity and mixing of genres that blossomed in these times, and generally requires personal interpretation.

    It was a time when it was difficult to be political and not try on forms of radical thought. Such is the nature of rebellion and reform, and while most impractical ideas are surely cast aside, one might hope that our society eclectically retained the positive new directions. I believe that environmentalism is an example of this; having endured the interim it looks to be gaining general support, if only because the signs have become more obvious that we need to tread more lightly upon this earth.

    As a nine year old in 1968, when many of our college campuses were burning and neighbors, and brothers of friends were coming home in body bags, I was particularly struck with the idea that violence as the path to a peaceful world made no sense. Martin Luther King jr., the embodiment of this sentiment, was struck down in that year. Yet I have lived to watch the “religious right” back regimes that insist on projecting US military power around the globe, now sanctioning preemptive war.

    Many of us are still sorting out what went on in those days, and yes, some don’t remember it at all. But Bill Ayers seems to be one who quickly figured out the error of certain ways and has paid his dues for many years. In contrast, those who make so much of his former (and short-lived) self seem to be the ones who “don’t get it” at all. And it seems that all but the most narrow of GOP ideologues admit that this is an embarrassing grasping at straws by a campaign following the stock market down like a falling knife.

  3. Stephen Noriega

    I was 5 or 6 years old when a local crime boss came over to our house, had dinner and watched the Broncos play the Los Angeles Rams. I do not remember the score of that game and I only know that this member of the Smaldone family was involved in criminal activity because I was later told so. We knew this person because my grandfather did jail time in the prohibition days with Checkers Smaldone. I guess that makes me a mobster. I later ran into some of the Smaldones in the neighborhood where my grandfather lived and passed away. We talked about my grandfather and some of the good old days. I guess that makes me a mobster.

    If we are judged by everyone we shake hands with, then none of us are qualified for public service. McCain shook hands with some questionable folk in South Carolina back in 2000. Our past is full of people that we do not support ideologically but might have had coffee with.

    Not to split hairs, but three members of the Weathermen were killed while constructing a bomb. The bomb was meant to kill people as well as property. This happened when Barack Obama was 9 and not in Illinois.

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