The mainstream media began a frenzied investigation of Joe the Plumber this week. His "high crime" wasn't anything he said. Instead Joe the Plumber has earned the ire of the MSM because of what Barack Obama said to him, namely that he wanted to "share the wealth." As a result of inadvertently revealing his collectivist yearnings to Joe the Plumber, the latter gentleman is having every last detail of his background investigated including his modest tax lien and the fact that (gasp!) his first name isn't really Joe. That last charge is actually quite laughable since there are probably millions of people in this country who don't use their first name (including your humble correspondent). Perhaps we should take a trip back in time and impeach President Thomas Woodrow Wilson for ditching his first name.
While the media have been falling over each other doing intensive investigations of Joe the Plumber, they have been mostly ignoring Barack Obama's good friend in whose living room his political career was launched in Chicago: Bill Ayers aka Bill the Bomber. There are two main reasons why the MSM chooses to ignore Bill the Bomber. One is that they don't want to do anything that might harm Obama's presidential campaign. The other reason is that many in the MSM share Bill the Bomber's values and therefore sympathize with him. The usual excuse for Bill the Bomber by the media is that maybe he was radical in the past but today he is a respected member of society. You can see a lot of this attitude in an Associated Press article about Bill the Bomber published today (emphasis mine):
CHICAGO – These days, Bill Ayers doesn't want to talk about the Weathermen, the Vietnam-era radical group he helped found that carried out bombings at the Pentagon and the Capitol.
That doesn't mean the man who has become a political headache for Barack Obama is hiding his past. In fact, all you need to do is stand outside Ayers' office at the University of Illinois in Chicago to be confronted with it.
Ayers' connection to the Weather Underground is plastered on his door. A postcard for a documentary on the group shows an old mugshot of Ayers. Nearby is cover art from Ayers' 2001 memoir, "Fugitive Days."
Hmm... It doesn't exactly sound like Bill the Bomber has been "rehabilitated" as Obama recently asserted. Despite the lack of the slightest hint of repentance on the part of Bill the Bomber, many in the academic community (and the media) continue to profess admiration of him:
"He gives of himself greatly to his students. He gives of his time, his energies, his commitment," said Pamela Quiroz, an associate professor who works in the college of education with Ayers. "He is just a superb individual."
Quiroz is among more than 3,200 people, mostly academics, who have signed an online petition protesting the "demonization" of Ayers during the campaign for the White House.
Poor widdle Bill the Bomber who has been "demonized" by the big bad conservatives. How insensitive of them to cast aspersions upon a sensitive soul who set off bombs at the Capitol Building, the Pentagon, and the New York Police headquarters.
Ayers' beige stone rowhouse on Chicago's South Side is just a few blocks from Obama's home. He lives there with his wife, former fellow radical Bernardine Dohrn. Now a law professor at Northwestern University, Dohrn was a fugitive for years with her husband until they surrendered in 1980 and charges against him were dropped because of government misconduct, which included FBI break-ins, wiretaps and opening of mail.
Although Ayers has refashioned his life from street-level revolutionary to intellectual, he has not entirely renounced his past.
That sure is an understatement as the next paragraph in the story reveals:
When "Fugitive Days" was published, a photo accompanying a Chicago Magazine article showed him stepping on an American flag. He also told The New York Times, in an interview that appeared coincidentally on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001: "I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough."
So where is that online petition protesting the "demonization" of Bill the Bomber so we can laugh at it? Oh, Bill the Bomber did sound one slight note of regret:
...a Greenwich Village townhouse that the group was using to build a bomb blew up, killing three members, including Ayers' girlfriend. The bomb, Ayers wrote in his memoir, was packed with screws and nails.
Had it been detonated, he admitted, it would have done "some serious work beyond the blast, tearing through windows and walls and, yes, people, too." It belied the group's claims that its targets were buildings, not people. "We did go off track ... and that was wrong," Ayers told the AP when his book came out.
Bill the Bomber's only regret is that the bomb blew up his terrorist pals, not the innocent victims it was meant for. Bill the Bomber then laughably denied he was a terrorist despite his terrorist activities:
"I'm not a terrorist," he said at the time. "We tried to sound a piercing alarm that was unruly, difficult and, sometimes, probably wrong. ... I describe what led some people in despair and anger to take some very extreme measures."
"Extreme measures" like planting bombs and then slinking away like a coward waiting for the blasts. Bill the Bomber should now be serving a life term in prison like some of his Weather Underground comrades. Instead he is living the life of luxury he inherited and has earned the praises of high level Democrats:
Still, in Chicago, he is known more for his work in education, which has earned praise from Mayor Richard Daley, whose own father, the iron-fisted mayor of this city during the Vietnam era, famously sent police to do battle with anti-war demonstrators during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. This spring, when Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign first raised Ayers' relationship with Obama, the younger Daley issued a statement defending him.
"I also know Bill Ayers," Daley said. "He worked with me in shaping our now nationally renowned school reform program. He is a nationally recognized distinguished professor of education at the University of Illinois-Chicago and a valued member of the Chicago community."
Despite the many accolades for Bill the Bomber, some see him quite clearly for what he is, an unrepentant punk:
In an opinion piece this week in The Wall Street Journal, Sol Stern, a senior fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute who is writing a book on Ayers and social justice teaching, challenged the notion that Ayers is a reformed revolutionary. Stern said he has read most of Ayers' work and concluded: "His hatred of America is as virulent as when he planted a bomb at the Pentagon."
Scott Snyder, a UIC junior in chemical engineering who describes himself as a conservative, said he is uncomfortable with Ayers working at a public university.
"The majority of taxpayers probably would not appreciate their money being spent to somebody with a history of disrespecting numerous public institutions within the United States," Snyder said. "He spent his life sticking it to the man, where now he is employed by the man."
Those who continue to defend Bill the Bomber don't seem to want to be reminded of his "inconvenient" past:
UIC education professor Bill Schubert, who has known Ayers since he sat on the university committee that hired him in 1987, said the Ayers he knows is a Chicago Cubs fan and a good cook who invites colleagues, students and others over to his home for dinner.
But mostly Ayers is a good teacher, said Schubert, who recently wrote a letter about Ayers that he initially circulated among friends when questions about him began to mount. The piece, titled "The Bill Ayers I Know," has since made its way to the Web and extols Ayers' scholarly work and his commitment to teaching.
"I feel like I'm telling factual information about him," Schubert said, "and I am saying that he's a good colleague and friend."
Still, Ayers' past is a delicate matter. Schubert wanted to discuss only Ayers the educator, not Ayers the radical. Asked how he reconciled the two, Schubert paused for a long moment, then said: "That's a question that's too complicated to answer, I think, because it's dependent on different conceptions of what he did.
It wouldn't surprise me a bit if Schubert is one of those liberals who approves of the media's investigation of Joe the Plumber who has led a constructive life while giving a pass to his pal, Bill the Bomber, who has led a destructive life.