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Friday, October 17, 2008

Bill Ayers, Meet G. Gordon Liddy

Hat tip to, of all people, David Letterman....

Voting issue: a fact, policy, or moral position (or a set of several such things) that distinguishes one candidate or position from another and thus can justify, singly or in concert with other issues, voting for one candidate or position over the other.

A number of my commenters have been treating Senator Barack Obama's association with William Ayers as a voting issue, a reason to vote against Obama and for Senator John McCain. Last night, that voting issue was negated by David Letterman, who reminded America of Senator McCain's own relationship with convicted felon G. Gordon Liddy:

"Did you not have a relationship with Gordon Liddy?" Letterman asked about Watergate burglar G. Gordon Liddy.

McCain said he knew him. Then, after a commercial break, McCain said, "I know Gordon Liddy. He paid his debt, he went to prison ... I'm not in any way embarrassed to know Gordon Liddy."

"You understand the same case could be made of your relationship with him as is being made with William Ayers?" Letterman said.

McCain said he has been completely open about his relationship with Liddy [David Bauder, "McCain Tries to Make Peace with Letterman," AP via Yahoo News, 2008.10.16].

McCain's association with Liddy isn't news. The Chicago Tribune covered it back in May, when the Clinton campaign was roadtesting the McCain campaign's tactics. Let's compare:

  • Bill Ayers participated in bombing a statue, the New York Police headquarters, the U.S. Capitol, and the Pentagon. G. Gordon Liddy participated in a White house plot to subvert the Constitution.
  • Ayers has never been convicted or served prison time. Liddy was convicted of conspiracy, burglary, and illegal wire-tapping, was senteced to 20 years, and served 5.5 until President Carter commuted his sentence.
  • Ayers is now a professor of education. Liddy is a conservative talk radio host.
  • Ayers has said "we didn't do enough" to stop the Vietnam War, a statement interpreted by some to mean he thinks he should have set off more bombs in the early 1970s. In 1994, after the feds stormed the branch Davidian compound in Waco, Liddy said on his radio program, [sorry, rough language coming] "Now if the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms comes to disarm you and they are bearing arms, resist them with arms. Go for a head shot; they're going to be wearing bulletproof vests. ... Kill the sons of bitches." (And as for Liddy on Hitler....)
  • Ayers and his wife hosted a campaign event at his house for Obama in 1995. Liddy hosted a campaign event for McCain in 1998.
  • Ayers donated $200 to Obama in 2001. Liddy has given at least $5,000 to McCain over the years, including $1,000 this year.
  • Senator Obama has called Ayers' terrorist acts "despicable" and condemned them. Senator McCain appeared on Liddy's radio show last November and said, "I'm proud of you, I'm proud of your family.... It's always a pleasure for me to come on your program, Gordon, and congratulations on your continued success and adherence to the principles and philosophies that keep our nation great."
I'm not going to bother with quantifying the sins of Ayers and Liddy. And please note, I offer no defense of Ayers here. Go ahead, assume the worst of both men, and you can say, as does Chapman, that each man "back in the 1970s, extolled violence and committed crimes in the name of a radical ideology -- and... has never shown remorse or admitted error."

It's simple: if you think Ayers is a voting issue, then you must think Liddy is a voting issue. Have fun voting for Barr or Nader.


  1. Hmmm... Obama's buddies with a terrorist and McCain's pals with a criminal.

    Just another reason you should be voting Libertarian.

  2. What an ironic comparison. On the one hand you have a person who served his country and worked in what he thought was for the best interests of this country--rightly or wrongly. On the other hand, you have a person who has never done anything, but try to tear this country down.
    But, as you say, this is no reason change one's vote. There are enough other things to not vote for the One.

  3. Dont forget Liddy is married to a near prostitue aka former playboy playmate.

  4. If I'm not mistaken, Cory, in your last line you seem to be a bit dismissive of those who would vote for a third party and not for the "Status Quo" of the Demicans or Republucrats...

    I thought all votes were important, or do only the ones for "major" parties really count?

  5. No offense intended, jackrabit1. I've voted third-party myself in the past, and I agree that every vote is important. My comment was aimed at those who think Ayers is a voting issue. They tend to be McCain partisans. I suspect they'll feel... disappointed if logical consistency forces them to abandon McCain and vote for Barr or Nader.

  6. you should be more specific anon 9:43, either argument could go for both men.

    Thanks for sticking you neck out there though.

  7. Association or marriage? Which is more conducive to a person's relationships?

    Sarah Palin is married to Todd Palin, a long time, recent member of the Alaska Independent Party, whose founder more than hated America and wanted to secede from the United States.

  8. Hi Cory,

    To equivocate Ayres and Liddy as unrepentent radicals is to equivocate O.J. Simpson and Jackson Browne as guys who were kinda mean to their blonde girlfriends. But okay Cory, I'll play:

    G. Gordon Liddy is an unrepentent radical, who burglarized and wiretapped the Watergate Hotel...
    to try and find the names of hookers that Democratic congressmen were having sex with.

    Bill Ayres is an unrepentent radical, who set bombs at the Pentagon, who set bombs at the Capitol Building, and who set bombs at the NYC Police Headquarters... to try and blow them up!

  9. This whole comparison is ridiculous. But what can you expect from Letterman? I personally don't understand why McCain thought he had to go on Letterman anyway - he certainly doesn't owe Letterman anything. And very few people cared whether Letterman was upset about being dumped for the country's business before. Country is just a tad more important than Letterman.

  10. References to "Joe, the Plumber" make me think of the Watergate buggers. The "Plumbers," I believe, were trying to stop leaks of information from the Nixon White House, but they seemed to be operating a little like The Three Stooges. I read that someone said he was "Deep Throat," but I forgot who that was.

  11. Mark Felt! No apparent relation to Joe Wurzelbacher, but our reserach department is looking into that. ;-)


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