Mandell’s Endorsement of Palin & The Ayers Outrage

It’s Sunday and this post will probably have to be up for a couple of days, since my course load will double this month. I just won’t be around as much in October. I’m lesson-planning today, so I’ll add to this post as I come across related stuff.

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Picture of the 15,000 in attendance at the Palin rally in Carson.

Picture of the 15,000 in attendance at the Palin rally in Carson.

Alright, first up, the Shelly Mandell endorsement of Palin. Mandell is the President of the Los Angeles Chapter of NOW, and she had this to say about Palin before introducing her to a crowd of 15,000 yesterday:

This is what a feminist looks like.

Mandell’s endorsement is a personal endorsement, and not the endorsement of the NOW chapter she heads. She supported Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primary. The coverage of this story is pretty interesting. I found it on Partizane, who linked to the original Greta van Susteren post. That article never mentioned Mandell’s name, but quoted an e-mail from a producer who was in attendance at the rally. I wanted to use her name because she’s not just some anonymous power unit yelling out the good cheer for our side. She is a thinking person, and a woman of accomplishment.

It took some digging to find the info. Google any combination on “LA Chapter” “NOW” and “Palin,” and you’ll get nearly 10 pages of hits on recitations of van Susteren’s post. Interestingly, you get a big fat nothing searching Google news with the same terms. Conversely, check out the Google web hits and Google news hits on Palin Ayers.

But I did find some interesting stuff, and more than was in the vS post. Weirdly enough, I found this article about it on, from a “reformed [Christian] chick.” I thought it was funny how obvious to her what a boondoggle the abortion issue is for feminism. Funny-strange, not funny-ha-ha. Maybe there’s hope for a fourth wave yet. Anyway, that link lead me to this lengthy article from the Press-Telegram, a local Long Beach paper.

Turns out, this is the same speech wherein Palin made the getting-famous statement about Ayers, and that’s what’s getting all the airplay. That’s the vacuum that keeps this development from getting widely reported. The Press-Telegram reports:

Palin highlighted a report in the New York Times about Bill Ayers, a co-founder of the Weathermen who was involved in a series of bombings in the 1970s and is now an education professor in Chicago. Obama met Ayers through Chicago political circles, and has had to distance himself from the former radical throughout his presidential campaign.

Palin, the governor of Alaska, argued that the association shows that Obama sees America differently than most Americans see it.

“We see America as a force for good in the world,” Palin said. “We see an America of exceptionalism. Our opponent is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country.”

I happen to agree with Palin about Ayers, except on the framing. I don’t necessarily subscribe to the idea of American exceptionalism. But it really sticks in my craw that Ayers was able to engage in terrorism on his country and got off scot-free, and is now a respected professor and major education theorist and rhetorician. If the circumstances of his birth had been different, the circumstances of his treatment would have been different. It was his wealth and privileged, the very things he was alleging to fight against with his premeditated violence, that protected him and allowed him the freedom and economic privilege he enjoys to this day. He is vilified because he deserves to be vilified. The power he has wielded and the actions he has taken have hurt immeasurable numbers of people, and he still does not regret any of it. And I do think the association speaks volumes about Obama’s judgment. Redemption in the absence of penitence? Is that wise? One doesn’t need a political frame for these questions to be obvious.

I also think it’s useful for any voter to look at the map of relationships underlying both the candidates. One of the most telling aspects of Bush’s 2000 campaign was the sheer number of former Nixonian-connected players. This was obvious to anyone paying attention, and who understood the value of relationship mapping. It was a major red flag for me. And this Ayers connection is troubling, not only for the man Ayers was, but who he has become. He’s no different. He’s just using rhetorical bombs against children now. He’s gotten really good at seamless integration, resurrecting himself and enhancing his power by pursuing the same wrong-headed goals, with a similar utter lack of self-awareness, as he did when he was organizing bombings, this time under the guise of legitimacy. But I really think he’s a rhetorical predator running amok amidst a national flock of lambs, all feeding at the poisoned trough of his verbiage.

I oppose all attempts at indoctrination, from any source. I don’t begrudge anyone who inadvertently inserts their own world view as fact in a classroom setting, but I object mightily to groups forming in order to create a curriculum that, while deliberately refraining from explicitly informing parents, attempts to instill a particular political world view. This is coming very close to another idea I had for an essay discussing how it is hypocritical for Democrats to be doing things like this, and like seeking a filibuster-proof majority (from Hillary herself, no less!) in the Senate because they were opposed to conservative attempts at homogeneity and indoctrination. It was anathema to Democratic principles, and amounted to the direct opposite of what the founders intended, which is shared power amidst a diverse group. One-party rule is fascism. Why don’t supposed progressives voters speak to the outrage happening within the Democratic Party, just as they did with the Republican Party? Why is it suddenly okay when Democrats do it?

More later.

UPDATE: Youtube of Mandell’s remarks:

Palin’s much discussed Albright quote:


6 comments on “Mandell’s Endorsement of Palin & The Ayers Outrage

  1. canow says:

    California NOW has issued a statement reaffirming support for the Obama/Biden campaign and repudiating Shelly Mandell’s support of Palin:

  2. Anna Belle says:

    Wow, thanks for the link to that canow. We can expect the witch hunt for her title to ensue early Monday morning. She’ll be purged like so many others. The lone commenter over there states that’s exactly what she wants. Mandell must be punished by being ostracized for her sins. Shades of Anne Hutchinson.

    Oh, the pushback is fierce and completely uncreative and unsurprising. By criticizing Obama’s associations with a white upper middle class former terrorist, she is casting him as an “other” and causing the charge to be “tinged with racism.” I kid you not. (Huffpost link, ftr)

    I say we start a massive pushback on the racism charge. I say we force it into the public conversation. I want to see this being discussed on Good Morning America.

  3. YAB says:

    It’s hard to figure out how to write this without sounding like I support terrorism, but I remember the 60s. I remember Vietnam and Civil Rights. I remember “good people” pelting young children with epithets & worse as they tried to integrate schools in Little Rock and Boston. I remember the summer riots. I remember the murders of King and JFK and RFK. And the endless, endless bloodshed in Vietnam, followed by the bloodbath in Cambodia. The Pentagon Papers. Watergate. Daniel Ellsberg. The Chicago 7. I lived a block away from where Hearst was kidnapped. I remember the colleges where students were killed by the National guard.

    I was never sympathetic to killing people, directly or by blowing up buildings with people in them. But I was ambivalent about the destruction of property because I understood the utter frustration, the sense that the hope brought by King and Kennedy was being trampled on, that the America I had been taught to revere had turned into a killing machine abroad and at home.

    So I can’t find it in me to condemn those who went too far. That’s why a part of me understands suicide bombers, understands how the combination of anger and a sense of helplessness, of feeling that nobody is listening and nobody cares can turn somebody into a killer.

    I know nothing of Ayres’ life since so I’m not defending him per se. But I think Obama’s associations with Rezko and Ayres and his pastor are all fair game in an election where, as usual, life stories are more important than policies.

    I know that there are people who lived through those same times and feel just the opposite, that none of the marches or draft-card burnings, etc. were justified.

    But for many of us, the violence of those years is inextricably entwined with our desire to create a different America. Looking back, we can see where we went too far, when we, like Jane Fonda, temporarily lost the ability to distinguish outrage at what our government was doing from, as they say, “giving aid and comfort to the enemy” – but it’s a lot easier to be analytical and ethical at a distance of 40 years than it was when we were facing armed policeman during a peace rally.

  4. […] It’s Sunday and this post will probably have to be up for a couple of days, since my course load will double this month. I just won’t be around as much in October. I’m lesson-planning today, so I’ll add to this post as I come across …[Continue Reading] […]

  5. Chevalier says:

    Agree, YAB, but as you say it’s 40 years far away now, and at least now Ayers should have enough brains and heart to say ‘sorry, I didn’t know what I was doing’.

    And Obama’s fault here is no the bomb that was dropped ‘when he was 8 years old’, but the coverup he’s engaging in at 48. Too Nixonian of his campaign for my comfort.


  6. Susan Nunes says:

    People need to quit focusing on Ayers and focus on Obama’s Chicago School connections. Those will have a disastrous effect on the Democratic Party if they are not purged.

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