Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
June 1, 2008
POLITICS: Michael Kinsley Does Not Get It

Michael Kinsley thinks that Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn are not really such a big deal except to the extent they inadvertently helped Republicans:

Ayers and Dohrn never posed any real threat to U.S. national security. Their asinine chatter about killing people and their anti-American sloganeering were as ineffective as their bombs. But they did real harm. Their victims were liberals: the millions of people who were part of the mainstream antiwar movement and who later voted against Ronald Reagan...perhaps you can imagine how infuriating it was to the organizers of the big marches on Washington--struggling to keep them peaceful--that there were people of the left effectively in cahoots with the Nixon Administration, determined to undermine all those efforts.

Um, no. Kinsley admits right up front in the article the violent radicalism of the Weather Underground and related organizations and their (and, specifically, Dohrn's) implication in, among other atrocities, the 1981 Brink's armored car robbery at the Nanuet Mall in my hometown, a robbery that killed Nyack Police Officer Waverly Brown, Nyack Police Sergeant Ed O'Grady and Brink's security guard Pete Paige, who collectively left behind three widows and six fatherless children, the youngest six months of age. I can promise you that I would not associate willingly with the likes of Ayers and Dohrn if they were on fire and I was carrying a bucket of water. Nor would most of the people who remember the Brink's case. Kinsley and Obama, perhaps, were still too angry about Nixon and Reagan to care.

windshield.jpgThe problem with folks like Ayers and Dohrn was not that they made the political lives of liberals difficult. Their real victims were the people killed by their organization. I vividly remember the Brink's robbery; it was the biggest news story ever in Rockland County. When I worked at the Rockland DA's office for a summer they took us to see the evidence, including the super-thick windshield glass from the armored Brink's truck that had a huge hole blown in it by their shotguns and M-16s.

So, maybe Ayers and Dohrn were not actually going to bring the United States to its knees. They did quite enough harm, thank you. Tim McVeigh never posed any real threat to U.S. national security, either. Nor did Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, or the Klu Klux Klan. Would Kinsley be unconcerned about a presidential candidate who counted those associations among his friends? Maybe next he'll just explain it away as a necessary part of politics, like pandering to Marxists.

Kinsley instead suggests that at worst Obama is sorely lacking in....judgment:

If Obama's relationship with Ayers, however tangential, exposes Obama as a radical himself, or at least as a man with terrible judgment, he shares that radicalism or terrible judgment with a comically respectable list of Chicagoans and others--including Republicans and conservatives--who have embraced Ayers and Dohrn as good company, good citizens, even experts on children's issues. Northwestern created a "family justice" center for Dohrn to run. Ayers is a "distinguished professor" at the University of Illinois. They write Op-Eds and are often quoted in the Tribune, where, if they are identified at all beyond their academic titles, it is usually as "activists" who have never abandoned their noble ideals.

Barack Obama: judgment no worse than that of Chicago academics and newspapermen. What an endorsement.

I'll leave you with some people who one would have preferred to associate with, but who don't seem to be the types that run in Barack Obama's circles:

Police Officer Waverly Brown, 45, sipped his coffee while sitting in the diner on Broadway in the village of Nyack, New York on the afternoon of October 20, 1981. Nyack was a small community of 6,000 people situated on the banks of the majestic Hudson River. Officer Brown, known to virtually everyone as "Chipper," was a popular figure in the village, especially to young people, who frequently saw him as a counselor and friend. He was on the job for 13 years and, since the retirement of another African American, Officer Brown was the only black cop on the 22-man force. He served in the United States Air Force after the Korean War and later both his daughters also joined the military. When he finished his 20 years with the police, Chipper planned to retire to Virginia where he owned a house and some land. He was a solid six feet tall, had an easy smile and loved to garden and cook. He finished his coffee, tipped the waitress and walked out to his parked police unit.

At the same time, a short distance away in the Nyack Police Department radio room, Sergeant Ed O'Grady, 33, was talking with the police dispatcher. O'Grady was born and raised in Nyack. He knew everyone and everyone knew him. He served with the Marines in the Vietnam War during the 1960s and when he returned home, he joined the police department. O'Grady retained the discipline and conservatism of the Marines; his uniform and appearance were always exemplary. He was enrolled at St. Thomas Aquinas College and was close to receiving his bachelor's degree in criminal justice. Ed O'Grady and his wife, Diane, had three small children, Edward, 6, Patricia, 2, and Kimberly, six months.

A few miles away, on Route 59, a busy highway that runs east and west through Rockland County, an armored car was approaching the sprawling Nanuet Mall. Inside the truck, Brink's security guard Pete Paige, 49, was looking forward to the last pickup of the day. He was a hard-working, quiet sort of man and a veteran of the United States Navy. Pete was the guard that day. It was his role on that shift to guard the carrier of the money. Pete and his wife, Josephine, had three children, Susan, 19, Michael, 16, and Peter, age 9. He worked as an armed guard for the Brink's Corporation since 1956 and had never been involved in a robbery.

This would be his first, and his last.

More here on some of the further associations of Ayers and Dohrn with the Brink's case.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:29 PM | Politics 2008 | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Uh, except both of these people didn't participate in the robbery. And I do love the wonderfully libelous "I only _suspect_ her of being involved with murder." Well then, as long as someone is only casually acquainted with the case, they certainly have a better opinion than a legion of DAs and law enforcement, with stacks of forensic materials.
It's not like they turned themselves in more than 9 months before the robbery - oh wait! - making it highly stupid to help out. Or that the organization had pretty much dissolved by that point, and former members had taken up new banners. Oh wait!

The BLA is much more directly responsible for the Brinks robbery, as it fits with their tactics, and their level of active violence. Though I realize that it is much harder to make the leap from them to Obama, who you must demonize in order to make his victory less likely. Keep trying, you'll get there!

Perhaps you mean those who ran in circles of circles. You know who ran in circles of circles with the current president? Go on. Guess.

Doesn't mean they're not scummy people though, and they deserve more scorn than they get. Just that sometimes, scummy people grow up.

Posted by: Dave at June 2, 2008 12:28 AM

Actually Crank, you might not want to bring the KKK into the mix when you say they didn't threaten national security. They were (and I guess still are) a national organization bent on terror and murder; lynching and killing anyone who got in their way, including law enforcement officers and judges. Yeah, I actually consider that a national threat. Unless you count trying to shred Constitutional guarantees by fear a threat. Uh, does that make W and Cheney threats?

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at June 2, 2008 10:43 AM

Perspective, please. The Weather Underground and BLA were certainly violent, and they killed people. I don't condone killing at all, what what these people did was nothing compared to the criminals in government who orchestrated the Vietnam War. Those of us who truly care about all deaths, not just the deaths of Americans, recognize that highlighting Dorhn and Ayers without passing equal judgment against the criminals they were protesting is classic partisianship. There's an old saying, but it's true: Killing one person is murder. Killing 10,000 people is foreign policy.

Posted by: steve at June 2, 2008 11:01 AM

And killing 10,000,000 people is establishing justice according to their heroes.

Posted by: Attila (Pillage Idiot) at June 2, 2008 1:37 PM

Other people with whom I would not want to associate -- HINT: they are war criminals.


Posted by: Magrooder at June 3, 2008 11:22 PM
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