It's the weekend, I'm indulging in my C-SPAN addiction, and a theme is definitely emerging: the Republican slime machine is shifting into high gear. The Republican talking head, a person who ostensibly is on the show to talk about polling and poll results and politics in a general way, manages to turn every answer into "Bill Ayers." "Bill Ayers." "Radical leftist. Bill Ayers."
Part of me thinks this is hilarious -- the worst thing they can find to say about Obama is that he's acquainted with a guy who helped create the Weather Underground back when Obama was 9 years old -- but another part recognizes just how incredibly stupid the the average American can be. I look at Ayers and see someone who sold out big time when it comes to being a radical -- he's a college professor living a comfortable middle class lifestyle now, after all, who as far as I can tell has avoided being on the front lines of activism for the past 30 years. Unlike a number of his contemporaries who remained radicals until the day they died, Ayers seems to have figured out early on that given a choice between risking prison again and blending into the woodwork, blending looked good. For sure he's never been spotted risking re-arrest by pouring blood on missile silos or picketing the front gate at Fort Benning during the annual protests against the School of the Americas. Ayers should be a complete nonissue.
The McCain slime machine is doing its best to change that, though. To hear some of the comments going around you'd think Ayers was holding pipe-bomb building classes in kindergarten classrooms even as I type this.
At least, and I will concede this to the Republicans, the Ayers slur has a marginal basis in fact: Ayers was a radical long, long ago; Ayers has been rather stupid in his comments about the good old days; and he and Obama do know each other. Some of the other weirdness that's been popping up on C-SPAN this weekend, though, has me thinking it's definitely time to pass out the tin foil hats to the wackaloons on the far right.
Example: Michelle Obama isn't an American. She was born in Iran. That's definitely going to be news to all her relatives in South Carolina. Where does this stuff come from? Just what sort of drugs is Rush Limbaugh still on? Because any time I hear something truly screwy I figure the source has to be Rush -- he's got that long, long history of making crap up (remember Hillary murdered Vince Foster?) and then claiming later it was intended as parody or satire. That Michelle Obama isn't an American has to be one of his latest efforts because several different people called in to recite the same claim in almost identical language -- and once again I was wishing the moderator would break out of the very careful objective pose and react with a nice blunt "Are you fucking nuts?!" I do admire the ability of the C-SPAN moderators to refrain from telling people they're delusional, but there are days. . .