That Bratton should endorse a Democrat for political office is in itself no cause for indignation. That he should endorse this particular Democrat most certainly is. In making his endorsement, Bratton has lent the prestige of his office and his personal imprimatur to a candidate who, his lack of qualifications for the office aside, has shown himself to be, at the very least, at ease in the company of some truly contemptible people.
John McCain considers it impolite to discuss Mr. Obama’s twenty-year relationship with Jeremiah Wright, but the rest of us need not feel so constrained. Mr. Obama and his devoted acolytes ask us to believe the fanciful claim that he was unaware of the more inflammatory sermons Wright delivered during his long service as pastor of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ, even as Wright presided over Obama’s marriage to his wife Michelle and baptized their two daughters, even as Obama himself described Wright as a spiritual mentor and role model. One might ask Chief Bratton his opinion of Jeremiah Wright, and how he might have reacted had he been present at one of Wright’s hateful diatribes.
One might also ask Bratton his opinion of Rashid Khalidi, in whose home Obama often dined when Khalidi lived in Chicago. As Mona Charen wrote in June, Khalidi, now a professor at Columbia, was once director of the official press agency for the Palestine Liberation Organization, and to this day defends Palestinian violence against Israel. Would William Bratton feel as comfortable sitting down to break bread in Khalidi’s home as was Barack Obama?
But as a police officer I am most disappointed in Chief Bratton’s willingness to overlook Mr. Obama’s long association with William Ayers and his wife, Bernadine Dohrn, both of whom are unrepentant former members of the radical and, yes, treasonous, Weather Underground. Writer Stanley Kurtz has done the nation a service by documenting (here, here, here, here, and here) the ties between Obama and Ayers, putting the lie to Obama’s risible claim that Ayers was no more than “a guy who lived in my neighborhood.” Is Bratton proud to cast his lot with such a man?
On October 20, 1981, when Bratton was still a young cop in Boston, former members of the by then defunct Weather Underground, along with members of the equally radical and treasonous Black Liberation Army, staged an armored car robbery in Nanuet, New York, in which a Brinks guard and two police officers were shot to death. Neither Ayers nor Dohrn were involved in the robbery, but neither have they disavowed the savagery carried out by their former associates in the group they themselves organized and led. Indeed, Dohrn spoke approvingly of even the most grotesque “anti-establishment” violence. Following the 1969 Tate-LaBianca murders in Los Angeles, crimes for which Charles Manson and several of his followers were convicted, Dohrn is reported to have said, “Dig it! First they killed those pigs and then they put a fork in their bellies. Wild!”
Ayers himself escaped punishment for any crimes he may have committed during his days with the Weather Underground. Charges of conspiracy and planting bombs were dismissed when it was revealed that illegal wiretaps were used in the investigation. “Guilty as hell, free as a bird,” he said later. “America is a great country.” Would Bratton be welcomed into the Ayers-Dohrn home as Barack Obama was? And what would Los Angeles’s police chief say to them if he were?
I do not suggest Barack Obama shares the views held by his acquaintances mentioned above, but rather that he was not sufficiently repulsed by them to have excluded such questionable people from his circle. Does William Bratton, chief of police of America’s second-largest city, share this lack of revulsion?
Bratton was once a supporter of Hillary Clinton, but he has shown an uncanny ability to pivot and hitch himself to the only Democratic train still on the tracks. If Barack Obama is victorious in November, will he reward Bratton with the federal law enforcement post he has long been rumored to seek? This is not an outcome to be wished for, but at least it would get him out of Los Angeles. The men and women of the LAPD would not miss him.