The Real Issue Surrounding the Daily Caller Dinner with Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn: Your Tax Dollars Helped the Illinois Council on the Humanities Sponsor It!
The Caller guests did confront them on one point, asking Ayers and Dohrn “how [Ayers] could speak so approvingly of the current president when he, Ayers, had personally launched a terrorist bombing campaign to protest Richard Nixon’s foreign interventions.” They had previously noted that Ayers’ support to Obama occurs even though our president has ordered increased drone attacks, increased troops to Afghanistan, and overthrown the Libyan dictator as well as authorized the extrajudicial killing of American citizens abroad. Ayers responded that “Nixon probably was a nice guy.”
If that comment means anything, it is that Ayers is saying that people who appear to be nice — something very few have actually said about Richard Nixon — can do evil things. Hitler, after all, loved dogs and other animals, and was an opponent of smoking because it caused cancer. Anyone would be silly to believe Ayers really thinks of the late Nixon as a nice person. Nor can the fact that Nixon implemented policies more liberal than conservative be something Ayers really supports, since in all of his writings, he has favored the overthrow of the liberal welfare state as a mask for the imperialist repressive reality that is the U.S. government.
So, if you ask me, Tucker Carlson wasted more than two grand for a nice dinner, plus hotel and airfare for his entourage. But he does deserve kudos for bringing to our attention that a state council affiliate of the NEH, one funded by taxpayer dollars sent to them by the national NEH, has proudly used Bill Ayers in many of its programs, and believed that posting a dinner by both Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, the latter who served a year in jail for her activities. As recently as two years ago, Dohrn proclaimed on Indian television that “The real terrorist is the American government,[which is guilty of] state terrorism unleashed against the world.” She also referred in that same interview to a new “armed, hard Right” that she says “is in control of the media.”
Dohrn goes to stress that “we never apologized,” that “we are radicals today,” and she thinks it crazy that people like her and Ayers, both “grandparents, can be [thought of as] the enemy.” About her own past, Dohrn reflectively asks, “Why would we renounce it?” After all, Dohrn tells her interviewer, the “bigger things of what we stood up for” were all correct. Dohrn tells her Indian television audience that since they are “living in the heart of the empire,” they support the “countries of the Third World [who are] trying to free themselves from imperialism.” She also believes they had “a very good grasp” in the 60s of how much racism, slavery and white oppression was the heart of the American character.
Laughing, Dohrn says “we were wrong about a lot of things, including the immediate possibility of revolution in the United States,” but as she puts it, “we wanted to be on that side and wanted to open up a front, as we thought of it, inside the heartland, inside the belly of the beast, and show that we would not be caught by surprise, that we could still have a public voice, and we thought we’d do it.” She is, clearly, more than proud of her stance for revolution, and obviously feels sadness that it is not imminent, as she once thought it was.
No one watching her recent video interview can come away with any response other than that the couple still believes in their revolutionary mission as defined in the late 60s and 70s, that they have not changed, and that unless they are in hostile company — as they clearly defined the party for Tucker Carlson and guests — they are more than willing to lay out what they believe and stand for.
All of what they think and now believe can be found from friendly interviewers. As to the details of what the relationship of the Obamas and Ayers and Dohrn really was, that has to be pieced together by investigative journalists like Stanley Kurtz and others, who do the legwork and find out information from files others have ignored. One has to be naïve, as perhaps Carlson was, to think that he would get any answers at a dinner party. For that matter, skilled professional radicals like Ayers and Dohrn would never willingly provide information that could be used to hurt their cause to those they consider the class enemy. To think otherwise, and to participate in an endeavor on their terms, sadly made the Daily Caller party almost into Ayers and Dohrn’s “useful idiots.”
Well, at least they evidently had a very good meal. Was it worth $2,500? I don’t think so, but it’s your call. I hope, at least, that the Caller can get a tax deduction on the cost. It was money spent in pursuit of a story, albeit one without real legs.
Addendum: East Coast Time 7:30 p.m.
Late this afternoon, I spoke with Alton Harris, Chairman of the Board of the Illinois Humanities Council. He told me, when I asked him what the Board’s response was to the NEH conveying that they thought the Ayers-Dohrn dinner should be canceled, that the Illinois Board regarded matters discussed at their meetings as confidential. He added that it was always regretful when people feel they have to resign, but stressed that 26 Board members stayed on.
I then queried Mr. Harris about whether he thought it was appropriate to have someone like Bill Ayers featured on their programs. He replied that their Board is dedicated to a variety of points of view and believed in promoting civil discourse between people of various persuasions. He then cited to me a statement made on a radio interview held at the Drake Hotel with Andrew Breitbart, broadcast right after he, Tucker Carlson and the others, left the meeting.
At that interview, Breitbart said – and this is what Harris quoted to me as a point in favor of his argument – that “I like being in the room talking with [Ayers] rather than sitting in the outside where people cast aspersion. He is a huge cultural figure so I am glad I got to meet him so I could be a conduit so I can tell people what he’s about.”
Unless Breitbart misspoke, which is possible in an impromptu radio interview, one must ask why shouldn’t people cast aspersion on the likes of Ayers and Dohrn? Do they really need Andrew Breitbart to tell people about them, since it is clear he is most unfamiliar with what they believe and think? Given this statement, it is no wonder that Alton Harris used Breitbart’s words to justify the Illinois Humanities Council making use of the proud terrorist.
With that remark, as well as other points made by Breitbart about the dinner, the clever conservative media mogul took a stance that fed right into Ayers’ and Dohrn’s own agenda, as he seemed to realize when he spoke on another radio program. On the “Tom and Todd” program, Breitbart said he likes “impish, mischievous behavior,” and liked the fact that the couple thought they would be serving dinner to some Chicago “left-wing knuckleheads,” and instead faced well-known conservatives. He said that Tucker Carlson asked him because he thought Breitbart would be the one who would “soften them up” and get them to divulge everything, and his very presence would “serve to break them.”
Instead, Breitbart found that “they put on the charm like you would never believe.” Ayers told him that he eschewed politics and was a cultural guy, which is how Breitbart sees himself as well. He too mentioned how Dohrn had told them she can’t take politics anymore and listens in the morning to sports radio on ESPN.
The meeting never got testy, Breitbrt continued, and he acknowledged that his radio interviewers were correct that the dinner “didn’t accomplish much.” They thought after the first half of the Super Bowl (the dinner was on Super Bowl Sunday) they would then get to the real discussion, but instead, they were asked to leave. The only thing they got out of them was the radical couple’s insistence that the media portrayed them as something they are not, and that their actions that people find reprehensible were “over forty years ago.” To that, Breitbart said, “they played the thing absolutely perfectly. It’s a fair assessment to say we got played by them.”
Breitbart, who is clear that he disagrees with them, and wants to expose how the organized Left really lives – in this case, a rich and extravagant lifestyle – Breitbart said he came out feeling Ayers and Dohrn, like Barack Obama, “are really movers and shakers.” He would like to take a road trip with Ayers, he said, to show him his America while Ayers did the same for him.
Breitbart then said that Ayers’ work in education was meant, he thought, to “cleanse their uneasy past.” It was clear that he has no acquaintance at all with Ayers’ work, since those who have looked at it, know that he has developed a radical curriculum meant to radicalize young people in the style of the education going on in Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela. It is anything but an attempt to cleanse an ancient past. And, as Ayers and Dohrn have revealed in all their other work, they have no intent to cleanse their past, only to personally work to legitimize themselves so that people cannot feel threatened when they talk, and then hopefully gain more converts for their revolutionary communist politics.
As it turned out, the evidence from Breitbart’s own account of the Super Bowl Sunday dinner did in fact do as Ayers and Dohrn hoped, as they certainly succeeded in playing them. So, Tucker Carlson and Andrew Breitbart both got good publicity and some radio time and one TV interview with Jamie Weinstein on the Fox News morning program. All in all, a waste of $2500 and unneeded publicity for a vile radical couple whose political activities they hid from their guests and which now they can use to gain a wider audience.