During Wednesday night's Pennsylvania debate, George Stephanopoulos didn't flinch from trying to smear Barack Obama by association with former 60's radical Bill Ayers. Too bad George didn't ask Hillary about her own summer spent working for a law firm run by Communists.
The facts: Obama met with former Weather Underground radical Ayers and his wife, former 60's SDS leader Bernardine Dohrn, at a 1995 Chicago meeting. From 1999-2002, Obama served on the board of a charity organization with Ayers that gave out a couple of grants. Now, I knew these Weathermen folks back in the 60's, and they were quite unsavory then. There were plenty of us who were in SDS at that time who thought the Weathermen were despicable. And, frankly, I have no particular affection for them now. I found Ayers' memoir, published in 2001, to be execrable.
But by the time Obama met them in the 90's, they had cleared their violent past with the criminal justice system, they had served their punishment, gone back to school and by then become legitimate and even respected educators, and players in Chicago liberal politics.
When Ayers and Dohrn were running amuck advocating violent revolution, Obama was literally eight years old.
Compare and contrast those facts with Hillary's own association with 60's radicals. In the summer of 1969, when Hillary was just entering Yale Law School, she went to work for the foremost radical law firm in, yes, Berkeley. Carl Bernstein recounts the episode in his Hillary biography of last year titled "A Woman in Charge."
This is what Bernstein told interviewer Jon Wiener last summer:
"That summer she went to work at the most important radical law firm in America at that point: Treuhaft, Walker and Bernstein in Oakland. They defended the Panthers. Two of their partners were members of the Communist Party--including Bob Treuhaft, who was married to Jessica Mitford. I talked to Bob Treuhaft not long before he died, and he said he was certain that Hillary came there because she subscribed to some of the kind of law they practiced and the kind of clients they defended. In her so-called autobiography, "Living History," she put in a couple of sentences about living in Berkeley with Bill that summer and working at that law firm, but she makes it sound like their work focused on postal rate increases. There's not a word about radicals."
Very little has been written about this episode. One piece, in a conservative paper, goes into great detail speculating on what cases the young Hillary Clinton might have been working.
I have no desire to flesh out any of this information as my position is simple. Every one deserves the best legal defense possible, and I have no problem with Hillary having worked for a law firm run by Communists and engaged in defending Huey Newton and other radicals accused of killing cops and other violent acts.
But the hypocrisy by Clinton on this matter and the acrobatic cherry-picking by Stephanopoulos are simply staggering.