Wall Street Journal Washington Wire: Political Perceptions: Linking Obama and Ayers: Legitimate or Not?

Wall Street Journal Washington Wire

Political Perceptions: Linking Obama and Ayers: Legitimate or Not?

Sen. John McCain’s ad tying Sen. Barack Obama to 1960s radical William Ayers has set off a debate over whether that kind of casual acquaintance should matter or not. Matthew Yglesias of the Atlantic argues decidedly in the negative. “If there were reason to believe that Obama harbored intentions of appointing Ayers to a national security post, or of using the powers of the presidency to orchestrate a bombing of the Pentagon, then there would be important questions to raise during a political campaign. But the idea that merely knowing somebody who has radical opinions ought to constitute a devastating objection to someone’s political career is both wrongheaded and dangerous.” Yglesias says that “guilt by association can apply to just about anyone, and heading down that slippery slope would have perverse consequences.” Just as Ayers is “an extreme figure,” so is former Watergate burglar G. Gordon Liddy. Yet McCain has appeared on Liddy’s radio show and said nice things about him. “Are we supposed to hold McCain accountable for this association?”

CLICK HERE to read the rest of today’s Political Wisdom. And take a look at Gerald F. Seib’s column“A McCain Comeback May Rely On Feeling the Nation’s Anger.”


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