Hilzoy, after spending far too much time reading The Corner:
[The revisitation of the Ayers non-story] is delusional. It would be interesting to ask, for instance, why so few of Obama’s law students have come forward to talk about his attempt to transform them into Maoist cadres, or why the lawyers in his firm have not mentioned his commitment to cultural revolution, or how he has managed to conceal his desire to nationalize the means of production from, well, everyone. Was he secretly plotting to get asked, unexpectedly, to speak at the Democratic Convention, take a chance on running for President, and succeed, back when he was on the Harvard Law Review? That, plus absolutely iron self-control, might explain why no one caught a glimpse of Obama’s secret radicalism: he has been concealing it for decades, the better to bore away at our bourgeois institutions.
Precisely. The success of the Ayers claims — and its filial guilt-by-association narratives — depend upon one’s ability to disregard everything that Barack Obama has said and done for more than two decades in public life. It would require, in the words of Joe McCarthy, “a conspiracy on a scale so immense as to dwarf any previous such venture in the history of man.” Well, maybe not quite so immense as the one orchestrated by George C. Marshall — but still. It’s the sort of thing that will work with these assholes, but few others.
The latest faux scandal involves the claim that Obama was a member of the “Marxist socialist” New Party during his run for the Illinois State Senate. Setting aside the obvious point — which is that the “evidence” for Obama’s membership rests on the testimony of a defunct website and a pair of ambiguously-written 12-year-old articles in a magazine with single-digit readership — the insistence that the New Party represented some sort of burrowing, Trotskyite faction of the revolutionary left is, well, stupid. Unless, of course, you equate revolutionary socialism with living wage campaigns, voter registration drives, or calls for greater vigilance on anti-trust laws, or any of the other issues that animated the various urban-based party organizations. Which I suppose, given the innate deficiencies of the folks promoting this story, is probably the case.
In any event, the New Party allegations — like the Ayers story — have been around for months now. Several bloggers dropped this turd on the sidewalk in May; the usual suspects have now discovered the pile and, after shoving some candles into it, have decided that it’s a heap of birthday cake. Under ordinary conditions, I’d be tempted to assert confidently that this is is a story too pathetic for even the McCain campaign to run with, but since the old man has decided to go the Full Wallace during the last month, there’s really no telling.