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From the lead editorial in today’s Washington Post :

Character is legitimate campaign fodder—up to a point. Is there something to be learned from Mr. Obama’s association in the 1990s with William Ayers, the unrepentant domestic terrorist to whom Ms. Palin referred? It’s certainly not that Mr. Obama hates America or shares responsibility for the bombing Mr. Ayers helped carry out. By the time Mr. Obama came on the Chicago scene, Mr. Ayers was a member of the liberal political establishment that Mr. Obama sought to join. Maybe someone of stronger character would have decided not to go with that flow—not to join a foundation board with Mr. Ayers or allow him to host a political coffee. It’s an arguable point, maybe a small brushstroke in a full portrait of Mr. Obama, in any case hardly disqualifying to his candidacy.

Here’s a question, especially for the honest liberal: Could you possibly imagine the Washington Post giving Republican presidential candidate such a pass if the “unrepentant domestic terrorist” in question had not been an accepted member of a local “liberal political establishment,” but rather an accepted member of some local (perhaps Southern) “conservative political establishment”?

Imagine, for a moment, that the violence of a hypothetical “unrepentant terrorist” were directed at African-American churches or ATF agents or perhaps abortion clinics rather than, per the non-hypothetical William Ayers, at the Pentagon or the Capitol. Imagine that a hypothetical Republican presidential candidate had close connections with an unrepentant leader of the KKK as the current Democratic presidential candidate has to an unrepentant leader of the Weatherman. Would this be dismissed “as maybe a small brushstroke,” one “hardly disqualifying to his candidacy”?

I doubt it.

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