Within the last few weeks, we got to witness GOP Presidential nominee Senator John McCain of Arizona and Democratic Presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama of Illinois debate with each other on three instances. It was a few days ago that we got to see the third and final debate between them.
In the last few weeks, the McCain campaign has continued to bring up Obama’s connection with William Ayers, the founder of the now defunct Weather Underground, which is a known radical anti-war group. The topic of Ayers was brought up during the third debate. So far, bringing up the subject of Ayers has not seemed to have the desired effect.
It might have had a negative effect on the McCain campaign. CNN political contributor and Republican strategist Ed Rollins had given a commentary several days before the third and final debate had taken place.
To Rollins, McCain is making the same mistake as then Democratic co-frontrunner Senator Hillary Clinton of New York. Rollins explains that while attacking Obama on Ayers and Reverend Jeremiah Wright (notorious for his “God Damn America” sermon) are legitimate tactics, not many voters really care. In short, the thought of the current state of the economy trumps a person’s connections in the past.
TIME’s political columnist Joe Klein, who had recently authored “Politics Lost,” posts in his Swampland blog in regards to McCain. According to Klein, McCain has his own radical anti-war pal in David Ifshin.
Not many would know who David Ifshin is. Klein explains that Ifshin was a moderate of the Democratic Leadership Council. When Bill Clinton was in office, Ifshin gave occasional advice.
Klein said that Ifshin is a mutual friend of himself and McCain. According to Klein, he got to know McCain through Ifshin.
He adds that Ifshin was a major anti-Vietnam War radical. But unlike the Weather Underground, Ifshin did not engage in any terrorist bombings. However, Ifshin did something that many would consider as treasonous.
At the climax of the war, Ifshin went to Hanoi, the then capital of North Vietnam. North and South Vietnam were split. Saigon, now known as Ho Chi Minh City, was the capital of South Vietnam.
Klein explains during the visit to Hanoi, Ifshin gave a speech that condemned the American pilots as “war criminals” for dropping bombs on the North Vietnamese civilians. Too add to the insult, this was broadcasted many times at the Hanoi Hilton, where McCain was held as a P.O.W.
But McCain refused to condemn anti-war protesters like Ifshin upon returning back home after the war. The two had finally met face to face at an annual AIPAC convention in 1985.
They apologized to each other and became good friends. There seems to be a deep bond of friendship between McCain and Ifshin.
When Ifshin got cancer, McCain was there for him, according to Klein. When Ifshin passed away, McCain was one of the people that gave eulogies at the funeral.
However, telling this story is nothing new to Klein. Klein says that this story is nothing new and that he’s said that to many veterans groups. For the most part, this story has a strong moral: learning to forgive one another and reconciling.
McCain and Ifshin apologized to each other and then reconciled. As a result, they forced a strong friendship.
For the most part, most of us probably would not have known about this story. Klein explains that he decided to tell this story as a result of the McCain campaign constantly bringing up Obama’s relationship with Ayers for the last few weeks.