Bill Ayers: Obama like ‘imperial leader’
By: Tal Kopan
December 10, 2013 02:36 PM EST
President Barack Obama’s old Chicago neighbor Bill Ayers, whom Sarah Palin famously referenced when she accused Obama of “palling around with terrorists” during the 2008 presidential campaign, has some harsh critiques of the candidate he voted for and supported in 2008 and 2012.
On foreign policy, Ayers said Obama is acting like an “imperial leader.”
“You’re attributing to Obama not only good intentions but good actions around Afghanistan and Iraq. Actually he’s not acting well. He’s acting like any imperial leader would act,” Ayers told his interviewer in a new Chicago Magazine story, published online Tuesday. “He wants to have an agreement with [Afghan President Hamid] Karzai because he wants to keep American troops there, trainers there, to keep our interest in oil and all the rest of it on the front burner.”
Ayers said Obama’s actions were consistent with American history.
“This is true of every puppet that the Americans have put up in the last hundred years,” Ayers said. “We always say at the end of the day, why are these brown people such a disappointment to us? We gave them everything, and look they can’t do it right, they f—- it up. … In [Ngo Dinh] Diem’s case we shoot him. In Karzai’s case we demean him.”
The retired professor was a leader of the radical group the Weather Underground in the 1960s and ’70s, which carried out bombings including of government targets during the Vietnam War era. Ayers and Obama both lived in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago and had a relationship Ayers described as “friendly.”
Ayers said despite the differences in politics between him and Obama, he is neither disappointed nor surprised by Obama’s presidency. The ballots he cast for Obama were two of three he ever cast for Democrats, Ayers said, and they were a vote “against white supremacy.”
In the wide-ranging interview, Ayers didn’t mention presumed front-runner Hillary Clinton when asked who he’d like to see as the Democratic presidential nominee in 2016.
“I doubt I’d vote for any Democrat in 2016. But who would I want to see? Angela Davis,” Ayers said. “With the corruption of money and advertising, voting means less and less. It has always been Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber. … I plan to vote for Tweedle Dumb if I have the choice in local elections, but even there the corruption of money is so profound that we have to find other avenues to express ourselves.”
The Chicagoan also had harsh words about the city’s current mayor and former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, who did not have Ayers’s vote in the last mayoral election.
“The thing that’s so pathetic about Chicago is that Rahm Emanuel does not have any popularity, but he does have millions of dollars. And nobody wants to run against him,” Ayers said.
Ayers also made light of the enduring association people make between him and Obama, changing his answer when asked if he’d been to the White House since Obama was elected.
“No. Well, yes. I go to the White House every Monday morning before work, so I can tell Obama what to do and see Valerie Jarrett,” Ayers said.