I absolutely love this story -- (from Steve Benen, and click through to read David Weigel's version of it). I'm just thrilled with Jonah Goldberg's description of his own retreat from thinking this stuff is just nuts to, well, realizing that he really should begin to Take It Seriously. These folks and Ayers deserve each other. Of course, the difference is that pretty much no one in the mainstream Democratic Party pays any attention to unrepentant Weathermen, while people such as Goldberg are considered leading intellectuals of the conservative movement (yes, there are some on the left who think Ayers is terrific, but not mainstream liberals).
All of which means two things. First, that these are hard times indeed for honest conservatives. Second, that the particular brand of crazy popular with the NRO crowd provides lots of fun for political junkies.
What I like best about it is how insular it is. It reminds me of my favorite Clinton-hating story (and I can't find a good retelling of it, so I hope I'm getting this more or less right). It seems that the Dole campaign came up with a brilliant strategy to throw Clinton off stride in one of their debates in 1996: he had a key figure from the travel office scandal sit in the front row of the auditorium. The idea was, I guess, that Clinton would see the guy, and get all flustered, thinking that Dole had some devastating information to reveal, or something along those lines. Well, of course, it didn't work. First of all, because Clinton was a pro, and very unlikely to fall for such a thing even if he suspected the worst. But, second, because Clinton didn't recognize the guy -- unlike the Dole campaign and its supporters, Bill Clinton had other, less fictional things on his mind.
Hey, Republicans: I bet you can get the Hawaii official in charge of birth certificates to sit in the front row of one of the 2012 debates. That'll show 'em.