The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller
PHOTO: AP PHOTO: AP  

Bill Ayers is the WORST interviewee in recorded history

Try getting an answer out of Bill Ayers. I dare you.

Last week, I emailed the former Weather Underground bomber to quibble with an account in his latest book, “Public Enemy.” The chapter in question detailed the dinner Ayers hosted for me, Tucker Carlson, Matt Labash and Andrew Breitbart, among others, in January 2012. Ayers had donated the dinner for a local Chicago-area charity auction and Tucker pulled a fast one and purchased it.

It was a bizarre evening, but my quibble was with how Ayers said I defined conservatism. I don’t recall defining it the way he said I did — it doesn’t quite sound like me — but I joked that his account allowed him to make an overused and silly point in the book that if conservatives love small government so much, they should move to Somalia, or something like that. I imagine he thinks this is a profound and witty slam of some sort.

Predictably, in his reply, Ayers said he stood by his account. He also asked me to review his book. We ultimately agreed to do an email interview instead.

It soon became evident that Ayers was going to play games instead of answer my questions. Asked if he rejects or embraces the label “domestic terrorist,” he demanded I define terrorism and then attacked my definition, before saying he rejects the label. Asked, given his leftwing worldview, whether he considers President Barack Obama a war criminal and, if so, what should happen to him, he demanded I define war criminal.

On and on we went, despite the fact that Ayers has already admitted that he believes Obama should be tried for war crimes. Why he couldn’t reaffirm his position and explain what he thinks should happen to Obama is beyond me.

Throughout the exchange, I kept pointing out that I was conducting an interview, not participating in a debate, but Ayers was simply not cooperative. Frustrated, I emailed him a list of eight questions and told him that if he wants to do the interview, just answer the questions and get them back to me. He replied with eight questions of his own, which I told him I’d answer if he would actually answer my questions.

After nearly four-dozen emails, we didn’t get very far. I finally asked him if he would answer the questions if I defined answering them as a human right.

The exchange was maddening, but also humorous at times. Though Ayers didn’t participate in the interview in good faith, I am living up to the pledge I made during the interview that I would publish the exchange in full, typos and all. Enjoy:

From: Jamie Weinstein
To: Bill Ayers 
Mon, Oct 14, 2013 at 7:14 PM

Bill!

Just read an excerpt from your new book.

http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/10/14/an-excerpt-from-bill-ayers-public-enemy/

I enjoyed it, but this is almost certainly not true!

When Jamie complained that none was a bona fi de conservative, I asked him to define “conservative” for me.

“Small government,” he said.

“That’s it?” I asked.

“Yes.”

But it is a fun caricature.

Look forward to reading the whole book — when I learn to read.

Best,
Jamie W

From: Bill Ayers
To: Jamie Weinstein
Mon, Oct 14, 2013 at 7:23 PM

I’m confident you will learn to read and soon.
PLUS, I stand by every word!
Seriously, read it, please, and review it for DC.
See Morning Joe this morning, an interview w moi.
xoxo Bill

From: Jamie Weinstein
To: Bill Ayers 
Mon, Oct 14, 2013 at 7:34 PM

It just doesn’t sound like me! I’m sure I would have at least dropped some Burke. At least it allowed you to make your silly Somalia point, though I must admit I expected something more original. That is a standard liberal talking point these days.

Are you going to be in DC? We could do a video interview for the site.

Also, Matt Labash isn’t a young Daily Caller writer! He is a super talented and widely respected long-form journalist for The Weekly Standard. You should read his book of essays. You would probably enjoy it.

Best,
Jamie W

From: Bill Ayers
To: Jamie Weinstein 
Tue, Oct 15, 2013 at 7:51 AM

DC for sure.
I’m at Busboys and Poets, Poetry and Prose and Red Emma’s in late November (22 23). Come and talk.
Bill

From: Jamie Weinstein
To: Bill Ayers 
Tue, Oct 15, 2013 at 9:51 PM

Let’s try to do a video interview when you are in town. In the meantime, would you be up for an email interview? I’ll send you 10 questions to answer and return. Work for you?

From: Jamie Weinstein
To: Bill Ayers 
Tue, Oct 15, 2013 at 9:52 PM

Or better yet, we can do it one question at a time, so it is will be more conversational in tone. Let me know if you’re up for it.

From: Bill Ayers
To: Jamie Weinstein 
Tue, Oct 15, 2013 at 10:17 PM

Sure. Fine. Maybe you’ll come to your senses.
By the way, one of your elders, Dinesh D, is going to publicly debate me early in the new year.
Be there. Bill

From: Jamie Weinstein
To: Bill Ayers 
Wed, Oct 16, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Fantastic. Let’s start here. You are often labeled a “domestic terrorist.” Do you reject the label? Do you embrace it?

From: Bill Ayers
To: Jamie Weinstein 
Wed, Oct 16, 2013 at 12:48 PM

In order to be entirely clear, and in order to at least start on the same page, what is your definition of terrorism???

From: Jamie Weinstein
To: Bill Ayers 
Wed, Oct 16, 2013 at 1:52 PM

I think the use of force by non-state actors in order to achieve political goals is a pretty good definition. But it doesn’t really matter how I define it. I am wondering what you think of the term and whether you think it is fairly applied to you?

From: Bill Ayers
To: Jamie Weinstein 
Wed, Oct 16, 2013 at 2:56 PM

Of course your definition matters.

In fact, let’s stipulate now that whatever dialogue you and I engage in, including the above from today, will be in the published interview in full. Can you agree to that? Oh, and I will do the same: the whole thread or nothing in each of our published versions.

From: Jamie Weinstein
To: Bill Ayers 
Wed, Oct 16, 2013 at 2:59 PM

Sure. But I am not looking to engage in a debate. I am interested in conducting an interview. You’re the star here. So let’s start again with my first question. You are often labeled a “domestic terrorist.” Do you reject the label? Do you embrace it?