Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Obama and Ayers connection

I have never written much about this because although Ayers did introduce Obama into Chicago politics at his home, it wasn't a solid connection to Obama. The WSJ points to a more solid connection though:

Despite having authored two autobiographies, Barack Obama has never written about his most important executive experience. From 1995 to 1999, he led an education foundation called the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC), and remained on the board until 2001. The group poured more than $100 million into the hands of community organizers and radical education activists.

The CAC was the brainchild of Bill Ayers, a founder of the Weather Underground in the 1960s. Among other feats, Mr. Ayers and his cohorts bombed the Pentagon, and he has never expressed regret for his actions. Barack Obama's first run for the Illinois State Senate was launched at a 1995 gathering at Mr. Ayers's home.

The Obama campaign has struggled to downplay that association. Last April, Sen. Obama dismissed Mr. Ayers as just "a guy who lives in my neighborhood," and "not somebody who I exchange ideas with on a regular basis." Yet documents in the CAC archives make clear that Mr. Ayers and Mr. Obama were partners in the CAC. Those archives are housed in the Richard J. Daley Library at the University of Illinois at Chicago and I've recently spent days looking through them.

So Obama led a foundation that Ayers created and Obama wants us to believe that Ayers was "just a guy who lives my neighborhood." Kind of like he wanted us to believe he never heard Rev. Wright's racists rants in the 20 years Obama attended his church.

In early 1995, Mr. Obama was appointed the first chairman of the board, which handled fiscal matters. Mr. Ayers co-chaired the foundation's other key body, the "Collaborative," which shaped education policy.
The CAC's basic functioning has long been known, because its annual reports, evaluations and some board minutes were public. But the Daley archive contains additional board minutes, the Collaborative minutes, and documentation on the groups that CAC funded and rejected. The Daley archives show that Mr. Obama and Mr. Ayers worked as a team to advance the CAC agenda.

Just a guy in the neighborhood.

I had a commenter on my Chron blog say that rightwingers seek "to impose" our views on others. You want to see a star stellar example of a political view being "imposed" on others? Then read the entire article about this "education foundation" that sought to do just that. Not to adults, mind you, but impressionable children trapped in a classroom funded by the taxpayers.

The Obama campaign has cried foul when Bill Ayers comes up, claiming "guilt by association." Yet the issue here isn't guilt by association; it's guilt by participation. As CAC chairman, Mr. Obama was lending moral and financial support to Mr. Ayers and his radical circle. That is a story even if Mr. Ayers had never planted a single bomb 40 years ago.

It's time the press stopped ignoring this story. Maybe they could take some time off the nothing story that is "troopergate" and pay attention to the recent past of a man who could be our next President who associated with a homegrown terrorist.