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Why Ayers matters ^

Posted on 09/07/2008 10:27:26 AM PDT by hecht

Why Ayers matters It is troubling that the MSM has abdicated its investigatory task by being surprisingly uninterested in shining light into some of the more suspicious regions of Barack Obama’s past. And of all those dark corners, the very darkest may be the Obama-Ayers connection.

Why does it matter? Isn’t this just a meaningless game of “gotcha” guilt by association, and a rather tenuous association at that? Can Obama really be blamed for the doings of everyone who’s ever crossed his path?

The official Obama campaign statement about Ayers and the candidate focuses on the charges about Ayers’ terrorist background, the Woods hole connection, and the fact that Ayers is considered a respected scholar on education. It is entirely mum—as Obama has mostly been so far—about their work together on the Annenberg Challenge.

Several people have pointed out that Obama’s 1995-1999 tenure as chair of the Annenberg Challenge has been his most important executive position to date, President of the Harvard Law Review being the other. As for the management of his campaign—the example of executive experience Obama cited the other day—when last I checked, Axelrod held that august and lofty position.

So, why would Obama fail to offer his Annenberg background as an example of his executive chops? I don’t claim to have solved the mystery, but the omission is highly suspect, to say the least, and needs to be addressed.

But don’t sit on a hot stove until Obama explains it. The most he has done is to attack and try to silence Stanley Kurtz, a writer for National Review who has been trying to open up the closed files of the Annenberg Foundation to public scrutiny.

One thing that is clear is that Obama was being remarkably disingenuous when he called Ayers merely “a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who’s a professor of English [sic—he’s a professor of education, a fact of which Obama is well aware] in Chicago who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from.”

Those who argue that the Ayers connection is important because Ayers is an unrepetentant terrorist are emphasizing the wrong part of the Ayers/Obama oeuvre. While it is shocking that Obama welcomed known terrorist Ayers’ support—the latter hosted a 1995 fundraiser for Obama when he was first starting out in Chicago politics—it is also true that politics often makes strange bedfellows. It’s way too much of a stretch to say that proves that Obama was simpatico with Ayers’ terrorist past or with the extremity of his radical beliefs.

Annenberg, however, was a whole nother ball game [bracketed interpolation mine]:

…[I]n 1995 [same year as the fundraiser he hosted for Obama] Ayers won a $49.2 million grant from the Annenberg Foundation — matched two-to-one by public and private contributions — to promote “reform” in the Chicago school system. He quickly brought in Obama, then all of 33 and bereft of any executive experience, to chair the board. With Ayers directing the project’s operational arm and Obama overseeing its financial affairs until 1999, the Chicago Annenberg Challenge distributed more than $100 million to ideological allies with no discernible improvement in public education.

Caveat: there is some controversy over whether Obama was in fact selected by Ayers or not (see this). If he was not, then the claim that he was could be easily refuted if Obama were to explain how he actually was hired and by whom. But neither Obama nor his campaign have ever tried to offer that information.

Obama’s Annenberg stint is important for several reasons, not the least of which is that it underscores the fact that Obama’s only executive experience was a washout in terms of results. In addition—and whether or not he was appointed directly by Ayers or not—it proves just how much Obama has been minimizing their true relationship.

Theirs was not only a closer connection than being mere neighbors, or serving on a random board together, or that Ayers supported Obama in his race for State Senate. It is possible that they may have also been in some sort of basic agreement on educational goals.

Well, isn’t everyone? Don’t we all want to make education better, and to reach more children?

Well, it depends what you mean by “better.” This is what Ayers means:

As Ayers puts it in one of his course descriptions, prospective K–12 teachers need to “be aware of the social and moral universe we inhabit and . . . be a teacher capable of hope and struggle, outrage and action, a teacher teaching for social justice and liberation.” Ayers’s texts on the imperative of social-justice teaching are among the most popular works in the syllabi of the nation’s ed schools and teacher-training institutes. One of Ayers’s major themes is that the American public school system is nothing but a reflection of capitalist hegemony. Thus, the mission of all progressive teachers is to take back the classrooms and turn them into laboratories of revolutionary change.

This is the cause to which Ayers has devoted himself for the last few decades, the post-terrorist portion of his life. You might say that he has found a peaceful way to advance the same causes he once championed through violence.

Obama needs to fully describe the history of his ascension to the Annenberg board, and to support the release of the papers describing his work there, not denounce those trying to do so. Until we learn the whole story, we are free to wonder whether Obama and Ayers share a commitment—not to terrorism, but to Ayers’ radical educational goals.

[NOTE: For a fuller exploration of Ayers’ educational philosophy, please see this. And here’s an excellent summary of what we know so far of the connections between the Ayers and Obama on matters relating to the Annenberg Challenge. Here’s more, as well.]

TOPICS: Politics
KEYWORDS: ayers; obama; obamabiden; obamatruthfile

1 posted on 09/07/2008 10:27:27 AM PDT by hecht
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To: hecht

I’m of two minds about your basic point about the relative importance of the agenda of CAC vs the terrorist connection:

1. On the one hand, the failure of CAC to accomplish any measurable improvements and the radical agenda is a strong arguing point about Obama’s only real executive experience. (I completely discount the law review experience. I was an editor of a major law review and, while it isn’t trivial, it’s toy stuff compared to running a business or a country. It’s like asking for a PhD based on a Jr. High School Science fair project.)

However, this issue is really really hard to get into a 30 second commercial. I don’t really see how we make this point coherently over the active opposition of the old media in the next sixty days.

2. The terrorist connection is easy to make and encapsulate into a 30 second commercial. The problem with this point is a lot of people will just think it’s over the top, regardless of truth. By over the top, I mean not credible that anyone could get as far as Obama if he had terrorist connnections. Now, his connection with Wright for 20 years lends some credibility to the argument. But it’s still hard to make in a manner that doesn’t seem over the top. So it seems to me that this argument has to be pitched as a judgment question and tied in with the Wright issue.

Frankly, I think BO is quite sympathetic with terrorist goals, if not their methods. He is by far the most radical person ever to run for presdent on a major ticket, imho. But I don’t think the American public is ready to believe that about a presidential candidate.

But time is running out. We have to frame this issue one way or t’other in the next sixty days. And then we have to hit hard because it has died completely after a brief 527 flurry. It’s BO, 1, Good Guys 0 on this issue so far.

2 posted on 09/07/2008 10:45:22 AM PDT by ModelBreaker
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To: ModelBreaker
Penny Pritzker of the Hyatt Family Chicago Fortune, used her family 15 to 20 Billion fortune to try and block the release of those papers.

Oh by the way Penny is Obama's co-chair.

( cousin sued over mismangement goverment found tax fraud.) where is the press? It seem they love hidimng money overseas.

3 posted on 09/07/2008 10:55:36 AM PDT by scooby321
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To: ModelBreaker
Obama win = Ayers cabinet member

4 posted on 09/07/2008 11:08:09 AM PDT by Fred (The Democrat Party is the Nadir of Nihilism)
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To: scooby321

The press is missing the whole Pritzker connection.
Current Bloomberg issue

Fran Sweet, a retired Ameritech Corp. manager, is more blunt. Sweet lost $100,000 in the failure of Hinsdale, Illinois- based Superior Bank, the S&L half owned by Penny’s family.

``The Pritzkers are crooks,’’ Sweet says. ``They don’t care anything about people who spent their whole lives trying to save.’’

Pritzkers are the reason we are in the sub prime mess. Due to their Superior Bank going under. They started the sub prime fiasco.

The other scary thing Pritzkers own Transunion Credit. Connect the dots- sub prime lender and knowing who has bad credit to loan money to.

5 posted on 09/07/2008 11:14:56 AM PDT by 54skylark
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To: hecht


6 posted on 09/07/2008 11:16:29 AM PDT by rlmorel (Oh, when the left finds itself defending a poor, abused police officer from attack by a woman!)
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To: Fred
Obama win = Ayers cabinet member

Do you really think so? I can't imagine BO would be that stupid. To be sure, I suspect that folks who agree with Ayers about education radicalization would end up running the Dept of Education. But that's different than actually trying to get congress to approve a known terrorist for a cabinet spot.

He would be putting the rats in the Senate in a terrible position. We could retake the Senate in 2010 if they approved his appointment. One could only hope he would try. But I doubt we would be that lucky.

7 posted on 09/07/2008 11:43:43 AM PDT by ModelBreaker
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To: hecht
> For a fuller exploration of Ayers’ educational philosophy, please see this...

I found the article that was referenced. It's a long read but worth it. The commie infiltration into our education system is a lot more pervasive than I had thought.

8 posted on 09/07/2008 3:47:58 PM PDT by ADemocratNoMore (Jeepers, Freepers, where'd 'ya get those sleepers?. Pj people, exposing old media's lies.)
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To: hecht
The real Chicago Annenberg Challenge --

Penetrating Insights into the Obvious
9 posted on 09/08/2008 7:52:36 AM PDT by MichaelAsher54
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