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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Why Ayers Matters

In the television industry, the saying goes: "Its not what you know, its who you know". The same goes for politics. Its not what you know (economics, military studies, statesmanship, organization), its who you know (William Ayers, Reverend Wright, John Hagee, Charles H. Keating, Jr).

John McCain has had little trouble with his connections. He openly rejected John Hagee's endorsement after Hagee's alleged anti-Catholicism came to dominate the news cycle for a few days. The Senator from Arizona had no real relationship with Hagee other than normal political platitudes. McCain's connection to Charles Keating was nothing more than "poor judgment" [1] according to the investigation into the Savings and Loan scandal. On the other hand, Barack Obama's connections to Rev Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers are on a whole other level than McCain's. Obama was a member of Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ for over twenty years. Wright married Barack and Michelle, baptized the Obama children and was the inspiration for Obama's memoir, The Audacity of Hope. Unrepentant domestic terrorist [2] and leftist radical [3] William Ayers has been a major player in Chicago politics since he came out of hiding in the early 1980s. Since his return to the real world he spent the 1980s gaining degrees and in the 1990s he began to aid (in my view, damage) Mayor Daley's education reform. During 1995 to 1999, Obama was president of the board of the directors of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge and oversaw indirect grants (explained below) to various schools including "breakthrough" schools (alternative schools) who's lessons weren't exactly math and science:
Instead of funding schools directly, it required schools to affiliate with "external partners," which actually got the money. Proposals from groups focused on math/science achievement were turned down. Instead CAC [Chicago Annenberg Challenge] disbursed money through various far-left community organizers, such as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (or Acorn). [4]
ACORN has been recently raided and charge with fraud in signing up voters [6]. And, to top it off, Ayers has compared his work to the work of authoritarian leftist Hugo Chavez:
I do not think that the link made here between the LSC’s [local school councils] and “democracy” is, in fact, accurate. I think that such “councils” look eerily similar to efforts by regimes like those in Nicaragua under the Sandinistas and Venezuela under Chavez to impose control over teachers and their independent unions by an authoritarian regime. Thus, it is not a surprise to me that Bill Ayers has traveled several times in recent years to Venezuela where he has spoken in front of Hugo Chavez and has enthusiastically applauded that regime’s efforts to link education policy to the Chavez “revolution.” [7]
Now, why should this matter?

First and foremost, Ayers, along with his wife, have never apologized for their terrorism. In fact, in a well-known quote, Ayers said he "didn't do enough" [8]. Such a view from a man who's career is based around educating children is horrifying. I highly doubt that if Eric Rudolph's case was fumbled and he was set free, that any attempt he made to enter the public education system would be met with massive and righteous outrage. There is no reason an boastful, unrepentant terrorist should have any significant influence in modern education. I could understand if he had apologized, at least. Repentance goes a long way towards reconciliation.

Secondly, the groups connected to the CAC are far-left in views and criminal in nature (as stated above). ACORN was one of the several "urban" groups that pushed for the abundance of mortgages and credit to low-income borrowers who couldn't get a loan before the change in the Community Reinvestment Act [9]. This act, along with Greenspan idiotic idea of cheap credit, the Democrats protection of Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac, and the Republicans failure to tackle this issue when they had power, all came together in the current economic and political crisis. Thanks to groups like ACORN, we now have most of the country calling for bigger government, and pompous left-wing economists like Jeffery Sachs [10] who claim the entire crisis was Reagan's fault and finally get to get their pseudo-economic theories heard.

Third and finally, what does this say about Obama? I've given Obama the benefit of the doubt countless times since he took center stage in the Democratic nomination race. When Wright came out, I believed he didn't really hear him. When Ayers came out, I believed he only met the man a few times. Both turned out to be blatant lies. If you look at Obama's record, his dealing with far-left people and groups would, in normal elections, be a pretty good indicator of his views. Except this isn't a normal election. The first black (or in this case half-black, Obama's mom is white) Presidential candidate has made everyone crazy. The media has jumped on the McCain camp for bringing up the Obama-Ayers connection. The AP actually called it "racist" [11] to mention Ayers. David Neiwert, an left-wing independent journalist and self-labeled expert on right-wing extremism, has actually traveled to Wasilla, Alaska to dig up dirt on Sarah Palin's ties to Neiwert's version of the far right (libertarians) [12] in what seems an attempt to create a moral equivalency between Wright/Ayers and Palin's connections. The best he could come up with is a connection to a man with the John Birch Society who had some extremist (libertarian) views on firearms.

As seen in the second debate [13], Obama is slowly shifting himself to the center in a smart, but dishonest attempt to make McCain look redundant. I would give him the benefit of the doubt once again, but his shifty words and attempts to divert attention from his past has swept the trust away, as I bet it has done for many others in the electorate. With the polls giving Obama at least a 7% lead and state polls already pushing him over the top [14], unless the junior Senator from Illinois has had a change of heart from his leftist views he professed in the first half of the year and for most of his life, we have much to worry about what he may do in office.

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