Sunday, August 24, 2008

Targeting Obama/Ayers and Chicago school reform

Karl Rove’s boys have stepped in and taken over McCain’s resurgent campaign. They want to turn the election into a referendum on Obama’s patriotism and his supposed ties to ‘60s radicals like educator Bill Ayers. They certainly don’t want the election to be a referendum on the Republican’s last 8 years in office.

So they're spreading the word that Obama is a closet “socialist” (Manchurian candidate) and have dredged up swiftboater Jerome Corsi’s trashy book Obama Nation to spearhead their assault. They've also enlisted a handful of wing-nut bloggers who continue to recycle their own lies about Obama and others (including myself) in this latest Rove-inspired disinformation campaign, reminiscent of the 1950’s red scare.

Along with trying to frighten undecided swing-state voters, the wing-nuts have also targeted school reform efforts and the old Annenberg Challenge in Chicago, which they claim were all part of the Ayers-Obama socialist conspiracy from hell. Their lies include: 1) Obama was the chair of the Annenberg Challenge Board and directed its funding; 2) that Ayers was on the board; 3) that Obama gave thousands of dollars to Ayers. Not a word of any of this is true.

School reformers and ed bloggers seem to be running scared, afraid to speak out against the swiftboaters. This is the kind of fear that gripped the Kerry campaign in 2004 and helped lead to his defeat. It’s this fear that Rove and his boys are counting on in their desperate attempt to cut into Obama’s lead.

Travelling in Massachusetts, I just read this excellent piece by Boston Globe columnist Scot Lehigh, who has obviously not fallen into fear’s grip. He writes:

Corsi notes that Obama was once a community organizer in Chicago, and not just any community organizer, he maintains, but one trained in the tradition of Saul Alinsky, the self-proclaimed radical organizer who died in 1972. For Alinsky, Corsi asserts, the word change "invoked radical socialism" and was "nothing more than a code word for the typical income redistribution those on the left have sought since the days of Karl Marx."

Perhaps you find it hard to believe that Obama, who declines to call for either a single-payer healthcare system or even an individual mandate for healthcare coverage, is either a radical or a socialist. Well, consider these tidbits Corsi presents about the college days of one of Obama's youthful campaign bloggers: In his Harvard suite, he hung "a Communist Party flag that he and a roommate brought back from Russia." Further, the same future blogger's bookcase "included titles by Karl Marx and Howard Zinn. . ."

Hopefully Lehigh’s needle will encourage others, especially some of the reformers here in Chicago who worked on the Annenberg Challenge with Bill Ayers and Obama, will come out of their shells.


  1. Hold on a minute here.

    Obama was in fact the Chairman of the Board of the Annenberg Challenge. I have read the minutes and he presided over the meetings.

    Why would you deny something so easy to prove?

    It is true that Ayers was not on the board of the Challenge. He headed up the Collaborative, which was an informal group meant to define the Challenge's ideology. He recommended the approval of grants and passed those recommendations to the Board.

    So although he was not on the board, he was an individual with enormous power.

    I'd like to understand more about how this works, and in particular why the organization was divided in this strange (to me) way, but there is no doubt that Ayers and Obama were involved in the Challenge with important positions.


  2. Yes,David. Of course Obama was Chairman of the Board for a time. My point was (forgive me for not stating it more clearly in this post) was, it was a lie that he (as board chair) directed its funding or was in a position to give Annenberg money to any individuals or groups, outside the foundation's transparent funding process.

    I myself, was never on the Annenberg board or personally connected with the foundation in any way. The board was made up of leaders of some of the largest, wealthies and most conservative business organizations and philanthropic organization in the city of Chicago. The late Mr. Annenberg was a staunch Republican conservative, but one who, unlike today's neo-cons, believed in public education and put his money behind this national reform initiative.

    The Small Schools Workshop, along with dozens of other school reform groups in cities across the nation, applied for Annenberg Challenge grants through the process established by the board. Then each proposal for funding was carefully vetted on its merits.

    The Small Schools Workshop was at that time, the main provider of research, training and support for teachers and principals in Chicago who were trying to redesign and restructure their large, overcrowded high schools into smaller learning communities.

    Whatever grant money that the Workshop received (not Ayers or me) over a 5-year period, was a relatively small amount compared with other university-based initiatives, and was used exclusively to fulfill the requirements of the grant.

    To imply from this that Sen. Obama was somehow using his position and a special relationship with Bill Ayers or anyone else to funnel Annenberg money to left-wing or radical causes or individuals,represents the worst kind of trashy rumor mongering characteristic of a desperate election campaign run by people who can't possibly win on the real issues.

    It's obviously part of a move to discredit Sen. Obama, one with Karl Rove's swift-boating odor all over it.

    I hope I've answered your question.

  3. Hey Klonsky. In case you haven't figured it out yet, David h dennis is really that slimeball Steve Diamond, fronting for his buddy George Schmidt.

  4. Thanks T. Of course I knew. This guy is my favorite stalker. He writes me all the time under different names. This time I finally let him post so I could have an excuse lay out some facts about the Obama/Ayers/Annenberg swift-boating campaign. I knew Dennis (Diamond) would pick it up on his own wing-nut blog, and he sure did.


Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.