The Obama/Ayers Connection--How Deep Is It?
I first saw the link on Little Green Footballs and then on Jameel’s blog, which led me to the AP article, intimating “racism” on Governor Palin’s mention of Senator Obama’s affiliation with unrepentant-terrorist Bill Ayers, of Weathermen fame.
The Associated Press article, (or is it really an editorial masquerading as a “news” story?), suggests that Obama’s connection with Ayers couldn’t have been deep but rather that they knew each other on an ‘acquaintance’ level only.
This reminded me of something I had just finished reading last night in Commentary Magazine (to which I subscribe) by Joshua Muravchik, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a former socialist, now self-described neoconservative).
Mr. Muravchik seems to disagree with the author of the AP story as to the extent of the Obama/Ayers relationship. Mr. Daniel, author of the AP story also implies that Palin's statement is 'racist' (emphasis mine):
By claiming that Democrat Barack Obama is "palling around with terrorists" and doesn't see the
like other Americans, vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin targeted key goals for a faltering campaign. U.S.
And though she may have scored a political hit each time, her attack was unsubstantiated and carried a racially tinged subtext that John McCain himself may come to regret.
First of all, I don't see how her statement implies racism. Now, if she had talked about Obama's affiliations with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr. or with Imam Hassan Qazwini, that would be a different story; then it definitely could be considered racism: anti-White and anti-Jewish racism on their part, not hers (see just two of my previous posts on this subject here and here.)
But back to Mr. Muravchik's article, entitled Obama's Leftism. He gives a full analysis of Sen. Obama's connection to Ayers, despite Obama's statement, when questioned during a primary debate, to wit:
"This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who's a professor of English in
who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He's not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis. And the notion that somehow as a conseqauence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was eight years old,somehow reflects on me and my values doesn't make much sense." Chicago
Mr. Muravchik calls Obama's statement "thoroughly disingenuous." After a court dismissed charges against Ayers on a technicality in 1980, Ayers received degrees in education and worked on a school reform project supported by a coalition to better Chicago schools, a member of which was an organization called the Developing Communities Project, for which Barak Obama worked as a community organizer.
Mr. Muravchik estimates that Obama and Ayers met around 1991 or 1992, and worked together for the next four or five years for the school reform program. Obama's first fund-raising event was held in Ayers' home. Muravchik says, from his detailed analysis, that Obama's and Ayers' relationship "...could only have been an intimate partnership." He points out that both of them served together on the board of the left-wing Woods Fund from 1998-2001, and goes on to suggest that "Ayers was among Obama's closest collaborators."
Contrast that with the AP article which states about Palin's remarks:
Muravchik points out that Obama, in his campaign for the Illinois senate, was endorsed by the New Party (NP), "a coalition of socialists, Communists, and other leftists."
Her reference to Obama's relationship with William Ayers, a member of the Vietnam-era Weather Underground, was exaggerated at best if not outright false. No evidence shows they were "pals" or even close when they worked on community boards years ago and Ayers hosted a political event for Obama early in his career
Read Mr. Muravchik's article in Commentary, here. He sums it all up by saying this:
". . . Obama comes to us from a background farther to the Left than any presidential nominee since George McGovern, or perhaps ever. This makes him an extremely unlikely leader to bridge the divides of party, ideology, or, for that matter, race. . . "It gives one pause.