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 U.S. like other Americans, vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin targeted key goals for a faltering campaign.

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 Chicago 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."

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:

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
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."

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.


DYS said…
Funny - I just posted on the Obama rally I went to today and you're posting an anti-Obama post.

I'll be glad when this election is over. All of us in the JBlogosphere will probably agree a lot more! :-)
Lady-Light said…
dys: You know, we're blogger friends, and I will happily agree to disagree; but I must ask you: what do you have to say on Sen. Obama's radical affiliations? How do you explain them and his extreme left-wing views as belonging to a viable president?
Batya said…
Obama's being backed by someone. Obama has no track record and when people point out the problems, they're called racist.
If the guy was white, he would even get the vp nod.
Baruch Eliezer said…
I think Lady Light is right. The fact that Sen Obama has many radically left associations (Rev. Wright, Ayers, etc.) and doesn't realize that his views and position were formed by these associations, with or without his knowledge (according to his own statements) is very naive at best. Sen. Obama, while appearing to be polished on the outside, is nothing more than a broken "left-handed golf club" with a fresh coat of "krylon", nice and shiny and only fits a few. What really matters is below the surface and unfortunately MOST americans don't "know how" to scratch off the new coat of paint to reveal the true nature of Obama. These are sad, sad times that we are in.
Lady-Light said…
batya: Interesting and scary thought. It's quite possible that he is being backed by someone. Wonder who that could be...? (what do you mean by "the vp nod?")
baruch eliezer:I agree with your statement that Obama is "polished on the outside," and that "what really matters is below the surface."
I'm not happy with either candidate, but I fear the Democratic one will make this country more vulnerable to attacks and infiltration by...who knows?
So, even though it means possibly more-of-the-same on the economy, I am leaning towards the RED candidate. Darn. Blue is my favorite color!
Baruch Eliezer said…
I usually dont't associate the parties with colors, but only their animal representation. Needless to say, I can't remember the last time I voted for an ass. Or do they all fit into that category?
Lady-Light said…
baruch eliezer: (Great talking to you, btw! whittles the miles away...)
ROTFLOL - nor an elephant. I never remember which ones they stand for, anyway (personally, my favorite animal is a horse.).
I was listening to a talk show interviewing Lanny Davis. He was talking about the great racial divide and how wonderful Americans would feel if we woke up on November 5th to see Obama as the President elect. The next question that he didn't answer is how Americans would feel five minutes after that.
Lady-Light said…
LFD: You know, I don't care what color the man is; as far as I'm concerned he could be yellow with purple polka-dots. It's a question of who he is and what he stands for.

Yes,some of us would feel wonderful if we woke up to see Obama as Pres.
Others of us would feel a sense of dread, and if he were WHITE but the same person I'd dread it just as much.
Jack said…
I am not convinced that the Ayers connection is as nefarious as people make it out to be.

I am not saying that there isn't reason to be concerned, but if you ask most people under 50 who the Weathermen were I am not sure that they could answer.

Perhaps this is a serious issue, but then again there is a real possibility that there is a lot of fuss over nothing.
Lady-Light said…
jack: sorry for not responding until now. I am very concerned about Obama's hanging out with the 'wrong crowd.'
Yid with Lid is concerned, too; saw a video there about his (Obama's) connection with Rashid Khalidi. I actually wrote about this some posts back. Another nice moderate he hangs out with, eh?
My fear is that we won't find out the signifance of any of this until he is (G-d forbid) elected, and then it will be too late.

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