PJ Media

What Lurks in the Ayers-Annenberg Files?

Do Democratic presidential campaign committees think we are all stupid or do they suffer from some sort of group delusion? In 2004 they tried to peddle a man who made claims about his military career that were easily proven to be lies (Christmas in Cambodia, outrageous charges about war crimes by his fellow soldiers) as a war hero “reporting for duty.”

This time around they are trying to take a man whose entire career has linked him with far-left anti-American characters, political agendas focused on redistribution of wealth, and racial spoils and pawn him off on us as a man who transcends race and partisanship.

As the façade’s cracks begin to show through — largely outside the focus of the major media — the Obama camp is behaving badly and thereby telegraphing that the charges involving Obama’s role in the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC) are not only true, but both unanswerable and exceedingly damaging to the campaign’s make-believe narrative about their candidate.

First, someone — still unknown but undoubtedly linked to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge as an executive or board member during the time Obama was its chairman — tried to prevent the University of Illinois’ Richard J. Daley library from making available to writer Stanley Kurtz the organization’s records.

Then the campaign falsely asserted that ads respecting the CAC and Obama’s links to Ayers through it had been made by McCain, sent threatening letters to stations brave enough to carry the ad, and topped it off with two letters to the Department of Justice laughably demanding a full investigation into the organization which sponsored the ads, a 501(c)(4) organization legally permitted to engage in such activities.

Wednesday night the campaign conducted an outrageous and preposterous “swarm” of Chicago radio station WGN, the mild and moderate radio host Milt Rosenberg, and the equally temperate guest of his show, Stanley Kurtz.

Kurtz, in Chicago to review the 1,000 CAC files the university library relented and allowed him to see, was asked to discuss the matter with host Rosenberg. The Obama camp was invited to send a representative and refused to do so although the headquarters is but four blocks away. Instead the campaign organized a swarm of non-stop callers to WGN attacking Kurtz as a “vicious racist” a “slimy character assassin” and suggesting WGN failed its obligations as a broadcaster by allowing him to publicly air his views. The baseless charges and the vitriolic nature of them were startling to the station, the host, and the guest. Except for telling outright lies about the Ayers connection and the CAC, the campaign has done everything in its power to show us that it does not believe there is a free speech right to examine Obama’s record — such of it as has not been buried or “lost.” The unexamined life of Barack is what they prefer we vote on.

In any event, despite these objectionable tactics Kurtz was able to tell us a bit about what he found in the first few days of the five-day window he’s been given to study the CAC files.

He reiterated what I’ve said earlier: CAC seems to have gone through $110 million to fund an educational program which two assessments — one by the Annenberg Foundation and one by an outside team — both found had accomplished nothing for the public school children of Chicago. It is still unclear how and why Obama was made chair of the CAC, but so far it seems that former Weathermen bomb-maker and leader Bill Ayers picked him for the slot.

In any event, contrary to Obama’s early efforts to brush off his relationship with Ayers through a series of false claims, Ayers applied for and got the CAC grant, was chair of the other collaborative group that closely worked with CAC, was present at board meetings and retreats with Obama, and was considered an “ex officio” member of CAC’s board.

The CAC files show the organization funneled money to activist organizations and did so on ideological grounds, favoring applications that focused on ethnic identity and bilingual education and turning down grant proposals which did not. Thus, CAC funded a Juneteenth effort by the South Shore African Village Collaboration and a peace school but rejected proposals by the Chicago Algebra Project aimed at increasing student achievement and the District 5 Math Science Initiative which was trying to increase the math and science competence of Hispanic youngsters.

Kurtz added that Obama’s pre-CAC organizing work for the Gamaliel Foundation was for a group whose views were remarkably like Obama’s “spiritual mentor” Rev. Wright’s anti-American liberation philosophy. He recommended the book Doing Justice: Congregation and Communities, by Dennis Jacobsen, which he described in an NRO article “Senator Stealth.” Notable is not only the views of this organization but that like all organizing groups founded on the work of Saul Alinsky, the organizers were practiced at hiding their extreme leftist views, a tactic considered essential to gain credence with the groups they were working with. He also noted that these racial spoils schemes and redistributionist views were utterly consistent with all the positions Obama took as a state senator.

While Obama’s camp is trying to suggest that his critics are linking him to Ayers’ conduct in the 1960s, in fact, we are talking about the views and conduct of both these men — now clearly established as close allies, not passing acquaintances in the Hyde Park neighborhood they both inhabit — in the 1990s, along with the utter failure of the generously funded program to help inner-city Chicago school children they managed into the ground.

Two more points in passing:

1) We are talking about other people’s children, not Ayers’ or Obama’s. At one point the Obama campaign disingenuously said their children went to the same school, implying it was at the same time. Ayers is considerably older than Obama and so are his children who attended the private Lab School of Chicago years before the Obama children did. Obviously neither of these men considered their dream world’s little red schoolhouses for their own offspring.

2) Take a close gander at the draft Democrat platform. It is full of plans to bring community organizers to your own neighborhood — undoubtedly offering us all the chance to watch more money wasted on programs and people unable to improve public school academic performance.

Oh well, if that fails, maybe we can just all enroll our kids at the Lab School.