In the endless stream of dross that passes for news and commentary these days, Michael Barone stands out as an exemplar of a man who can write tersely, accurately and persuasively about matters that are or should be of public interest.
Yesterday, he took note of Stanley Kurtz’s continuing reportage on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge:
Kurtz makes it clear that Obama worked more closely with Ayers than previously suggested. But mostly Kurtz concentrates on what the CAC actually did. There are two serious issues here: Mainstream media have shown an almost complete lack of interest in both of them.
We now know that the CAC ran through $160 million dollars –$50 million from the Annenberg Foundation, managed by Brown University — and a reported $110 million dollars in matching funds. But precisely who received that money, and why two reviews have established that the investment resulted in no improvement in student achievement, is still a mystery:
Stanley Kurtz wrote on August 18:
Four folders, containing auditor’s reports, where clearly marked, in bold type, “THESE FOLDERS ARE RESTRICTED VIA ANNENBERG CHALLENGE until further notice.”
After some interference and delay, he was allowed to view other documents, including the file containing “records of eight CAC Board of Directors meetings in 1995, when CAC was first set up.” What the files disclose is more details of the Ayers-Obama educational agenda, something I doubt would be embraced by the general public (if only the media informed them of it):
The CAC’s agenda flowed from Mr. Ayers’s educational philosophy, which called for infusing students and their parents with a radical political commitment, and which downplayed achievement tests in favor of activism. In the mid-1960s, Mr. Ayers taught at a radical alternative school, and served as a community organizer in Cleveland’s ghetto. In works like “City Kids, City Teachers” and “Teaching the Personal and the Political,” Mr. Ayers wrote that teachers should be community organizers dedicated to provoking resistance to American racism and oppression. His preferred alternative? “I’m a radical, Leftist, small ‘c’ communist,” Mr. Ayers said in an interview in Ron Chepesiuk’s, “Sixties Radicals,” at about the same time Mr. Ayers was forming CAC.
How did the CAC help Ayers, who headed the operating arm of the CAC, translate his revolutionary plan into action? CAC required every participating school to partner with external partners who would best advance its leftist agenda:
CAC disbursed money through various far-left community organizers, such as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (or Acorn).
That’s not all Kurtz found. The minutes of the early CAC Board meetings tie Obama far more closely to unrepentant Weatherman bomb designer and leader Bill Ayers than he has previously admitted.
In fact, looking at what Kurtz and Steve Diamond have dug out of these files and their research, and what others who’ve been tracking the “vapor trail” of Obama’s early life beyond his sketchy, self-serving autobiographies, Tom Maguire believes (as do others) that the Ayers-Obama association began almost a full decade earlier-in 1988:
[T]here was a push for education reform in Chicago in 1988. The ABCs Coalition was coordinated by Bill Ayers, whose father was a key member of major philanthropic group that was also part of the ABCs Coalition.
Another member of the ABCs — Barack Obama’s Developing Communities Project. So, did Bill and Barack meet back in 1988, just before Obama went off to Harvard? The timing is tricky — per his autobiography, Obama was working with a city-wide coalition on school reform in early 1988. However, he was planning to leave the Developing Communities Project in May of 1988 and go to Harvard that fall.
The ABCs Coalition apparently came together in the spring of 1988 — this detailed history dates the ABCs Coalition to March 1988 (page 20), which leaves plenty of time for Obama and Ayers to meet and greet. The ABCs effort had hammered out a proposal and held a big rally by June 6, so a lot of work was done in April and May while Barack would have been involved.
Unless his name was picked from out of a hat in 1995 it is an excellent bet that Obama and Ayers met in 1988, which explains his subsequent recruitment by Ayers (denied by the campaign, of course) for the Annenberg Challenge in 1995. Supporting info here and here, and let’s hat tip Steve Diamond, who was the first person I know to promote this 1988 connection. I’ll leave with this clipping from 1991 linking the ABCs Coalition, Obama’s the Developing Communities Project, and Bill Ayers.
How is it possible that Obama in writing two autobiographies could ignore his 13 year-long association with Ayers if he were not purposely trying to hide or downplay it? How is it possible that the media could continue to ignore the CAC story? How is it possible that American voters, who regularly indicate such enormous concern over educational issues, could be so long kept in the dark by the Fourth Estate about the educational project Obama ran into the ground while he aided his revolutionary pals in recruiting Chicago kids to their extreme left wing mission?
It’s clear that Obama and his friends, including those in the press, are trying to keep this all bottled up at least until after the election.
Then, I suppose, like the Clinton peccadilloes in Arkansas, this story will be free to unfold, too late to inform the voters.