[More from Roger L. Simon: Barack Obama — Running on Empty with Bernardine Dohrn]
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has consistently tried to discount the depth of his relationship with Bill Ayers, one of the founding members of the Weather Underground, a radical left-wing terrorist group that formed in 1969 and was most famous for a string of bombings in the 1970s.
Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin hammered Obama’s relationship with Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn over the weekend, stating that the Democratic presidential candidate “palled around with terrorists.”
Obama campaign manager David Axelrod and other campaign surrogates are now furtively trying to claim today that Obama “didn’t know the history” of Ayers and Dohrn as the leaders of America’s most infamous left-wing terrorist group when Obama met at their home for a political “coming out” in 1995, but their attempt to make pretend that Barack Obama didn’t know of their terrorist past is laughable.
By 1995, Barack Obama had known Bill Ayers at least eight years since their shared involvement in the Alliance for Better Chicago Schools, if not longer. Bernardine Dohrn, once labeled “the most dangerous woman in America” by none other than J. Edgar Hoover, was also well known as the inspiration for the 1988 movie Running on Empty. Subtle terrorists they were not.
As noted in the New York Times, Obama has tried to minimize his relationship with Ayers, dismissing him as “a guy who lives in my neighborhood” and “somebody who worked on education issues in Chicago that I know.”
Axelrod also tried to excuse the extent of Obama’s involvement with Ayers, stating, “Bill Ayers lives in his neighborhood. Their kids attend the same school. … They’re certainly friendly, they know each other, as anyone whose kids go to school together.”
It’s an obvious fiction pitched by Axelrod, since the Obama children are presently in elementary school, while Ayers’ children are all grown adults, but the Ayers-Obama family connection doesn’t stop at the imaginary connections between the children.
Bernardine Dohrn, Ayers’ wife, has largely escaped recent scrutiny, but that lack of attention doesn’t reduce her role as either a leader — and some may argue, the leader — of the Weathermen. Nor can it mask her ties to both Barack and Michelle Obama. It’s now a family affair.
According to a reputable Pajamas Media source that wishes to remain anonymous and knew the Dohrn family, Bernardine Dohrn “always believes the ends justify the means” and is the head of the Ayers-Dohrn household. Dohrn was the violent, arguably pathological Leninist core of the Revolutionary Youth Movement, which led her and allied militants to fight for control of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). The SDS split as a result of the Dohrn-led revolt and the Revolutionary Youth Movement split again, with Dohrn’s faction becoming the Weather Underground.
For those of you unfamiliar with Dohrn and her special love of violence in the name of radicalism, one need look no further than her December 1969 rant celebrating the brutal Tate–LaBianca murders with the exhortation, “Dig it! First they killed those pigs and then they put a fork in their bellies. Wild!” According to Discover the Networks, Dohrn had even less sympathy for those who were on the receiving end of the Weathermen’s violence:
A Chicago district attorney named Richard Elrod was seriously injured in the Weatherman riot that erupted during the Chicago “Days of Rage” in October 1969, and he was paralyzed for life as a result. Dohrn later led a celebration of Elrod’s paralysis by leading her comrades in a parody of a Bob Dylan song — “Lay, Elrod, Lay.”
Dohrn was a principal signatory of a Declaration of War against “AmeriKKKa” — now a standard spelling among far-left radicals — and co-authored Prairie Fire: The Politics of Anti-Imperialism. Dohrn participated in multiple bombings and was accused of planting a bomb at a San Francisco police station that killed an officer and maimed others, according to an FBI informant.
Once her days as an active terrorist were over, Bernardine Dohrn was employed by prestigious law firm Sidley & Austin from 1984 to 1988. Dohrn had been hired by Howard Trienens, the head of the firm and an associate of Thomas G. Ayers, Bill Ayers’ father. It is unclear whether Obama knew the former fugitive Dohrn through Sidley & Austin but there is no doubt that, by the time Obama joined Sidley & Austin as a summer associate, Obama had known Bill Ayers for two years through their involvement in Alliance for Better Chicago Schools.
Ayers and Dohrn infamously played host and hostess to Barack Obama’s political “coming out” with a meeting at their home, where outgoing State Senator Alice Palmer tapped Barack Obama to be her handpicked successor.
Other direct connections between the Obamas and the Ayers are much harder to discern and have never been thoroughly investigated.
In reading Saturday’s New York Times article noted above, a reader might be left with the impression that the terrorist organization headed by Ayers and Dohrn was engaged in little more than pranks, with a deprecating, “Most of the bombs the Weathermen were blamed for had been placed to do only property damage,” starting the solitary paragraph that mentions just three of the group’s specific attacks.
That the Weathermen — and specifically Obama fundraising hostess Bernardine Dohrn — were accused of killing an officer in a police station bombing in San Francisco was downplayed, as too was the extent of the carnage planned for the Fort Dix dance terror plot in 1970. That the Weathermen tried to murder a judge and his family with fire bombs was somehow not mentioned at all, nor were later Weathermen-related bombings that occurred through Barack Obama’s continuing political radicalization during the early 1980s.
And just where was Barack Obama during the early 1980s?
Though the mainstream media has been curiously uninterested in Barack Obama’s undergraduate years, Obama spent two years at Occidental College developing into an activist and then transferred to Columbia University, graduating in 1983. Little more is known about Obama’s time at Columbia and he seems to avoid mentioning it as much as possible. The Columbia University wiki reports that Obama “repeatedly turned down requests to be the Class Day speaker in recent years, as well as general requests to appear from the College Democrats.” Obama finally gave a speech at Columbia on September 11, 2008, but did not take questions from the media. Obama has also turned down repeated requests to release his academic transcripts. What happened during his time at Columbia that caused Barack Obama to be so secretive and hold the school conspicuously at arm’s length?
Obama’s Columbia roommate Sohale Siddiqi — called “Sadek” in Dreams from My Father, and whose real name the Obama campaign sought to hide — revealed nothing damaging in an interview he did in May with the Associated Press, furthering the mystery. Two of Obama’s and Siddiqi’s other friends, Mohammed Hasan Chandoo and Wahid Hamid, have contributed the maximum individual amount allowed by law to the Obama campaign and the men have become bundlers for the Obama campaign, raising between $100,000 and $200,000 each.
The big question unasked by the media is if Barack Obama met Bill Ayers during the time both were in the Columbia University community at the same time that a splinter group of the Weathermen was still actively planting bombs. While the possibility has been suggested in blogs, there does not appear to be any record of any media directly asking Obama if he met Ayers in New York and if such a relationship spurred Obama to travel to Chicago to begin his career as a community organizer.
Barack Obama’s first known meetings with Bill Ayers would occur three years after Obama graduated from Columbia, in Chicago in 1987. Ayers was an activist in the Alliance for Better Chicago Schools. Community organizer Barack Obama’s Developing Communities Project was a member of that Alliance.
Barack Obama was not eight, but a 24-year-old community organizer in Chicago at the time of the Weathermen’s last attacks, and 29 when many of the last remnants of the Underground in the offshoot May 19th Communist Organization were sentenced to prison in 1990. (Former Weatherman Elizabeth Ann Duke is still a fugitive and wanted by the FBI.)
BarackObama.com, the campaign’s official website, offers up a “fact check” that Obama was just eight years old when the Weathermen were active in 1969. The Obama campaign has tried to use the founding date of the Weathermen as a touchstone, claiming that the acts of the group were something that happened “40 years ago” when Obama was a child. Far closer to the truth is the December 6, 1990, sentencing date of Weathermen Susan Rosenberg and Linda Sue Evans, when the last of the Weathermen were sentenced for their role in a string of bombings in the mid-1980s, including bombs that detonated at the National War College, the Washington Navy Yard Computing Center, the Washington Navy Yard Officers’ Club, New York City’s Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the Israeli Aircraft Industries Building, New York City’s South African Consulate, and the United States Capitol Building.
Barack Obama’s ties to the Weathermen aren’t ties that were 40 years removed from a child’s experiences, but the conscious decision of a young radical to establish a relationship to an infamous terrorist because of shared ideology and interests.
Barack Obama never set any bombs. But he’s never had problems with associating with those who did.