Ed Driscoll

New Silicon Graffiti Video: Radical Chic...Frozen In Amber

The Black Panthers and Weathermen (aka Weather Underground) were anarchistic paramilitary far left groups from the late 1960s, whose ties crossed at least once in 1970. They’re resurfacing again though in a surprising place: each has been referenced via Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, particlarly the latter group. Back in February, the Politico’s Ben Smith noted:

In 1995, State Senator Alice Palmer introduced her chosen successor, Barack Obama, to a few of the district’s influential liberals at the home of two well known figures on the local left: William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.

While Ayers and Dohrn may be thought of in Hyde Park as local activists, they’re better known nationally as two of the most notorious–and unrepentant–figures from the violent fringe of the 1960s anti-war movement.

Now, as Obama runs for president, what two guests recall as an unremarkable gathering on the road to a minor elected office stands as a symbol of how swiftly he has risen from a man in the Hyde Park left to one closing in fast on the Democratic nomination for president.

“I can remember being one of a small group of people who came to Bill Ayers’ house to learn that Alice Palmer was stepping down from the senate and running for Congress,” said Dr. Quentin Young, a prominent Chicago physician and advocate for single-payer health care, of the informal gathering at the home of Ayers and his wife, Dohrn. “[Palmer] identified [Obama] as her successor.”

Obama and Palmer “were both there,” he said.

Obama’s connections to Ayers and Dorhn have been noted in some fleeting news coverage in the past. But the visit by Obama to their home–part of a campaign courtship–reflects more extensive interaction than has been previously reported.

And Tom Maguire also uncovered another connection:

The Obama/Ayers soundbite is this: Obama and Ayers (a professor of education) worked together on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge for several years in an ultimately unsuccessful effort to reform Chicago’s public schools. The extent of their relationship is not clear, since Obama has been opaque on this topic both in a televised debate and at his website. However, Ayers was instrumental in founding the Chicago Annenberg Challenge and Obama was the group’s first chairman, so there is something being concealed there.

And it’s not like Hillary Clinton is without sin in this department, herself.

(Earlier Silicon Graffiti videos can be found here.)