Understand the Obama-Ayers connection

The national press is avoiding a critical campaign issue, deflecting your attention from it. Michael Scherer, a Time Washington bureau correspondent covering the 2008 presidential campaign, recently wrote that we should either:

1) be outraged that the wife of the founder of the Annenberg Foundation, which funded the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, which once had "former ‘domestic terrorist’ William Ayers and Sen. Barack Obama" as board members, has announced support for John McCain, or

2) we should think "this whole William Ayers thing is just plain silly."

Scherer chose the latter, indicating he is ignorant, malicious, or both.

In what passes for journalism at Time Magazine, if one donates money for a good cause and others abuse it, a donation to any other good cause is tarnished. That’s crazy and illogical. But the real problem is that Obama and Ayers are anything but silly.

Putting "domestic terrorist" in quotes, Scherer minimizes the words. Ayers’ terror as a founding member of the Weather Underground was real. He designed nail bombs to detonate at a dance to blow up America’s young men and women. Released on a technicality, Ayers said, "Guilty as sin. Free as a bird. Isn’t America a great country." Neither is Ayers "former." He still wishes he had done more.

Ayers and his radical associates are authoritarians who use local unrest to gain power. Ayers and Obama are a pair.

Obama misled ABC News, dismissing Ayers as "just some guy in my neighborhood." Obama has known Ayers for at least 13 years and possibly since 1988. Ayers’ wife and partner in crime, Bernadine Dohrn, worked at the Chicago law firm of Sidley & Austin from 1984 to 1988 — overlapping the period Michelle Robertson (later Obama’s wife) worked there as a summer intern in 1987, returning full time in the fall of 1988. Barack Obama was a summer intern at the same law firm in 1989. Obama returned to Chicago in 1991 to work on voter registration with a project later related to a group mentioned below called ACORN.

Ayers was the architect of the request for a portion of the $500 million Annenberg Foundation project to improve education across the country. Chicago received a $50 million matching grant. The Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC) failed to improve education in Chicago, but it accomplished other Ayers goals.

Ayers arranged for Barack Obama to chair the CAC board, according to contemporary correspondence. Ayers chaired another committee that recommended partnerships to Obama’s board, the group responsible for matching Annenberg funds 2-for-1 and for issuing recommended grants. Using that structure, Ayers funneled millions of dollars to friends, relatives, and sympathetic organizations with radical views of social justice. Grants were arranged so schools in need were obliged to partner with organizations Ayers approved, like the Small Schools Workshop Ayers started, headed by another former Maoist Ayers knew from his radical youth, Mike Klonsky. CAC granted money to ACORN, an organization Obama served as an attorney for on a case to lower mortgage standards, that Obama later fed earmarks to, that his presidential campaign hired, and that is now under investigation in at least seven states for bogus voter registrations.

Obama worked with Ayers three years as chairman, and until 2001 as board member. Ayers still champions radical social and educational views. Speaking before Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Ayers said, "Teaching invites transformations, it urges revolutions small and large. La educacion es revolucion!" The Obama-Ayers professional working relationship allowed Ayers to promote his agenda at the expense of Chicago children’s education. Obama used his position on the CAC board to jump-start his political career, with Ayers and Dohrn hosting Obama’s first campaign party at their home.

Scherer is dangerously wrong to write, "this whole William Ayers thing is just plain silly." Compliant writers like Scherer aren’t telling you what you need to know about Ayers, Obama, and others. Obama has changed his story repeatedly, always trying to minimize his relationship with Ayers. In the late 1960s, German radical SDS theoretician Rudy Dutschki coined a phrase from Italian radical Antonio Gramsci’s philosophy that guns could not overcome Western ideas; it would require "a long march through the institutions." Today Ayers serves on a national curriculum committee marching through education. Too many who pander to Obama in the national press are marching through journalism.

Accentuated by economic panic, amplified by the press, this year’s election message is perfectly tuned for voters who are not paying attention.

If voters are not careful, and prefer unspecified hope and change over confidence and trust, the long march may also make dangerous progress on Election Day.