I have waxed both seriously and clownishly on this site about Barack Obama’s “Cotton Candy Candidacy” and the fact that his nebulously formed ideas make him something of an empty suit when it comes to trying to figure out where he stands on many issues.
I have also pointed out that this is deliberate obfuscation on his part, done in order to hide his liberal past. Indeed, there is no candidate in recent memory who has taken such pains to see that his political philosophy remains a cipher – a razor thin record in the Illinois Senate along with almost as invisible US Senate votes are carefully hidden away in the campaign’s attic, gone and mostly forgotten in the rush to proclaim the candidate The Agent of Change.
A slippery fish, this fellow Obama. Controversial votes when he was a state senator were avoided by voting “present” or claiming later that he erred by pressing the wrong button and didn’t really mean to take that position. Seen in the context of the “Great Game” the left plays with the American people in trying to mask their liberalism for fear of rejection by the voter, Obama, it turns out, is a master of “post partisan problem solving” – hiding his liberalism under an avalanche of platitudes and feel-good bromides that have his supporters swooning and the media eating out of his hand.
But the closet Obama may be in the process of being revealed. This is the Obama that voted to make a criminal out of a homeowner who was forced to use a gun in his own defense in his own home. This is the Obama that voted against making it a criminal offense for convicts on probation or on bail to have contact with a street gang. Indeed, Obama’s record on anti-gang legislation is simple; because gang members are more often people of color, they shouldn’t be singled out for increased attention or special penalties by the law.
But beyond his clearly liberal voting record in the state senate and his being named the most liberal senator in the US Senate by National Journal there is an issue just starting to bubble and froth below the media radar that may or may not become a huge issue depending on how protective the national media wants to be of Obama.
I am talking about the extent of the candidate’s ties to domestic terrorists from the 1960’s and how the American people might feel about their future president paling around with someone who set off bombs as a member of the group Weather Underground and to this day refuses to apologize for it. William Ayers told his followers back then:
“Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home, kill your parents, that’s where it’s really at.” This earns Ayers at least some spiritual kinship to Osama Bin Laden. (In last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, which of course went to press before Sept. 11, Ayers maintains that this was “a joke.” In a more serious vein, Ayers was quoted by another Times interviewer as saying, “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.”
The earliest known contact between Obama and Ayers was a “meet and greet” at Ayers house in Hyde Park – an upper middle class neighborhood on Chicago’s south side. Ben Smith at Politico gives an overview of the time and circumstance of the meeting:
In 1995, State Senator Alice Palmer introduced her chosen successor, Barack Obama, to a few of the districtâ€™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, theyâ€™re better known nationally as two of the most notorious â€” and unrepentant â€” 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.
In fact, Ayers – unrepentant about bombing his own country as he claims – is an establishment figure in the unreconstructed liberal circles in Hyde Park – a hero to many of the University of Chicago faculty and other leftists who reside there. This is the district Obama ran successfully for state senate.
Ayers and Dohrn are simply the most visible of the far left supporters who propelled Barack Obama’s early political career. The woman who touted Obama at the Ayers meeting, Alice Palmer, was herself a far left activist who was into community organizing like Obama. There was Dr. Quentin Young, a radical physician who was quoted in USA Today in 2005 saying “”national health insurance is no longer the best solution, it’s the only solution: All other alternatives have been proven disastrous failures.” According to Ben Smith, Dr. Young describes Ayers and Obama as “friends:”
Neither Ayers nor the Obama campaign would describe the relationship between the two men. Dr. Young described Obama and Ayers as â€œfriends,â€ but thereâ€™s no evidence their relationship is more than the casual friendship of two men who occupy overlapping Chicago political circles and who served together on the board of a Chicago foundation.
But Obamaâ€™s relationship with Ayers is an especially vivid milepost on his rise, in record time, from a local official who unabashedly reflected a very liberal district to the leader of national movement based largely on the claim that he can transcend ideological divides.
There were other “encounters” with Ayers over the years, including the fact that both men served on a far left foundation as board members:
Wondering whether the three may have crossed paths is not speculation. It is a fact that they have. Ayers, Dohrn, and Obama have appeared together at a number of gatherings and academic events.
In November 1997, Ayers and Obama participated in a panel at the University of Chicago entitled Should a child ever be called a “super predator?” to debate “the merits of the juvenile justice system”.
In April 2002, Ayers, Dohrn, and Obama, then an Illinois State Senator, participated together at a conference entitled “Intellectuals: Who Needs Them?” sponsored by The Center for Public Intellectuals and the University of Illinois-Chicago. Ayers and Obama were two of the six members of the “Intellectuals in Times of Crisis” panel.
Ayers, “who in the 1960s was a member of the terrorist group Weatherman and a wanted fugitive for over a decade as a result of the group’s bombing campaign,” is currently the Board Chairman of the Woods Fund of Chicago and Obama is a former Board member.
Just what does the Woods Fund seek to do with its $68 million in assets?
This new Fund focused on welfare reform, affordable housing, the quality of public schools, race and class disparities in the juvenile justice system, and tax policy as a tool in reducing poverty. The Fund supported the concept of an expanding welfare state allocating ever-increasing amounts of money to the public school system, and the redistribution of wealth via taxes.
“Unreconstructed” liberals indeed.
There have been many articles written the last few weeks asking just how liberal Obama truly is? How far to the left are his true politics? Since his record is so unrevealing of where he stands, one must go to his life, his associates, and his supporters to fill in the blanks.
And what comes to the fore is clear evidence that Barack Obama isn’t just an ordinary liberal like a Kennedy or a Clinton. Obama’s associations and associates reveal someone who has courted far left activists, participated in far left forums, and belonged to far left organizations.
On top of that, his stint as a community organizer was marked by his training in radical organizing. My colleague at American Thinker Kyle-Anne Shriver delved into this aspect of Obama’s early adulthood:
Barack Obama had just graduated from Columbia and was looking for a job. Some white leftists were looking for someone who could recruit in a black neighborhood in the south side of Chicago.
Obama answered a help-wanted ad for a position as a community organizer for the Developing Communities Project (DCP) of the Calumet Community Religious Conference (CCRC) in Chicago. Obama was 24 years old, unmarried, very accustomed to a vagabond existence, and according to his memoir, searching for a genuine African-American community.
Both the CCRC and the DCP were built on the Alinsky model of community agitation, wherein paid organizers learned how to “rub raw the sores of discontent,” in Alinsky’s words.
And Alinsky’s writings on radicalism and social change should chill the bones of not only conservatives, but more moderate liberals:
Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and change the future. This acceptance is the reformation essential to any revolution. To bring on this reformation requires that the organizer work inside the system, among not only the middle class but the 40 per cent of American families – more than seventy million people – whose income range from $5,000 to $10,000 a year [in 1971].”
If this doesn’t sound like the way Obama is running his stealth campaign, I don’t know what does.
I should add that I don’t believe Obama is a dangerous man in the sense he would overturn the government and turn the US into some gigantic gulag. But if the voters knew the half of it, Obama would have been marginalized as a far left liberal as surely as Dennis Kucinich. Instead, Obama has successfully used his oratorical skills to say very little about what he plans to do if elected while inspiring people with a message of hope and change.
Will the media expose Obama? Will they criticize Senator McCain if he tries to paint Obama as a radical? Will they dig deep into Obama’s associations and associates to discover the truth?
Taylor Marsh is perplexed:
This is the vein in the Democratic party I will never understand, cannot accept on any level. What is it about some people who just don’t get the problems with our Democratic nominee being friendly, even taking a contribution (however small), as well as having a meeting as recently as 1995 with an unrepentant domestic terrorist like William Ayers? It reveals a lack of seriousness about the issue of terrorism and the dangerously immature judgment of anyone who is going to associate with a man, at the very least, that Republicans will use to beat us over the head with, having the bonus of hitting a spot the public loves to drink up, which is that our party is not serious about the dangers we face in this world.
It’s the same impulse among those Democrats who think Castro is cool and Chavez is a hero. And in Obama’s case, if the American voter ever gets the full story, the party could be facing a defeat in a year where all the stars were aligned in their favor.