If Palin’s recent utterance of the Ayers word in her latest campaign trail speeches is a harbinger, the media now anticipates McCain will be going after Obama for his connection to former Weather Underground domestic terrorist, William Ayers in the next Presidential debate.
Conservatives have felt this is a long overdue strategy. Personally, I’ll reserve judgment until I see what McCain’s tact will be. There is the viable and pertinent issue… Obama & Ayers’ culpability in failed education reform, their mismanagement of funds, and their political *and* financial support for organizations that were instrumental in risky subprime loans.
Then there is the (already out there) defense the Obama camp will take… an insistence the relationship between Ayers and Obama is remote, but not close. So they will lessen the villianous appearance of Ayers, and emphasize the “regard” for Ayers in the Chicago area for his educational efforts… or as the info outdated WaPo put it back in Feb 2008, member of the Chicago intelligentsia… and his personal transformation from an unrepentive radical into a more passive, productive IL citizen.
To use Obama’s favorite expression… let me be clear… If McCain attempts to merely use a “guilt by association” strategy , it is a losing endeavor. If the Obama faithful and undecided haven’t been deterred by longevity with the Rev. Wright; Obama’s rapid political rise with the aid of the players of the Chicago political machine (Daley, Rezko, Emil Jones along with Ayers); or his close relationship with Israel hating, Palestine supporter Rashid Khalidi, any relationship with William Ayers will fall on deaf ears, and end up in a negative for the McCain column.
But there is a strategy that is not only a valid issue, but serves as proof that Obama’s severely limited executive leadership is not only an abject failure in both educational reform, but an example of the same old cronyism for economic waste, and highlights Obama’s personal contribution to the subprime crisis.
And all can be accomplished by pulling in the Chicago Annenberg Challenge yet again.
First McCain needs to establish that Obama and Ayers were actually partners in political business, and did more than occasionally “cross paths”… as the Obama camp, and the latest NYT’s propaganda lay claim. We all know that Obama’s first campaign was kicked off by a meeting at Ayers home… which today the Obama camp denies was a fundraiser, preferring to use the word “coffee” meeting.
According to the NYTs propaganda, Obama says he met Ayers the first time in 1995 – a year before – which would be when he was appointed as Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Annenber Challenge. But from 1993 to 1995, Obama also served on the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago simultaneously with another board member, William Ayers. Are we to assume that these board members never meet? Looking at today’s Board membership, we’re talking about an intimate size of 9-10 (if you include the secretary).
In fact, the quintessential lawyer/blogger on their relationship, and the CAC – and no conservative, I might add – has been Steve Diamond from Global Labor and Politics blog. He has documented what he believes as sufficient proof that William Ayers had more than ample influence in making sure the novice Obama was appointed Chairman of the CAC (Chicago Annenberg Challenge) Board. Would he apply that influence for a novice stranger?
This means two things… Obama and Ayers had the opportunity to establish a relationship as early as Obama’s Wood’s Fund days in 1993… two years before Obama claims. And that Ayers may have tapped Obama specifically for handling CAC money based on their shared organizational support thru the Woods Fund.
So what, you say? Now on to just what the CAC relationship was between Ayers and Obama… bringing us to:
THE BUDGET & EDUCATIONAL FAILURE OF THE CAC
The CAC structure is adeptly explained in full by Steve Diamond, and I suggest you read all from the horse’s mouth. But to summarize, the CAC had three divisions in it’s structure – the Board, the Collaborative, and Consortium of Chicago Schools Research (CCSR).
Obama chaired the money arm of the CAC structure – the Board. Everything fiscal including fund raising, fund matching and the grants. In other words, Obama oversaw the original grant funds, and the ensuing funds raised which ultimately totalled $160 million.
Ayers co-chaired the Collaborative arm, which was the “clearing house” for ideas, strategies, plans etal all for the CAC. This arm also represented the “various constituencies in the Chicago schools and wider community”.
Together, they controlled the money, and the decisions where the money went.
The failure? The third arm, the Consortium of Chicago School Research, was charged with monitoring the impact of the projects. Apparently it was a lot of money down the drain. There was no statistical difference between Annenberg schools and demographically similar non-Annenberg schools.
It needs to be also mentioned that a more than healthy bulk of that money actually went to political purposes, electing local officials friendly with Ayers and Obama’s approach to education. The CCSR report specifically mentioned this political conflict of the CAC’s political promotions as a possible factor in the lack of impact in student achievement.
CONCLUSION? Obama, in control of a hefty sum of cash, funneled *most* of it to his and Ayers’ political allies… not to the schools. Additionally, in order for the schools to receive the CAC funds, they were required to ally with particular organizations.
Bottom line? He made his and Ayers’ political friends powerful, but did nothing to achieve the educational improvement that was the object of Annenberg’s national challenges.
McCain should be pointing out that Obama’s leadership for educational reform, and his control over the budget, was politically oriented/influenced, and the student beneficiaries were left in the lurch. Bad leadership for both handling money, and for educational reform.
WOODS FUND, the CAC and ACORN
ACORN is most noted for undergoing voter fraud investigations, cover ups and possible future convictions. However ACORN’s housing arm is another ugly step child. But it’s only in the wake of the bailout that ACORN’s lobbying and direct involvement with fostering subprime loan packages for minorities has hit the public airwaves.
ACORN and Obama also go way back… ACORN was a recipient of grants from Chicago’s Woods Funds; Obama was a community organizer/trainer of ACORN staff; and his legal firm represented ACORN in lawsuits against banks, accused of redlining. Obama himself, in what constitutes his only personal trial attorney experience, represented Calvin Roberson in just such a lawsuit against CitiBank.
So what does the CAC have to do with ACORN? Remember that political agenda that contributed to the failed experiment? The way that money got to the political operatives that Ayers (as the strategy CAC leader) and Obama (as the CAC money man) wanted to support was thru community organizing groups… and included ACORN.
CONCLUSION? We have Obama’s money handling supporting ACORN not only thru Woods Fund, but also thru the CAC. We also have his personal involvement with ACORN as an organizer trainer. We have proof that he used his legal career – both personally and as an employee – to support keeping risky loans alive and well.
Obama is directly linked to those key to our economic crisis we have today. But the until causes of the financial crash of 2008 gets sorted out from the BS the media and Congress are spreading, the US electorate will not see this 6 degrees of separation between Obama and the economic bail out.
I’m not sure where McCain’s going to go with his Ayers “one-two” punch. But I sure know where he can’t go. If he stops at “guilt by association”, it’s an Obama score. If he plays the ACORN and CRA card too heavily, they will accuse him of using the minority to scape goat for Wall Street.
But if he can drive home the links between Obama, Ayers, the Woods Fund, the CAC, ACORN and the subprime financial crash… he’ll come out a winner.
Vietnam era Navy wife, indy/conservative, and an official California escapee now residing as a red speck in the sea of Oregon blue.