The MSM finally seems willing to shine a bright light onto the political alliance between Bill Ayers and Barack Obama that, for obvious reasons, the Obama campaign has been trying to keep in a dark closet.
Mentions of Global Labor and our work on the Ayers/Obama alliance this week in:
The New York Times (albeit only their oddly titled blog, The Opinionator).
And in Michael Barone’s column in US News and World Report.
I think Barone makes the right point:
“…most American politicians would not have chosen to associate with a man with Ayers’s past or of Ayers’s beliefs. It’s something voters might reasonably want to take into account.”
My concern all along about this evolving story is that the relationship with Ayers tells us something important about Obama – he obviously saw Ayers as someone who could help him politically. Yet, Ayers’ authoritarian politics are irrelevant to the problems Obama would face as President.
What can Ayers’ celebration of the authoritarian government of Hugo Chavez tell Obama about how to respond to global poverty, inequality, or terrorism?
Indeed, that may explain why Obama is now jettisoning many of his mildly progressive concerns about U.S. foreign policy for a viewpoint remarkably close to the views of John McCain, who apparently thinks that a new Cold War with Russia is on the cards. His long association with a certain strand of “left” authoritarianism represented by people like Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn, another ex-Weather Underground terrorist, and Ayers’ buddy the maoist Mike Klonsky leaves him completely unprepared to develop a genuinely progressive and independent path for U.S. foreign policy.
Of course, nature abhors a vacuum – politics, too. So as Obama attempts to (ever so politely) disentangle himself from his past authoritarian left associations he is grabbing on to mainstream Democratic Party policies that, particularly in foreign affairs, are hard to differentiate from the positions of John McCain.
Ralph Nader, at least, offers a starting point for a new progressive direction for America. Nothing in his past but heroic service to American consumers and workers for fifty years.
Voters should have the chance to sort this out for themselves. All the more reason, then, for Obama to explain his long time alliance with Ayers. Full disclosure of the material facts is at the heart of what I teach my business law students – it is the starting point for socially responsible corporations.
Should we demand any less of our politicians?
UPDATE: University of Illinois at Chicago appears to have done the right thing and liberated its holdings of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge’s records. The University admits now – as I argued here – that they do indeed have valid possession of the documents. They will be available to the public and presumably will now be reviewed closely by the MSM. It’s about time. In the meantime, go here and here to see the CAC records I was able to obtain several months ago and here for my analysis of those documents and what they say about the long standing relationship between Barack Obama and Bill Ayers.