Associate Justice John Paul Stevens spoke at an ABA Thurgood Marshall Awards Dinner honoring Abner Mikva. Part of his speech included this anecdote about how politics works in Chicago.
One evening in 1948 Abner Mikva walked into the office of the Democratic Ward Committeeman and told him that he wanted to do volunteer work for Adlai Stevenson and Paul Douglas. The Committeeman took the cigar out of his mouth, glared at Abner and asked: "Who sent you?" When Ab said, "Nobody sent me", he put the cigar back in his mouth and said: "We don't want nobody that nobody sent."That attitude exists today as much as it did in 1948, and as much as it did in 1994 when Barack made the key move in his early career. He was named Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a $50 million grant program to funnel money into reform efforts at Chicago schools. It turns out that the architect of the Annenberg Challenge was Bill Ayers, who designed the grant proposal and sheparded it to success.
A blogger, Steve Diamond, has written an excellent detailed blog about how Barack made this key career move for himself. Steve concludes
Thus, we have one possible answer to the question: Who "sent" Obama? It was the Ayers family, including Tom, John, Bill and Bernardine Dohrn.Barack's South Side community organizing group, the Developing Communities Project is what the acronym DCP stands for. The battle for local school control refers to groups made up by a majority of parents who have the power to hire and fire principals thus creating a new power center in the school system against what both reform groups viewed as the bureaucratic and expensive school board, on the one hand, and, on the other, the teachers union.
It is highly unlikely that a 30-something second year lawyer would have been plucked from relative obscurity out of a left wing law firm to head up something as visible and important in Chicago as the Annenberg Challenge by Bill Ayers if Ayers had not already known Obama very well. One possibility is that Obama proved himself to the Ayers's in the battle for local school control when he was at the DCP in the 80s.
I am especially intrigued with the Marxist perspective that Steve Diamond provides with respect to this school reform movement. One cannot confuse this with Pres. Bush's NCLB proposal. Steve write
In my view these types of councils are reminiscent of the manipulative "community" bodies set up in regimes like those of Hugo Chavez and the Sandinistas - used to control genuine democratic movements such as trade unions.
Ayers, of course, had long held what the left once knew, broadly, as “maoist” politics – a view of the world that was opposed to Russian style bureaucratic communism from above, instead advocates of this approach supported sending revolutionary cadre to “swim among the masses like fish in the sea” or attempting to establish guerilla foco as romantically theorized by Regis Debray and carried out with disastrous results by Che Guevara.
Today one of the approaches used by these types is the "long march" through the (presumably "bourgeois") institutions. Of course, the "long march" referred to is that taken by Mao and the Red Army in 1934.
Bill Ayers appears to be attempting to lead a similar "long march" in the education world. Ayers is a vigorous advocate of local control along with a related concept called “small schools,” most likely because he believes it gives him the potential to build a political base from which to operate.
Certainly Ayers' politics remain unapologetically authoritarian. He recently traveled to Venezuela - only the most recent of several such trips - and delivered a speech in front of Hugo Chavez in which he spoke of education as the "motor force of revolution" and his interest in "overcom[ing] the failings of capitalist education" and said he thought Chavez was creating "something truly new and deeply humane." He closed his speech by mouthing typical slogans of the authoritarian left: "Viva Mission Sucre! Viva Presidente Chavez! Viva La Revolucion Bolivariana! Hasta La Victoria Siempre!"
Another 'who sent you' event that happened earlier in Barack's life is in the summer of 1989 to work as a summer associate at the prestigious Chicago law firm of Sidley & Austin. Very few top tier law students work for big law firms during their first summer. The big law firms discourage it because if you work for them in the first summer you are likely to work for a second firm the following year and then the firms have to compete to get you.
Sidley & Austin had been long time outside counsel to Commonwealth Edison. The senior Sidley partner who was Comm Ed's key outside counsel, Howard Trienens, was a member of the board of trustees of Northwestern alongside Tom Ayers (and Sidley partner Newton Minow, too). It turns out, Bernardine Dohrn worked at Sidley also. She was hired there in the late 80s, because of the intervention of her father-in-law Tom Ayers, even though she was (and is) not a member of any state bar.
Dohrn was not admitted in either NY or Illinois because of her past jail time for refusing to testify about the murderous 1981 Brinks robbery in which her former Weather Underground (now recast as the "Revolutionary Armed Task Force") "comrades," including Kathy Boudin (biological mother of Chesa Boudin, who was raised by Ayers and Dohrn) participated. She was finally paroled after serving 22 years of a plea bargained single 20-to-life sentence for her role in the robbery where a guard was shot and killed and two police officers were killed. The father of Chesa Boudin, David Gilbert, was sentenced to 75-to-life, with no chance of parole, after a trial in which he refused to participate. Chesa is the co-author of a recent apologia for the regime of Venezuelan "left" strong man, Hugo Chavez.
Trienens recently explained his unusual decision to hire Dohrn, who had never practice law and had graduated from law school (before going on her bombing spree) 17 years before in 1967) to The Chicago Tribune saying, "We sometimes hire friends."
I give a tip of the hat to TownHall columnist Mary Grabar for providing me with the link to Steve Diamond's blog.
I hope Kowalski will read and comment on this diary as I think he probably has additional anecdotal knowledge about professors and trustees at Northwest University. The supporters of Barack will try to paint me and others who bring up the established relationships between Barack and radical Marxist terrorists as being racist and bigoted. I reject the premise of their portrayal that I'm a bigot and racist for calling these relationships to folks attention. This vote coming up in November to elect the next POTUS is extremely important. When you go into the booth to cast your vote you need to be armed with an answer to the question... Who sent me this candidate on this ballot?