Stanley Kurtz has been investigating the Chicago Annenberg Challenge files in the Richard J. Daley Library at the University of Illinois-Chicago Circle, and he has reported on his results in the Wall Street Journal. I have written before on Ayers, the unrepentant Weather Underground terrorist bomber, who claims to have set bombs at the U.S. Capitol, and Kurtz notes that Obama has tried to play down his long and close association with Ayers. Ayers was the cofounder of the CAC, and Obama was chairman of the board; Kurtz makes it clear that Obama worked more closely with Ayers than previously suggested. But mostly Kurtz concentrates on what the CAC actually did. There are two serious issues here: Mainstream media have shown an almost complete lack of interest in both of them.
One is the closeness of Obama's relationship with an unrepentant terrorist bomber. The second is Obama's own record at the CAC. This was one of the few executive positions Obama has held, and his record on education is undoubtedly a legitimate political issue. From what Kurtz has unearthed, the "reforms" Obama sought to advance were misguided and the CAC largely unsuccessful. I'm open to evidence that the CAC was more successful, and Obama could quite reasonably claim that he has changed the views on education he apparently held when he headed the CAC board. People can learn from experience, and we want a president willing to make changes when policies fail.
But it's interesting that Obama, in his two autobiographies and in his campaign, has said almost nothing about the one executive position he has held and his one major effort on education. If you don't have anything positive to say, it's a good idea to say nothing and hope that nobody else will say anything either.
By Michael Barone