Skip to comments.Obama Once Visited '60s Radicals (Weather Underground Terrorists)
Posted on 02/24/2008 8:27:17 PM PST by Travis McGee
In 1995, State Senator Alice Palmer introduced her chosen successor, Barack Obama, to a few of the districts 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, theyre better known nationally as two of the most notorious and unrepentant 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.
I can remember being one of a small group of people who came to Bill Ayers house to learn that Alice Palmer was stepping down from the senate and running for Congress, said Dr. Quentin Young, a prominent Chicago physician and advocate for single-payer health care, of the informal gathering at the home of Ayers and his wife, Dohrn. [Palmer] identified [Obama] as her successor.
Obama and Palmer were both there, he said.
Obamas connections to Ayers and Dorhn have been noted in some fleeting news coverage in the past. But the visit by Obama to their home part of a campaign courtship reflects more extensive interaction than has been previously reported.
Neither Ayers nor the Obama campaign would describe the relationship between the two men. Dr. Young described Obama and Ayers as friends, but theres 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 Obamas 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.
In one sense, Obamas journey toward the cultural and political center is not unusual among national politicians. But its velocity is.
Politicians of an earlier generation had their own relationships with figures now far to their left. Hillary Rodham Clinton, for instance, interned at a radical San Francisco law firm while in law school.
On the other side of the political spectrum, many in the generation before hers shifted dramatically on civil rights. John McCain voted against creating a holiday to honor Martin Luther King Jr. and later called that a mistake.
The relationship with Ayers gives context to his recent past in Hyde Park politics. Its milieu in which a former violent radical was a stalwart of the local scene, not especially controversial.
Its also a scene whose liberal ideological features while taken for granted by the Chicago press corps that knows Obama best provides a jarring contrast with Obamas current, anti-ideological stance. This contrast between past and present not least the Ayers connection is virtually certain to be a subject Republican operatives will warm to if Obama is the Democratic nominee.
The tension between the present and recent Chicago past is also evident in some of his positions on major national issues. Many national politicians, including Clinton, have moved toward the center over time. But Obamas transitions are still quite fresh.
A questionnaire from his 1996 campaign indicated more blanket opposition to the death penalty, and support of abortion rights, than he currently espouses. He spoke in support of single-payer health care as recently as 2003.
Like many of the most extreme figures from the 1960s Ayers and Dohrn are ambiguous figures in American life.
They disappeared in 1970, after a bomb designed to kill army officers in New Jersey accidentally destroyed a Greenwich Village townhouse, and turned themselves into authorities in 1980. They were never prosecuted for their involvement with the 25 bombings the Weather Underground claimed; charges were dropped because of improper FBI surveillance.
Both have written and spoken at length about their pasts, and today he is an advocate for progressive education and a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago; shes an associate professor of law at Northwestern University.
But unlike some other fringe figures of the era theyre also flatly unrepentant about the bombings they committed in the name of ending the war, defending them on the grounds that they killed no one, except, accidentally, their own members.
Dohrn, however, was jailed for less than a year for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating other Weather Underground members robbery of a Brinks truck, in which a guard and two New York State Troopers were killed.
I don't regret setting bombs; I feel we didn't do enough, Ayers told the New York Times in 2001.
(More at the link)
Speechless CW2 Ping.
This is coming out too soon.
Yeah, well, I once attended a Gary Hart for President fundraiser.
It doesn’t make me a liberal Dem today, does it?
Mr. Obama’s relationship with these radicals may just be a bit overstated.
Consider the timing of this, this story sounds like it might have be part of the Clinton campaign as they are getting a bit desparate.
Was Gary Hart a Weather Underground terrorist?
Travis - did you see this thread? “Farrakhan praises Obama at Saviours’ Day event in Chicago” [http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1975754/posts]
Who was Obama’s mentor in Hawaii? Can you give name and cites as to his CPUSA or other party membership?
Quentin Young, mentioned in this article, was a longtime identified member of the CPUSA in Chicago, and headed a front known as the Medical Committee for Human Rights, and now heads a phone booth operation known roughly as Physicians for Health Care Reform.
He may have claimed to have left the Party, but the Party never LEFT him.
To be with Dohrn and Ayres is very important, and Alice Palmer needs to be reexamined re Obama. There were a lot of leftist groups in Chicago during Mayor Washington’s time and Obama may have been a member of one of them (later on).
When Obama was in high school in Hawaii his mentor was Frank Marshal Davis, a Communist who told Obama not to forget his people and not to start believing what they tell you about equal opportunity and the American way and all that s**t.
They were trying to “end” a war, as is Obama today. I don’t attribute their methods to Obama, just the same misguided objective.
Oh brother, are you seriously apologizing for the pure motives of Weather Underground terrorists, and making excuses for Obama palling around with them in a political scene?
You see the left is never brought to judgment for the evil it perpetrates.
“Could Obama be....SOCIALIST?”
HILLARY is the socialist. Obama is the Communist. With McCain being way to the right.... as a liberal.
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