Karl of Protein Wisdom studies the vapor trail of the Obama resume but he overlooks Obama's involvement and non-achievement in public school reform, a topic which includes a bonus link to unrepentant Weatherman Bill Ayers.
A bit from Karl on Obama's early years in Chi-town:
From June 1985 to May 1988, Obama was a community organizer with the Developing Communities Project in Chicago, working primarily to organize a housing project called Altgeld Gardens. According to the Boston Globe:
For all its impact on Obama, Altgeld Gardens today seems far from the kind of success story politicians like to tout.
Dozens of buildings are boarded up, with fences surrounding much of the property. The roads are a potholed mess. Blinking lights illuminate a series of towers where police have mounted cameras.
That’s change you can believe in. Moreover, Hazel Johnson, who has lived at Altgeld Gardens since 1962 – and was an organizer long before Obama appeared on the scene – claims Obama has exaggerated his role in getting asbestos removed from the projects. Otherwise, Obama did not get much done — and even had difficulty explaining what a “community organizer” did.
Ahh, well - let us not give short shrift to Obama's involvement in public education reform.
There was a city-wide push for public school reform in 1987-88 after Secretary of Education Bill Bennett called Chicago's schools the "worst in America". A number of different civic-minded coalitions emerged to promote their reform agendas. Barack Obama's Developing Communities project allied with the ABCs Coalition, a group apparently coordinated by (your patience is about to be rewarded) former Weatherman Bill Ayers [No Quarter link]. Other groups in the ABCs coalition were Chicago United and the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club, both of which are linked to businessman and philanthropist Thomas Ayers, Bill Ayers father. This report describes the 1988 reform effort; this photo from the back of the report links Obama and the Ayer's family.
Obama was off at Harvard from 1988 to 1991, but flashing forward a bit, he re-partnered with Bill Ayers for another school reform effort in 1995, the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. With much fanfare at the White House philanthropist Walter Annenberg announced a $500 million challenge grant program to spur school reform efforts across America. Bill Ayers led the effort to bring some of that money to Chicago, which resulted in the creation of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge in 1995. Barack Obama was selected as the group's first chairman and Bill Ayers worked closely with the group through his newly-formed Chicago School Reform Collaborative.
The press has not exactly picked up on this Obama-Ayers connection, and Obama's Fact Check team seems to have amnesia in describing this long involvement between the two men.
As to why Obama is not touting his long experience with school reform - well, not much was actually accomplished in the 1988 round, and the Chicago Annenberg Challenge was viewed more as an opportunity to learn from failure than as an actual success. And just maybe the campaign team feels a bit of awkwardness with the Ayers connection.
However, public school reform, unlike asbestos mitigation, is a topic most Americans are interested in discussing. We will see whether Obama can hide his embarrassing history beyond November (It was Mission Accomplished as far as hiding it from David Brooks last week).
Keep Hope alive! And Change, too.
MORE: JM Hanes has more in the comments.