This is one of the more vicious hit pieces on Obama I have seen - a timeline of his "career". Geez, look at all the empty boxes punctuated by the occasional speech or new book about Obama. Let's elect him President quickly so he has something to put on his resume and can write another book about himself.
YOU SEE RIGHT THROUGH ME: OK, I 'fess up - seeing Obama as Director of the Developing Communities Project from 1985 to 1988 is not news to me but it graphically illustrates the point I have been making about his initial alliance with Thomas and Bill Ayers in the ABCs coalition back in 1987. Note the Developing Communities Project as a member of the ABCs coalition coordinated by Bill Ayers. The goal was public school reform, just as with the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, but Ayers did not simply pick Obama's name out of a hat when Obama was made chairman of the Challenge back in 1995 - Ayers had known him for years.
Interestingly, not even the new right wing attack group seems to know this. Yet.
MORE: Let's help fill in the blank boxes on Obama's timeline:
During the months of May and June 1988, ABC'S carried out a legislative strategy that one Republican legislator called "the most effective grassroots lobbying campaign I have ever seen.
School would not start for Obama at Harvard until late August or September. However, per "Dreams From My Father" (p 290) we see that Barack planned to leave his directorship at the Developing Communities Project in May of 1998. But on p. 289 he tells us that
"The months passed at a breathless pace, with constant reminders of all the things left undone. We worked with a citywide coalition in support of school reform."
I doubt the ABC's Coalition sprang into being in June 1988 and pulled off such an effective grassroots operation. Per this detailed history (p. 20) the ABCs Coalition formed in March of 1988. More background:
A bitter month-long school strike disrupted the opening of school in fall 1987, spurring parent and community groups to demand not only an end to the school strike, but also radical change in how the school system operated. After the strike was settled, Mayor Harold Washington convened an Education Summit that included many CURE supporters, along with business leaders sympathetic to radical decentralization.
The Education Summit spawned the broader Alliance for Better Chicago Schools (known as the ABC’S Coalition) and brought together parent, community, and business leaders around a common reform agenda. The reform movement now comprised Chicago grassroots activists from every racial and ethnic background and virtually every Chicago neighborhood, including both multi-issue community organizations and groups that focused solely on school reform.
Washington died in November 1987; this account says the ABC's Coalition formed in "the middle" of 1988:
Mayor Washington revived the summit process, but died shortly afterward. By the middle of 1988 it became clear to Chicago business that Washington's summit was not going to produce the kind of changes that they felt needed to be made. Three summit subgroups were preparing legislation to be considered in Springfield. Chicago United responded by forming a business/community advocacy coalition called the Alliance for Better Chicago Schools (ABCs Coalition). The goal of this coalition was to draft a consensus school reform bill.
The proposal hammered out at the summit was presented at the end of March 1998 and went nowhere, apparently. The timing is certainly close enough that an enterprising reporter ought to ask for a clarification from the Obama campaign. As if.
AYERS IN CHICAGO: A 1990 Chicago Reader profile of Bill Ayers includes this about his entry into school reform:
Few members of the school reform movement can say for certain when it was that they first met Ayers. It was as though one day they looked and he was there.
That would have been late 1987, in the aftermath of a debilitating 21-day teacher strike that enraged parents and inspired them to demand immediate change.
By then Ayers had moved to Hyde Park and was working at UIC.
"I arrived just as the movement was picking up," says Ayers. "I was immediately intrigued. I started attending different meetings. I couldn't stay away."
Some of his new allies knew nothing about his background; those who did didn't care. He was friendly and personable. He was liked by virtually everyone he met.
...It was at Sabin that he met Lourdes Monteagudo, then the school's principal. On the south side he met Coretta McFerren, leader of a group called the People's Coalition for Educational Reform.
"I love Bill; I truly think of him as my brother," says McFerren. "I don't agree with everything he says. ...
McFerren and others invited Ayers to meetings of the Alliance for Better Chicago Schools, a coalition that includes members of Hispanic, business, black, and civic organizations. He started attending the group's monthly meetings, held over breakfasts of eggs, sausage, rolls, fruit, and coffee in a conference room on the 57th floor of First National Bank's downtown headquarters.
In many ways, Ayers's philosophy was ideal for ABCs. The targets of his criticism--central office bureaucrats and ineffective classroom teachers--were not members of the coalition. For ABCs' members he had almost nothing but praise.
Within a few weeks, the group named Ayers convener, which means he runs their meetings.
"He plays a good role because he listens to what everyone is saying," says Laurie Glenn, a member of the coalition. "That's important with a group like ABCs, which has so many divergent interests and so many members who want to talk."
"If necessary, I'll let everyone talk until they are exhausted," Ayers adds. "The meetings go on a little long, but it doesn't matter so long as people feel they've had their say."
Can anyone muster a date out of that? Let's say that Bil Ayers may well have been chairing meetings by April or May of 1988, leaving plenty of time for him to have met Barack.