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  • Ayers’ Living Room

    Posted by Shannon Love on August 27th, 2008 (All posts by )

    The relationship between Obama and Bill Ayers remains clouded. One thing we do know. Obama’s political career began in Ayers’ living room.

    In 1995, State Senator Alice Palmer introduced her chosen successor, Barack Obama, to a few of the district’s influential liberals at the home of two well known figures on the local left: William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. 

    Many details of the 1995 meeting are shrouded by time and by Obama’s and Ayers’ refusals to discuss it. 
    The exact date is not known, but it was in the second half of 1995, before Palmer’s decision — late in her losing congressional primary against Jesse Jackson Jr. — to jump back into the special election for her state Senate seat. (Her decision produced a rift between her and Obama, who was able to get her thrown off the ballot on technical grounds.) 
    Dr. Young and another guest, Maria Warren, described it similarly: as an introduction to Hyde Park liberals of the handpicked successor to Palmer, a well-regarded figure on the left. 
    “When I first met Barack Obama, he was giving a standard, innocuous little talk in the living room of those two legends-in-their-own-minds, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn,” Warren wrote on her blog in 2005. “They were launching him — introducing him to the Hyde Park community as the best thing since sliced bread.” 

    Heh. They’re not all nuts. 

    I doubt we’ll learn any more. Everybody present was a leftist and its hard to imagine any leftist providing ammunition against Obama at this point. Even so the story shows that Ayers wasn’t some marginal character in the community of leftists that surrounded Obama.


    5 Responses to “Ayers’ Living Room”

    1. Lexington Green Says:

      Milt Rosenberg has good links on this subject.

    2. Lexington Green Says:

      This is also good.

    3. capitano Says:

      We’ll see.

      I read some comments on a lefty Chicago-area blog that revealed that some of the old SDS-types still blame Ayers’ Weather Underground terrorists for destroying the non-violent peace movement. Additionally they resent that Ayers used his family wealth and influence to avoid “doing the time.” Probably just some latent jealousy that he’s now mainstream and successful, but it only takes one grudge holder to spill the beans.

    4. Shannon Love Says:


      I can see someone going after Ayers but I can’t see them inflicting the collateral damage on Obama in doing so.

      I lot of leftist hated Ayers but when push came to shove, they didn’t have the integrity or will to purge Ayers and others like him from their ranks. The left’s impulse in such matters has been to circle the wagons in the face of external criticism. There is virtually no leftist act, no matter how extreme, that an individual leftist can perform that will cause other leftist to completely exclude that person from the leftist community.

      I imagine that internally and long term, Ayers will be a pariah because of the injury he has done Obama but short term and externally, leftist will present a united front.

    5. Lexington Green Says:

      Pas d’enemi a la gauche.

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