What's the matter with Thomas Frank?

Rick Moran
The man who wrote the book "What's the Matter with Kansas" has one of the most nauseating defenses of Bill Ayers I've ever read in the Wall Steet Journal today.

Frank, who lived in the same Hyde Park neighborhood in Chicago as Obama and Ayers, has this to say about the former Weather Underground terrorist:

Some on the right seem to believe Mr. Ayers is Mr. Obama's puppet-master, while others are content merely to insist that the association proves Mr. Obama to be soft on terrorism. Maybe he's soft on anarchy and repudiation, too.

I can personally attest to the idiocy of it all because I am a friend of Mr. Ayers. In fact, I met him in the same way Mr. Obama says he did: 10 years ago, Mr. Ayers was a guy in my neighborhood in Chicago who knew something about fundraising. I knew nothing about it, I needed to learn, and a friend referred me to Bill.

Bill's got lots of friends, and that's because he is today a dedicated servant of those less fortunate than himself; because he is unfailingly generous to people who ask for his help; and because he is kind and affable and even humble. Moral qualities which, by the way, were celebrated boisterously on day one of the GOP convention in September.

Mr. Ayers is a professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), where his work is esteemed by colleagues of different political viewpoints. Herbert Walberg, an advocate of school vouchers who is a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution, told me he remembers Mr. Ayers as "a responsible colleague, in the professional sense of the word." Bill Schubert, who served as the chairman of UIC's Department of Curriculum and Instruction for many years, thinks so highly of Mr. Ayers that, in response to the current allegations, he compiled a lengthy résumé of the man's books, journal articles, guest lectures and keynote speeches. Mr. Ayers has been involved with countless foundation efforts and has received various awards. He volunteers for everything. He may once have been wanted by the FBI, but in the intervening years the man has become such a good citizen he ought to be an honorary Eagle Scout.

I don't know too many Eagle Scouts who believe that a child's education should indoctinate him into far left ideology.

From IBD:

An idea of what Ayers has in mind for America's schools was provided in his own words not 40 years ago when Obama was eight years old, but less than two years ago in November 2006 at the World Education Forum in Caracas hosted by dictator Hugo Chavez.

With Chavez at his side, Ayers voiced his support for "the political educational reforms under way here in Venezuela under the leadership of President Chavez. We share the belief that education is the motor-force of revolution. . . . I look forward to seeing how . . . all of you continue to overcome the failures of capitalist education as you seek to create something truly new and deeply humane."

Ayers told the great humanitarian Chavez: "Teaching invites transformations, it urges revolutions large and small. La educacion es revolucion." It is that form of socialist revolution that Ayers, and Obama, have worked to bring to America.

Ayers, now a tenured Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Illinois, Chicago, works to educate teachers in socialist revolutionary ideology, urging that it be passed on to impressionable students.

As Stern points out, "Ayers and his education school comrades are explicit about the need to indoctrinate public school children in the belief that America is a racist, militarist country and that the capitalist system is inherently unfair and oppressive."

Frank attempts to de-radicalize Ayers by pointing out that some "conservative" academics, praise his work in education "reform." It's a good bet those "conservatives" either don't know of Ayer's true radical beliefs or they aren't very conservative at all. Franks uses as a baseline for his identification of professors with "different political viewpoints" an academic who supports vouchers. There are several liberal educators who support vouchers so I fail to see how Franks can identify the ideology of anyone based on a single issue. Not only that, the other example of a "different political viewpoint" held by an admirer of Ayers is the Chairman of Ayer's department at UIC!

This is pure sophistry and Frank knows it. Except perhaps in the rarefied air of academia, Ayers would be considered an educational radical anywhere, anyplace, in America. It is ridiculous for Franks to make any claim that contradicted this notion.

But he's not really doing that, is he? Instead, Frank is telling us that because Ayers is a good guy, serves on a lot of charity boards, and will give you the shirt off his back, that he is somehow not a radical socialist and would be identified as such by 98% of Americans.

What the hell is it in the air in that Hyde Park neighborhood that breeds such contempt for ordinary people and a failure to grasp that the rest of the world is appalled at someone like Ayers? Americans may very well vote for Obama in spite of his relationship with Ayers. But they will definitely not vote for him because of it.
The man who wrote the book "What's the Matter with Kansas" has one of the most nauseating defenses of Bill Ayers I've ever read in the Wall Steet Journal today.

Frank, who lived in the same Hyde Park neighborhood in Chicago as Obama and Ayers, has this to say about the former Weather Underground terrorist:

Some on the right seem to believe Mr. Ayers is Mr. Obama's puppet-master, while others are content merely to insist that the association proves Mr. Obama to be soft on terrorism. Maybe he's soft on anarchy and repudiation, too.

I can personally attest to the idiocy of it all because I am a friend of Mr. Ayers. In fact, I met him in the same way Mr. Obama says he did: 10 years ago, Mr. Ayers was a guy in my neighborhood in Chicago who knew something about fundraising. I knew nothing about it, I needed to learn, and a friend referred me to Bill.

Bill's got lots of friends, and that's because he is today a dedicated servant of those less fortunate than himself; because he is unfailingly generous to people who ask for his help; and because he is kind and affable and even humble. Moral qualities which, by the way, were celebrated boisterously on day one of the GOP convention in September.

Mr. Ayers is a professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), where his work is esteemed by colleagues of different political viewpoints. Herbert Walberg, an advocate of school vouchers who is a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution, told me he remembers Mr. Ayers as "a responsible colleague, in the professional sense of the word." Bill Schubert, who served as the chairman of UIC's Department of Curriculum and Instruction for many years, thinks so highly of Mr. Ayers that, in response to the current allegations, he compiled a lengthy résumé of the man's books, journal articles, guest lectures and keynote speeches. Mr. Ayers has been involved with countless foundation efforts and has received various awards. He volunteers for everything. He may once have been wanted by the FBI, but in the intervening years the man has become such a good citizen he ought to be an honorary Eagle Scout.

I don't know too many Eagle Scouts who believe that a child's education should indoctinate him into far left ideology.

From IBD:

An idea of what Ayers has in mind for America's schools was provided in his own words not 40 years ago when Obama was eight years old, but less than two years ago in November 2006 at the World Education Forum in Caracas hosted by dictator Hugo Chavez.

With Chavez at his side, Ayers voiced his support for "the political educational reforms under way here in Venezuela under the leadership of President Chavez. We share the belief that education is the motor-force of revolution. . . . I look forward to seeing how . . . all of you continue to overcome the failures of capitalist education as you seek to create something truly new and deeply humane."

Ayers told the great humanitarian Chavez: "Teaching invites transformations, it urges revolutions large and small. La educacion es revolucion." It is that form of socialist revolution that Ayers, and Obama, have worked to bring to America.

Ayers, now a tenured Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Illinois, Chicago, works to educate teachers in socialist revolutionary ideology, urging that it be passed on to impressionable students.

As Stern points out, "Ayers and his education school comrades are explicit about the need to indoctrinate public school children in the belief that America is a racist, militarist country and that the capitalist system is inherently unfair and oppressive."

Frank attempts to de-radicalize Ayers by pointing out that some "conservative" academics, praise his work in education "reform." It's a good bet those "conservatives" either don't know of Ayer's true radical beliefs or they aren't very conservative at all. Franks uses as a baseline for his identification of professors with "different political viewpoints" an academic who supports vouchers. There are several liberal educators who support vouchers so I fail to see how Franks can identify the ideology of anyone based on a single issue. Not only that, the other example of a "different political viewpoint" held by an admirer of Ayers is the Chairman of Ayer's department at UIC!

This is pure sophistry and Frank knows it. Except perhaps in the rarefied air of academia, Ayers would be considered an educational radical anywhere, anyplace, in America. It is ridiculous for Franks to make any claim that contradicted this notion.

But he's not really doing that, is he? Instead, Frank is telling us that because Ayers is a good guy, serves on a lot of charity boards, and will give you the shirt off his back, that he is somehow not a radical socialist and would be identified as such by 98% of Americans.

What the hell is it in the air in that Hyde Park neighborhood that breeds such contempt for ordinary people and a failure to grasp that the rest of the world is appalled at someone like Ayers? Americans may very well vote for Obama in spite of his relationship with Ayers. But they will definitely not vote for him because of it.