CHICAGO, Illinois, April 3, 2013 - Thousands of demonstrators rallied in protest of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to close 54 public schools last week - among them the controversial figure of sixties radical Bill Ayers.
Though he would disagree, Ayers is a contradiction. For some, he will always be the founder of the radical Weather Underground. His “Kill your parents!” battle cry still echoes more than thirty years later. He was the privileged son of the Chairman of Commonwealth Edison in
His connections to Barack Obama have thrust him into the national spotlight - albeit unwillingly.
But this does not define how Ayers sees himself and it is not how the liberal progressive educational community in
From 1994 to 1999, then State Sen. Barack Obama and Ayers worked together at the Chicago Annenberg Challenge to reform the failing
Now there is little love lost between these former progressive compatriots: Ayers doesn’t mince words - he thinks Obama is doing a terrible job on the economy.
He told me he wrote the Obama bestseller, “Dreams from my Father” and that - if I could find the evidence - he’d split the royalties with me. Some bitterness apparent - but the irreverence of a radical persists.
Ayers is equally direct and unrepentant in what he has to say about Rahm Emanuel, his plan to close Chicago schools, and what this says about the state of the “corrupt” Democrat party.
Emanuel contends that the closings will help erase a $1 billion budget gap. Ayers says the move is racist, and that the closings will cause a crisis for 30,000 students from mostly black and Hispanic areas. That of all the terrible things Rahm has done as mayor, “closing schools is the worst.”
I crossed paths with Ayers recently - it isn’t that hard to find a sixties radical in Chicago if you are looking for one.
He granted this EXCLUSIVE impromptu interview:
KELLY: What do you think of Rahm Emanuel’s plan to close the schools?
AYERS: Rahm Emanuel in an absolute right-wing troglodyte. Closing the schools is the worst thing he has done. Of all the terrible dreadful stuff he has done, this is absolutely the worst.
The indication that the Democrat Party is so corrupt and so incapacitated is here we are in
KELLY: Well, more about Rahm - do you think he is a one term mayor?
AYERS: Absolutely. One term and out. But, of course, those things are difficult to judge and assess because - in terms of popularity, he doesn’t have a chance. But he didn’t have a chance last time. What he did have and he still has is his billionaire friends. So he’s got Penny Pritzker, he’s got all the wealth of the
KELLY: Do you think Rahm’s going to run for President?
AYERS: If his record as Mayor sticks with him he doesn’t have a chance. The fact is look: in
Tell me how you can have a school system with 175 schools with no library? Would Rahm Emanuel send his kids to a school with no library? Hundreds of schools with no arts program. Would he send his kids to a school with no arts? Now he says we are going to close this school so we can have a library in that school. That’s an absurdity. He’s been running the schools for the last several years. Why don’t we have libraries? He did that.
William J. Kelly is an Emmy award-winning TV producer and conservative columnist. He is also a contributor to the American Spectator and Breitbart.com. He is a native from
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