Bill Ayers: Rahm Emanuel is a one-term mayor (VIDEO)

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 Chicago. Yet he helped plan bombings of government buildings - including the Pentagon and the State Department. He says he has “no regrets” and that he “acted appropriately in the context of those times.”

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His connections to Barack Obama have thrust him into the national spotlight - albeit unwillingly. Chicago political radicalism is too tempting a media target to miss in presidential elections.

But this does not define how Ayers sees himself and it is not how the liberal progressive educational community in Chicago sees him. To them, Ayers is a respected professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago (now retired), a freedom fighter, and an activist committed to educational reform. He is “one of them.”

From 1994 to 1999, then State Sen. Barack Obama and Ayers worked together at the Chicago Annenberg Challenge to reform the failing Chicago public schools system. The $100 million they doled out to education activists and community organizers couldn’t solve the problems even then.

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.

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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 Chicago with a Democrat mayor, a Democratic governor, and a Democratic state legislature and still all they do is close public schools, close public housing, sell off the public space, including the parking meters and the skyway to the billionaires who are their best friends. So it is a tragedy. And the school thing couldn’t be more of a tragedy. Do you want me to say more about the schools?

 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 North Shore. He’s got all the Hollywood money and all the DC money. So he may well buy the election as he did last time.

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 Chicago, we have Jim Crow education and Rahm Emanuel is the engineer of Jim Crow education. It’s always been a problem but the problem has only intensified. Here were are with Rahm Emanuel - Rahm Emanuel closing schools. Rahm Emanuel dictating what school reform should look like. First, he says it is for budgetary reasons. Then he says it is for the good of the kids.

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.

Read more from Chicago with Bill Kelly’s Truth Squad

William J. Kelly is an Emmy award-winning TV producer and conservative columnist. He is also a contributor to the American Spectator and He is a native from Chicago’s Southside.

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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William Kelly


Conservative commentator, satirist, and radio talk show host William J. Kelly pens the “Kelly Truth Squad” and “The Tea Party Report” for the Washington Times Communities and is a contributor to the American Spectator and Kelly is also a producer of Emmy award-winning TV and received an Emmy nomination himself for outstanding achievement on-camera. He was previously the Executive Director of the National Taxpayers United of Illinois, a taxpayer watchdog group. He is a native of Chicago’s South side. For more information, visit

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