Sunday, February 10, 2008

Smearing Obama: More Wind from the Windy City

George Schmidt's critical look at the Obama Ed program which we posted here seems to have been joined by Alexander Russo. I get the feeling Schmidt is not an admirer of Russo. But neither is he an admirer of Mike Klonsky. So, who is lining up where? Klonsky at his Small talk blog accuses Russo of a smear job and if you take his narrow slice, it sure looks that way. He also hints that maybe this is part of the Clinton dirty tricks campaign.

Interestingly, Randi Weingarten raised the issue of Obama's positions on education - gently, but negatively - at the Delegate Assembly on Feb. 6. Maybe not exactly a dirty trick - a slightly smudgy trick. Like the Clintons with their buddies Joel Klein and Andrew Rotherham are not in the phony Ed reform movement up to their ears.

Though right now I am inclined to support Obama, though I am also concerned about the things Schmidt pointed to. I mean, silence on the part of Obama in the face if the Richard Daly/Paul Vallas onslaught is complicity. I wish Klonsky would comment on this aspect of George's statement:

There has been no difference between Barack Obama and Mayor Richard M. Daley on any of the corporate "school reform" plans foisted on Chicago since Daley pioneered the "mayor control" dictatorial model of school governance (thanks to a vote of a Republican dominated Illinois General Assembly, a la the Gingrich Congress) in 1995.

Despite the fact that many community leaders and even some public
officials have challenged Mayor Daley on "Renaissance 2010" -- especially the wholesale relocation of children as schools were closed and often flipped for charter school use, Barack Obama was not public with any criticism of "Renaissance 2010." In fact, his positions are indistinguishable from Mayor Daley's or those of his Hyde Park neighbors and the people pushing privatization, charterization, and corporate "school reform" out of the University of Chicago and elsewhere in corporate Chicago. Rumor locally has been that Barack Obama has included Arne Duncan [the Joel Klein of Chicago] and others of that ilk in his informal educational brain trust.

Here are some excerpts from Klonsky's post which you can read here in full:

Russo won't get the job

Is Alexander Russo auditioning for a job in the dirty-tricks department of the Clinton campaign? One might think so after reading his latest attempt to smear Barack Obama and his school reform supporters. On his TWIE blog, Russo claims that Obama’s co-sponsorship of a bill promoting a Teacher Residency Program, in effect, makes the senator a supporter of school closings, teacher firings and turning over public schools to “outside organizations.”

Klonsky closes with:

Whether or not one agrees with the TRP narrative’s positive description of AUSL, or with Obama’s candidacy, it would be pretty hard to give any credence to Russo’s pitiful anti-Obama smears. Sorry, Alexander. You don't get the job. They already have hired the best in the business.


  1. Maybe RW talked about Obama at the DA because they've been reading our ed blogs. Just a thought.

    Reminder that I posted more from George Schmidt on the Obama–Daley– Duncan connections at Under Assault.

    Excerpt: "Arne Duncan and the seven members of the Chicago Board of Education are not in the education business, they are in the privatization and charter school business. Once the public understand that, at least people can stop wasting their time talking about what's best for the education of Chicago's poorest children. Duncan couldn't care less about that as long as his crimes — and they are crimes that flow from these lies — don't make the TV news or interfere with the agenda of his mentor Richard M. Daley." etc.

    To me, silence definitely is complicity when it comes to corporate connections. It doesn't mean Obama's the poorer candidate. It just means they're all slick, and the big business of education is not going to go away so easily.

  2. So let me get this straight. You want Klonsky to join George Schmidt in attacking Obama in the middle of campaign against Clinton and McCain? And on what issue? Mayor Daley's school reform plan. Have I got that right?

  3. I want to put up as much information unfiltered on where Obama has stood on the Chicago school - I won't honor it by calling it a reform plan. I would like to see Schmidt and Klonsky and others give us some hard info on where Obama has stood if anywhere at all over the past 13 years. Klonsky was correct to crit. Russo but provides nothing much more than that. I don't consider Schmidt's criticism more of an attack on Obama than on Clinton.


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