Monday, October 06, 2008

5 Degrees to Obama

Yesterday morning I read the New York Times article about the relationship between Barack Obama and former Weather Underground member William Ayers, Obama and ’60s Bomber: A Look Into Crossed Paths. Buried deep in the piece was a name that made me sit up and take notice: an armed robbery of a Brinks armored truck in Nanuet, N.Y., that involved Weather Underground members including Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, two police officers and a Brinks guard were killed....

By the time of the Brinks robbery, [Bill Ayers] and Ms. Dohrn had emerged from underground to raise their two children, then Chesa Boudin, whose parents were imprisoned for their role in the heist.

My father's attorney for his 1953 HUAC testimony was Leonard Boudin. The last name is an unusual one, and I wondered whether he was related to Kathy. Google and the NYT to the rescue! Indeed, he was her father. Per a 2003 Thomas Powers NYT review of FAMILY CIRCLE: The Boudins and the Aristocracy of the Left, I further learned that Leonard was:
a genius of legal strategy who had long infuriated J. Edgar Hoover with his successful defenses of accused spies and the rights of dissenters.
Per Wikipedia, Leonard's clients included Paul Robeson, Daniel Ellsberg, Dr. Benjamin Spock, Julian Bond, William Sloan Coffin, and Philip Berrigan.

So I'm 5 degrees of (radical) separation from Barack Obama:
1. Dad
2. Leonard Boudin
3. Kathy Boudin
4. William Ayers
5. Barack Obama

(The Boy Wonder would probably tell me that I'm only 3 degrees from Obama, because he's met someone who's met him. But that's too easy and not as interesting--and he doesn't read my blog anyway.)


D. Robert Pease said...

I once told my son he was only 3 degrees of separation away from J.K Rowlings. Our pastor at our church is college friends with Christopher Columbus, who directed a couple of the Harry Potter movies. And you gotta think he met J.K. Of course my geeky, HP lovin' son thought that was the coolest thing ever.

Blair said...

Well, I guess that makes me 1 degree, through the Bill Ayers connection.

It really makes me laugh, the attempts they are making to stir something up about that. My husband and I joke that it's a good thing neither of us is running for president.

We lived for many years in Hyde Park, the well known liberal community on Chicago's south side, surrounding the University of Chicago. We were at a --gasp!--welcome party someone organized when Bill, his wife Bernardine Dohrn, and their 3 kids moved to Chicago in the early 90s. It was held in their home. Not sure why we were invited. Someone mistakenly believed we were part of a liberal elite, I guess. (Liberal yes, like most everyone else in that community. But not exactly movers and shakers!) Connection was probably that my husband worked at the U. of Chicago Lab School, where their kids would enroll, just like our own kids, and later the Obama kids.

The point is, the family was part of the neighborhood. At UC Lab school events. Little League coaches. Our sons were classmates. So of course there was overlap. Even for the likes of us, just plain folks in a somewhat unusual community, to be sure.

Oh, I forgot, one more social contact. A friend (we played Cajun music together) had years earlier lived with them on a commune when they were still underground. One time she had a party and Bill was there.

Asking questions about their Weatherman past, or wondering about their rapid "rehabilitation"--okay, fair enough, though it's old news. But to make a big deal about Obama's "close connection" is absurd. The shock would be more if he didn't show up in some of the same places, as a rising liberal politician who also lived in the same neighborhood.

I think this just shows how desperate the McCain camp is feeling.

Sustenance Scout said...

Small world, Bella, isn't it? I think Boy Wonder deserves a private lunch with the senator after his photo op at the convention, btw. K.

Bella Stander said...

It certainly is a small world. We're all connected, in ways great and small. While I'm sure the Boy Wonder would LOVE to have lunch (or even a drink of water) with Obama, there's a long line of deserving people ahead of him.