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How I Ended Up in David Garrow’s New Barry Bio

In the course of researching No Higher Power: Obama’s War on Religious Freedom, I learned that the late Chicago cardinal Joseph Bernardin helped pay for the education of Barack Obama in Saul Alinsky’s ruthless tactics. A forerunner to Pope Francis, Bernardin was a devious socialist who poured the faithful’s money into the pockets of the hard left. No Higher Power contained a copy of the check — a source excavated it from the archives of the archdiocese of Chicago and gave it to me — proving that Bernardin had financed Obama’s trip to a training seminar in California organized by Saul Alinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF).

On Tuesday, while visiting Barnes and Noble, I noticed David Garrow’s new mammoth biography on Barack Obama, Rising Star. It is so big readers may need a wheel-barrel to bring it home. Curious to see if Garrow grappled with the issue of Obama-Bernardin collusion, I cracked it open up and discovered that he not only engages the subject but uses my scoop as one of the primary sources for it (see page 1147). He confirms the account in No Higher Power. (He also confirms its appendices, which included a letter showing that the bishop of Gary, Indiana, acting under the direction of Bernardin, urged his priests to work with Obama. Garrow references that letter in the book.)

Garrow treats Obama’s Bernardin-financed foray to Los Angeles for the IAF training as one of the keys moments in his Alinskyite education. Anyone who doubts the leftist infiltration of the Catholic Church should read that section in Garrow’s book. Socialists disguised as Catholic leaders stood ready to help Obama at almost every turn during his “community organizing.” What I said in No Higher Power — that the Church had bred one of her own destroyers — is abundantly clear in Garrow’s account.

He writes that officials at the Campaign for Human Development(CHD), which Saul Alinsky’s cronies launched as a Catholic front group (it later took the name the Catholic Campaign for Human Development), anointed Obama as a future leader, if not president. One official, Sharon Jacobson, pronounced that Obama “had demonstrated the most potential” of all the attendees at an event that she organized, and she recalled that she had been told by a colleague, “I want you to watch this guy, Sharon. He’s going to be president of the United States one day.”

Bernardin’s socialist aides were so wowed by Obama that they decided, writes Garrow, “to recommend that Barack be invited to attend IAF’s premier training event, a ten-day course that took place each July at Mount St. Mary’s College in the Santa Monica Mountains above Los Angeles. CHD would pay Barack’s $500 tuition, $400 room and board, and also cover his travel expenses…. Obama bought his airplane ticket to Los Angeles for the IAF training in mid-July [1986], with the Chicago archdiocese’s CHD staff reimbursing its $196 cost….”

Before he took off for the trip, writes Garrow, Obama “attended a ceremony where Joseph Cardinal Bernardin publicly presented the CHD grants, including the latest $33,000 to DCP for organizing in Altgeld Gardens and for Barack’s prospective plan ‘to improve high school and college opportunities for minority students,’ a CHD press release noted.”

And what did Obama learn on the faithful’s tab? Essentially, he learned how to exploit, manipulate, and humiliate them. Writes Garrow:

Mount St. Mary’s College was IAF’s long-standing summer location, with trainees arriving on a Tuesday afternoon. Wednesday was devoted to two basic staples of IAF teaching: “World As Is/World As Should Be ‘Power’ Session” and “Power and Self-Interest.”… Obama was already familiar with Alinsky’s major themes and principles…. Ed Chambers [a former seminarian], Alinsky’s lead inheritor, had articulated them in a small 1978 volume titled Organizing for Family and Congregation. Alinsky’s best-known principle was that “power tends to come in two forms: organized people and organized money.” But Alinsky had never fully grasped a second point that was now emphasized by Kellman, Galluzzo, and Chambers: “one of the largest reservoirs of untapped power is the institution of the parish and congregation,” because “they have the people, the values, and the money.”

Among the other lessons Obama learned while in the company of priests, nuns, and “Catholic” activists at the Mount St. Mary’s IAF seminar was: “how to do a power analysis of a particular community,” how to choose “enemies,” and how to create “crises.”

Mr. Neumayr’s new book, The Political Pope: How Pope Francis Is Delighting the Liberal Left and Abandoning Conservatives, is just out from Center Street.

George Neumayr
George Neumayr
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George Neumayr, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is co-author of No Higher Power: Obama’s War on Religious Freedom.
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