Daniel Larison on ‘The Roots of Obama’s Rage’
2016 is the documentary by Dinesh D’Souza that was a smash at the box office over the weekend. Most reviews praise it’s qualities as a documentary film, calling D’Souza a Michael Moore of the right, and this film the right’s Fahrenheit 9/11.
However, back in 2010, Daniel Larison revealed just how preposterous the Forbes article D’Souza wrote that forms the movie’s main thesis is - that Obama is driven by an “anti-colonial hatred of the west” he learned from his father…a man he met in person only once.
But never let facts get in the way of propaganda, because people who have been brought up on a diet of Fox News and talk radio are feeding at the trough for this schlock.
Dinesh D’Souza has authored what may possibly be the most ridiculous piece of Obama analysis yet written. He takes a number of decisions Obama has made on a grab-bag of issues, declares that they are ‘odd,’ and then proceeds to explain the ‘oddness’ he has perceived by cooking up a bizarre thesis that Obama is a die-hard anticolonialist dedicated to his father’s anticolonialist legacy. That must be why he aspired to become President of the world’s remaining superpower and military hegemon–because he secretly loathes the exercise of Western power and wants to rein it in! It must be his deeply-held anticolonialist beliefs that have led him to escalate the U.S. role in Afghanistan, launch numerous drone strikes on Pakistan, and authorize the assassination of U.S. citizens in the name of antiterrorism. Yes, zealous anticolonialism is the obvious answer. Even for D’Souza, whose last book was a strange exercise in blaming Western moral decadence for Islamic terrorism, this is simply stupid. Perhaps most painful of all is D’Souza’s condescending claim that ignorant Americans aren’t familiar with anticolonialism, and that because he is an Indian he can educate all of us about it.
Even if Obama were anticolonialist, it wouldn’t actually explain why he is ‘anti-business,’ but then you would have to believe that he is strongly anti-business in the first place. D’Souza’s initial assumption that Obama is ‘the most antibusiness president in a generation, perhaps in American history’ is not much more than assertion. Viewed from most places in the country, Obama does not appear anti-business at all, but rather he seems pitifully captive to business interests in the worst way. One can find this reassuring or disturbing, but that is the reality.
It is hardly necessary to delve deeply into the Kenyan past or trace the roots of anticolonialist thought to discern why Obama, a thoroughly conventional center-left Democrat, favors raising taxes on wealthier people. This is a standard part of the Democratic agenda and has been for the last decade. Having opposed tax cuts for wealthier Americans earlier in the decade, Democrats are continuing to be against them. This is not mystifying. What is a little mystifying is why so many conservative pundits and writers feel the need to construct preposterous, overly-complicated Obama theories to explain what is perfectly obvious and straightforward.
D’Souza’s comments on foreign policy are even more misguided. First of all, he lumps in the Park51 project with his discussion of Obama’s foreign policy. Last I checked, Manhattan was still part of the United States, so anything Obama had to say about this really wasn’t a matter of foreign policy. Proposing to use NASA in some sort of multiculti outreach is silly, but it doesn’t reflect latent anticolonialism. It represents a clumsy and pointless exercise in showing that the U.S. ‘respects’ Muslims at the same time that it continues to occupy and bomb Muslim countries and subsidize and arm states that subject Muslims to political repression. It is an easy gesture that costs us nothing and means nothing. Given that NASA is an enormously wasteful and unnecessary government agency that serves no real purpose, I find it hard to see how making its mission as modest as possible is a bad thing.
Read the whole thing, and then marvel again at just how out of touch with reality conservatives have become.