2012 Tuesday: ‘2016′ says we don’t know the president we elected in 2008

At a friend’s request, I went to the theater Sunday to see “2016: Obama’s America” (it’s true, I’m not the most political person I know). The movie, if you haven’t heard, is the work of Dinesh D’Souza, the Indian-born conservative commentator and college president whose 2010 book, “The Roots of Obama’s Rage,” argued the president’s world view was shaped heavily by his anti-colonialist Kenyan father.

I’m no movie critic, so I’ll spare you my thoughts on the cinematography (I’ll only note that D’Souza worked on the film with Hollywood veteran Gerald R. Molen, and it shows in the film’s production quality). The movie’s about our president’s past and what that means for our future, and I’ll focus on that.

D’Souza dispenses early on with any notions of birtherism, noting briefly, but pointedly, that Obama was born in Hawaii. Instead, he makes the far more interesting argument that what’s foreign is Obama’s ideology, shaped in absentia by a father he barely knew. His evidence for his claim is two-fold: Excerpts from Obama’s own autobiography, “Dreams From My Father” (the film liberally quotes from the audio version of the book, narrated by Obama himself), and footage from D’Souza’s travels to the places of Obama’s youth, Hawaii and Indonesia, as well as to Kenya. There are also phone conversations, videotaped on both ends, with sociologists such as Shelby Steele who try to explain what makes Obama tick.

What D’Souza turns up on his trips is often less than compelling: Brief doesn’t begin to describe what he gets from an interview with a retired Hawaii professor who knew Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham; a lengthier exchange with Obama’s half-brother, George, in Nairobi ultimately fails to land a blow on the president. But that’s not to say there’s no substance to the story.

Briefly, D’Souza’s narrative goes like this: The elder Obama was an anti-colonialist (this much is confirmed in interviews with a pair of his contemporaries; Obama Sr. of course died in a car wreck in 1982) whose antipathy toward Kenya’s British rulers was distinct from America’s earlier rebellion from the British in that it was also a rejection of the West and capitalism. Dunham (who died in 1995) fervently transferred these beliefs to a young Barack — and even sent him home to Hawaii from Indonesia when her second husband, Lolo Soetoro, took a job with a U.S. oil company and got a little too friendly with actual breathing capitalists. Back in Hawaii, her father arranged for young Barack to have a mentor named Frank Marshall Davis, a writer and card-carrying Communist who was on the FBI’s radar. From there, we hear of Obama’s adult associations with which we’re more familiar, including Bill Ayers and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

This is a vetting of Obama’s background that, D’Souza plausibly argues, was given short shrift in the 2008 campaign. For instance, D’Souza notes that Obama’s famous speech about race relations, to address the steady stream of Wright’s controversial statements (uncovered, let’s remember, while he was still contesting the Democratic primary against Hillary Clinton), was a deflection from the collectivist black liberation theology that laced Wright’s incendiary sermons. That, D’Souza claims, allowed Obama to keep his dealings with Marxists mostly out of the public eye on his way to the White House.

It is a vetting that is worthwhile for anyone interested in current U.S. politics, if only because it is so reliant on Obama’s own words. (Here, I must acknowledge I haven’t read “Dreams” and can’t say whether D’Souza is cherry-picking Obama’s quotes or taking them out of context; if he did, however, he has given his critics a huge tool to use in discrediting him.) As an immigrant from another former British colony who is the same age as Obama, D’Souza presents an intriguing figure with alternating sympathy for and critique of anti-colonialism.

That’s the first half of the movie. From there, D’Souza delves into purely political commentary and prognostication that most likely will resonate with you, or not, in close correlation with your own political leanings. I won’t spoil his conclusions, but I will say they err toward the most pessimistic, even conspiratorial end of the right side of the spectrum.

If there’s a tragic aspect of the film, it’s that the only people likely to see it are those who have already made up their minds against Barack Obama. It deserves as well an airing among his supporters and those precious few who are unsure about him, to point out where they think D’Souza is wrong and consider the ways he might be right.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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912 comments Add your comment

ByteMe

August 14th, 2012
7:19 am

That, D’Souza claims, allowed Obama to keep his dealings with Marxists mostly out of the public eye on his way to the White House.

And… that’s where the crazy starts…. When you start to see Marxists under every enemy’s bed, you pretty much lost your bearings somewhere over China.

I won’t spoil his conclusions, but I will say they err toward the most pessimistic, even conspiratorial end of the right side of the spectrum.

REALLY? I’m shocked! A conservative takes a pessimistic view of Obama. Shocked, I say!! :shock:

Ok, not really.

independent thinker

August 14th, 2012
7:21 am

What is equally hilarious is a rich white guy from Wisconsin who hates Progressives, pals with Glenn Beck and voted for unfunded Medicare drugs to get W reelected and now rails against Progessives who are increasing the deficitt. This guy needs to be back in the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile and not the House of Representatives voting no on everything including increasing taxes on the rich to cut the deficit.

Liberal Pariah

August 14th, 2012
7:21 am

The people who need to see the film are at home drinking the Kool-Aid and not eating popcorn at the theater. D’Souza’s film only confirms my contention thatObama’s ideology is out of touch with what made America a great nation.

southpaw

August 14th, 2012
7:25 am

Will the DVD be for sale before Election Day? :-)

DeborahinAthens

August 14th, 2012
7:27 am

One question. Are these wealthy beyond belief presidents and candidates that were sub-par students in college, who admit to using drugs and being drunk half their lives preferable? I hear about how anti American Obama is, yet, it was Nixon who was a thug, it was Bush who took away the most basic American right and freedoms. He opened the door to holding American citizens in prison indefinitely without a trial. His USA Patriot Act is the very anathema to the Bill O Rights. Most of our recent Presidents have been men of privilege. Why do yo think this is a better way to be raised? In the almost four years of the Obama presidency, I have observed a man confronted with the most incredible complex and horrific financial meltdown in our lifetimes. Don’t you remember how bad things were in 2008?? A “socialist” a “communist” would have sat back and let Capitalism self destruct-which was what McCain was going to do. I am a Capitalist who still has a job because of the courage Obama displayed during a very bad time, a time during which the Republicans have done their best to prevent any program that would benefit the average American in recovery. So you idiots vote for the two Rs. Both wealthy, privileged men who seem on to have one purpose in mind….keep their boots on the necks of the not so privileged.

Thomas Heyward Jr.

August 14th, 2012
7:27 am

Obama’s America 2016?
Please.
.
Bush/Obama and the Gang of 525’s America since 2001 has turned our country into the USSR just prior to their collaspe.
The only difference is that US citizens have to perpetually Pee in bottles to exist and our Gulag System is more expansive than world history has ever recorded….and profitable.

DeborahinAthens

August 14th, 2012
7:30 am

Sorry for the typos.

antinewt

August 14th, 2012
7:43 am

Pretty crazy when a centrist Democrat evokes such hysterical, conspiracy-inspired naratives from the right. I’m with Deb: the century that made America great was a time of social reforms, common sacrifice during our wars (pre-Viet Nam), and much higher taxes on the rich. Ever noticed that the deficit is only important when a Democrat is in office? And that the lion’s share of the debt is on the Republicans’ watch?

kayaker 71

August 14th, 2012
7:56 am

antinewt, 7:43,

” a centrist Democrat”…… BWhahahahahahahahahahahahah

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

August 14th, 2012
7:56 am

It didn’t take all the paid liberal bloggers long to get off topic.

Is this an open discussion blog now?

JDW

August 14th, 2012
7:56 am

antinewt…”Ever noticed that the deficit is only important when a Democrat is in office? And that the lion’s share of the debt is on the Republicans’ watch?”

Indeed I have and my my isn’t it funny to watch our host and rest of the Con Nation gnash their teeth when it is pointed out.

As for the movie I am sure that it is just as even handed, fair and relevant as Michael Moore’s work.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

August 14th, 2012
8:01 am

And let’s consider the Reverend Wright for a moment:
Obama went to this church over the course of 20 years – that’s about 1,040 sermons. Most conservatives think Wright only had 1 topic for those 1,040 sermons.

seriously?

Bob Loblaw

August 14th, 2012
8:01 am

I’d rather watch “The Campaign” and just let all these wanna-be movie producers like Denish and Michael Moore play to their extremes to try to make money. It’s all doubletalk!

iggy

August 14th, 2012
8:03 am

We need another USSR, a common outside enemy, to influence these chowder head liberals as they certainly cant see the enemy within.

iggy

August 14th, 2012
8:04 am

“a centrist Democrat”……

Yeah, thats rich.

Liberal Pariah

August 14th, 2012
8:05 am

1200 days and $5 trillion in debt since the Dems passed a budget and you are citing Republican deficits? Gimme a break. Obama the centrist :-) saved the unions and simply kicked the can down the road on the problem. Where is his plan for getting it fixed? He has had 4 years to figure it out and it’s not Bush’s fault anymore…if it ever was thanks to help from a Democratic Congress.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

August 14th, 2012
8:05 am

So, only white people can be anti British colonialism? People like Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson?

antinewt

August 14th, 2012
8:05 am

JDW: Not sure I would disparage Moore’s work with that comparison. I think Sicko was very relevant, particularly in regards to the current healthcare mash up.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

August 14th, 2012
8:05 am

Is that what PMSNBC told you, Finn?

Have you actually ever been to a church?

obozo’s cleric Wright had many opportunities to hate on whitey, the USA, J-E-W-S, Monica Lew~~~~~winsky and just about any other enemy his angry little mind could conjure up.

With obozo whoopin and hollerin with the rest of the whackjob congregation.

skydog

August 14th, 2012
8:07 am

Good points Deborah.

My father raised me ” separate but equal” down in Albany. I rejected this teaching by age 10 even though I did not tell my father for a few more years.

We all have to think on our own at some point in our lives.

When are you Repubs going to start?

antinewt

August 14th, 2012
8:07 am

Iggy needs to take off the red sunglasses. There’s other colors in the spectrum he’s missing out on.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

August 14th, 2012
8:08 am

How come obozo skeedaddled from iman wright’s church the minute the gig was up?

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

August 14th, 2012
8:10 am

I guess I report is used to those churches where they put 1 sermon on continuous loop – same BS over and over and over again….kinda like Fox News.

iggy

August 14th, 2012
8:11 am

Have you red the communist manifesto? Perhaps you should.

Liberal Pariah

August 14th, 2012
8:11 am

Centrist is funny stuff..he is the MOST LIBERAL President ever. He thinks government is the answer to EVERYTHING, he has the most aggressive Liberal social agenda and he shoved government mandated healthcare reform down our throats. If Obama is Centrist, then so is John Birch.

Liberal Pariah

August 14th, 2012
8:13 am

Jeremiah Wright had different sermons but the worldview was the same. Obama had no problem with it until it was a political liability. Not the same as not believing it and acting upon it.

antinewt

August 14th, 2012
8:13 am

Lib Par:” He has had 4 years to figure it out and it’s not Bush’s fault anymore”

Would be nice, and very good for America, if the party of personal responsibility ever took any responsibility for anything.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

August 14th, 2012
8:14 am

he shoved government mandated healthcare reform down our throats

No, we shoved it down some of your throats. Many of us accepted it with no hostility.

Darwin

August 14th, 2012
8:15 am

Republicans = Are the only ones God talks to. Are the only ones who are patriotic. Are the only ones who care about family values. Are the only ones who are for personal responsibility. Are the only ones for free market capitalism. Blah Blah Blah…

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

August 14th, 2012
8:16 am

So you folks can go to churches and elect people who say black people, hispanics, and the poor are ruining your lives….but Obama can’t go to a church that says something similar with a different scapegoat?

Cosby

August 14th, 2012
8:17 am

Obama, Harry, Nancy, Barney and all the rest need to be vetted as well. The idea that 52% of the population do not to pay taxes leaving 48% of those who are still working to pick up the slack. sooner or later the “Chickens will come home to roost” and the bill will have to be paid. Obama and gang have proven they have no clue how to cut spending or how to put the USA back to work nor do they appear even concerned. The question needs to be “What happens when the 48% get tired of carrying the load and quit paying taxes as well”…then who pays for those EBT cards to purchase stripers with? Hmmmm…mayby it is time for “Change”

Liberal Pariah

August 14th, 2012
8:17 am

Once the old Prez is out it’s up to the new Prez to fix it. That’s what hope and change was all about… right? Bush’s 2 wars and Part D weren’t good for the economy but the Democratic Congress enabled him so there is enough blame to go around for both sides. I am more concerned with the solution than what caused the problem. Where is Obama’s solution. He has to sling mud because he has no accomplishments that have made this country better in the long run.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

August 14th, 2012
8:17 am

Just wait to see what we shove down your throats after November.

antinewt

August 14th, 2012
8:18 am

“he shoved government mandated healthcare reform down our throats”

You righty’s love that image just a little too much for this Georgia boy.

Liberal Pariah

August 14th, 2012
8:19 am

Darwin speaks the TRUTH. It’s not that Liberals don’t believe all those things, they just have a funny way of showing it.

quick work break

August 14th, 2012
8:19 am

Liberal Pariah

August 14th, 2012
8:20 am

I am a Georgia boy too so I know what a bully is. If you have to bribe people to get your way, maybe your way ain’t the right way.

kayaker 71

August 14th, 2012
8:21 am

There is little doubt in the minds of a large segment of Americans that Bozo hates this country and all it stands for. A free enterprise economy flies in the face of everything he holds dear. Ever wonder why unemployment has been over 8.2% for the last 42 STRAIGHT months? He says that he has created 2.1M jobs in the last 3 and one half years. Perhaps but every one of them has been offset by those who have just quit looking. It’s a wash. Millions are still out of work. It almost makes you believe that it is part of the plan to make the American worker dependent on the government for everything. Cradle to grave government dependence. If this clown is not a socialist or even a Marxist, he has fooled a lot of people. He won’t run on his record…… he has no record. Just class division, pitting one segment of America against another to gain votes. I pity America if this idiot has another 4 years. But I pity most all of those sheep who will vote for him a second time. They are just as complicit as he is.

antinewt

August 14th, 2012
8:22 am

“economy but the Democratic Congress enabled him”

Yep, Tom, the dancing hammer, Delay was quite the RINO wasn’t he?

Liberal Pariah

August 14th, 2012
8:22 am

I have enjoyed this morning but must now go to work. I am part of the 48% that allows a large amount of the 52% to freeload.

JKL2

August 14th, 2012
8:23 am

byteme- And… that’s where the crazy starts…. When you start to see Marxists under every enemy’s bed, you pretty much lost your bearings somewhere over China

Except for all the people obama has surrounded himself with that are self-avowed socialists, marxists,and communists…

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

August 14th, 2012
8:24 am

must now go to work.

Yeah, get to it!

antinewt

August 14th, 2012
8:25 am

Awww, Kayacker 71 cares about the unemployed.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

August 14th, 2012
8:25 am

Bozo hates this country and all it stands for

it’s awfully early to be drinking alcohol, isn’t it?

stands for decibels

August 14th, 2012
8:27 am

the collectivist black liberation theology that laced Wright’s incendiary sermons

I’m so old I can remember when what’s being called “collectivist” today by conservatives, used to be called “Christian.”

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

August 14th, 2012
8:28 am

Here’s how much Obama hates America:
The stimulus is producing the world’s largest wind farm, a half dozen of the world’s largest solar arrays, and America’s first refineries for advanced biofuels. It’s creating a battery-manufacturing industry for electric vehicles almost entirely from scratch. It financed net-zero border stations and visitors centers, an eco-friendly new Coast Guard headquarters, a one-of-a-kind “advanced synchrotron light source.” It jump-started three long-awaited mega-projects in Manhattan alone—the Moynihan Station, the Second Avenue Subway, and the Long Island Railroad connection to the East Side—and it would have jump-started that multibillion-dollar rail tunnel to New Jersey as well if Governor Chris Christie hadn’t killed the project.
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/interrogation/2012/08/the_new_new_deal_a_book_argues_that_president_obama_s_stimulus_has_been_an_astonishing_success.2.html

antinewt

August 14th, 2012
8:29 am

“Except for all the people obama has surrounded himself with that are self-avowed socialists, marxists,and communists…”

Can you name one member of Obama’s administration that is an avowed “socialists, marxists,and communists…”?

stands for decibels

August 14th, 2012
8:29 am

D’Souza dispenses early on with any notions of birtherism, noting briefly, but pointedly, that Obama was born in Hawaii.

That’s mighty white of Dinesh.

Anyway, Kyle, I’m glad you were able to stomach a screening of this docu. I can barely get past the spooky, boogah-boogah online adverts I’ve seen whilst googling.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

August 14th, 2012
8:30 am

I can tell the Cons are getting rabid when Kyle writes two straight commentaries that lash out at the pure evil incarnate of the President of the US.

Kyle, wipe the foam off your chin.

stands for decibels

August 14th, 2012
8:31 am

Can you name one member of Obama’s administration that is an avowed “socialists, marxists,and communists…”?

oh, come on, there was that one guy who signed that online petition that one time, who Obama fired, and then there was… um…