2016: Obama's America is a tempest in a Tea Party. Dinesh D'Souza's movie is a breathless attempt to find questions for the long since settled answers widely known by most of America. Dressed up to look serious, it is actually just one more attempt to define President Barack Obama as an outsider using red-baiting, fear mongering and intellectual dishonesty. The irony is that these contrivances are engineered by a filmmaker whose subjectivity and heterodox beliefs put him well outside fact and public opinion.
The movie is based on D'Souza's notably dishonest book The Roots of Obama's Rage. This book would be humorous if considered a spoof of one of the world's most placid leaders. But D'Souza makes truth the victim in his selective effort to demonize the president.
There are false economic claims, such as that Obama initiated the bailout and stimulus plans. Actually, George Bush initiated the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 on October 3, 2008. Obama followed this bill with his own attempt to stem the economic crisis and correct the earlier flaws in amount and administration.
There are misleading policy claims, such as D'Souza attacking Obama for supporting the reduction of nuclear weapons and idealizing a nuclear free world. As former Republican Secretary of State George Schultz has repeatedly stated, President Obama shares President Ronald Reagan's desire to rid the world of nuclear weapons, though both realize the need for a nuclear deterrent.
And there are incredible omissions and mis-interpretations, such as the conclusion that Obama was elected sheerly because of white liberal guilt ... without even mentioning the economic catastrophe that the previous Republican administration had created.
Over and over, D'Souza puts words in Obama's mouth or his mind. Obama doesn't say that America is a nuclear menace to the world, though D'Souza says that Obama thinks this. Obama doesn't say that he hates the rich. But D'Souza says that Obama thinks this. In D'Souza's contorted world, when Obama speaks of fairness and equality, D'Souza claims that means that Obama hates the rich.
Other times, the "scholar" filmmaker just blatantly lies. For instance, he claims that Obama sympathizes with terrorists, hates all white colonialists and supported the release from prison of the Lockerbie Bomber. He claims that Obama called BP "British Petroleum" (the former name of this oil company), demonstrating his anti-colonialism. He claims that Obama Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, when dean of Harvard Law School, kicked military recruiters off campus.
Between the book and the movie, all of the above have repeatedly been proven false. Despite the film's repeated red-baiting, when Obama had the chance to nationalize the nation's banks, some of its key failing industries, and call for a socialized national health care or even a Public Option, he studiously avoided all of those choices. Similarly, it is interesting to note that often, the very opposite of what D'Souza claims actually occurred. For instance, Kagan insured that all students had access to military recruiters when she was dean.
Despite the film's claims, Obama doesn't support a 100% tax rate on the wealthy, as D'Souza would have us believe. Obama supports raising the marginal tax rate only 3% to a maximum of 39%, the rate during the Clinton prosperity, and a rate far lower than that during the Republican Eisenhower, Nixon and Reagan years.
Perhaps stranger than these fictions is the fact that the author of them is himself a person quite at odds with established scientific and political beliefs. If there is an outlier here, it would seem to be D'Souza.
Although he tries to portray Obama as un-American, it is D'Souza who has argued against evolution, blames liberals for the 9/11 attacks (The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11), rails against the very separation of church and state principles upon which our country was founded and even against the principle that human nature is intrinsically good. Despite his being an Indian American, D'Souza, a convert from Catholicism to evangelical Christianity, is a strong opponent of multi-culturalism.
Dinesh D'Souza disingenuously frames his movie as an effort to find out who Barack Obama is. But Obama has been subject to such critical scrutiny that we have a wealth of data about Obama. Because the movie is not an honest, objective exploration of this question ... the more pertinent question raised by this very flawed film is -- who is Dinesh D'Souza?
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