We went to see 2016: Obama's America over the weekend. After all of the anti-Bush movies of a few years ago my wife wanted to see one from the other side.
I was familiar with the premise of the movie from columns that director Dinesh D'Souza has written but I was still surprised, and a bit pleased, at how they were presented. This is not a Michael Moore movie which mocks its targets and is really about Moore rather than his subject matter. D'Souza uses his background in India to shed light on Obama's upbringing. In doing so, D'Souza never upstages his subject.
The movie has four parts. The first is D'Souza's own biography. He explains what his life would have been if he had stayed in India and how he quickly rose from a foreign college student (at an Ivy League college) to working at the White House.
The second part covers Barack Obama's life prior to becoming famous. D'Souza's focus is on the anti-colonialism that Obama's mother embraced and how prevalent it was in Indonesia and Hawaii during Obama's childhood. He shows how his mother painted a picture of his absent father as a giant in the fight against colonialism and what a shock it was for the younger Obama when he found out that his father was not the man he envisioned him to be. This part ends with Obama's visit to the graves of his father and grandfather.
Along the way, D'Souza talks with Obama's half-brother who lives in a tiny shack. The younger Obama is an author on is own and believes that Africa's problems are not the making of white oppressors. He points to various former colonies that are doing well.
The third part explains how someone with Obama's radical background could have been elected president. D'Souza makes the point that an angry black leader from the equal rights movement could never be elected president because he carries the implied accusation that all whites are racist. Obama's appeal was that he was a blank slate. Obama discovered at an early age that his manner made people want to do things for him.
D'Souza's predictions for the next four years may be the title of the movie but they get the least time. D'Souza believes that Obama will disarm America through reductions in our nuclear arsenal and will allow the Muslim world to unite in a United States of Islam.
So, how compelling is D'Souza's theory? He makes a strong case but it has one weakness. Marxism and anti-colonialism are joined at the hip. Many of the influences that D'Souza cites are as much Marxist as anti-colonial. D'Souza gives examples of Obama's "strange" behavior as proof of his anti-colonialism but some of these could have different or multiple explanations. Nuclear disarmament has been a goal of the left for decades and Obama's desire to reduce the US nuclear capacity is probably rooted in this rather than a desire to weaken America. The Left reflexively prefers the Palestinians to the Israelis so there is no reason to look deeper into that relationship. Obama may be trying to spend the nation into ruin but he is known to read Paul Krugman's columns regularly and Krugman insists that the recovery has been so weak because we did not spend enough. If we spend another two or three trillion then the economy will recover enough so spectacularly that we can pay off that enormous debt.
Obama has done some actions that reflect anti-colonial attitudes. His dislike of Churchill is the most prominent of these. To most Americans, Churchill was the war leader who stood up to the Nazis. To Obama, he was the oppressor of Kenya.
What cannot be questioned is that the blank slate who was elected in 2008 was far more radical than he appeared. Thomas Sowell wrote a column where he points out that in Obama's autobiography, he never looked for dissenting opinions. He was convinced of his views at an early age and never associated with anyone who would challenge them.
Any they called George Bush an incurious president.