Every generation has its moment where an older politician brings the fire and brimstone and plays cultural Moses....
Dinesh D’Souza is exceeding even himself.
The conservative flamethrower’s recent article in Forbes magazine served as the inspiration for Newt Gingrich’s notorious comment about President Obama’s “Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior” being the essence of his character. Gingrich thinks D’Souza’s piece to be a “stunning insight,” the “most profound insight I have read in the last six years about Barack Obama.”
If that is so, Gingrich has been reading pure garbage for a long time. D’Souza’s piece is psychobabble of the worst sort, replete with errors, falsehoods, and half-truths. Let me cite just two instances.
There’s the very first example in the article. “Consider this headline from the August 18, 2009, issue of the Wall Street Journal: ‘Obama Underwrites Offshore Drilling.’ Did you read that correctly? You did. The Administration supports offshore drilling--but drilling off the shores of Brazil.” There’s only one problem here. The organization that approved the funds for Brazil, the Export-Import Bank, did this in April 2009 when the board was dominated by Bush appointees, as David Weigel points out in his helpful dissection at Slate.
And this is the sort of character analysis that D’Souza engages in: “Here is a man who spent his formative years—the first 17 years of his life—off the American mainland, in Hawaii, Indonesia and Pakistan, with multiple subsequent journeys to Africa.” Note the ominous insertion of Pakistan, the place here with the most negative connotations for an average American. Obama was in Pakistan for a couple of weeks during college, for heaven’s sake! If that makes him a closet Pakistani, then I’m the heir to Socrates and Plato courtesy of the vacation I had in Greece some years ago. (And it’s bizarre for D’Souza to be playing this game, since he was born and brought up in India.)
I won’t bore readers much further. D’Souza’s piece is a complete smear, accusing Obama of aiming to achieve as President all that his father stood for. It ends on a really vile note: “The U.S. is being ruled according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s. This philandering, inebriated African socialist, who raged against the world for denying him the realization of his anticolonial ambitions, is now setting the nation's agenda through the reincarnation of his dreams in his son.”
D’Souza has been down this awful road before. His 1995 book, “The End of Racism,” was so vicious that two African-American conservatives associated with the American Enterprise Institute, Glenn Loury and Robert Woodson, resigned from the think tank in protest over the book and Charles Murray’s “Bell Curve.” Both D’Souza and Murray were fellows at American Enterprise. That wasn’t the first time that D’Souza has faced accusations of racial bias. When he was the editor of the Dartmouth Review as an undergrad, it “published an interview with a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, using a mock photograph of a black man hanging from a campus tree,” the Washington Post reported in 1995.
Then there was his 2007 book, “The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11,” in which he blamed pretty much all progressives (including FDR) for the September 11 attacks. Thankfully, some conservatives at the National Review took him on.
And not all conservatives are on his side even on this one. David Frum, a former Bush speechwriter, is downright furious. “When last was there such a brazen outburst of race-baiting in the service of partisan politics at the national level?” Frum asks, and adds, “Here is racial animus, unconcealed and unapologetic … an insult to every conservative in America.”
D’Souza’s modus operandi is to use his Indian immigrant background to say things that a white person cannot. He tries to use this as a cover again in his Obama hatchet job. But his background provides no immunity for his hateful views.
If you liked this article by Amitabh Pal, the managing editor of The Progressive magazine, please check out his article entitled "French Strike Shows Resistance to Austerity."
Follow Amitabh Pal @amitpal on Twitter