Dinesh D’Souza, Obama’s America: Unmaking the American Dream, 2012
With just months until the 2014 mid-term election, Barak Obama’s poll numbers are at an all-time low. Democrats in contested districts are distancing themselves from the president while at the same time thankful that he can still rake in millions for the Party at his frequent fund-raising events. The President’s policies have confused and disheartened groups that supported him, including organized labor and the black community. Pundits openly ask whether he’s lost interest in being president based on revelations from former staffers.
There is one person who is not surprised at what Obama’s presidency has become since he predicted many of the policy moves Obama would make after his re-election. That person is Dinesh D’Souza, whose book Obama’s America was written to warn America not to re-elect Obama. Unfortunately, not enough people read the book.
D’Souza cleared up my own confusion about Obama. Although many of his policies are socialistic in nature, others seem to favor big business. Trying to label him as a socialist doesn’t work, nor is he a classic liberal. He uses the environment as justification for some policies but at other times does things that frustrate environmentalists and what can one make of his foreign policy, which seems to consist of speeches with inconsistent follow-up? What is he then? What drives his approach to his office? D’Souza offers an answer.
D’Souza first presented his theories about Obama in 2010 with The Roots of Obama’s Rage, in which he explained Obama’s policies as a reflection of his adherence to his father’s anti-colonialist ideology. Obama’s America updates that volume on the basis of further research into Obama’s personal history along with evidence from his first term in office. In it he also rebuts some of the charges critics hurled at Obama’s Rage.
D’Souza’s analysis jives with my experience in the “new left” in the 1960s and 1970s. During the years of civil rights and student protests, leftist theorists sought to update Karl Marx, because his prediction that capitalism would collapse by reducing the world to a few very rich and many very poor, failed to materialize. Drawing on Lenin’s theory that capitalist nations resolved the contradictions that Marx thought would bring their ruin by exporting exploitation to the undeveloped world––i.e., by becoming imperialists.
The New Leftists argued the United States exploited the undeveloped countries of Asia, Africa, and the Americas by paying cheaply for raw materials and then selling finished goods back to them at high prices. They saw the ideology of anti-communism as a convenient excuse to use force to preserve our ability to keep the third world under our thumb.
Obama’s friend and mentor Bill Ayers took the anti-imperialist theory to its logical conclusion by helping form a radical organization (the “Weather Underground”) that bombed “imperialist” institutions at home, including banks and military recruiting centers.
Those who have retained this anti-imperialist (or as D’Souza calls it anti-colonialist) outlook the past forty years must be extremely pleased with Barack Obama because his policies show him to be an anti-imperialist above all else. From that perspective Obama’s policies are designed to redress America’s imperialist past by aiding the third world while requiring Americans to do with less––less in the way of material goods, less economic opportunity, and less liberty.
D’Souza’s analysis fits where those of other critics fall short. Much of what he predicted in 2012 has come to pass. Let’s review a few examples:
• “If Obama is re-elected, Americans can over the next four years expect to see a sharp increase in a whole host of taxes.” Proof? In addition to the tax deal he made at the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, which increased the rates for high income Americans, Obamacare amounted to a tax increase to millions of middle class Americans. Why is Obama in favor of greater tax rates on the rich even when the top 10 percent is already paying 70 percent of taxes and even when raising their rates to his proposed levels would only result in a drop in the bucket compared to the debt his administration is ringing up? Taxing the rich fits with his antipathy of those who have benefitted from our nation’s imperialist past.
• If Obama is re-elected, he will “heavily restrict, if not shut down, the fracking industry.” The Environmental Protection Agency has not done all it hoped to accomplish, but it continues to try to restrict fracking despite the boon that method of extracting oil from the earth is helping reduce American dependence on foreign oil. Why has Obama prevented the development of the Keystone Pipeline yet his Export-Import Bank provided $3.7 billion in aid to Mexico, Brazil, and Columbia to drill for oil? Obama is all for economic growth in those countries––the environment be damned––and all for suppressing growth at home.
• D’Souza also predicted Obama would seek to reduce America’s defense capabilities. Results? Along with pulling American soldiers out of Iraq and Afghanistan, the Obama administration has sought severe defense budget pullbacks to the extent that an independent panel appointed by the Pentagon and Congress said shrinking U.S. armed forces is a “serious strategic misstep on the part of the United States.”
• In terms of foreign policy, D’Souza predicted Obama would turn his back on Israel. Evidence that Israel was of low import was seen in his first administration when he aided the Muslim Brotherhood gain power in Egypt. That outcome threatened that country’s long-standing peace with Israel. Today, his Secretary of State tried to negotiate a ceasefire that would have made Hamas a winner in the current conflict and severely jeopardize Israel’s existence.
Why has Obama’s support of Israel been of the ‘if you’re my friend, who needs enemies’ variety? It starts with the view of Israel as a colonizing nation––an outpost of Western imperialism. Where did he pick up this concept? Obama studied with Columbia University professor Edward Said––a Palestinian who called Zionism the last form of colonialism.
Obama’s policies often seem contradictory. He intervenes in Libya, but not Syria. He makes speeches about racism and then seems to ignore the economic needs of inner city blacks. D’Souza suggests he’s trying to take what he saw as the best of his father’s values and apply them to his life. That explains a good deal about Obama. To truly understand him, watch what he does not what he says.
I look forward to viewing D’Souza’s recently-released film (America: Imagine the World Without Her) to gain more insights from this skilled observer of American politics.