Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has called an article by Forbes's Dinesh D'Souza the "most profound insight I have read in the last six years about Barack Obama." Gingrich summarized, "What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]? That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior." The racially charged comment and D'Souza's similarly provocative article are generating controversy and criticism. Here's what people are saying.
Anti-Colonial Obama Forbes's Dinesh D'Souza writes, "Barack Obama is the most antibusiness president in a generation, perhaps in American history. ... The real problem with Obama is worse--much worse. But we have been blinded to his real agenda because, across the political spectrum, we all seek to fit him into some version of American history. In the process, we ignore Obama's own history. 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." It all goes back to Obama's Kenyan father. "To his son, the elder Obama represented a great and noble cause, the cause of anticolonialism."
- Full of Dishonesty, Lazy Thinking Slate's David Weigel points to D'Souza's claim that Obama supported offshore drilling in Brazil but not the U.S. because "he wants neocolonial America to have less and the former colonized countries to have more." Weigel counters that the Brazil approval came from the Export-Import Bank full of Bush appointees, that the offshore funding was from private investment, and that D'Souza's mistake likely originated with a similarly "bogus" Glenn Beck segment. Weigel writes, "I've read much of D'Souza's upcoming book, from which this article was adapted, and this is not the only lazy error. It's a revealing one, however, demonstrating just how eager he is to find 'aha!' moments of Obama's alleged 'anti-colonial' politics. He's so eager that he doesn't have time to check the facts."
- Worrying Trend in Conservative Discourse The American Conservative's Daniel Larison calls this "possibly the most ridiculous piece of Obama analysis yet written." He writes, "Considering how atrocious D’Souza’s argument is, why spend any time answering it? For one thing, when nonsense like this isn’t countered it tends to gain traction. Another reason is that conservative pundits and writers such as D’Souza have been indulging in so much evidence-free, ideological babbling for the last two years that many of them now seem convinced that this babbling is actually extremely serious, insightful commentary. If we are going to have anything remotely resembling an honest or informed debate over foreign policy or anything else during the remainder of Obama’s time in office, arguments like this one have to be knocked down."
- Obama Derangement Syndrome Reason's Tim Cavanaugh sighs, "Obama Derangement Syndrome has now produced a strain as brain-devouring as Bush Derangement Syndrome was. ... There is no evidence for the claim that the elder Obama bequeathed his son a coherent or even a partial political philosophy. ... There's no need to go to Kenya for the kind of indoctrination into Frantz Fanon and socialism D'Souza describes: It was widely available at Occidental and Columbia."
- Gingrich Blowing Birther Dogwhistles Politics Daily's David Gibson writes, "Gingrich retains his penchant for the pungent quotation, and lately has ramped up his visibility and quotability on such issues as the controversial Islamic center proposed near Ground Zero. Gingrich's latest comments also hit hot buttons about Obama's African heritage (his mother was from Kansas) and whether he is a socialist, and play to suspicions among many -- especially conservatives -- about whether he was born in the United States (he was) and whether he is a Muslim (he is not) or a Christian, as Obama has been all his adult life."
- Low Point for Gingrich White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told ABC News, "I think Newt Gingrich knows that he's trying to appeal to the fringe of people that don't believe the president was born in this country. You would normally expect better from somebody who held the position of speaker of the House. But, look, it's political season. And most people'll say anything. And Newt Gingrich does that on a genuinely, on a regular basis." Libertarian blogger Doug Mataconis writes, "I can honestly think of only one reason for Gingrich and D’Souza to say stuff like this. It’s not racism per se so much as it is a desire to feed into the idea that Barack Obama is not a real American. Why else emphasize his ties to a country he’s only visited twice in his entire life and to an era of history that most Americans have no connection to at this point ? It’s cheap, and it’s cynical. In other words, classic Newt Gingrich. If this is what we can look forward to if he runs for President, I hope it’s a very short run."
fact that people feel need to actually engage d'souza is proof that if the day ends in y we'll talk about whatever conservatives want us to