At Least Dinesh D’Souza’s “2016: Obama’s America” Isn’t a Birther Film
“The first time we didn’t know Barack Obama, now we do.” – Dinesh D’Souza in “2016: Obama’s America”
WASHINGTON – THE FILM begins with the Winston Churchill bust being returned to Great Britain. To Mr D’Souza, this is is the ultimate revelation about who Barack Obama is; the removal of Churchill’s presence seen as confirmation of Pres. Obama’s anti-colonialism philosophy. This move is a symbol to D’Souza that reaches so deep as to even explain why Pres. Obama supports Occupy Wall Street. You see, anti-colonialists believe that colonizers rape a country of resources, leaving the people with nothing, a philosophy that D’Souza claims is a guiding principle of Obama’s presidency.
“On August 4, 1961, Barack Obama II is born in the Kapiolani Medical Center in Honolulu. His birth is recorded in two local newspapers.” – Dinesh D’Souza in “2016: Obama’s America”
Message sent to extremists, the Tea Party and birther crazies, but never fear, Dinesh D’Souza has something much stronger on which they can hang their anti-Obama fervor.
2016: Obama’s America is a remarkably well-structured film. It takes what Michael Moore did and refigures it more deftly, though hasn’t come close to Moore’s box office boffo, at least not yet. Dreams From My Father, written by Barack Obama, informs the narrative throughout, Obama’s own voice heard in the film, as the video above illustrates.
At one point late in the narrative, David Walker, former Comptroller General and now founder and CEO of Comeback America, is introduced to talk about the debt. He lays out the national debt from Washington to Bill Clinton, then couples George W. Bush and Barack Obama as being on watch when it exploded. At no other time does Mr. D’Souza mention Bush’s involvement in our country’s fiscal malpractice or that of Wall Street malfeasance and why Occupy rose up in the first place. It’s all Barack Obama’s fault.
D’Souza lets people like author Paul Kengor offer up that one of Obama’s primary mentors is an avowed communist, because he wrote the book on Frank Marshall Davis. As David Weigel was first to write, in 2008 the media knew this and didn’t care.
The magic of the movie is that it disentangles D’Souza early on from any nefarious motive and vitriolic plot line, which begins with tracing D’Souza’s own lineage, which starts where he was born in Mumbai, India. Tracing the similarities in his life and Barack Obama’s begins with the fact that they were born in the same year and both went to Ivy League schools. D’Souza takes off from Obama’s life in Honolulu, tracing his adventures, which goes along innocuously for some time.
Then we get to where Obama’s founder fathers are different from everyone else’s. Obama’s “founding fathers,” according to D’Souza, are Frank Marshall Davis, an avowed communist whom D’Souza makes a point of stressing was mentioned “22 times” in Dreams from my Father; Bill Ayers, whom D’Souza couples with Al Qaeda because both tried to bomb the Pentagon; Edward Wadie Saïd, a Palestinian-American that is seen as controversial; Harvard Law School professor Roberto Unger, who has called for Pres. Obama’s defeat; and the now infamous Jeremiah Wright.
In one section, D’Souza talks with George Obama, Pres. Obama’s half-brother, questioning him why if Obama believes we are our brothers’ keeper, why he isn’t caring for George. The interview with George is odd and includes his admission that it would have been better if “whites” had continued ruling Kenya, because they’re better at building successful economic engines, though he doesn’t use these exact words. It turns out that D’Souza sent $1000 to George Obama when his son became sick. Barack Obama’s brother said, when D’Souza asked why he was calling him, it was because “I have no one else to ask.”
Shelby Steele is interviewed as well, stating that the only reason Barack Obama is in the White House is “because of his blackness.” Ironically, his comment that Obama was “naturally born to bargain” meshes perfectly with candidate Obama’s own statement about why he was specifically suited for the presidency, which he outlined with George Stephanopolous in 2007.
It’s here a particularly interesting thesis is introduced that underlies the quote at the top by D’Souza. The “gratitude that whites feel” about supporting and voting for Barack Obama, which was also stated by Evan Thomas when he was still at Newsweek. That Obama’s political presence makes people “want to help him,” which is seen in a clip in the movie. Electing Barack Obama is “a stunning accomplishment, America’s accomplishment,” floats through this segment. It is an elemental theme in the film that hints that the gratitude Americans once felt is no longer in play because, as D’Souza sees it, “The first time we didn’t know Barack Obama, now we do.” That people should no longer feel compelled to vote a second time for our African American president is the “new card on the table” this November, D’Souza suggests.
Nowhere is it said that whites shouldn’t feel guilty about voting against Pres. Obama’s re-election this time around, but it’s clear asauaging any guilt that might arise if you’re white and do is clearly one of the tasks at hand.
Media Matters does a review, so I’ll let them take it from here on one section:
He whacks Obama for “blocking” the Keystone pipeline (not true) while loaning “billions of dollars” to Brazil to pursue offshore drilling (also not true). There’s a bit of Glenn Beck-inspired paranoia as snaking thorns of red, black, and green encircle the Middle East and North Africa, forming the new “United States of Islam.”
Box office comes from the Hollywood Reporter:
Galvanizing conservatives, Dinesh D’Souza and John Sullivan’s documentary 2016: Obama’s America grossed a stellar $6.3 million as it expanded nationwide over the weekend, beating a trio of new films. The anti-Barack Obama film, opening last month in only a few theaters, boasts a domestic cume of $9.2 million, the top gross of the year for a documentary (excluding nature films). Bully was the previous crownholder with $3.5 million.
Who produced it? A big Hollywood gun. Once again, the Hollywood Reporter:
2016 was produced by Gerald Molen, the Oscar-winning producer of Schindler’s List, Jurassic Park, Rain Man and Minority Report, and it was bankrolled by a couple of dozen wealthy investors allegedly from across the political spectrum, the most prominent being TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts, who also backed The Conspirator, Robert Redford’s movie about the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. His daughter, Laura Ricketts, is one of 27 high-profile, openly gay “super-bundlers” for Obama’s 2012 campaign, according to Forbes magazine.
Molen, who doesn’t talk politics while producing blockbusters for Steven Spielberg and other A-list moviemakers, has been incrementally outing himself as a rare conservative in the entertainment industry through interviews with THR, Breitbart.com and other outlets.
Dinesh D’Souza’s thesis revolves around the “ugly conquest of natives by others,” which he says is deeply rooted in Barack Obama’s anti-colonialism philosophy, which Newt Gingrich has helped trumpet. He attempts to tie these beliefs to Hawaii through similar anti-colonialism, which had to inform Pres. Obama, right?
Woven throughout is a pop psychology theme on what Obama’s absent father meant to his life.
It all leads to the logical place, foreign policy. D’Souza claims Pres. Obama’s anti-colonialism is the inspiration for him supposedly supporting the return of the Falkland Island back to Argentina; what isn’t understood is Obama’s neutrality on the subject, which has nothing to do with anti-colonialism, but realist notions are rarely understood, with Obama rarely expressing them.
It’s on the subject of national security where Dinesh D’Souza’s theory on Obama falls completely apart as he gets over-exercised and charges Pres. Obama has “weirdly sympathetic” views towards jihadists. It leads to the biggest blunder, when D’Souza complains about Obama’s dream of a nuclear-free world. Dinesh D’Souza forgets it was Ronald Wilson Reagan, in 1984 no less, who first uttered the words, “My dream is to see the day when nuclear weapons will be banished from the face of the Earth.” D’Souza hangs his entire theory on the notion that it is the reciprocity of nuclear disarmament that is missing today, which falls in on itself when you compare how many nuclear weapons the U.S. would have to destroy to get to nuclear parity with other countries, not considering the overwhelming strength of our conventional forces.
None of this, however, seemed to make a dent with the mostly white audience in Alexandria, Virginia, where I saw the film. Spontaneous applause erupted at the film’s ending and continued as the credits rolled, which says more than any negative reviews I’ve read.
Regardless of the dissection, Dinesh D’Souza has created a powerful film that is getting people to the theater. The buzz is big and the film just opened, with a lot of steam yet to build in the next two months. Who knows what it might inspire with voters on the fence? Disaffected blue collar Democrats who aren’t thrilled about voting for him could take just enough from the film to tilt their vote in another column or keep them at home. That is, if they bother to see the film in the first place.
For anyone who cares about politics in America this film is a must see, especially since it will be flowing through the political bloodstream until November, because it’s got an afterlife after its commercial release has ebbed.
Taylor Marsh, a veteran political analyst and former Huffington Post contributor, is the author of The Hillary Effect, available at Barnes and Noble and on Amazon. Her new-media blog www.taylormarsh.com covers national politics, women and power.