Why Is Dinesh D’Souza So Angry with Obama?

The author and director of a hit documentary rails against Obama's "anti-colonialism." Most Americans don't know what the heck he means

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Rocky Mountain Pictures / AP

Schooled by Jesuits in India and at Dartmouth, a veteran of the Reagan White House and now president of The Kings College in New York City, one might expect Dinesh D’Souza to stand for nuanced, scholarly and thoughtful insights drawn from many cultures and traditions.  One might expect him to channel cross-cultural wisdom to find connections between philosophies that seem obvious in hindsight.

(MORE: 2016: Obama’s America: Dinesh D’Souza Sees an End-of-Times)

One would, of course, be wrong.  D’Souza is a conservative ideologue first and foremost, and the main target of his ire over the past few years has been the presidency of Barack Obama. Launched just in time for the Republican National Convention, D’Souza’s new political documentary, 2016: Obama’s America, is a polemic based on his 2010 book, The Roots of Obama’s Rage. It’s been a surprise hit, bringing in more than $9  million since its release at the box office — not much when compared to Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 911, which grossed $119 million, but it’s already enough to put in the top 10 grossing political documentaries of all time. And its chief attraction seems to be an apocalyptic vision of the future should Obama be reelected — that the president is at heart an “anti-colonialist” hell-bent on downsizing America while encouraging a United States of Islam to rise in the Middle East.

Of the same age, of similarly mixed heritage and skin color, and educated at Ivy League schools at the same time, Obama and D’Souza couldn’t be more different.  Obama’s narrative is one of inclusion: “Only in this country is my story possible,” he said of his background during a starmaking speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Meanwhile D’Souza’s theme, even when he is trying to inspire, is very much tribal: us versus them. Speaking to immigrant Indians about when they would know that they are truly American, D’Souza said the litmus test should be that they would vote Republican, because it is the party of insiders.

(MORE: Joe Klein: Why Newt Makes My Head Spin)

But to me the most interesting thing about D’Souza’s political argument is this “anti-colonialism” that he suggests motivates Obama. It’s an odd expression in the U.S., so long gone from the lexicon that most Americans would today wonder if it refers to a style of architecture. “Anti-colonialism”  — a resentment of wealthy Western powers on the part of the people they’ve historically subjugated — is a word that evokes the angst of generations that grew up in the waning days of the British Empire.

In fact, I may share as much in common with D’Souza as he does with Obama.  We’re both Indians born in the decades following independence from the British. We grew up a few miles away from each other in Bombay (now called Mumbai). I, too, was schooled at a storied Indian academy that was a vestige of the British empire. And by coincidence I was an exchange student in the same program that brought D’Souza to the U.S. for the first time in September 1978. We arrived on the very the same flight.

Our generation struggled with ambivalence towards the legacy of British occupation, one that left us simultaneously indebted and disgusted. India’s legal, rail and parliamentary systems came directly from the British. At the same time, it was hard to forget that the gates of the private sports clubs had once borne the signs “Indians and Dogs Not Allowed”. Since then Indians have either co-opted their colonial heritage (to wit, India is nuts about cricket) or have systematically replaced all things British with American trappings: the Beatles with the Doors, Oxford and Cambridge with Harvard and Stanford (and in D’Souza’s case, Dartmouth).

(MORE: Who Is a Better Communicator: Romney or Obama?)

So: is the American president “anti-colonialist”? If it’s hard to square these motifs of resentment, humiliation and ambivalence with the popular impression of “No Drama Obama”, it is likely because 2016: Obama’s America is less about Obama than it is about D’Souza coming to terms with his own origins. What better way to leapfrog into the party of insiders than to take up the mantle of an iconoclast? What better way for a brown immigrant to fit in than to point out the foreignness of another dark-skinned American?  D’Souza argues that he is simply adding a dimension of understanding to an inscrutable president. But his conceit is that “anti-colonial” is meant to extend past the ordinary insult that the term “socialist” connotes. And while he takes pains to dismiss claims by the birther fringe that Obama wasn’t born in America, he also runs with the ball that the birthers dropped — to make the case that Obama is effectively, if not factually, un-American. It is a curious line of reasoning, but in the hands of his cinematographers 2016: Obama’s America quickens the pulse as the images, music and D’Souza’s monotone conspire to convey his belief that “something is not quite right here”.

In the final analysis “anti-colonial” is too far-fetched a metaphor to understand Obama, who if he rages, must do it very privately. D’Souza’s arguments are so over the top and so obviously personal that they even fail to provoke ire.  They are simply like sand between the fingers — fleeting and gone without a trace.

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ninjanurse9
ninjanurse9

Um, wasn't the United States a British  colony that had a Revolutionary War? Was this a bad thing?

lairdwilcox
lairdwilcox

Obama sees his true cultural roots as being outside of the United States.  His mother lived in a family that traveled the world and had a fascination with people who were different than herself and from other cultures and races.  Her mixed race child reinforced this tendency.  While this is common today it was unusual in the 1960s and tended to isolate her. 

Both she and her son had a relationship with Frank Marshall Davis, who was once listed on the FBIs National Security List because of his travel to and enthusiasm for the Soviet Union.  Although D'Sousa doesn't focus much on that relationship, he does a great deal to explain Obama's alienation from traditional American cultural values.

Writers have commented that Obama seems oddly disconnected and insufficiently involved in his job, almost puppet-like.  I suspect he feels very much out of place.  From his standpoint this doesn't matter much since most of the decisions are made by Valarie Jarrett and David Axelrod, both of whom grew up on families with CPUSA members and radical politics.  He feels at home with them.

The media is so thrilled about having a Black president that they've simply ignored anything that might tarnish his image.   If a Republican had the kind of historical relationship with Ku Klux Klansmen that Obama has had with Marxist-Leninists they wouldn't stop talking about it, speculating about it and attributing his every move to it.  It's an extraordinary situation.

om_kara
om_kara like.author.displayName 1 Like

Sanjiv Singh asks - So: is the American president “anti-colonialist”?

My take is that Dinesh is from Goa and he is nostalgic about their days under the Portuguese. He is transferring his dislike of all the countries that were part of the European colonies.This also helps him to buddy up with his new colonial masters - the Republicans.And to boot acquire an indecent amount of 'loot' from the gullible base of this party.

At best he is a poseur .. a panderer. At worst he is delusional and a paranoid.

His book should be put by NYT under the category of 'fiction' .. and he should be thrown out from his Presidentship of The King's College.

om_kara
om_kara

Dinesh D’souza is a Catholic whose family hails from Goa. While India gained independence from the British in 1947, Goa was freed from the Portuguese only in 1961.Some of the Catholic Goans never came to terms with joining the Indian Union. They did well under the Portuguese. So their sympathies lay with the colonial masters.

 

Dinesh D’souza is one of them. Since he cannot spew venom at the Indians, he does the next best thing. Vililfy the President. It helps him to endear himself to his new masters – the Republicans-and make tons of money in the process.

 

Dinesh is now ripe for psycho-analysis himself.

Tom Jones
Tom Jones like.author.displayName 1 Like

dsouza is a shame on humanity. his writing has no logic or science. 

lewr2
lewr2

Time is in the bag again!

He's not angry at anyone. He's telling the story of Obama and you can read most of it in Obama's own book. His mentors are a best socialist's and worse Commies. Doesn't matter whether you want to believe me... Read the works of the people Obama says are his mentors.

Tom Lawrence
Tom Lawrence

You write "census" builder in the refer line.

You mean "consensus."

And in the piece on Dinesh D'Souza, there's this line: "We arrived on the very the same flight."

I know times are lean, but can't Time afford editors?

shaysite
shaysite

A film length example of the Straw Man Fallacy?

indianearth
indianearth

I am embarrassed that this "academic" is in a position of power to influence  young idealistic minds with his message of hate and division and outright racism. I am of Indian heritage like him and came to the US in 1977. I abhor what this man stands for. I was so proud when Obama was elected - the best representation of the best in American white and black - a unifier, an opportunity to heal open wounds.

Men like Mr D'Souza just preach dissent and hate in a country they adopted as a home. Preach some love and inclusion and heal our wounds rather than add salt to them. You are not helping anyone except yourself Mr D'Souza.  

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OnceLiberal
OnceLiberal

To dismiss an intriguing argument based on factual data as "too far fetched a metaphor to understand Obama" and "obviously personal" is to avoid facing the connections that are uncovered. You should question his conclusions, and go ahead and challenge the facts (if you can back it up), but don't dismiss it as "over-the-top".

Show us a real counter-argument, please.

flamestar
flamestar

 You have yet to say anything concrete.  You remind me of Nome Chomsky. He makes meaningless statements and says they cannot be refuted. Refuting a meaningless statement is  like refuting a fart.

flamestar
flamestar

And don't assume I love Bush. I disagree with Obama, and I'm very concerned with his motives.

Motives are not facts.   

Are you saying you don't love Obama or something more? What do you think are Obama's motives anyway. Are you concerned about Bush's motives. It's very frustrating when you refuse to bring up any facts and demand that I refute them.

flamestar
flamestar

D'Souza brings up some facts that support a theory. I don't care if you want to

disagree with his theory. What I care about is that the media stick to the

facts, and not dismiss an argument simply by calling it too far-fetched. You

pointed out that Bush "allowed" the 9/11 attacks. What really happened

is the threat seemed too far-fetched to be deemed credible. We live in a world

where "too far-fetched" doesn't exist.

==========================================

Here you totally contradict your self.  You say the threat of 9/11 seemed too far-fetched and then say “We live in a world where "too far-fetched" doesn't exist.” So you are saying that the threat of 9/11 wasn’t too far fetched and that you were lying when you said the threat was too far-fetched. Therefore Bush did allow 9/11. 

The problem is you aren’t educated enough to know not to contradict yourself. Or you have been brainwashed and your ideas are literally insane and you would rather contradict you self then abandon them.

Perhaps you just used the wrong words and you meant something else but by your logic Bush allowed 9/11.  Please explain.

flamestar
flamestar like.author.displayName 1 Like

First exactly what does D'Souza say and how would his statements be tested.  He implies something that is clearly false. That a core value of Americans is colonialism and anyone who isn't a colonist is not real American. D'Souza doesn't  know that the US was a colony of Britain and since we threw them out the US  has been against colonies.  It is true that the US has had and continues to have colonies but it's not something we are proud of only that it is the least of all the bad alternatives.

ninjanurse9
ninjanurse9

@flamestar yeah, I walk on the very streets that were laid  before the Revolutionary War. I'm not going to invite the Redcoats back and the Royal Family can get a job as far as I'm concerned.

OnceLiberal
OnceLiberal

What those who oppose D'Souza's theory ought to do is somehow reconcile the fact that Pres. Obama has been raised and mentored by anti-colonialists. Not the kind who simply believe that powerful governments should not colonize smaller countries, but that feel they need to take back from, namely, the United States and Great Britain what we have supposedly stolen from them.

The idea of anti-colonialists is more than a "leave me alone" attitude. It's a "lets see how you like it" attitude. That is what D'Souza is saying about Pres. Obama's core beliefs. His theory fits the President's puzzling actions that have damaged not only our global position, but the future of this country.

As I requested before, let's see some arguments against this notion that directly address the factual associations uncovered by D'Souza. Anything short of that will not disprove his theory.

I, for one, think he's dead on. Despite searching, I haven't found any reason to believe otherwise.

OnceLiberal
OnceLiberal

Wow! When did this get personal? As uneducated as you think I am, I'll let that one go. I'm not here to throw around insults at genuinely concerned people.

D'Souza brings up some facts that support a theory. I don't care if you want to disagree with his theory. What I care about is that the media stick to the facts, and not dismiss an argument simply by calling it too far-fetched. You pointed out that Bush "allowed" the 9/11 attacks. What really happened is the threat seemed too far-fetched to be deemed credible. We live in a world where "too far-fetched" doesn't exist.

And don't assume I love Bush. I disagree with Obama, and I'm very concerned with his motives. Doesn't mean I love Bush. I am conservative, but he wasn't the best representative of that. Yet again, another distraction from the real discussion.

So again, I'll reiterate. I'd like the media, or anyone else who has a valid, factual counter-argument to carry on the discussion that D'Souza started. So far no one has. If a new article has popped up that I'm not aware of, please let me know. I'd love to read it.

flamestar
flamestar

 One added point. Here we are and all you have is in your opinion.  You think he is right and we are supposed to change your mind when you believe what you believe based on nothing but your feelings.

Obama became the President of the United States.  Why would he become president of something he hates. If American sucks then after all the work Obama has achieved nothing. People who become head of something become protective of it.  Please name a person who because head of something they hated just to destroy it.  

flamestar
flamestar

You need more education because you have been fooled by smear tactics, Smear tactics cannot be disproven because they are not provable in the first place.  If I say you hate the Chinese you cannot you prove me wrong because it is impossible to prove that you hate them in the first place. I am sure I can find things that you said that were wrong about the Chinese take them out of context and put them together to make a case. As for all the good and right things you said I could say you are being dishonest.

Let me show you what he does. “Second, the AP article quotes me as saying that Obama has “done nothing” to prevent Iran from getting nuclear bombs.  This is a deliberate misquotation.  Actually in the film I recall a prediction that I made in my book The Roots of Obama’s Rage.  The prediction was that Obama “would do nothing significant” to prevent Iran from getting nuclear bombs.  By omitting the word “significant,”

Note the word “significant” can mean anything that D’Souza wants it to mean at anytime. His use of meaningless language that cannot be disproven is in itself a refutation of his ideas.   Let him make concrete predictions and have him agree to leave the U.S, if they do not turn out to be true.

flamestar
flamestar

1.    What those who oppose D'Souza's theory ought to do is somehow reconcile the factthat Pres. Obama has been raised and mentored by anti-colonialists. Not the kind who simply believe that powerful governments should not colonize smaller

countries, but that feel they need to take back from, namely, the United States and Great Britain what we have supposedly stolen from them.

---------------------------------------

First of all there is no way to prove what kind of anti-colonialists they really are.Some who speak mildly and be filled with hate and others who are all bombast may not give a damn. We know that D’Souza is wrong when he talks about Obama’s rage because rage is out control anger and if Obama were out of control he

would lose it and start yelling how much he hates American in his speeches.

Have you ever read the Wealth of Nations by Aden Smith? Colonies hurt the countries that own colonies. Did you know that the U.S. was a colony of Great Britain and thatwe fought to thrown them out? While the United States has had colonies thrustupon us the U.S. has always been an anti-colonialist country.  I think that it is important for you to answer this point.

You see it is D’Souza is the anti-American. Th Jesuits who fought Muslims and see Spain during the inquisition as their goal for the U.S raised him. He wants the US engage in a new crusade, colonize the Muslim countries and use torture toconvert the unfaithful.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

flamestar
flamestar

2 The idea of anti-colonialists is more than a "leave me alone" attitude. It's a "lets see how you like it" attitude.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Really what proof do you have? Let’s see some proof.

flamestar
flamestar

>3.That is what D'Souza is saying about Pres. Obama's core beliefs. His theory fits the President's puzzling actions that have damaged not only our global position, but the future of this country.

-------------------------------------------------------------

So you want to compare Bush’s puzzling actions. Bush came

from the party who caused the Great Depression of 1929. The Republican view of the American government as an evil and should be shut down. It claims that government workers are bums. The United States is the greatest country in the

world and is the only super power because of the US government but the Republicans hate the government and wish to destroy it.  Under Clinton we had a robust economy, a balanced budget, low unemployment.  Then the Republicans took over.  1. The

Republican Tax cuts under Bush led to a 33 % increase in the debt in his first term and a 40% increase in the second.  2.

Bush allowed 9/11 the greatest terrorists attack on US soil.  3. We invaded Afghanistan.  Lack of regulation let to shoddy equipment

from war profiteers and Republican stupidly caused a military disaster.  4. We invaded Iraq.  Lack of regulation let to shoddy equipment from war profiteers and Republican stupidly caused a military disaster.  5. The hurricane Katrina effect was made much

worse because Republicans are against any government action and they oppose helping people on principle. 6. Unregulated markets led to the dot com bubble. 7. The Republicans took off all the regulations and Ponzi gamers like Madoffrobbed widows and orphans.  8. The Republicans cut regulations for mortgages and we had a mortgage crisis.  9. Lack of regulations led to giant bonuses allowing executives to loot companies making them worthless.  10. The stock market crashed becausecompanies were worthless.

Bush the man who hates the US and the Republicans who hate

the US government did grievous harm to the US.

If you want to claim that Obama hates the United States fine

as long as you are consistent and agree that Bush hates the United States as much as Obama maybe more.

flamestar
flamestar

As I requested before, let's see some arguments against this notion that directly address the factual associations uncovered by D'Souza.

An association fallacy is an inductive informal fallacy of the type hasty generalization or red herring which asserts that qualities of one thing are inherently qualities of another, merely by an irrelevant association. The two types are sometimes referred to as guilt by association and honor by association. Association fallacies are a special case of red herring, and can be based on an appeal to emotion.

Anything short of that will not disprove his theory.

I, for one, think he's dead on. Despite searching, I haven't found any reason to believe otherwise.

One cannot prove a negative.

Now it time you address some points yourself.

Ram Rup Kumar
Ram Rup Kumar

Whichever presidential candidate wins the election, he will have to spend trillions of dollars to jump start the American economy. Only then will companies start hiring in huge numbers.

In 2008, President Obama tried to spend a large amount of money some time after winning the last elections, in order to hire millions of Americans. His plan was turned by law makers both on Congress and the Senate.

flamestar
flamestar

He takes Republican policies ascribes them to Obama and blames him for it. Sure the debt has grown and Obama is to blame but the debt has grown because Obama kept Bush’s tax cuts and his war. Sure Obama’s heath care is awful it’s Romany’s health care plan. D’Souza a man from India trained by the Jesuits claims that Obama is anti-American when it’s clear that he doesn’t know a damn thing about America. D’Souza says Obama is anti-American because he is against colonies. He doesn’t know that the U.S. was a colony of Britain and after we threw them out we have been against colonies ever since.  He doesn’t know that the United States is a capitalist country and even though he is English Adam Smith is America’s leading economist. In the Wealth of Nations published in 1776 Smith proved that not only does colonialism impoverish the colony it impoverished the country that owns the colony. He advertised his movie saying Obama wants to downsize the American government not knowing that Republican’s are for less government. Like

the Republicans as a follower of the Jesuits D’Souza is a rabidly anti-American. He believes in poverty because Catholics believe that pain and suffering is good for the soul and that poverty keeps men spiritual. After the. Renaissance Southern Europe was kept poor and anti-democratic by the Popes while Protestant Northern Europe because wealthy and relatively free.  We see that the two depressions under the Republicans are in accord with what Mr. D’Souza’s wants and he will say anything to keep American poor.

Mau Pham
Mau Pham

What's wrong if Obama is "anti-colonialist"? Isn't that good for the USA as well as good for humanity?

Colonialism is based on entitled privileges, the antithesis of individual merits that Republicans have been promoting.

It would have been a disaster if the President of the USA harbors colonialist tendency.

flamestar
flamestar

There is a racial aspect to the Indian cast system.  The people in the higher casts have more European blood than the lower casts. 

flamestar
flamestar

For what it is worth. Indians did sell blacks down the river in South Africa. 

Leftcoastrocky
Leftcoastrocky

I would extend the sand metaphor a little bit farther.  As the sand slips between the fingers it falls into the gears of our government, our economy and our society, slowing breaking things down -- and maybe only as an ego trip or a financial trip of Dinesh.

Jay_In_Austin
Jay_In_Austin

You have to be carefully taught to hate ... you have to be carefully taught ... any questions?

zafars
zafars

what a load of baloney !

abbaS
abbaS

I am sick of these Indians who profess to be Americans.  From Fareed Zakaria the plagiarist to the wall street convicts, and now this d souza, who suddenly became a scholar. 

Tashi Sammi
Tashi Sammi

Ok, so I haven't read Dinesh's book so I can't speak to it directly.  I am a 44 year old Sikh Indian-American woman raised my entire life in the States.  Three and half years ago, I voted for Obama wholeheartedly, "hoping"  a "change" and a breath of fresh air was coming for the country after 8 years of "W."  Right about now, "W" looks better and better and if  you knew me you'd know I was no fan of W and how he was forklifted into the Presidency, but I digress. My point:  I think the label of "anti-colonialism" as a driving force for Obama is a stretch.  As the author suggests, subjects of colonialism usually feel both indebtedness and and resentment toward their occupiers.  In Obama's case, where would these feelings come from?  He was born in Hawaii and spent most of his time on mainland American soil.  According to D'Souza, his book "Dreams of my Father" is the key that unlocks Obama's inner workings.  However, I feel that is unlikely because according to all accounts, Obama hardly ever knew his father.  

Now, I've know some Indians of the older generation who I've seen never felt indebted or resentful of the British.  Instead, they suffer what I think is a mild case of "Stockholm Syndrome."  A stretch, maybe, but their reverence for everything British and mimicry of what is proper British behavior would be truly hilarious if it wasn't so sad.  Point being, you can't really generalize about how someone will behave under said circumstances.

I think Obama is un-American and not because of the birther thing.  I'm confident he was born in Hawaii.  In my opinion, he's un-American because of where he's taking the country.  He's made wealth and success, not something to aspire to, but something to disdain by those who have not.  His own upbringing of being "on the outside looking in," I think leads to his desire to level the playing field and not in a good way.  He wants to punish material success and that is truly un-American. Capitalism is not evil.

How do you know when you're truly American (this only applies to class/status conscious immigrants from India)?

Be Authentic.  Americans can smell BS a mile away.  I'm one of them. When you can be honest and proud about your background in India.  Lying about who you are doesn't make you look better, just pathetic because here, no one really gives a hoot about where you came from, what caste you were, who your parents are, what "club" you belonged to, what your last name signifies in the tangled web of the caste system, what hotels you ate at,  what convent school you  went to, which minister came to your wedding, how many servants/drivers you have,  or if Shah Rukh Khan personally came to your damn house and served you dinner on a gold thali.

I don't care about where you came from, just where you're going: just like Obama.

danah_gaz
danah_gaz

So you agree with the GOP's notion that Obama hasn't cleaned up W's mess fast enough, so we should put them back in charge. Nice. Things are easier to break than to fix. W had 8 years to ride this country off the rails, while Obama has had four years to fix it. It sounds like you are beholden to instant-gratification that is unfortunately such an intrinsic part of American life.

Anyway, as to the rest of your post, you already claimed you didn't read D'Souza's book, and then practically wrote one yourself. For someone so unfamiliar with D'Souza's work, you sure have a lot to say about it.

I rate your post: tl;dr

Ashish Chaturvedi
Ashish Chaturvedi

Error...please check 

We arrived on the very the same flight.

ciendolor
ciendolor

Mr D'Souza was angry with Christopher Hitchens, too, who never harmed a fly, asserting that atheism is a force of evil.  Beware of the name-callers amp; the polemicists.  They're in it either for the money or the power.

flamestar
flamestar

Give me a break the guy is a Jesuit mouth piece, He like every Republican who wants the US to be like Spain under the Inquisition where all but a few are dirt poor. The man hates democracy and freedon and supports the Republicans because they are out to destroy America,  

JasonJoyner
JasonJoyner

Or like the french in the Mel Brooks History of the World movie.  "We're so poor, we don't even have our own language, just this stupid accent!"

arvay
arvay

Dinesh D’Souza is a well-paid boot-licker of the Pukka Sahib types who've moved to the American neocon trash heap. So naturally he rages at a dark-skinned man who got where he is on his merits, not eating colonialist poop.

We all can read what Obama meant when he removed Churchill's statue from its place of honor in the White House. Churchill was a racist, colonialist and his major dispute with Germany was who should  run Europe and own much of the world. "Great" Britain killed many thousands of Kenyans when they rebelled against colonial rule.