Friday, October 08, 2010


Dinesh D'Souza wrote a nasty little hit piece on President Obama for Forbes a couple of weeks ago. The piece was widely and justifiably critiqued, even by some right-wingers. The lesson D'Souze took away from this is that you shouldn't accuse Obama of being responsible for policies regarding Brazilian oil that were approved by holdover Bush appointees -- but only because the fact of the administration's lack of involvement could be clearly demonstrated. The lesson D'Souza did not take away from this is that it's preposterous to argue that Obama's prime motivation is "anti-colonialism," a motivation Obama somehow picked up from a father he barely met. Apparently, even though every rational observer knows that's a crock, it can't literally be disproved, because we can't objectively fact-check Obama's psyche (hey, Obama could also believe all human beings are secretly an extraterrestrial race of lizard people -- you can't prove he doesn't!).

And, apparently, that approach to reality on D'Souza's part is good enough for the op-ed page of The Washington Post.

The Post today gives us D'Souza flogging that "anti-colonialism" theory again. The thesis is just as stupid as it was a few weeks ago. And D'Souza is still flogging a quote from Obama's first book, Dreams from My Father, as the key to the president's thinking -- even though he utterly distorts the meaning of the quote.

D'Souza writes:

... Obama gets his identity and his ideology from his father. Ironically, the man who was absent for virtually all of Obama's life is precisely the one shaping his values and actions.

How do I know this? Because Obama tells us himself....

In his book, Obama writes, "It was into my father's image, the black man, son of Africa, that I'd packed all the attributes I sought in myself."

But have you looked at that quote in context? In fact, this sentence appears at the moment Obama says he first rejected the notion that his father was the source of his identity.

Obama writes (Dreams from My Father, pp. 220-21, emphasis added):

All my life, I had carried a single image of my father, one that I had sometimes rebelled against but never questioned, one that I had later tried to take as my own. The brilliant scholar, the generous friend, the upstanding leader -- my father had been all those things. All those things and more, because except for that one brief visit to Hawaii, he had never been present to foil the image....

It was into my father's image, the black man, son of Africa, that I'd packed all the attributes I sought in myself, the attributes of Martin and Malcolm, DuBois and Mandela....

Now, as I sat in the glow of a single light bulb, rocking slightly on a hard-backed chair, the image had suddenly vanished. Replaced by ... what? A bitter drunk? An abusive husband? A defeated, lonely bureaucrat? To think that all my life I had been wrestling with nothing more than a ghost! For a moment I felt giddy.... The king is overthrown, I thought. The emerald curtain is pulled aside. The rabble of my head is free to run riot; I can do what I damn well please. For what man, if not my own father, has the power to tell me otherwise? Whatever I do, it seems, I won't do much worse than he did.

D'Souza hopes you won't read this. He writes in obvious bad faith. And the Post doesn't care.

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