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Following on Obama Sr. and Davis, D’Souza surveys a veritable rogue’s gallery of leftist political figures and academics surrounding Obama. These include the former 1970s Weather Underground terrorists William Ayers and his wife Bernadine Dohrn, who hosted meetings at their Chicago home introducing Obama during his 1995 Illinois State Senate run. In Chicago as well, Obama and his family had a decades-long relationship with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright of Trinity United Church of Christ, whose explosive anti-American rhetoric became a national issue during Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Rounding out Obama’s social circle are various academics such as the PLO/Yasser Arafat apologists Rashid Khalidi and Edward Said, a professor of Obama’s at Columbia University, and Obama’s Harvard University Law School professor Roberto Unger, who proclaims himself in a self-description quoted by D’Souza as a “leftist and by conviction as well as temperament a revolutionary.”
D’Souza’s movie raises the question how any person such as Obama could become America’s president. D’Souza’s colleague at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, the writer and race-relations scholar Shelby Steele, provides an answer in America’s hunger for a dramatic symbol of racial reconciliation. Voting for the mixed-race Obama as the United States’ first non-white president, argues Steele, gave many Americans a unique opportunity to demonstrate their civil rights bona fides, something they could even tell their grandchildren.
While these voters projected their American hopes upon an inexperienced politician running for president, the real Obama and his leftist views anathema to the electorate remained, according to Steele, largely “invisible,” thanks, many would say, to a compliant liberal media (consider the “thrill going up” Chris Matthews’ “leg” at MSNBC). Obama himself, the film notes, skillfully added to the transmutation of his leftist background into an all-American story when he publicly addressed the Rev. Wright scandal in 2008. Meanwhile, the affair itself was likely downplayed due to America’s desire to heal racial divisions. Thus the election of Obama was, Steele shrewdly argues, not so much his individual achievement as a collective achievement of the American people and their dreams. “You didn’t build that,” the film implies of Obama.
Once in office, though, Obama pursued policies reflecting not traditional American understandings, but rather Obama’s deeply ingrained leftist views. Obama, for example, took a rather benign view of the Arab Spring uprisings, being unable to look beyond visions of downtrodden people rising up against oppressors allied with America to see an Islamist threat. Community-organizer-in-chief Obama also apparently has no concern about abandoning an American strategic dominance through global nuclear arms reductions. Similarly, D’Souza detects in Obama’s insouciance towards the national debt mounting under his big government policies a willing acquiescence to America’s decline as world leader, wasted away by domestic obligations. Such weakening of America reflects the leftist view expressed by Obama himself that America has no exceptional position in the world, but rather should abandon a hubristic and dangerous claim to global primacy in favor of a more egalitarian, collective global community. While Obama’s views are at variance with American political traditions, D’Souza also notes in interviews with George Obama, a Kenyan half-brother of Barack from one of Obama Sr.’s various wives, that the downtrodden of the developing world do not necessarily agree with the American president either.
D’Souza concludes with a discussion of his understanding of the choice Americans face in considering four more years for Obama lasting through 2016. While Americans may have thought that they were fulfilling an American Dream of national unity in electing Obama in 2008, voters can now clearly tell upon the basis of the President’s record that he is pursuing other, less American-influenced visions. An Indian boy from D’Souza’s imagination contemplating a future history book of successive world powers with reference to an American era ending in 2016 leaves a final impression of D’Souza’s estimation of the enormous stakes involved.
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