Blogophobia Undoes New D’Souza Book


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© Jack Cashill - October 7, 2010


or all his historic good work, Dinesh D’Souza, in his new book, The Roots of Obama’s Rage, suffers from the same malady that has afflicted many in the media, mainstream and conservative: blogophobia, undue fear of the research produced by Internet journals.

To make his thesis work—namely that Barack Obama “embraced his father’s ideals and decided to live out the script of his father’s unfulfilled life”—D’Souza must ignore two nuggets unearthed in the pages of WorldNetDaily.

The first of these—and kudos here to Jerome Corsi—involves Obama’s early life. The second involves the authorship of Obama’s celebrated 1995 memoir, Dreams from My Father. This is my own bailiwick.

D’Souza centers his book on the phenomenon of anti-colonialism—a potentially toxic mix of socialism, anti-imperialism, and anti-Americanism.

D’Souza argues that Barack Obama Sr. was “first and foremost” an anti-colonialist and that his son is too. Both assertions are true enough.

Where the argument breaks down is in D’Souza’s insistence that “through an incredible osmosis, [Barack Sr.] was able to transmit his ideology to his son living in America.”

The breakdown begins with the story of Obama’s origins. In his “essence,” D’Souza explains, Obama was “his father’s son.” In his retelling, Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, served largely as the vehicle through which the absent Obama exercised his will on the young Obama, she being “Obama Sr.’s first convert” to anti-colonialism.

D’Souza sustains this narrative at the expense of the facts, and he does so in several salient ways. First, he tells the reader only of Ann’s “white-bread upbringing in the Midwest.”

He neglects to tell us that Ann and her parents moved to the Seattle area when she was twelve and remained there until she had completed her senior year of high school.

Next, to make the conversion story convincing, D’Souza makes Ann seem a hapless innocent. The reader does not learn that she was a veritable teen beatnik, hanging out in Seattle’s coffee shops talking jazz, foreign films, and liberal politics.

Finally, and most critically, D’Souza has to accept the Obama-generated myth that the happy little family lived together until Obama was two, and his father reluctantly departed for Harvard.

As Corsi has proved on these pages, Ann enrolled for night classes at the University of Washington, which began on August 19, 1961, just fifteen days after the presumed date of Obama’s birth.

In June 1962, while Ann and her ten-month old baby were still in Seattle, Barack Sr. left for a grand tour of mainland universities on his triumphant way to Harvard. The Honolulu Advertiser did a story on the same.

In short, the little Obama family never lived together. It is likely that Ann and Barack Sr. never really dated, let alone married in any meaningful way.

It is less likely, though possible, that Barack Sr. was not the real biological father. D’Souza buries the verifiable and fails to explore the possible. All of it challenges his thesis.

Forgive me if I take a wee bit personally the second large omission on D’Souza’s part. For the last two years, I have been writing articles on the true authorship of Obama’s works, most notably Dreams from My Father.

In September 2009, in his otherwise Obama-friendly book, Barack and Michelle: Portrait of an American Marriage, celebrity biographer Christopher Andersen confirmed my thesis that former terrorist Bill Ayers played a major role in the writing of Dreams.

In his two-page synopsis of the Ayers-Obama relationship, D’Souza describes the pair as “fellow anti-colonial warriors” and freely admits that in Ayers’s 2001 memoir, Fugitive Days, “The anti-colonial themes jump out at you.” But there is not a word on Ayers’s involvement in Dreams.

While conceding Obama’s lack of “comprehensive knowledge” on the subject, D’Souza refuses to explore whether Ayers might have been the source of what knowledge he did have.

The reason seems obvious enough. If Ayers provided the anti-colonial overlay to Dreams, as I have argued, D’Souza’s thesis is shot.

Ayers, in fact, has been schooling himself in anti-colonialism’s many permutations for nearly fifty years. He is a far more likely source for Obama’s anti-colonialist posture than a man dead for nearly thirty years with whom Obama spent a few weeks with when he was ten-years old.

D’Souza also slights Ayers on the subject of rage. He attributes Obama’s presumed anger to the imperialist world’s treatment of his father.

Other than in the pages of Dreams, however, Obama has never seemed particularly enraged. Many of his friends have commented on the disparity between the angry Obama of the memoir and the amiable Obama of real life.

Obama surely imported the brooding Telemachus imagery of Dreamsfrom Ayers’s inexplicably angry life. In Fugitive Days, “rage” rules. Ayers speaks of “rage” the way that Eskimos do of snow—in so many varieties, so often, that he feels the need to qualify it.

It gets worse. So fixed is D’Souza on the image of an angry Obama avenging his father’s failures that he misinterprets the book’s climactic scene.

As told in Dreams, Obama finds himself at the burial site of his father and grandfather. “For a long time I sat between the two graves and wept,” reads the text. D’Souza takes Obama at his word and editorializes, “It is here that Obama takes on the father’s struggle.”

This is all wrong. In his book, the Bridge, Obama-fan David Remnick concedes that Dreams is not to be taken at face value. He calls it a "mixture of verifiable fact, recollection, recreation, invention, and artful shaping." The grave scene registers high on the invention scale.

In fact, Ayers has imposed an Homeric structure on Obama’s life. Obama’s trip to Kenya and the burial site serves the same purpose that Odysseus’ trip to the underworld serves, a chance to reconcile with the spirits of the past.

What Obama pulls from this experience has nothing to do with anti-colonial rage. Just the opposite. He learns that home is where the heart is. Cultural “authenticity” is an illusion, and there is “no shame in confusion.”

Just as the Odyssey ends with Odysseus reuniting with his wife, Penelope, Dreams ends with Obama marrying into the African American culture that has beguiled him all his life.

Michelle is “a daughter of the South Side,” the real McCoy. “I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves,” Obama would remind America during his briefly celebrated Philadelphia race speech.

More than anything, Obama has always wanted to be accepted as an African-American. Thus, the community organizing, the Christianity, the basketball, the wife. Yes, he developed an anti-colonial edge along the way, but this he got from many sources, none more important than his hippie mother and Bill Ayers.

What has motivated Obama throughout his life is not rage but ambition. He planned to be mayor of Chicago. He stumbled on to a bigger stage, and most of what he knew about the larger world he learned half-assedly by listening to his mother and by reading Dreams from My Father.

What D’Souza does describe well is the price we are paying for Obama’s miseducation.

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