Trying to figure out what makes Barack Obama tick, what influenced his thinking, and where he might take the country in a second term is the purpose of Dinesh D’Souza’s new $2.5 million documentary 2016: Obama’s America, which will premiere in hundreds of theaters on August 10. D’Souza, a bestselling author and the president of King’s College in New York, emigrated from India as a boy, and he says he understands something of how Obama’s exotic upbringing in Hawaii and Indonesia might have shaped his view of America. But D’Souza, a conservative, sees America as a land of tolerance and opportunity. He believes Obama “adopted his [anti-colonialist] father’s position that capitalism and free markets are code words for economic plunder. Obama grew to perceive the rich as an oppressive class, a kind of neocolonial power within America.” That may be stretching things just a bit, but remember, it was the president himself who just told small-business owners they can’t take credit for their own success.
D’Souza travels the world in search of clues to Obama’s thinking, using Dreams from My Father as his Baedeker guide. In a couple of spots his evidence seems forced or incomplete, but much of what he finds is disturbing. An old academic friend of the late Barack Obama Sr. tells D’Souza he believes father and son shared the same anti-colonial, anti-Western outlook.
Interestingly, one of the Kenyans whom D’Souza meets now thinks the British colonialists left too soon. George Obama, one of the president’s cousins, tells D’Souza that if the British had stayed, “they would have developed us. Instead, we were fighting over nothing!”