Putting Obama on the Couch

I take an extremely dim view of attempts to psycho-analyze politicians. It’s tough enough opposing their policies. It’s a massive waste of time to sit back and try to figure out what motivates them.

Which brings me to the latest “conservative” stupidity. Dinesh D’Souza, who I used to like, has issued his latest ignorant screed trying to argue that Obama’s worldview comes from the father he barely knew. That’s he’s a secret Keynan marxist anti-colonialist who hates America. I’m not making this up. That’s pretty much what he says.

Ignore for the moment that D’Souza viewpoint is formed based on extremely selective reporting of various nontroversies about Obama. For example, he cites the speech — as many do — in which Obama said he believed in American exceptionalism just as Greeks and Brits believed in their exceptionalism. The Right Wing mouth foaming over this is not only weird, but stupid. They always elide the following lines where Obama vigorously trumpets American exceptionalism.

He also sites the nontroversy of Obama wanting NASA to forge international collaborations with Islamic countries, which turned out to be another overblown story. And then he turns to some selective quoting of Obama’s book to prove his point.

Even if you ignore the shitty reporting, the basic premise is garbage. Here’s Reason:

Sometimes things seem incredible because they are. Dreams From My Father is in fact a narrative of Obama’s non-relationship with his father. The whole point of the book is that the author’s paternal heritage is delivered in fragments during brief and usually troubled encounters. While Obama goes on about his father’s misfortunes — many of them clearly self-inflicted — in Kenya, there is no evidence for the claim that the elder Obama bequeathed his son a coherent or even a partial political philosophy.

The book does track a foggy course through Obama’s political growth, toward one inescapable goal: Obama’s formation came through and in reaction to his mother, a New Deal leftist whose social views were slightly more advanced than those of her cohort. There’s no need to go to Kenya for the kind of indoctrination into Frantz Fanon and socialism D’Souza describes: It was widely available at Occidental and Columbia. In fact, the book’s literary interest — and possibly its biggest political misdirection — rests in Obama’s putative skepticism about the leftish consensus of the sixties.

This sort of crap is damaging. Frum, on Newt Gingrich’s disgusting repetition of D’Souza’s crap:

Rush Limbaugh has been claiming for almost 2 years that President Obama is bent upon “redistribution” and “reparations.” Following D’Souza, Gingrich has now stepped up to suggest that this redistribution is motivated by anti-white racial revenge. If Obama wants to expand health coverage, tighten bank regulation, and create government make-work projects it’s not because he shares the same general outlook on the world as Walter Mondale or Ted Kennedy or so many other liberals, living and dead, all of them white and northern European. No, Obama wants to do what he does because he thinks like an African, and not just any kind of African but (in D’Souza’s phrase) “a Luo tribesman.”

It is to vindicate this African tribal dream that Obama wishes to raise the taxes of upper-income taxpayers and redistribute money away from these meritorious individuals. D’Souza contends that Obama is acting to vindicate his father’s supposed dream of overthrowing the global order and ending the global domination of the white race over other peoples.

Obama’s ideas are consistent with those espoused by a long line of leftists from McGovern down. What is the point in dragging in the dad he barely knew to assert that his worldview is based on some pan-African Marxism?

It’s to make him sound sinister. Because “liberal Democrat” or “New Deal democrat” or “Illinois liberal” don’t sound nearly as sinister. In short, it’s to play the racial angle.

It’s bad enough that the Left constantly accuses Obama’s critics of being racist. Do we have to hand them this kind of ammunition to make their accusations stick?