Obama's From Kenya?!

Newt Gingrich managed to get his mug in the news this week by calling the President a con man and charging that Obama's Kenyan, anti-Western roots were showing in his efforts to respond to the world's worst recession since, well, the last worse recession. Gingrich found much to admire, and bloviate about, in a mind-reeling, extraterrestrial piece of crankery committed by Dinesh D'Souza in Forbes this week. Trouble is, you can only consider D'Souza's insights into Obama's apparently deeply troubled psyche valid, as Gingrich apparently does, if you believe in journalism via telepathy. Even opinion pieces have to reflect some actual facts. There is not a single quote or fact in here to back this thesis up, outside of some hail mary interpretations of a collection of maudlin moments extracted from Obama's memoirs. D'Souza bases his "insight" into the Obama paterunfamilias on one obscure article and extrapolates everything else out of thin air.

I'm surprised D'Souza relies on this bunch of tired attack notes extracted from Glenn Beck talking points memos and GOP disinformation campaigns. (Do I really have to break down the fake NASA story one more time?) There is little bizarre about all the supposedly shocking positions D'Souza cites.... When he's not just flat out wrong: "Why support oil drilling off the coast of Brazil but not in America?" Hello, before BP, Obama had green-lighted new horizons for offshore drilling around the US, much to the consternation of U.S. environmentalists. What's bizarre is that D'Souza thinks his examples express an oddness about Obama. Does anyone else not get that our overuse of fossil fuels has something to do with the BP meltdown in the gulf? Are we not capable of appreciating the multiple aspects of complex realities at the same time? And are Obama's presumed "anti-business" positions really off-kilter given the economic meltdown he was handed when he became president? Let's remember that he has had the unwelcome task of saving capitalism from itself over the last two years. While D'Souza says Obama is antibusiness because of his various mitigation efforts, from the left he has been repeatedly attacked for being too soft on Wall St. etc., a sure sign he is doing something right.

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As to the central "insight," D'Souza offers, that Obama is channeling his Dad's anticolonialism, all I can say is the idea is truly bizarre and there's not a shred of evidence offered here to support this thesis. It's well known that Obama had no relationship with his father, how such a formidable mindset would have been handed down from father to son D'Souza doesn't bothers to describe because he has no satisfactory explanation for it. Unlike D'Souza, who finds it "remarkable" to believe otherwise, I don't find it hard to imagine that Obama was not familiar with an article penned by his father in 1965. I would find it odd if he actually tracked it down and read it. Back in the day, say more than two or three years ago, it was pretty hard to find reprints out of African economics journals at your average college library. D'Souza barely makes the case that Obama's dad was an anti-colonialist, certainly not that Obama is and what would the practical meaning of that be anyway? You don't have to be an anti-colonialist to be a supporter of a progressive marginal tax (the source of most of D'Souza's outrage). That form of taxation of the uber wealthy has long be part of the U.S. system and in fact was much worse during the reign of radicals like Eisenhower/Nixon when the highest bracket was, ready? 90 percent. Why do we tax the rich so much? Because they are the only ones who have money. If we truly want to close deficits, we will have to tax them more in the future and it won't matter who is president.

Anyways, aren't we Americans the original anti-colonialists? Remember old Mother England? Me neither, cuz we kicked her out on her ample royal! We have pushed back for decades against Europeans trying to overplay their influence in their old colonies, still do, when we weren't eagerly supporting indigenous efforts to kick them out in the first place.

Let's remember Occam's razor: Do we really have to create a convoluted theory of submerged black oppression and rage to explain Obama's antipathy to the rent-seeking that is destroying the U.S. health care system? (Does that explain my rage against this particularly gruesome machine?) No, more pedestrian explanations/motivations certainly suffice on this and a host of other Obama positions, most of which were clearly delineated during his campaign.

This theory, hoisted by a self-hating brown person attempting to extirpate his own colonialism-based rage and self-loathing (see how easy it is to concoct your own theories of pathology: no evidence necessary! Plus he wants to kill his father and sleep with his mother) is the perfect expression of our era's guilt by insinuation and association. So what's the point of this piece? Take a look at what's been happening with it, how it's being used. It allows people like Gingrich to justify their own base politicking on academic "theory," and once again raises Obama's "otherness" as an unspoken aspect of the 2010 and 12 campaigns. It's a neat trick to associate the dark-skinned president with the mostly brown anti-colonial movements of the 1960s and 70s, however, when Obama was, oh, 8 years old or so (I don't know how he found the time, what with all his work with the Weathermen). It's just one more way to connect him with anti-caucasoid, anti-Western, B-L-A-C-K revolutionary movements in the public imagination. There is a name for that: race baiting, a political art form the GOP has perfected since the 1960s with their southern strategy through Willie Horton, right up to today. It gets them votes dependably and just as dependably degrades the political process just a bit more each time.

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PATRICE TUOHY
8 years ago
Wow! Mr. Clarke: That was quite a response to Dinesh D'Souza's junk apologetics. The fact that Forbes would give D'Souza a platform to spew such drivel is a very sad commentary on the state of journalism. Thanks for calling out the reporting and naming sin: racism masquerading as patriotic concern.
Tom Maher
8 years ago
President Obama deserves very heavy, intense  criticism for his extremely poor and partisan handling of the economy.   Remember however he had a lot of help from his "hope and change" partners who with majority control in both houses of Congress voted into law Obama's disasterous economic policies.  But even worse, these failed economica policies are still being promoted today the the Obama administration.

Why is it that the Obama abministration and the masses and elites of people that support, encourage and enable him still not see the  economic harm that has been done the partisan economic policies of the Obama admisinistration? 

When is enough, enough?  People have to wonder why does the Obama adminsistration continue to promote its ineffective and harmful economic policies?  

Kevin Clarke, the author of this article, is very correct to say some the criticisms of Obama are way off the mark, excessive and irrelevant.  But it can not be denied that Obama's leadership as President is very much involved with and responsible for the poor results of his economic policies.   By not making corections to his failed economic policy Obama invites all kinds of ctiticism including much criticism he does not deserve from a frustrated and angered voting public.   We all should be focused on policies that will get us out of this recession not rancor such as over where the president may have been born.  (The President definitely is an American and fully eligible to be President becasue his mother was an American.  "Birther" arguments are fringe views that are not valid.)    

It is high time that President Obama learn what bi-partisanship is all about.  He is very ill served and so is the country by his own left of left thinking and that of his advisors.   He is doing himself and the country harm by not listenening to the perfectly fair and reaonable feedback that has always been available but has been ignored by the Obama administration.  A one-party, Democrat only prospective on the economy does not work especially when these policies have failed so completely and publicly.   Obama has only himself to blame for his own narrow partisanship that ignored more realistic economic needs of the of the nation such as making private jobs creation and urgent number one proirity.   And he will definately be blamed for his narrowly partisan and failed economic policies by everyone even by members of his own party.    


8 years ago
"There is a name for that: race baiting, a political art form the GOP has perfected since the 1960s with their southern strategy through Willie Horton, right up to today. It gets them votes dependably and just as dependably degrades the political process just a bit more each time."

- Mr. Clarke, take a deep breath!  After all, the world (and the Left) have "The Reverends" - Jeremiah Wright, Al Sharpton, Jessee Jackson, plus those elevators of racial conscious Henry Louis Gates, Charlie Rangel, & Maxine Waters (them of "ethics are for racists fame) to straighten out the "public dialogue"!  They certainly woud never dare dream of using race to manipulate voters!
8 years ago
And after 8 years of every dirty nasty thing said about George W. Bush (including, apparently, some 30% of Democrats believing he knew about 9/11 beforehand), you'd think your skin would be a little bit tougher!
8 years ago
While I am not going to get into the Clarke/D'Souza feud, there are more than a few of Mr. Clarke's comments that are not quite correct.
 
 
 ''I'm surprised D'Souza relies on this bunch of tired attack notes extracted from Glenn Beck talking points memos and GOP disinformation campaigns.''  I doubt that Mr. D'Souza is taking Glenn Beck's talking points.  Does Mr. Clarke have any proof of this.  Is quite common for people here to accuse others of taking Glenn Beck's talking points and repeating them without any proof that what they say is true or if true if it means anything.  There is the technique to mention Glenn Beck every time one does not like something like that is automatically a condemnation.
 
 
 ''Do I really have to break down the fake NASA story one more time?''  This is the first time I heard that it was a fake story.  I searched the internet and could not find that point of view.
 
 
 ''Why support oil drilling off the coast of Brazil but not in America?'' Hello, before BP, Obama had green-lighted new horizons for offshore drilling around the US, much to the consternation of U.S. environmentalists. ''  Ah, but this  was an ongoing program approved by all from before and to cite it is quiet disingenuous.  When Obama stopped the drilling, he put 18,000 out of work so Deepwater Horizon was not the only drilling operation.  No one had said there was no  offshore drilling only that many potential areas were going unexplored or unused.
 
 
 ''Does anyone else not get that our overuse of fossil fuels has something to do with the BP meltdown in the gulf? ''  I fail to see how the two are related.  How many wells have been drilled before this happened?   Eventually there was going to be a problem.  There was an almost as big of one 20 years ago in the gulf.  So the safety record seems pretty good.  What violations took place by BP and others?  We will find out.   And are we overusing fossil fuels?  I think most of us would prefer to use something else but as of the moment there is little alternative.
 
 
 
 ''And are Obama's presumed ''anti-business'' positions really off-kilter given the economic meltdown he was handed when he became president? Let's remember that he has had the unwelcome task of saving capitalism from itself over the last two years. ''  I could argue fairly effectively that Obama is as guilty as anyone for the financial crisis.  Certainly more so than George Bush.  The main culprits in the financial crisis are the GSE's Fannie and Freddie and Obama was the biggest recipient of their largesse.  Look to those who developed the programs that distorted housing prices as the culprits for the financial crisis.  Obama was also the major recipient of Wall Street money and had many opportunities to take positions that would have prevented the crisis but he didn't.  
 
 
 
 ''Let's remember that he has had the unwelcome task of saving capitalism from itself over the last two years.''  This is an absurd comment.  Capitalism is not to blame for what happened.  Look to what caused the housing prices to rise and there you will find the blame.  Housing prices rose nearly 90% in six years from 2000 to 2006 and that is at the root of the problem.  Capitalism did not cause that phenomena but some elements of it did take advantage of the rising housing prices and several organizations paid heavily for it but the real culprits are in Washington, not New York.  Wall Street did not cause the housing prices to rise though they did help some by continuing their investments in mortgage bonds.
 
 
I will stop here.   

Marie Rehbein
8 years ago
Apparently, Professor Gingrich's Phd dissertation topic was titled "Belgian Education Policy in the Congo: 1945-1960".  It looks like he is the one obsessed with colonialism, and his associating President Obama with the topic is a projection.
Michael Clarke
8 years ago
'I could argue fairly effectively that Obama is as guilty as anyone for the financial crisis.  Certainly more so than George Bush.  The main culprits in the financial crisis are the GSE's Fannie and Freddie and Obama was the biggest recipient of their largesse.'
I'm not sure how you can blame Obama in one paragraph and then in your next,  point out that the largest housing price increase in history came about during the Bush administration. An adminstration that promoted zero down payment loans via the FHA to low income borrowers, even with a default rate of near 50%. And what was the administrations position in 2005, when Rep. Oxley with bipartisan support in the House, passed a reform bill to try and prevent this mess? In Oxley's own words: "What did we get from the White House? We got a one-finger salute."
8 years ago
'' In Oxley's own words: ''What did we get from the White House? We got a one-finger salute.''
 
Unfortunately, Oxley words do not correspond with reality.  Please read
 
 
http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/5487 
 
 
The White House and Republicans made several attempts to reform the GSE's and were rebuffed by the Democrats every time.  You might then ask why would Oxley make his comment when the information so obviously does not support his assertion.  There are videos available that support this point of view.
 
 
The low/no down payment NINJA loans strategy originated in the Clinton Housing Administration with Cisneros and Cuomo and championed with the Community Reinvestment Act.  They started before Bush took office and were not the result of the policies he set in motion.  These policies artificially inflated housing prices eventually leading to the meltdown.  Without these lending policies there would not have been any financial crisis due to mortgage bonds.
 
 
One of the problems with successful economic activity is that the profits from this activity has to be invested in something.  Mortgage bonds appeared to be the most profitable investment on the planet as nearly every country wanted to be part of them.  Without them the money would have gone some place else and this too could have led to massive defaults but we do not know that for sure.  There was also a fair amount of money lost in other places as evidence the problems with Greece and other countries.  There are a lot of ways to squander money.  
 
 
But the particular crisis was due solely to the unsustainable housing price increases due to bad lending practices championed by the Democrats.  Did the Republicans object strongly?  Not really but they did try to reign in the excesses of the GSE's and were thwarted by the Democrats.  Nearly all the sub prime mortgages were going through the GSE's but not all as some of the investment banks set up their own mortgage companies in order to by pass the GSE's.  
 
 
To argue that it was George Bush's fault is absurd.  To argue that it was capitalism's fault is absurd.  To argue that it was due to failed policies of his predecessor that Obama constantly does are really blatant lies.

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