WHY?

Watching Dinesh D'Souza's 2016: Obama's America in the wake of the 2012 U.S. presidential election is an interesting experience. Since the film was clearly produced and released (in July '12) with the intention of convincing Americans not to reelect Barack Obama, does the fact that he won anyway render it irrelevant? Or is it a good thing that now that Obama will remain in the White House, we'll have a chance to see if D'Souza's dire predictions about the havoc the president will wreak on the nation (cutting the military, raising taxes, continuing to ignore Iran's nuclear potential, spending money irresponsibly, and so on) will come true? It's the filmmaker's contention that Obama's dreams, aspirations, and values come from his father; although he barely knew Barack Obama Sr., his mother passed on his influence--influence that was largely misguided, as the elder Obama was a radical anti-colonialist whose son has spent his life trying to "become worthy of his father's loveā€¦ the love he never got." D'Souza illustrates his thesis by way of reenactments, interviews (including plenty of face time for himself), footage from visits to Kenya (Obama Sr.'s native country) and Indonesia (where the president briefly lived with his mother and stepfather), and excerpts from Obama's first book, Dreams from My Father, read by the president himself. He does his case no favors by not talking to anyone with a differing point of view; at the same time, he tends to prod those he does interview into giving the answers that he wants to hear ("Do you see Israel as a little colonial power in the Middle East?" is typical), and his references to "founding fathers" of Obama's alleged radicalism (William Ayers, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, et al.) are old and tired. About an hour into the story, having declared the new brand of anti-colonialism (unlike the older kind, which helped India, D'Souza's own homeland, rid itself of the British) to be "anti-capitalist (and) anti-Christian," he declares that Obama "possesses a Third World, anti-American view." At that point, pretty much all pretense of objectivity is abandoned; this is where the true believers will move closer and turn up the volume, while others will turn off their TVs in disgust. That's unfortunate, as the end result will be that those predisposed to mistrust Obama will find nothing to soften their view here; neither will those who think it's nothing but hateful, divisive nonsense. --Sam Graham

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