The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Review: “2016: Obama’s America”

Posted on | August 24, 2012 | 37 Comments

by Smitty

Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF): 2016 is a fantastic first therapeutic step for that Lefty friend of yours.

This blog doesn’t do movie reviews, being generally too caffeinated for extended screen staring. However, 2016: Obama’s America seemed a bloggable event. Here it goes.

For a movie with a futuristic title, 2016 spends the bulk of its time looking back, trying to get into the head of Barack Obama. If you find inner workings and hidden mechanisms of the subject head of no interest, then this is not the movie for you. Dinesh D’Souza, our guide to that head, uses Dreams From My Father as a roadmap. This is genius, as it obviates accusations that D’Souza was faking it as he went. As for the author of DFMF, [insert riff here].

The other key piece besides DFMF for scope is the auteur himself: D’Souza introduces 2016 by discussing his own, substantial biographical similarity to his subject. This is important because having an interviewer of Indian extraction grants the sort of outside-in perspective given by Borat, while remaining watchable. (I cashed out of Borat, playing on the hotel movie channel where I happened to be, at the rodeo scene where the Star Spangled Banner was butchered.)

So we have a quasi-foreigner peering through the lens of DFMF and offering the thesis that BHO is an echo of Barack Obama Sr.’s anti-colonialist views. I don’t disagree that this may be a significant component of his thinking. In confining himself to DFMF, D’Souza avoids material that would be incendiary. The target audience, again, seems to be people on the Left who need to come to grips with having been duped in 2008, and need to begin somewhere with just a little less bombast than the Mike Church show.

D’Souza’s task seems to be to portray Obama as coherent, if not likable. While D’Souza’s conservative views are in plain sight, D’Souza is anxious to show, through the faces and words of people who knew Barack Obama Senior as well as BHO, that BHO’s ideas have a starting point, and a historical context. There is a sense to it, whether or not you find it agreeable.

And I don’t. D’Souza wants to simplify the last four years to Barack working out his issues with his dad, as seen in DFMF. Well, I don’t think that more than a superficial analysis. I simply don’t believe much of anything about Barack. Every state from or about the fellow has to be assigned a probability of truth.

D’Souza’s scope, for example neatly avoids that pesky literary biography. While likely an example of pure marketing gimmickry, that and so many other details (Pakistan?) call into question whether much of Obama’s public record has a factual basis.

And so, having spent the bulk of the run time getting the audience to the 2008 election, D’Souza looks at some highlights from the administration. That bust of Churchill looms large for its colonial significance. The Obama Administration’s bizarre, spastic inability to relate the facts concerning the bust were at once silly and worrisome. Middle Eastern and domestic policy, seen through an anti-U.S. lens which sets America up as a neo-colonial power, and then then determines to topple the U.S., does make a depressing sense.

Ultimately, though, the results are what matters, not the motives or the analysis. Some time is spent on the race question, which D’Souza handles deftly. Obama, an interview passage with Shelby Steele suggests, is the uber-huckster, translating latent societal guilt into political power. People “wanted” to help Barack. This is how he wound up on the Harvard Law Review. The 2008 election was a triumph of mental judo, scaling Obama’s skill to eclipse Hillary Clinton’s campaign. But, while “Vote for Obama to prove you’re not raaaaacist” worked in 2008, the oratory didn’t scale. The cold light of day and the hard realities of economics meant that there was no recovery. The results aren’t there.

Now, according to D’Souza, for anti-colonialist Obama, this is all ‘fair’. Some karmic debt is paid if the entire world is a shanty town. I guess. Past all the crypto-Marxist theories, I can’t accept that BHO really wants an economically wasted country for himself and his daughters. It’s just too nihilistic, too ‘Borat’ of a worldview to accept, even in the possibly flaky head of another. Thus, I am not prepared to accept D’Souza’s thesis fully.

Where this movie is extremely valuable is as therapy for independent and blue-dog Democrat voters who need some kind of dispassionate means getting some perspective about 2008. In offering a non-shrieking place for Obama supporters to begin an introspective review of where we were told we’re going, where we are, and where we’d like to be, D’Souza has mad a valuable contribution.

Years later, when the memoirs are written, I expect that Obama will stand more revealed as combining the worst features of a Commie radical and a Mafia thug. 2016’s portrait of Obama as a man struggling to figure out what to do with that mental image of dad is a beginning. And it’s good for now. Plenty of time for a more sordid truth to emerge later, once the economic situation is less dire.

Update: linked by Rhetorican.

Update II: Another review at Stacy on the Right.

Update III: linked by Fishersville Mike.

Update IV: Another review at Perfection Under A Red Umbrella


37 Responses to “Review: “2016: Obama’s America””

  1. Bob Belvedere
    August 24th, 2012 @ 11:47 pm

    …D’Souza wants to simplify the last four years to Barack working out his issues with his dad, as seen in DFMF.

    So the movie’s about Frank Marshall Davis???

  2. Bob Belvedere
    August 24th, 2012 @ 11:50 pm

    Thanks for the review, Smitty. You confirmed the good and not so good I’ve heard about it. Your reviewing style is more of the kind I’d like to see. It lays out the gist, the themes running through it, and offers both dispassionate and passionate analysis.

    You should do more of these, though I understand you probably won’t have much time to do so for, say, the next sixteen or so years.

  3. smitty
    August 24th, 2012 @ 11:55 pm

    FMD is mentioned. I hadn’t heard FMD and BHO’s grandfather were drinking buddies.

  4. Bob Belvedere
    August 24th, 2012 @ 11:56 pm

    While Obama may have adopted some of the kind of African Marxism his namesake held, Mr. D’Souza ignores the other important influences on his thinking [or lack thereof], like his white Grandfather [Socialist], Marshall Davis [Communist], Alinsky [Nihilist]. I’ve heard Mr. D’Souza praised for studying issues like a proper scientist and this could explain the biggest problem with his theory: like a scientist, he is too narrowly focused on the theory at hand and, thus, he ignores other, outside connecting ones.

  5. smitty
    August 24th, 2012 @ 11:56 pm

    I just about don’t go to the cinema, period. Maybe if Declaration Entertainment triggers some sort of renaissance. . .

  6. Bob Belvedere
    August 24th, 2012 @ 11:58 pm

    Paul Kengor’s book, The Communist, goes into more detail on this from the reviews and interviews I’ve seen.

    I will be purchasing it, along with Roger Kimball’s new book, in the next day or so [via TOM, of course!].

  7. smitty
    August 24th, 2012 @ 11:59 pm

    Alinksy isn’t mentioned at all, nor are the New Party, or any edgier bits. There is talk of Obama’s “Founding Fathers,” but D’Souza is really trying to make his anti-colonialism thesis work by watering down the Marxism.
    Again, I think this makes 2016 have more initial theraputic value, by not recalling so many acid trips that hippies may have taken back then.

  8. Bob Belvedere
    August 25th, 2012 @ 12:14 am


  9. Bob Belvedere
    August 25th, 2012 @ 12:15 am

    Let us pray, eh.

  10. EBL
    August 25th, 2012 @ 12:21 am

    Oh yeah. Which is especially creepy if those naked photographs are of Obama’s mom..

  11. Wombat_socho
    August 25th, 2012 @ 12:35 am

    “Years later, when the memoirs are written, I expect that Obama will stand more revealed as combining the worst features of a Commie radical and a Mafia thug.”

    Which is to say, he’s an extreme example of the typical Chicago Machine politician (Hyde park subspecies). The Cook County machine’s long-standing practice of exiling its most socialist/leftist members to Washington goes all the way back to the 1960s, if not before.

  12. Adjoran
    August 25th, 2012 @ 1:19 am

    Haven’t seen it, but the distinction between third-world anti-colonialism and Marxism is equivalent to the distinction between the medium in the Petri dish and the pathogen which grows on it.

    But the reason he ended up President of Law Review had little to do with people “wanting to help” Obama, according to a fellow member who wrote about it for National Review. She said there were multiple candidates that year, and the system was simple to Iowa caucuses. Each candidate spoke for a few minutes, a supporter of each spoke, a period of time for individual lobbying and discussion, then a vote. A majority was required.

    Her account said it took dozens of ballots, with allegiances being forged and broken all along the way, sometimes treacherously, but no one could get a majority or even close enough to mount a serious momentum for one. But in the process almost everyone had ticked off almost everyone else, consensus was impossible, compromise wasn’t going to happen. It was late and everybody was cranky and tired and hated everybody else.

    Except for Obama, who had not uttered a single word the whole time, never aligned himself with anyone. So he became the only candidate who a majority didn’t totally despise at the moment.

  13. Shawny Lee
    August 25th, 2012 @ 1:49 am

    I didn’t watch the movie but I’m familiar with the colonialist theory. What it doesn’t cover is then Senator Obama actively campaigning for Raila Odinga in Kenya and no one is really talking about it this election. Odinga is an Islamofacist who signed up with the radical Muslims to institute sharia law. He threatened that if he did not win the election there would be bloodshed. When he lost the election hundreds were,in fact, massacred. Then the U.N. created a position for him to share the leadership role. Obama never denounced these murderous actions. Add to that, Egypt, Libya, and Syria soon Islamonationalists being systematically replaced by Islamofacists. We can focus on the shiny mistaken colonialist notion or we can ditch what Obama has written or said about himself (knowing it’s lies) and look at what he’s actually doing.

  14. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    August 25th, 2012 @ 3:55 am

    I went and saw it. Good review Smitty (which I linked).
    It is a very good film. Andrew Breitbart would have liked it. Let the vetting continue. Go see it.

    And I do not know about you Smitty, but the trailers were great in that film. Les Miserables and a Ben Afleck film on how the American diplomats hiding in the Canadian embassy during the Iran Hostage Crisis were smuggled out as being part of a fake Canadian film crew.

  15. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    August 25th, 2012 @ 5:58 am

    You must have been getting popcorn then, because it was mentioned in the movie.

  16. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    August 25th, 2012 @ 6:01 am

    The anti colonist part of Obama is a reflex. It is certainly part of his make up, but there is more to him than just that. Unfortunately that stuff is probably even worse.

  17. Roscoe
    August 25th, 2012 @ 7:25 am

    Smitty, I have to disagree with your critical reason: ” I can’t accept that BHO really wants an economically wasted country for himself and his daughters.”. The members of the Praesidium and their families — the elite members of the Party — are always shielded from the suffering of the masses.

  18. Ingrid Palko
    August 25th, 2012 @ 8:40 am

    I think if Obama has his way, history & his memoirs will put him down as “the great liberator,” “black Jesus” or “Godlike.”

  19. higgins
    August 25th, 2012 @ 8:40 am


  20. smitty
    August 25th, 2012 @ 9:45 am

    The HLR incident did come up in 2016, but wasn’t spun this way. The interesting point is that Somebody may have helped foment all that dissent.

  21. CalCoolidge
    August 25th, 2012 @ 9:55 am

    “Past all the crypto-Marxist theories, I can’t accept that BHO really wants an economically wasted country for himself and his daughters”

    Why wouldn’t you have the same doubts about all the Marxists? Coult it be that these masterminds always think they will write in exceptions, so that the million-page rulebook will not apply to them;, and that where they are, inside the kleptocracy machine, the deprivations caused by a bankrupted coal industry, for example, will ever reach them?

  22. Red
    August 25th, 2012 @ 10:49 am

    Succinctly put Smitty. I felt much the same plus D’Souza’s movie left me with more questions than answers. It was a safe movie to introduce to those with ‘buyers remorse’.

  23. Red
    August 25th, 2012 @ 10:52 am

    You know they did.

  24. Red
    August 25th, 2012 @ 10:53 am

    Yes, it wasn’t a hard hitting movie but it did shine the light for people to see or question where exactly their votes are going.

  25. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    August 25th, 2012 @ 12:26 pm

    A lot of times less information is more. Dinesh’s movie is smooth and well made, not bombastic. And if someone goes with an open mind they could be persuaded. Of course, not that many Obama supporters have open minds, but some still do.

  26. THR: Box Office Shocker: Anti-Obama Documentary Bests Other New Films on Friday – The Hollywood Reporter « The Rhetorican
    August 25th, 2012 @ 1:18 pm

    […] A review of the movie by Smitty. I think I’m going to pass. Namely because my time is at a premium these days […]

  27. McGehee
    August 25th, 2012 @ 2:35 pm

    Adj, what happened to your avatar? It’s always been one of my favorites.

  28. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    August 25th, 2012 @ 2:51 pm
  29. Movie Review: 2016 Obama’s America | #SOTR | Stacy on the Right
    August 25th, 2012 @ 5:58 pm

    […]  Review: 2016 Obama’s America (The Other Stacy […]

  30. Bob Belvedere
    August 25th, 2012 @ 11:48 pm

    Probably disappeared because of the new Disqus downgrade.

  31. Bob Belvedere
    August 25th, 2012 @ 11:50 pm

    Only the Dupes; the Fellow Travellers and Puppet Masters are beyond redemption.

  32. K-Bob
    August 26th, 2012 @ 4:36 pm

    C’mon Smitty, you have a long way to go to get up to the rambling, topic-defying, high-word-count standards Ace has set for us with movie reviews. It’s why “the fold” was invented.

    As for the acceptability of the theory about DFMF and Sr’s impact on Jr, I hope you aren’t discounting the immense relevance of early childhood experience. Some people are permanently fused in the realm of sheer, bloody-minded behavior well into and beyond middle age because of such things. Obama seems to fit that mold at least as well as a slurry of clay, if not vacuum injected plastic.

    However, I really do agree with the first sentence of your closing paragraph. The “Che” resemblance emanating from the SCOAMF is just too hard to ignore.

    (also, check that last sentence in the penultimate paragraph for a typo)

  33. K-Bob
    August 26th, 2012 @ 4:42 pm

    Well, as to that, Smitty did say D’Souza confined his approach to the book. I’m thinking the reason was twofold: A) Keep it simple, like Smitty wrote, and 2) To avoid accusations of invidious comparison. III) Uhh, just those two reasons.

  34. K-Bob
    August 26th, 2012 @ 4:46 pm

    I think you meant anti-colonialist. The only “Colony” he’s got that same reactionary hatred for is due to his belief that Israel was a colony, and not a nation grown from those who emigrated there.

    It’s beyond obvious now that he really does hate Israel.

  35. K-Bob
    August 26th, 2012 @ 4:47 pm

    He can review the stuff he watches with TWYB. Young conservatives need good reviews of that stuff.

  36. Lokse
    August 26th, 2012 @ 8:50 pm

    I just hope some of these die heart democrats can let their minds cross the line into the truth

  37. Ryan Zinke Speaks For, Oh, At Least A Few Million Americans : The Other McCain
    August 27th, 2012 @ 10:26 pm

    […] important in my lifetime.”On a related note emphasis again mine:Michael Ubaldi writes: “I saw [2016: Obama's America] with a friend this afternoon. The theater was easily three-quarters full. We were among a handful […]