It’s no secret that positive or negative reviews of 2016: Obama’s America are contingent on the reviewer being a liberal or a conservative. This review will offer both praises and criticisms of the film, starting with the praises:
Throughout the documentary, Dinesh D’Souza hashes out a theory that he first put into print back in September 2010. D’Souza’s theory states that Barack Obama derives his policies from a mindset rooted in anti-Colonialism. D’Souza argues that the anti-colonial theory explains Obama’s policies as President better than any other (such as the theory that Obama is a secret Muslim).
Whether the anti-colonial theory is the best explanation of Obama’s mindset or not, one thing’s for sure: D’Souza persuasively argues his case over the course of the film. Near the end, the film plays clips of Joe Biden and others ridiculing D’Souza’s anti-colonial theory, and in light of the evidence D’Souza just presented, Biden and the other critics look like ignorant fools.
The complete dismissal of the very idea that Obama holds anti-American, anti-Western sentiments shows that Progressives don’t even want to defend those sentiments. They just want to pretend like those sentiments don’t exist. For a movement that prides itself on evidence and logic, that’s pretty pathetic.
Ultimately, D’Souza accomplishes what he seemingly set out to accomplish, which was to explain through the power of motion pictures that his anti-Colonial theory is accurate and credible. However, while the anti-Colonial theory itself doesn’t deserve criticism, I couldn’t help but be bothered by some of what D’Souza said – or more accurately, what he didn’t say.
Being an immigrant from India, it would be silly to expect D’Souza to take Obama to task for the anti-white ideology of Progressivism that he espouses. And in fairness to D’Souza, he does state at one point in the movie that his “grandfather felt the wounds, the injuries, the insults, the humiliation of colonialism. And it always made him not only anti-British but slightly anti-white.” But still, D’Souza is an outspoken advocate for colorblind conservatism, which is code word for universalist conservatism.
Also, not to stir up dissension, but the fact is that D’Souza basically threw Sam Francis under the bus back in September 1995 for saying things he didn’t like. “Well, yeah, but Poole, that’s because Francis is a racist white supremacist”. Gag me. The point is that while D’Souza does a fine job in terms of articulating his anti-Colonial theory, anti-Colonialism is still a subsection of the ideology that Obama adheres to – which is Progressivism.
As such, D’Souza did not spend nearly enough time focusing on the completely failed policies of the Obama Administration. He did touch on the Keystone Pipeline and the denial of oil-drilling permits (while simultaneously funding oil drilling in Brazil), but even then it was only brief.
The one issue that D’Souza did spend some length discussing was nuclear warhead reductions, and with all due respect to the man, that says more about D’Souza’s own foreign policy than anything else.
Put it more bluntly: It’s intellectually grating when a right-wing interventionist argues with a left-wing interventionist (side note: It’s equally grating when both those interventionists argue with the isolationists in the Ron Paul crowd). Whether it’s D’Souza, Obama, or the Paul bots, nobody can get it right on foreign policy. But I digress.
All in all, 2016: Obama’s America is a compelling but relatively shallow film, at least in terms of policy substance and a thorough dissection of Obama’s ideology, which again is Progressivism. It’s not that D’Souza’s anti-Colonial theory is wrong, it’s that anti-Colonialism is only one set of trees in the forest of evil that is Progressivism. And because D’Souza says next to nothing about race and immigration, the movie offers an empty take on how important race is to Obama and the ideology that drives him.
Obama and Progressives like him don’t just want to shake a first world nation down to size out of anti-Colonial vengeance, they want to displace white Americans in the nation that their ancestors founded and built. A conservatism that fights the left wing smears of racism with fruitless appeals to colorblindness is a conservatism doomed to failure.