Would Barack Obama lose in a landslide if everyone in America saw Dinesh D’Souza’s Obama's America 2016? Most assuredly. Would everyone in America sit through 2016 so they could learn about the roots of Obama’s radical economic and social agenda? Probably not.
If you like The Discovery Channel or the History Channel, you will find 2016 fascinating. If you are a fan of reality TV or The Walking Dead, you may have a hard time sitting through it.
2016 is a uniquely intellectual movie. There’s no shoot ‘em up or romance, but it is gripping nonetheless in its exploration of the intellectual growth of Barack Obama, and the development of Obamaism.
Obama’s America 2016 charts the course of Barack Obama’s life and development through the eyes of another American outsider, conservative writer and commentator, former Reagan staffer – and Indian immigrant – Dinesh D’Souza.
D’Souza’s exploration of Obama’s intellectual and philosophical development isn’t a pop psychology exploration of Barack Obama. Rather, it is an exploration and analysis of how anti-colonial leftism and a strange form of American self-loathing came to inform Obama’s politics and world view.
We have observed and commented on Obama’s strange antipathy for entrepreneurs and capitalism and D’Souza is able to put that in the larger context of socialist thought and post-World War II anti-colonialism that informed the thinking of Obama’s teachers and mentors – and family.
A good bit of the movie is spent exploring the politics of Obama’s father and Obama’s self-acknowledged yearning for some connection with that distant figure. However, the most compelling parts of the movie to this reviewer were the glimpses Obama’s America 2016 gives us of the most influential person in Barack Obama’s intellectual development: his deceased mother, Stanley Ann Dunham.
Our takeaway was that Obama grew-up in an environment where it was a given that American exceptionalism was not just a myth, but a lie.
Most illustrative of this was a brief segment where it was recounted that while living in Indonesia with her second husband, Lolo Soetoro, Ms. Dunham made it clear that she wanted no part of Soetoro’s efforts to take part in post-revolutionary Indonesian’s economic mobility and that the American oil men and entrepreneurs who flooded into the country after the leftist government of President Sukarno was overthrown were not “her people.”
This places Barack Obama clearly in a political viewpoint well outside the mainstream of traditional Democratic politics and into a radical leftism more at home on a large liberal university campus. It's also far removed from the limousine liberals represented by the Kennedy’s, the identity politics of Jesse Jackson and the Congressional Black Caucus, or the blue collar unionism of the Rust Belt whites who traditionally supply Democrats money and votes on election day.
History, politics, Dinesh D’Souza’s self-deprecating humor... it all works to make a movie that is compelling, informative and subtly scary as one realizes just how close Obama is to changing America to conform to his parents’ point of view.