The View From 1776

Liberal-Progressive Critique of D’Sousa’s Analysis

Columbia University’s Journalism Review blog spews invective without addressing the substance of Dinesh D’Sousa’s cover article in Forbes Magazine.  The Columbia staff writer assumes, it appears, that anyone questioning Obama’s political mindset is ipso facto a racist or an idiot whose views can be dismissed out of hand.

Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan in her August 27, 2010, column (We Just Don’t Understand: Americans look at the president and see a stranger) expressed the growing puzzlement of a majority of voters about the wide gulf between the expectations evoked during the 2008 presidential campaign and the policies and actions of President Obama in office. 


“Underscoring the unknowns is the continuing question about him and those around him: How did they read the public mood so well before the presidency and so poorly after? ...“All of this strikes people, understandably, as perplexing. “I don’t get what he’s doing.” Which becomes, in time, “I don’t get who he is.” ...“When the American people have looked at the presidents of the past few decades they could always sort of say, “I know that guy.” Bill Clinton: Southern governor. Good ol’ boy, drawlin’, flirtin’, got himself a Rhodes Scholarship. “I know that guy.” George W. Bush: Texan, little rough around the edges, good family, youthful high jinks, stopped drinking, got serious. “I know that guy.” Ronald Reagan was harder to peg, but you still knew him: small-town Midwesterner, moved on and up, serious about politics, humorous, patriotic. “I know that guy.” Barack Obama? Sleek, cerebral, detached, an academic from Chicago by way of Hawaii and Indonesia. “You know what? I don’t know that guy!”

Continued decline of the president’s voter approval ratings in all opinion polls can’t be refuted simply by imputing racism or ignorance to his critics.  Mr. Obama in office is not the man liberal-progressives or independents thought him to be.

To account for the perceptual gulf, Dinesh D’Sousa’s cover article for Forbes Magazine makes a detailed case that President Obama’s deepest political convictions arise, not from the traditional ethos described as the American dream, but from the African-socialist anti-colonialism espoused by the president’s father.

Durrie Monsma alerted me to a critique of Mr. D’Sousa’s article that appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, written by Ryan Chittum, deputy editor of the Review’s business section.  See this and this.

The closest Mr. Chittum comes to dealing with the central thrust of Mr. D’Sousa’s argument is, “So Barack Obama, who falls somewhere on the middle or right side of the spectrum of modern American liberalism, is now an outsider motivated by anti-American ideals. The birthers got nothin