Although I try to stay out of political discussions on Facebook to avoid harshing anyone's mellow, I couldn't help myself when it came to Newt Gingrich's recent statement that President Obama exhibits "Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior":
Citing a recent Forbes article by Dinesh D'Souza, former House speaker Newt Gingrich tells National Review Online that President Obama may follow a "Kenyan, anti-colonial" worldview.
Gingrich says that D'Souza has made a "stunning insight" into Obama's behavior -- the "most profound insight I have read in the last six years about Barack Obama."
"What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?" Gingrich asks. "That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior."
This is incredibly ugly rhetoric, given the lack of any rational reason why the president would be described as Kenyan.
Obama was born in Hawaii and lived in the U.S. through age 6. He moved to Indonesia when his stepfather's student visa was revoked by that country, returning at age 10 to Hawaii where he was raised by his maternal grandparents. He lived in the U.S. thereafter, graduating from Columbia and Harvard universities, serving as a state legislator and U.S. senator in Illinois and raising a family in Chicago.
Accusing him of "Kenyan" behavior -- when he's never lived in that African country and had zero relationship with his Kenyan father -- seems like a creative, right-wing intellectual way of calling him an un-American [slur].
The D'Souza article Gingrich likes so much is written to make Obama seem like he's not as American as the rest of us:
Here is a man who spent his formative years -- the first 17 years of his life -- off the American mainland, in Hawaii, Indonesia and Pakistan, with multiple subsequent journeys to Africa.
D'Souza groups Indonesia and Pakistan with the American state of Hawaii, suggesting that for his first 17 years Obama lived in places with exotic foreign values. Alaska isn't part of the mainland either, but I can't imagine he'd make the same insinuation about Sarah Palin. Even better, D'Souza was born in Mumbai, India, and lived there for his first 17 years until coming to the United States through an educational program.
You know this country is a melting pot when a guy who became an American citizen at age 29 can use a national magazine to question whether the president of the United States, who spent all but four years living in this country, is American enough.
-- Rogers Cadenhead
I don't buy their argument, but you exaggerate. What they are positing amounts to this: the dead memes fired by the Soviet Union were imbibed by his father, and Obama has ingested the same nonsense.
Personally, I think there's something much simpler going on. Obama is a creature of government, with no real understanding of the private sector. He's surrounded by people with that same background, and there's a large, group reinforcing set of counter-productive policy choices being made.
The best you can say about D'Souza's argument, I think, is "too clever by half". And that's being charitable. He really needs to apply Occam's Razor, IMHO
so other than all the name calling of the purpetrators of this "theory", can we examine the details of it? the specifics? or just do the lefty name calling 'discredit the messenger" rather than actually peel back the MESSAGE and analyze it. i know, thats kinda hard. takes work. your call.
The argument you are making has no racial component, so I have no problem at all with it.
The argument Gingrich and D'Souza are making, on the other hand, is racially loaded. They can't possibly be blind to the significance of calling a black president "Kenyan." It's more reinforcement of the odious idea that Obama is The Other -- a threatening outsider who is against the American way of life.
If you are a right-winger today and you can't make an argument against the president without resorting to that crap, you have no business talking politics. These are tough times. A lot of Americans are hurting. Obama took some big risks to pass ambitious legislation like health care reform. The economy sucks. The wind is at the GOP's back. They don't need to channel Bull Connor.
The race card has expired, please try a better argument. Playing that card is now akin to Godwin's law; you automatically lose.
I take it you're one of the people who believes that racism ceased to exist in the United States the second that President Obama was elected.
There are many times the race card is misused. It is a powerful card.
That does not mean all attempts to challenge racism are inappropriate. I think most people should be able to recognize what it means to deride President Obama as "Kenyan."
I believe that racism has ceased to exist as a meaningful hindrance in American society.
If referring to his ideas as originating from his father's kenyan background is racist, then we'd best never refer to anyone's background. Let's banish "hispanic", "Irish" (and so on) from the vocabulary - they must all be racist.
If referring to his ideas as originating from his father's kenyan background is racist, then we'd best never refer to anyone's background.
Explain what it means to describe Obama's behavior as "Kenyan," since it's so obviously non-racist to you. Howard Kurtz wrote that he was "amazed that Newt Gingrich said Obama has a Kenyan view of politics. Not exactly subtle."
D'Souza writes in the article, as evidence of Obama's Kenyan outlook on life, that "[t]he President continues to push for stimulus even though hundreds of billions of dollars in such funds seem to have done little."
So every economist in this country pushing for more stimulus spending is Kenyan.
You should consider the possibility that D'Souza's ridiculous use of "Kenyan" is driven by the right-wing fear that President Obama is a dangerous Other.
Here's conservative pundit Rammesh Ponnaru on the "Kenyan" article: "I think that it is a mistake to imagine that Obama is a deeply mysterious figure, as opposed to a conventional liberal. He is no stranger than contemporary liberalism is."
If Obama was a white guy with a WASPy name, we wouldn't have the constant drumbeat of insinuations that he's "not like us!" It's one of the most depressing things about this moment in our politics.
David Frum's take: "With the Forbes story and now the Gingrich endorsement, the argument that Obama is an infiltrating alien, a deceiving foreigner -- and not just any kind of alien, but specifically a Third World alien -- has been absorbed almost to the very core of the Republican platform for November 2010. ... Nothing more offends conservatives than liberal accusations of racial animus. Yet here is racial animus, unconcealed and unapologetic, and it is seized by savvy editors and an ambitious politician as just the material to please a conservative audience. That's an insult to every conservative in America."
As I said, I give no credit to his argument; I simply dislike the progressive tendency to cry "racism" at absolutely everything.
@James Robertson - I probably shouldn't do this, but for my morbid curiosity - Do you believe racial code-words can't exist? That is, it is your contention that race-baiting can't ever be insinuated? If you don't believe that, what algorithm do you use to determine the racist appeal cloaked in political deniability, versus "cry "racism" at absolutely everything"?
I mean, from my perspective, calling Obama "Kenyan" is about as close to the edge of race epithet as a supposedly respectable pundit can get, without going into blatant slurs. It's the flimsiest cover of didn't-mean-THAT.
Note, please don't reply that it's possible to make an unjustified accusation. That isn't disputed. The question is what makes for a justified accusation. Having any figleaf over race-tainted appeals somehow making it acceptable, strikes me as unjustified apologism for right-wing racist rhetoric.
I think it's noteworthy that Gingrich is talking about being anti-colonial as if it's a bad thing. I suppose it is to the Evil Empire that occupies the territory once controlled by America.
Now, if only it were even slightly true!
S'Souza: Incredibly, the U.S. is being ruled according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s. This philandering, inebriated African socialist, who raged against the world for denying him the realization of his anticolonial ambitions, is now setting the nation's agenda through the reincarnation of his dreams in his son.
Alex Pareene: See? Isn't everything so much clearer now? Now do you understand why the president insists on taxing carbon emissions? Don't you see that his proposal to have the top marginal tax rate revert back to its '90s levels is just part of his attempt to "wring the neocolonialism out of America and the West"? (Still unclear: Why so many other elected Democrats insist on these things. Was Hillary Clinton secretly also raised in Indonesia?)
Ever since Reagan started with the whole "Welfare Queens" and "state's rights" talk the RW have used thinly disguised code words in order to appeal to the racist element within the US electorate.
Today RW luminaries like Gingrich and D'Souza and Glen Beck continue on in that time honored tradition.
/Btw, ya might have a hard time convincing the citizens of an occupied Iraq and Afghanistan that Obama is the very pinnacle of anti-colonialist thought.
Gingrick is a very sick person. People really believe the sick stuff he says. Some people really need to think for themselves.
Go home you Muslim moron.
That entire line of discussion is ridiculous. Obama has accomplished a great number of good things and the primary reason he is being bashed so constantly with such ignorant attacks is because he threatens the political/corporate money machine. He is trying to wrench our population out of the indentured servitude foisted on us by corporations (fictitious entities) whose servants have little interest in anything but their own profit. Still, these fictitious entities have been given rights matching - possibly surpassing - those that I myself possess as an actual person. The corporations and their pets (politicians) are pulling out all the stops.
Anyone who reads D'Sousa's "article" and takes it as being sagacious or erudite in any way should not be allowed to vote, much less hold office, as they are a danger to our country. If there is going to be debate about Obama's politics - and let's face it, we should be questioning the motivations of every politician - let's at least limit ourselves to reality and rationality to the exclusion of fabrications, confabulations, and paranoid delusions.
What he said. Go, dad. ^
I have 3 cousins who spent their formative years in Spain, Tijuana, Malta, Belgian, Argentina and Columbia, S. Am. Would Mr D'Souza claim they are "less American" than anyone else who has lived most of his/her life in mainland USA? Incidentally, my uncle, the father of those cousins of mine, worked for our State Department. as a foreign consul, ending his career as Consul General in Tijauna, Mexico.
A clarification/addition: Trying to "actually peel back the MESSAGE and analyze it" (re: Fred) only lends creedence to it by making it seem as if it has some kind of value. This is my point. The idea D'Souza posits is such ridiculious, pseudo-intellectual, counterproductive nonsense that it does not even deserve to be discredited. It should simply be flushed.
Rather than a reactionary kick at someone who has dared to question the head of state, perhaps one might look deeper into the observations of someone who has looked behind the man to see what made him.
Two of my 70+year old friends are Republicans who made the switch from Democrats in 1964. They are beside themselves now with the fear of know nothing Teapartiers gaining control of the Republican party. Unfortunately I can offer them no solace.
The book Billy Ayers ghostwrote for Obama was called, 'Dreams of my father.'
Rogers, you seriously need to start reading more.
It's incredible how you somehow are able to stay completely ignorant about Obama's life prior to him running for President....
The Roots of Obamaâs Anticolonialism
September 17, 2010 | From theTrumpet.com
If we ignore his Kenya ties are we then being insensitive to him?
@StuartsAss - in your comment (#16) you state that "...Obama has accomplished a great number of good things..."Â
Can you possibly name, oh, say 5 of these "good things" that have not potentially bankrupted future generations, or that were well received by an overwhelming majority of Americans?
I cannot, and I, like many others, was awestruck by this man while he was campaigning and totally bought into his plan for "hope and change."
I feel duped. All I can see that this man and his administration have accomplished is to further widen the gulf between conservatives and liberals, and spend future generations of Americans into a vast hole of poverty that we will never, ever be able to pay for.
His "greatest" achievement to date, in his and his partyls own words has been to jam through a"Health Care Reform" bill so convoluted and confusing that even Nancy Pelosi admitted noone would no what it entailed until it was enacted. Oh, and my last recollection of polling numbers seems to be that 53% of Americans did not support this travesty.
So please, name me but 5 of these "great number" of "good things" that he has accomplished.
@Jimbo Shaloplop: Thank you for showing your ignorance and childishness by purposefully changing my last name into a swear word. You are one class act there, guy. You do much toward discrediting yourself in the first 11 characters of your post.
To plagiarize the article I am recommending here, "if you want to put down the Obama-is-a-failure koolaid, if you want to see what a true progressive agenda looks like" read this:
And be honest - you don't really blame Obama for the financial crisis do you? He has only had two years to counteract eight years worth of shortsighted, greed-inspired policies from a administration nominated and funded by, and catering to, a small cadre of billionaires.
You are right - the healthcare reform bill was wrong. It should have abolished the medical industry as we know it. Many who were polled said the legislation did not go far enough and are a significant portion of your 53%. The only people benefiting from the current model are those employed by the medical and insurance industries. The rest of us all suffer unless we are so wealthy that we don't need health insurance.
But that's what the conservative agenda is all about, isn't it? Making it easier for the elite to dominate those without whom they would have nothing (the work force), right?
Wake up and smell the dung pile. We live in a society that has been completely co-opted by those with the privilege and power to do so and if you are not one of the overlords, you are a serf. But I see that you have found happiness in slavery. Or perhaps you are one of the overlords. If so - we are coming for you.
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I haven't checked in here for a while since I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are really great quality so I guess I'll add you back to my everyday bloglist.
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