BOOK REVIEW: ‘Obama’s America’: Experts and the Elephant in the Oval Office: Some Theories on Why Our President Thinks and Acts the Way He Does

  • Reviewed by David M. Kinchen 
BOOK REVIEW: 'Obama's America': Experts and the Elephant in the Oval Office: Some  Theories on Why Our President Thinks and Acts the Way He Does

As I read Dinesh D’Souza’s “Obama’s America: Unmaking the American Dream” (Regnery, 272 pages, notes, index, glossy photo insert, with color and b&w photos, $27.95) ideas as diverse as the classic tale “The Blind Men and the Elephant” from D’Souza’s native India (see below), the famous — or infamous — psychological study of Woodrow Wilson by William C. Bullitt and Sigmund Freud and the oft-told association of Obama with far-left domestic terrorists like Bill Ayers swirled around in my head.

And I though Obama was just another lame-brain choice of the party, like Jimmy Carter but without his political experience, and fated for the same one-term at the White House. How simplistic! (Full disclosure: In 2008 I voted for a third party candidate, not for McCain or Obama).

Let’s take my literary allusions in order, beginning with the tale of the experts (political pundits, biographer, editorial writers, etc.) and the elephant (Obama):

Dinesh D’Souza

Dinesh D’Souza

Here’s John Godfrey Saxe’s ( 1816-1887) version of the famous Indian legend:

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approach’d the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!”

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, -“Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ’tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!”

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a snake!”

The Fourth reached out his eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
“What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,” quoth he,
“‘Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!”

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!”

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Then, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a rope!”

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!


So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!

<br />

D’Souza says all the experts are wrong: Obama is not a secret Muslim, advancing the expansionist goals of his hidden religion. He’s not a European-style statist socialist. D’Souza says what Obama is what his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, and Barack Hussein Obama Sr., the father who abandoned his family before Obama was born in 1961 in Honolulu, were: Devout anti-colonialists who want to diminish the power of the American empire and increase the wealth of what some call the Third World.

Obama, D’Souza says, doesn’t want a wealthy, powerful, assertive America; he wants a smaller America, a poorer America, an America unable to exert its will, an America happy to be one power among many, an America in decline so that other nations might rise — all in the name of global fairness. He wants us to be a more heavily populated Canada. To Obama, the hated “one percent” isn’t just wealthy Americans; it is America itself. In Obama’s view, America needs to be taken down a notch. That’s why D’Souza says the bust of Winston Churchill was de-accessed from the Oval Office (it’s now in the British ambassador’s office): Churchill was the ultimate colonialist and Obama wants no part of him.

Obama’s vision for America is the reverse of the late Gore Vidal’s famous maxim: “It’s not enough to succeed. Others must fail.” (for more quotes from one of our most quotable authors,

D’Souza posits that Barack Obama believes that a little failure — as well as a diminution of our living standards — will be good for America, too long an arrogant neo-colonialist giant. D’Souza knows the contrast between the rich and the poor first hand, growing up in Bombay, before coming to America to study at Dartmouth University.

He compares the “Occupy Wall Street” types to the street people of Bombay, now called Mumbai: “…the people who do that in India are slum-dwellers who have nowhere else to go. They go on the street because they have to. In the case of the Occupy protesters, they were doing that to make an ideological statement. They wanted to show their contempt for cleanliness, for the middle class lifestyle, for the cops and for the city.”

The early Obama exhibited many of the same disheveled characteristics of the Occupy people, D’Souza says, and he provides photographic proof, but Obama quickly cleaned up his act, following the advice of legendary community and labor organizer Saul Alinsky.

In his previous book “The Roots of Obama’s Rage,” D’Souza says he revised his view about the influence of Chicago-based Alinsky and why Obama, a native of Honolulu (D’Souza is a conservative, but he’s not a “Birther”) , who attended college in California (Occidental) and New York (Columbia) and Massachusetts (Harvard Law) decided to settle in Chicago. The answer, D’Souza says, is Obama wanted to “learn what Saul Alinsky and the Alinsky organization had to teach him.” One thing Alinsky stressed was to eschew the filth and dirt and ragged clothes of the 1960s protester and dress like the dandy Barack Hussein Obama Sr. was. Alinsky’s advice: you can be a freak but you shouldn’t come across as a freak.

What about Bullitt, Freud and Woodrow Wilson? In the 1930s, William C. Bullitt Jr.(1890-1967), the first U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union and at the time of publication, the ambassador to France, collaborated with Dr. Sigmund Freud on a psychological study of Woodrow Wilson (link:,_Jr.) that was published in the U.S. in 1967. Bullitt had been a delegate to the Peace Conference in Paris in 1919: According to the reference cited:

“Freud’s view of Wilson was that of a naive American politician whose foreign policy ideas were driven by religious fanaticism. Bullitt had been dismissed by Wilson, late in the battle for the League of Nations, and Bullitt never forgave the slight. It is not clear how much of the book was really written by Bullitt, as he was skilled in several languages, while Freud wrote only in German and had died by the time it was published. Several references attributed to Freud are uniquely American, such as his introduction in which he compared Wilson’s naiveté to Christian Science. ”

D’Souza doesn’t attempt a full-scale psycho-biography of Barack Obama, but in Chapter 14 — “Big Daddy” — he dissects what he calls Obama’s hypocrisy, at once asking people to make sacrifices to fulfill their obligations to the needy, while at the same time failing to help his homeless half-brother George Obama or his aunt barely existing on a tiny income selling charcoal in Kenya. There’s no financial help from multimillionaire Barack Obama for his Kenyan relatives, or for a school in Kenya named after him when he visited the school as a U.S. Senator in 2006.

Like his father, Barack Sr. — who thought he was a genius and that Kenya needed him — D’Souza says Obama displays some of the same narcissism: “His favorite word is ‘I’, D’Souza writes, “This was evident in his speech announcing the Bin Laden killing. ‘And so shortly after taking office, I directed,,,I met repeatedly with my national security team…Finally, last week, I determined….Today at my direction….’ “And so on….Like his father, Obama displays indignation when his great achievements are not appreciated. Of the business community, he says, ‘I saved those guys when the economy was falling off a cliff. Now I get nothing but their venom.'”

In Chapter 5 “Obama’s Founding Fathers,” D’Souza discusses the influence of Frank Marshall Davis, the African-American former Communist in Hawaii; ,Bill Ayers, the former Weather Underground terrorist in Chicago; the Rev. Jeremiah Wright in Chicago; Palestinian radical Edward Said at Columbia; and a man I never heard about, Brazilian socialist economist Roberto Mangabeira Unger, whom Obama first encountered at Harvard Law School; all these men reinforced the anti-colonialism that Obama learned from birth by both his parents.

Obama is hostile toward Israel because he believes in the views of the late Professor Said, who played the Palestinian victim card to the hilt. Like Said, Obama sees Israel as a neo-colonizer of Muslims — on a smaller scale than the U.S. but operating on the same principles: “If America and Israel are the aggressors,” D’Souza writes (Pages 159-60) “the Muslims fighting against America and Israeli occupation are freedom fighters. Obama considers them anti-colonial heroes like Mandela or Gandhi or his own father, fighting to free a colonized people. Once we put this framework into place, we will see very clearly what Obama is doing in Iraq and Afghanistan. We will also be able to predict what, in his second term, Obama has in mind for Israel.”

D’Souza states that Obama threw Gaddafi of Libya and Mubarak of Egypt under the bus because he viewed both dictators as puppets of the Western neo-colonialists. It’s why he’s dissing Karzai of Afghanistan, viewing him as a “pawn of American empire.” “Had Karzai joined the Taliban, Obama probably would have treated him better,” D’Souza writes. “If our anti-colonial theory is right, then we know why Obama hates Karzai — he views him as a colonial puppet By contrast, Obama views the Taliban as a group of intrepid Muslims who are, for all their religious fanaticism and antiquated social views, nevertheless fighting to free their country from American occupation. This anti-colonial perspective is consistent with Obama’s actions.

For more of this very strong stuff, read pages 167 and following, including Chapter 12 “Our Arab Winter,” beginning on page 173.

In Obama’s America you’ll learn:

> How Obama plans to use debt as a weapon of economic mass destruction to downsize the United States

> How a second Obama term could be fatal to Isreal—and to American interests in the Middle East

> A superpower disarmed: why drastic defense cuts are only the beginning

> How Obama plans to make us more dependent on foreign energy suppliers

> What the world will be like when America is a debt-ridden, second-tier economy and other countries, like China, India, and even Brazil, are wealthier and dominant

Here’s an excerpt from the book:

Obama is not merely the presiding instrument of American decline, he is the architect of American decline. He wants America to be downsized. He wants Americans to consume less, and he would like to see our standard of living decline relative to that of other nations. He seeks a diminished footprint for America in the world. He detests America’s traditional allies, like Britain and Israel, and seeks to weaken them; he is not very worried about radical Muslims acquiring a nuclear bomb or coming to power in countries like Tunisia and Egypt. He is quite willing to saddle future dollars toward this end and if he had been permitted, he would have spent trillions more. He has shown no inclination, and has no desire, to protect America’s position as number one in the world; he would be content to see America as number 18, or number 67, just another country seated at the great dining table of nations. The strength of my thesis is that it is completely congruent with who Obama is and what he does. We don’t have to assume that he is always getting results opposite to what he intends; we simply have to see that he intends the results he is getting. He emphasized in his inauguration speech his goal of “remaking America”—and he is doing it, recognizing that in order to remake America he must first unmake America. The only question is whether Americans approve of their country being diminished and downsized, and whether they want to give Obama another four years to finish the job.

Supporters of Obama will dismiss D’Souza’s work as the rantings of a stereotypical right-winger, but I think he’s worth reading. His theories clarified my view of our puzzling president.

About the Author
Dinesh D’Souza is the president of The King’s College in New York City. A former policy analyst in the Reagan White House, D’Souza also served as the John M. Olin Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and as a Rishwain Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He is the author of several New York Times bestsellers, including “Illiberal Education”, “What’s So Great about America”, “What’s So Great about Christianity”, “Life after Death: The Evidence”, and “The Roots of Obama’s Rage”. His latest book is “Godforsaken”. His articles have appeared in nearly all major magazines and newspapers including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Atlantic Monthly, Vanity Fair, New Republic, National Reviewand Forbes. His website:


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