Jack Cashill, who has written extensively on Obama’s background, is taking issue with the much discussed Dinesh D’Souza piece in Forbes , in which he argues that Obama’s anti-colonial attitudes were inherited from his father. As you are probably aware, Cashill has argued convincingly that Bill Ayers is the author of Obama’s autobiography, Dreams From My Father.
He takes the position that Obama was influenced much more by his mother, than his father.
In the article, D’Souza argues that President Obama has absorbed much of his governing philosophy from his socialist, “anticolonial” father, Barack Obama Sr. “According to Obama,” writes D’Souza, “his dream is his father’s dream. Notice that his title is not Dreams of My Father but rather Dreams from My Father
As much as I admire D’Souza, however, I must take issue with his argument.
Yes, Obama does seem to espouse a certain inchoate anticolonialism, but the “dreams” do not come so much from his father as from his mother, and they have been given voice by Obama’s muse, terrorist emeritus Bill Ayers. As a result, Obama’s ideology is less coherent and more malleable than D’Souza would have the reader believe.
D’Souza, like most commentators in the more respectable reaches of the conservative media, goes wrong by denying himself the information unearthed in the blogosphere. He writes of Obama, for instance, “Here is a man who spent his formative years–the first 17 years of his life–off the American mainland.”
Not true. As has now been proved beyond contention, Obama spent the first year of his life in Seattle with his mother, the cruelly named Stanley Ann Dunham, henceforth “Ann.” This is no minor point. Ann left Hawaii within two weeks of Obama’s birth. Barack Obama Sr. may not have seen the boy until he was ten.
In a critical but overlooked scene in Dreams, when Obama’s Indonesian stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, asks his wife to meet some of “her own people” at the American oil company where he worked, she snaps at him, “They are not my people.” Mom raised the young Obama to be wary of the “ugly Americans” in their midst. The only thing exceptional about America, she taught him, was Barry Obama himself.
After returning to Hawaii at the age of ten, Obama was mentored by people who shared his mother’s biases, most critically the communist poet and pornographer, Frank Marshall Davis. Upon hitting the mainland as a college freshman, Obama surrounded himself with like-minded souls. “I chose my friends carefully,” he writes in Dreams, “The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets.”
In the shaping of the worldview on display in Dreams, no mentor would be more influential than Ayers. In the Forbes article, D’Souza ignores Ayers completely. This is a grave oversight. As I have contested in these pages and will prove beyond doubt in my forthcoming book, Deconstructing Obama, Ayers provided the structure for Dreams, much of its content and all of its style.
Read the entire piece.
I tend to agree with Cashill that Obama inherited more of his muddled anti-colonial, anti-American, anti-capitalist, and far left attitudes from his mother’s side of the family.
Baldilocks is a staunch conservative whose family background on her father’s side bears an uncanny resemblance to Obama’s. Why did she turn out to be Obama’s polar opposite? She notes that the difference for her, was her mother’s side of the family.
Most readers know that my origin and life circumstances are a mirror image of the president’s—some things are frighteningly similar; others radically dissimilar in obvious areas. However, for continuity’s sake, here it is again: courtesy of the Mboya Airlift, our Kenyan Luo fathers arrived in America in 1959 to receive an American education, married and produced children with American women, divorced them, and, upon graduation, returned to their homeland.
Both of us were partially raised by the generation prior to that of our parents–in his case, his maternal grandparents; in my case, my maternal grandmother’s sister and her husband.
When Philip Ochieng and Barack Obama, Sr. arrived in America, their mentors were people like radical Progressives Cora and Peter Weiss, who—via the innocuously coined African American Student Foundation— funded much of the tuition, travel, care and feeding of the Kenyan students selected for the Airlift. (My mother says that when she and my father were in college, their non-African–read: white–social circle included nothing but communists and socialists.)
And herein lies a crucial difference as to the reason that my life turned out differently than Obama’s: both of our biological fathers are socialists and atheists. However, in Obama’s case, his mother’s immediate family consisted of socialists and atheists as well. Mine does not.
Here’s another difference: neither my great-aunt, great-uncle, mother nor American father ever implicated that I was so innately different—so alien– from them, that it was necessary to turn me over to a monster like Frank Marshall Davis for “parenting.” By that very act, the Dunhams indicated to their grandson that they believed him to be inferior because of his black African heritage. It is unbearable even to imagine the things instilled into young Obama’s spirit under such tutelage.
I think we see a clearer picture of Obama when we view his background in it’s entirety.
And it ain’t a pretty picture.