What D'Souza did is part and parcel of the right-wing's campaign to paint Obama as, in the words Mitt Romney used to describe the president's ideas, "extraordinarily foreign." The right has long sought to "other" Obama in various ways, from the lowbrow of birtherism to the supposedly serious analyses by conservative "intellectuals" like D'Souza.
In addition to his film The Roots of Obama's Rage, in 2010 D'Souza penned an article called "How Obama Thinks." The piece included a series of simply absurd claims—the best was the charge that, regarding NASA, Obama has sought to "convert a space agency into a Muslim and international outreach." Most importantly, D'Souza sought to explain Obama's overarching political worldview:
Clearly the anticolonial ideology of Barack Obama Sr. goes a long way to explain the actions and policies of his son in the Oval Office....In his own writings Obama stresses the centrality of his father not only to his beliefs and values but to his very identity.Follow me beyond the fold to find out how this tall tale turns out.
D'Souza described how Obama told of weeping at his father's grave and feeling his father's pain. D'Souza then summarized:
In a sense, through the earth itself, he communes with his father and receives his father's spirit. Obama takes on his father's struggle, not by recovering his body but by embracing his cause. He decides that where Obama Sr. failed, he will succeed. Obama Sr.'s hatred of the colonial system becomes Obama Jr.'s hatred; his botched attempt to set the world right defines his son's objective. Through a kind of sacramental rite at the family tomb, the father's struggle becomes the son's birthright.As evidence, D'Souza quoted straight from the metaphorical horse's mouth, Barack Obama himself:
"It was into my father's image, the black man, son of Africa, that I'd packed all the attributes I sought in myself." Even though his father was absent for virtually all his life, Obama writes, "My father's voice had nevertheless remained untainted, inspiring, rebuking, granting or withholding approval. You do not work hard enough, Barry. You must help in your people's struggle. Wake up, black man!""Wow," the reader must be thinking. This D'Souza guy has really nailed him. There's no way that rascally Obama can get out of this one. He actually wrote those words.
And write those words Obama did. But having read Dreams from My Father in researching my own book on Barack Obama, I knew right away something was wrong with D'Souza's quotation. I went back to the source, and re-read the relevant section, which begins on page 334 (in the 2nd edition) and goes on to the next page. That's when I confirmed that D'Souza was a liar.
The thing is, D'Souza didn't include the very next sentences after "Wake up, black man!" In those sentences Obama told of how he learned of his father's failures and then said of his father's image—the image D'Souza quoted as proof that the son was and remains devoted to his father's ideals: "that image had suddenly vanished. ...To think that all my life I'd been wrestling with nothing more than a ghost. ...The King is overthrown. ...The emerald curtain is pulled aside." The son then spoke of his "newfound liberation."
But D'Souza left all that out. The quotation taken in whole was about how Obama had freed himself of the need to emulate his father, or what little he had known of him growing up (this event took place in 1988, when Obama visited Kenya). D'Souza knew that by providing only the first part of the quotation he'd be giving the exact opposite impression. That's called lying.
It's fitting that D'Souza's criminal activity took place in the Big Apple. You may remember that New York Yankees manager Billy Martin once slammed Reggie Jackson and George Steinbrenner by saying, "One's a born liar, the other's convicted." As for Dinesh D'Souza, he's both.
PS—An earlier version of this post appeared in 2012, but I have substantially rewritten it and decided to post this new version in light of today's events, namely D'Souza's guilty plea.