Saturday, September 18, 2010
Whatever one thinks of his politics, Newt Gingrich has demonstrated a wide-ranging intelligence over the years. But there's nothing intelligent about his recent endorsement of the theory that President Obama's political philosophy is rooted in a "Kenyan, anti-colonial" worldview. Bizarre is more like it.
National Review Online reports that the former speaker of the House praised conservative commentator Dinesh D'Souza for a "stunning insight" into the president's behavior. That "insight," the subject of an article in Forbes magazine, is that to understand Obama's views, one must scrutinize the opinions of his Kenyan father, who left Obama when he was 2 years old.
D'Souza writes: "From a very young age and through his formative years, Obama learned to see America as a force for global domination and destruction. He came to view America's military as an instrument of neocolonial occupation. He adopted his father's position that capitalism and free markets are code words for economic plunder."
Never mind that none of these sentiments comes from the mouth of the president. D'Souza attributes them to him because in a memoir, Obama wrote: "It was into my father's image, the black man, son of Africa, that I'd packed all the attributes I sought in myself." Thus is a deeply personal search for a father-son connection transformed into an embrace of the father's political views as articulated in a 1965 academic article.
"Remarkably," D'Souza writes, "President Obama, who knows his father's history very well, has never mentioned his father's article." Perhaps it's hidden away with Obama's "real" birth certificate.
D'Souza is reliably ridiculous and consistently wrong, so it's no surprise that he connects Obama's supposed hand-me-down worldview to everything from his push for a stimulus plan to his support of the right of Muslims to build a community center near ground zero to his reference, in a speech about the gulf oil spill, to "America's century-long addiction to fossil fuels." Yet this daffy deconstruction, according to Gingrich, is the "most profound insight I have read in the last six years about Barack Obama."
Gingrich used to be a serious figure. He is mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2012. But he has earned the description he applied to Obama: "If you look at [his] continuous denial of reality, there has got to be a point where someone stands up and says that this is just factually insane."
(Los Angeles Times editorial)