“2016: Obama’s America” will only impress the low/no information voter predisposed to accept its principal theme: Obama is an instrument forged by his father’s hatred of all things American.

It is getting lots of play in the right wing’s media machine, will be front and center at the Republican Convention, and is one of the favorite conversation starters among the Tea Party faithful.

The film has the feel of the “Manchurian Candidate.” – a book to film (in 1962 and in 2004) that I very much enjoyed. But this film presents itself as a documentary and it very much has the look of one.

Dinesh D’Souza, whose had made a career of going after liberalism/progressivism in all its forms, creates a pretty nicely packaged infomercial here. The best liberal comparison for “2016” is probably the films of Michael Moore, who like D’Souza acts as the guide through documentaries that are meant to persuade us to his way of thinking.

D’Souza is smoother than Moore who is often openly sarcastic, usually overbearing, and occasionally a bully. D’Souza is a calm, cool, reasonable presence. It is tempting to trust him, even when he’s asking questions that make it clear that he envisions a second term for Obama as an overthrow of American life as it is supposed to be.

His man/woman on the street question? “What would you worry about if America was no longer America?”

D’Souza’s guiding principle is that Obama is an agent of an anti-colonial conspiracy. He first suggested this in a 2010 Forbes magazine article and then upped the ante in two subsequent books.  He moves from Obama as anti-colonial to anti-capitalist to anti-American. His father, who was estranged from the family for virtually all of his life, was Obama’s “compass,” as D’Souza calls it — anti-colonialist, anti-white and anti-Christian shaping the radical politics of Obama and his supporters. He even uses an interview with a psychologist to point how absent fathers often have extraordinary influence on their sons.

The first hour of the 90-minute “2016” has a calm and rational veneer- what I think of as bashing with a fist wrapped in a velvet glove and a kindly, almost sad expression on the attackers face.

There’s a brief history of colonialism which focuses on Africa (and tellingly leaves out our own experience of it) and a quick bio of Obama, focusing on his legacy from the father he barely knew and with whom he hardly ever communicated. He uses Obama’s own biography, “Dreams from My Father” as a device to tell the story with footage of himself poring over Obama’s memoir like a psychological detective, while visiting Indonesia, Hawaii and Kenya.

D’Souza obsesses about some very odd events. The return of the bust of Winston Churchill, on loan from the National Gallery in London to George W. Bush as a token of friendship by Prime Minister Blair. By mutual agreement, the bust was to be rtuned at the end of that administration. D’Souza claims this was an Obama decision and a sign of his hatred for the British Empire and by extension colonialism.

Of course, the charge ignores our national foundations in a revolt against colonialism. Even so,  much of the first 60 minutes is a decently argued, highly skeptical look at Obama written and presented as Fox would do an Obama retrospective.

But…..The last half-hour is…..well, really crazy tin-foil hat kind of stuff.

D’Souza, in a sincere and serious tone, says the following: Obama got elected to his first term so he could wait four years, get elected again and then, like some Manchurian candidate, shift the world’s power to Second and Third World countries. If the president is reelected, he says, the world four years from now will be darkened by the clouds of economic collapse, World War III (thanks to the wholesale renunciation of our nuclear superiority) and a terrifyingly ascendant new “United States of Islam” in the Middle East. These assertions are accompanied by images of stormy clouds interspersed with scenes of Muslims massed and protesting and lots of horror-movie music.

He makes no case in support of this at all- he knows there is no need. His audience was with him from the start. He has a few people who agree with him building a case of guilt by association (often three and four steps removed from Obama). There are no primary sources; no documentary evidence; no interviews with those who might offer first hand insight. At the end he gives credit for the turning of Obama to a group of radical “founding fathers”: communist Frank Marshall Davis; former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers; academic Edward Said, whose views are described as anti-Zionist; liberal Harvard professor Roberto Unger; and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, a proponent of so-called black liberation theology.

I saw the film for free with several of my friends who are GOP (although several are wavering). They paid for it. We went to lunch to discuss it. My friends are a pretty rational crowd and after an hour of discussion even they agreed the film was a weak stick. Most supporters of the President will find the film irritating in its first 60 minutes and infuriating in its last half hour.

As these things go, the movie seems destined to irritate the president’s supporters while mobilizing his detractors, but doomed to win precious few converts. It’s a textbook example of preaching to the choir in some mad Dominionist Church of American Supremacy.

How is the film doing? It was released on July 13 but in limited showings to select audiences. It has moved in 1,091 theaters in the last week and has made $5,093,000 for an average of $31,160 per theater. Production costs have not been provided as the films financing was “privately underwritten.” The billionaires’ club at work again?

Leave a Comment

Please Login to comment
6 Comment threads
22 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
10 Comment authors
AdLibSallyTSueInCaMurphTheSurf3KQµårk 死神 Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
KQµårk 死神

The founding fathers were anti-colonialist. It think this film is an incredibly weak attempt based on that premise alone.

Even when people were most upset at the Iraq War and Bush lying about WMDs Moore’s 911 film did not work. There is just no there there in this conspiracy.


Hmmm – I never thought that was the point. I always figured the point was that they were utterly arrogant and asleep at the switch. Condi testified, wide eyed, that well golly yes they had the report “Terrorists planning to fly planes into tall buildings” – but GOSH nobody gave them a DATE so, well, what COULD they DO? That’s when I knew we did not have to have this happen and that it didn’t need to be a conspiracy – it was absolute, to the core negligence and disinterest. And that’s what I thought Moore was saying. It was corroborated by a PBS documentary on the absolutely horrific lack of response to the initial hijacking – nothing scrambled, no response at ALL by the people in charge. The air traffic controllers were very clear on details – and on the lack of even concern by security and military people.

I attribute it entirely to arrogance, not to conspiracy.

I do have two questions though – where the HELL is the wreckage of the plane in Shanksville and also at the Pentagon? Just asking. The destruction at the Twin Towers I get, but not there. My husband was a reporter and visited a high speed jet crash outside an Air Force Base – there were parts of the fuselage everywhere. So I will always remain creeped out by those two incidents and the lack of debris.



There is a very unsettling incident even at the World Trade Towers. How were the hijacker’s passports recovered when the plane was a fireball upon impact? Of all the debris at the site the FBI wants us to believe that the hijackers passports were intact? It was all done to encourage the Iraq war. Even then there was no indication that Iraq had anything to do with it but just like Cheney said “deficits don’t matter” I believe the bush people claimed “americans won’t put two and two together. Also why did Bush ferry bin Laden’s family out of the country on 9/11?


CL, here is another interesting question regarding that hit to the Pentagon:

Rumsfeld Buries Admission of Missing 2+ Trillion Dollars in 9/10/01 Press Conference


And, interestingly the hit by the plane or missiles was in the area that the records were kept. ????

RF Dude

Murph, I commend you for going to see this “film” so we don’t have to. I’ve been seeing references to it show up in threads around the ‘net, and since the posters pushing this film are usually well known tro//z I knew it was likely just another “hit” piece.

But your calm (as usual) review fills in that void where knowledge should be. Since I have not and will not go to see it, there was that empty space that you’ve filled.


Plutocrats really suck
Plutocrats really suck

One thing D’Souza has done well is to separate the gullible from the contents of their wallets. The Beck/Coulter model. Even Newt, a professional snake-oil salesman of the highest order, has repeated D’Souza’s inane ramblings in the past for political gain.

The people that believe it do so because they want it to be true, they need it to be true. But ultimately he’s probably just preaching to the choir.

Hi Murph. yeah, it’s me from HP.


Thanks Murph, I’ve been reading a few articles about this film, but they didn’t get as in-depth as you have here.

I’m not worried too much about the impact of this film on the regular, empty headed puppets that always dance to the tune of Limbaugh, Hannity and other propagandists. I do worry about those independents that are still vacillating between Romney and Obama.

As far as the puppets are concerned, I see the same willfully ignorant accusations and conspiracy theories every day. I’ve been spending time on the Yahoo threads (must be masochistic)and they really cluster together there and support each other’s insanity and hatred.

Fortunately, I’ve been seeing more and more Obama supporters using facts to shoot down this aerial pandemonium ballet that the Obama haters insist on engaging in. I engage them as civilly as is possible for me, when faced with such ignorant and brainwashed minds, by using facts and (god forbid) reason.

I don’t know how effective I’ve been among the RW ditto heads, but I think I have reached many of those independents and somehow got them to actually put more stock in research and facts. I think I have changed some minds, at least those minds that aren’t mired and stuck in the RW mud.



I believe that this film was underwritten by the owner of the Chicago Cubs, Ricketts. The same ugly man who tried to tie Obama again to Rev Wirght and who said he would spend 10 million on ads against Obama


The family was silent until Rahm Emmanuel refused to meet with them to discuss expanding Wrigley Field on the taxpayers dime after this all came out. Then all of a sudden they were backpedaling quickly. Knowing Emmanuel’s temper(he once stabbed a knife into a table in a diner when working Clinton campaign saying that is what we do to the m—–f—ers) I doubt they will get the taxpayer funding now no matter what the Rickets family does. Rahm has been known to hold grudges.

The right did another film during the 2008 election that they sent unsolicited to many people. We got one and it was pretty much the same with roiling storm clouds and heavy music and a secret muslim theme. This film may have been better made than the first but I think most intelligent people will see it for what it is – Propaganda.

I have never seen a political party so desperate to win. The only thing I agree with them and some progressives is Eric Holder should be fired. Not sure what his department is doing but it is not much.


Wow Sue – we need to talk about Holder. I work with the DOJ and know what is going on. He’s doing a LOT. We can have this conversation via email.


Excellent Murph, it looks like the superpack bros from a twisted planet had some involvement. Hey Planet POVers.