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The Weekly Standard (sort of) defends Obama

Certain arguments are worthy of only ridicule and condemnation, and it's always heartening when political writers break with their own side to make this point. The new issue of the conservative Weekly Standard is thus worthy of note for its review of Dinesh D'Souza's absurd book, "The Roots of Obama's Rage." The headline tells the story: "The Roots of Lunacy: How not to understand Obama."

I knew it would be an honest (and amusing) review when I saw the by-line of Andy Ferguson, a conservative writer who is consistently trustworthy and always entertaining. He tears apart D'Souza’s core thesis after first helpfully summarizing it:

(1) Barack Obama really admired his father, Barack Obama Sr., and wanted to be like him; (2) Obama Sr. grew up in Kenya and became an anticolonial agitator; therefore (3) Obama Jr. wants to be an anticolonial agitator, too, and since he’s simultaneously president of the United States, he gets to be anticolonial in a very big way and drag us along with him.

You should read the whole review to appreciate Ferguson's excellent demolition job, but here’s a taste of what he does:

"Time and again," [D'Souza] writes, Obama "condemned 'British Petroleum' -- an interesting term since the company long ago changed its name to BP. Given our anticolonial theory, it's no surprise that Obama wanted to remind Americans of what BP used to stand for."

Right you are, Holmes! Except... I've read the transcript of the press conference, and Obama didn't make a single reference to British Petroleum -- a name which, in any event, is commonly used by many people of a certain age (including me) who are sworn enemies of anticolonialism. D'Souza makes many errors of this sort, citing facts that aren't facts in support of an otherwise unsupported conclusion. He says that Obama, in his memoir Dreams from My Father, never mentions his father's drunkenness. Obama mentions it often. Indeed, D'Souza misreads the entire memoir: Far from admiring his father and emulating him, Obama makes his disillusionment with his father one of the themes of his own life story.

Ferguson does another interesting thing: He pokes fun at Bill Clinton's opponents who, at the time of his presidency, cast Bubba, of all people, as a dangerous radical, someone who, as the late Jack Kemp put it in 1993, was running the "first frankly left-wing administration in history." As Feguson writes: "In retrospect, the charge looks nuts." Indeed, Ferguson notes that many of Clinton's right-wing critics from the old days "have decided he wasn't so bad after all." (It makes you wonder what they'll be saying about Barack Obama in 2027.)

Now, as it happens, the Weekly Standard and its editor William Kristol were among Clinton's most vociferous critics back when Clinton was president. So I hope that The Standard, having admirably allowed Ferguson, one of the magazine's senior editors, to take apart D'Souza's book, now assigns him to do an internal review of everything the Standard wrote about Clinton when he was president and allows him to publish the results. I'm sure his findings would be as enlightening as this review.

Ferguson, I think, would survive his own scrutiny. Back when Clinton was president, the one thing that Ferguson really ripped Clinton for -- again, entertainingly -- was the then commander in chief's love for the music of folk singer Judy Collins. Collins fans might disagree, but at least it's a line of criticism that still merits careful consideration and debate.

By E.J. Dionne  | October 17, 2010; 1:09 PM ET
Categories:  Dionne  | Tags:  E.J. Dionne  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Get genetically modified poison foods out of my body!
Next: Obama is right on don't ask don't tell

Comments

You know the honeymoon is over
when the comedians start honing in:

The liberals are asking us to give Obama time. We agree . . .and
I think 25 to life would be appropriate.-- Jay Leno

America needs Obama-care like Nancy Pelosi needs a Halloween
mask. -- Jay Leno

Q: Have you heard about McDonald's' new Obama Value Meal?
A: Order anything you like and the guy behind you has to pay for it.
-- Conan O'Brien

Q: What does Barack Obama call lunch with a convicted felon?
A: A fund raiser.-- Jay Leno

Q: What's the difference between Obama's cabinet and a

penitentiary?
A: One is filled with tax evaders, blackmailers, and threats to society.
The other is for housing prisoners.-- David Letterman

Q: If Nancy Pelosi and Obama were on a boat in the middle of the
ocean and it started to sink, who would be saved?
A: America!-- Jimmy Fallon

Q: What's the difference between Obama and his dog, Bo?
A: Bo has papers.-- Jimmy Kimmel

Q: What was the most positive result of the "Cash for Clunkers" program?
A: It took 95% of the Obama bumper stickers off the road.--David Letterman



Posted by: LETFREEDOMRING2 | October 18, 2010 1:49 AM | Report abuse

The problem is, conservatives -- perhaps because they are such Grand Old Pedophiles -- have absolutely no sense of humor. I don't believe they even understand the terminology or the concept.

Posted by: bibleburner | October 18, 2010 3:54 AM | Report abuse

The attributions of those knee-slappers at 1:49 a.m. don't pass the sniff test.

Posted by: mattintx | October 18, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Nice try on trying to pass off those jokes as part of mainstream humor, tool bag. As might be expected from the right wing lunatics and liars, none of these were actually delivered by the late night comedians.

Posted by: grgoodmn | October 18, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Anyone notice as we get closer to Nov.2, that the journalists at WAPO steer away from the primary issues of JOBS and the state of the economy?
What does that indicate?

Posted by: SeniorVet | October 18, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

mattintx wrote:

"The attributions of those knee-slappers at 1:49 a.m. don't pass the sniff test."

= = = = = = = =

Yep. Do a google search on the text of his post and you'll find it repeated all over the internet, with the exact same formatting of the text - just like a chain-e-mail passed from scared old coot to scared old coot.

Posted by: FrankIBC | October 18, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

You seem to think that attacking Slick Willie Clinton is a bad thing. Most people would think that defending a known perjuror who lied under oath, and lied to his country and family is a good thing, or that pardoning an egregious tax evader (Marc Rich) whose wife contributed several million dollars to Clinton causes is a good thing, or that renting out the Lincoln Bedroom or extracting $100 million as an ex-president entitles him to a free ride. Why?

Posted by: sailhardy | October 18, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

"the primary issues of JOBS and the state of the economy?"

So the wars are secondary?

Posted by: wiredog | October 18, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

It's fairly shocking and comforting to hear the recounting of Clinton's critics crying liberal, when Clinton was easily the most conservative president of the second half of the century.

Posted by: crashinghero | October 18, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Hard to tell if D'Souza lied in his book or is simply so blinded by his hate for Obama that he saw what he wanted to see and presented it as evidence.

I tend to believe the latter, since there is no profit in telling a lie if it can be easily debunked.

Judging from his earlier work, "The End of Racism", it looks as though D'Souza may have an ever-so-slight problem with African Americans.

Posted by: MidwaySailor76 | October 18, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

To MidwaySailor76:

"I tend to believe the latter, since there is no profit in telling a lie if it can be easily debunked."

You haven't been paying attention to Fox News and the neocons writing books for the past 10 years, I guess. Most of what they say can be debunked. It's just a matter of getting the message across to their supporters. Most people on the left get it. Some in the center get it. It took most Americans 6 years to figure out that Bush was an idiot. Some of us knew that when he was "elected". The vast majority figured it out when the financial meltdown finally happened (knew it was coming sooner or later with all the deregulation), and yet there are still people out there blaming Obama for the ENTIRE mess. The Tea Party was holding rallies just one month after he was inaugurated, so that gives you an idea about the idiots that once supported Bush wholeheartedly and couldn't get over the fact that he caused such a catastrophe and will never face that fact. They'll never face the fact that he drove up the deficit and debt by so much and that he intiated bank bailouts (which were truly necessary because of his failed policies). Republicans lie about the healthcare law all the time, for example: "Gov't Death Panels", which is specifically what the law was trying to stop insurers from acting as; "gov't takeover", which is pretty strange considering it's compelling people to buy private insurance, a Republican idea by the way, not making them use gov't insurance (but is expanding Medicaid and Medicare for those who need those, due to the times we're in), and insurance is regulated in most states, already, by state gov't. It's been a patchwork that has led to effective insurance monopolies in many states. Oh well, though, Obama wants socialism, etc. It's such BS. We didn't even get a public option or single-payor universal healthcare for all.

Posted by: fbutler1 | October 18, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I think congress should enact a federal law where as ''No sitting President'' shall
beable to campaign across the USA while in office. Either he be a Dem/Rep you have to remember while he sits in that office he is to represent all the people and not just his party. Plus just think how much money it would save by having the President in the WH all the time and not tracing around the states with all his followers at our expense......

Posted by: STAN21 | October 18, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

the great social experience is over. the racist US elected a black person as president,so much for the racist label. stupid? YES. whose turn next? female,homo,illegal? how many of these special interest a....... have served with honor in the military?

Posted by: pofinpa | October 18, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Popinfa, even if you were a general, you would not "have served with honor in the military" so long as you express views as vile and hateful as these. Please do us all a favor and crawl back under the rock whence you came, and spare us your slime and venom.

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Posted by: oneshopping35 | October 18, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

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