“You Can’t ‘Fact-Check’ a Fever Dream of Paranoia and Irrationality”

Forbes has “fact-checked” its infamous and inflammatory cover story by Dinesh D’Souza, “How Obama Thinks.”  Heather MacDonald is not impressed.

Such a “fact-checking” feint is irrelevant to this travesty of an article; you can’t “fact-check” a fever dream of paranoia and irrationality.  Sickeningly, while “How Obama Thinks” is useless as a guide to the Obama presidency, it is all too representative of the hysteria that now runs through a significant portion of the right-wing media establishment.   The article is worth analyzing at some length as an example of the lunacy that is poisoning much conservative discourse.

D’Souza argues that Obama’s policies are motivated by a hatred towards American power absorbed from his Kenyan father.  He offers exactly zero evidence for his hackneyed psychological theory.  But the most laughable weakness in D’Souza’s thesis is the fact that the policies which D’Souza presents as the “dreams of a Luo tribesman” have a decades-long American pedigree and are embraced by wide swathes of the American electorate and political class.  If support for progressive taxation, greater government regulation of health care, stimulus spending, and conservation make one the tool of the African anticolonial movement, then Paul Krugman, Robert Reich, Al Gore, Nancy Pelosi, John Kenneth Galbraith, FDR, and the Sierra Club are all Third World agents provocateurs. . . .

Even if it were the case that Obama embraces the standard liberal playbook for reasons of personal history—a position for which D’Souza has provided no evidence—so what?  If Obama were not president, millions of people would still support the policies of his presidency under a different Democratic leader, as they have been doing for decades. . . .

D’Souza’s screed is just the latest manifestation of the rebirth of the conservative hysteria that marked the Clinton era.  The fact that both Clinton and Obama’s critics became obsessed with the person rather than his policies suggests that those critics have no faith in the public’s ability to grapple with abstract issues, rather than alleged personal failings. . . .

Political hatred and fear should be summoned forth only under the most exigent of circumstances.  D’Souza has failed completely to make the case for unleashing his incendiary brand of irrationality.

NOTE: I have not opened comments on this post.  If you wish to comment on MacDonald’s post, please do so at Secular Right.

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