Streetcar Line

Obama Haunts Fright Night at the Movies

The scary back-stories, and current effects, of Obamamania.

By 8.29.12

Three movies, three views of Obama. All frightening. All justly so.

One walks away from the movie 2016: Obama's America, the growing box-office bonanza by Dinesh D'Souza and Gerald Molen, wondering why in tarnation it took so long for anybody to put Barack Obama's views into their proper context. Then again, 2016 provides only part of the context; another important part of it came four years ago, when Citizens United released Hype: The Obama Effect -- a powerful but far-too-little seen piece of film-making that nailed much of the essential Obama before the misery of the past four years, while indeed predicting a fair amount of what The Self-Anointed One has inflicted upon this fair land of ours. This week, Citizens United completes the circle with The Hope and the Change, which features a one-hour collage of ordinary citizens, Obama supporters in 2008 and almost all Democrats (with a few independents thrown in), who now are experiencing severe buyer's remorse.

All three perspectives are important. All three pound home the message that Barack Obama never should have gotten anywhere near the Oval Office.

Let's start with the box office hit, 2016. D'Souza, a brilliant conservative controversialist of long standing, and Molen, the producer of Schindler's List, Rain Man, Jurassic Park, and other popular movies, have done a superb job presenting D'Souza's thesis that Obama is motivated primarily by an (outdated) "anti-colonialist" worldview that sees the United States as a deeply flawed nation that needs to be tamed from without or, in this case, from within. They posit that far too little attention has been paid to the themes from Dreams from My Father, Obama's semi-fictionalized, rather pretentious autobiography. Too little also is commonly made, according to this thesis, of the marked "otherness" of Obama's childhood away from the U.S. mainland, both in Hawaii and in Indonesia.

While D'Souza's armchair psychologizing may be a little too speculative for some tastes, it should be almost beyond debate that Obama idolized a mythic image of his father (he pretty much says so in Dreams) -- and that he made a conscious decision to adopt some of his late father's (presumed) resentments.

While 2016 does not prove its case in a fashion airtight enough to withstand rigorous academic peer review (for instance), it more than persuades a fair-minded viewer that Obama's outlook on the United States is rather alien to that held by a reasonably solid majority of Americans. (It probably was once not just a reasonably solid majority, but an overwhelming one -- but some our populace has not been as well rooted in our wise and humane traditions as we all once were.) This man Occupying the Oval Office is, in short, not a lover of America but one bent on radically remaking America. As such, he is profoundly dangerous.

By some lights, oddly enough, D'Souza might be being too generous to Obama. So eager is the author to shoehorn the winner of the Nobel Prize for Outsized Arrogance (or was it some other category?) into the "anti-colonialist" construct that he neglects some other key elements of Obama's background and worldview. Interestingly enough, Hype: The Obama Effect does the converse: It quite explicitly said early on that the key to understanding Obama is not to look in Hawaii, Indonesia, or Kenya, but instead to look to Chicago. Back when the rest of the media was trying to explain away and mostly ignore the Obama connections with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, crooked financier Tony Rezco, and domestic terrorists William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, Citizens United was not only digging deep into these sickening Obama ties, but putting them (and others) into the context of a truly radicalized, hard-left worldview. Mixed in with all of this, the movie rightly notes, is the (Lucifer-inspired) anarcho-troublemaking of yet another Chicagoan, Saul Alinsky.

Methinks Hype was a powerful and farsighted piece of work in 2008, but it also missed a few things: first, it gave short shrift to the realm mined so well by D'Souza, namely Obama's childhood and his father's roots; second, it also seemed uninterested in Obama's experiences at Columbia, where he probably first encountered Ayers and Dohrn and where he almost certainly fell under the sway of Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, whose evil strategy for forced governmental debt overload seems to be incorporated into Obama's fiscal policies.

But put Hype and 2016 together and watch them back to back, and -- even allowing for the exaggerated impact of a the talented propagandist's art -- the viewer can't help but be struck by just how strange and, well, not-American (as distinguished from the loaded "un-American") Obama is. He also comes across as woefully ill-prepared for the presidency, even if one does give him the benefit of the doubt for his worldview and intentions.

Into this maw enters The Hope and the Change, receiving its grand premiere this week in conjunction with the Republican National Convention. When the media didn't do its job in 2008, and perhaps some voters also willingly let themselves be fooled, the majority of Americans did indeed grab for the "hope" offered by Obama's vapid slogan. Citizens United has rounded up a host of these former Obama voters who really regret the ballot choice they made in 2008. The interviews with them provide a very practical, real-world grounding for the sometimes hyper-theoretical themes of the other two movies.

Herewith, a very few selected quotes from those interviewed in movie: "When I hear the phrase 'hope and change,' I definitely feel 'bait and switch.'" It was "false hope." "It's kind of like buyer's remorse." In his golfing and his hobnobbing in Hollywood, among other things, "Obama now is all about Obama." Unlike what happened with banks and car companies, "Nobody comes around to help bail me out." "I don't know where this money [government spending under Obama] is going." "I don't think that I got what I was expecting."

Well, of course not. That was the point of Obama's sloganeering: to put a honeyed glaze on the sour recipe he was actually cooking up for us. In that effort, of course, he had the absurdly fawning help of the establishment media. One little snippet, early in the Hope and the Change, captures just this aspect of the story of how Obama was inflicted upon us. It was election night, 2008, and Brian Williams of NBC came back from a break with words so crazily over the top as exceed even Dan Rather's exultation during the 1992 Clinton victory night that "this is all so exciting, my ear wax is popping out." Said Williams: "[This is] the most exciting and important election night in several lifetimes."

Yes, lifetimes. Talk about "hype!" One can only hope we change from this sort of idiocy long before 2016. The dreams from Obama's father are a nightmare for most of us, a nightmare played out in everyday lives, not just on the silver screen. 

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About the Author
Quin Hillyer is a senior editor of The American Spectator and a senior fellow at the Center for Individual Freedom. Follow him on Twitter @QuinHillyer.