WHEELING - Voters in next month's presidential election have "a choice between the American dream and Obama's dream," bestselling author Dinesh D'Souza told a crowd of almost 300 gathered at River City Ale Works Wednesday for an event sponsored by the West Liberty University Economics Club.
President Barack Obama's dream, according to D'Souza - author of "Obama's America: Unmaking the American Dream" and director of the documentary "2016: Obama's America" - is a world in which countries share power and the United States' status as a global superpower becomes a thing of the past.
"That's his dream ... but is that what we want?" said D'Souza. "I don't think that's even what most Democrats want."
He said many of the president's critics often point to Obama's relative inexperience in politics prior to his rise to the Oval Office, calling him an "amateur" or a "bungler." But D'Souza views his presidency much differently.
"Obama's not a bungler," D'Souza said. "He's actually been very successful in what he's trying to do. ... Domestically, he has expanded the power of the state. ... Internationally, he's been scaling back America's influence in the world."
D'Souza said contradictions in Obama's handling of both foreign and domestic policy support his theory that Obama is actively attempting to decrease America's global footprint.
Obama sent U.S. troops to war-torn Libya last year to support the overthrow of dictator Moammar Gadhafi, D'Souza said, but has refused to take action against Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad - though both have been accused of committing genocide.
He said Obama pushed for democracy and fair elections in Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood scored a victory to replace the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak, but failed to condemn election fraud in Iran.
The similarity between the two rulers Obama helped replace is that they were doing business with the United States, while the primary link between Assad and Iranian Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "is that they are our deadly enemies," D'Souza said.
Regarding Obama's domestic policy, D'Souza said the president's often ridiculed statement during a July speech in Virginia that those who own businesses "didn't build that" sheds light on an "anti-colonialist" philosophy he inherited from his father.
"What he's really saying is that society creates wealth and greedy entrepreneurs swoop in and grab it," he said.
D'Souza also argues that contrary to what some may think, Obama cares little for poor Americans - and while he has taken action to block domestic energy initiatives such as the Keystone Pipeline, he has supported similar efforts abroad.
"His argument is ... we don't need redistribution in America, we need redistribution from America," said D'Souza.
According to D'Souza - who came to the United States from Mumbai, India, and graduated from Dartmouth College - there are two primary characteristics that set America apart from other nations.
One, he said, is that America is not based "on birth or blood, but ... on the pursuit of happiness and the American dream."
"To be Indian, you need brown skin and Indian parents," he said. "You can, in fact, become American."
The other is that entrepreneurs are held in much higher regard in American society than elsewhere in the world. In his native India, he said, merchants and traders are among the lowest rungs on the societal ladder.
"Even in Europe, the entrepreneur is looked down upon. ... Inherited money is better than earned money," said D'Souza.