Posts Tagged ‘Sarah Palin’

US elections: An Indian Perspective By Amaresh Misra

November 4, 2008

US elections: An Indian Perspective 

 

                                                          By Amaresh Misra

 

 

 

          As America goes to vote on 4th November 2008, a hitherto unseen specter is haunting the historic Obama-McCain stand-off; till now, electoral Pundits have relied basically on the traditional theory of both the Democratic and the Republican Party possessing roughly a 37%-37% base vote ― and then the 20-26% Independent voter deciding the final outcome.

 

The Independent mantra however is questionable ― it gives too much power to spin doctors on either side of the political divide and to the idea that voters in the middle can be swayed almost exclusively by a media blitzkrieg or some zany twists, like the nomination of Sarah Palin.

 

Laws of political science inform that the notion of the Independent voter cannot exist in a political vacuum. There has to be some magnetic pull, emerging from the base vote category, which can trigger the decisive slide of the Independent voter towards the winning side: in this scenario, it is unlikely that the phenomenon of hockey moms or even Wal-Mart moms, or any other Independent category, voting any which way independently will decide the next American President.

 

Similar is the case with the impact the current Wall Street collapse; growing economic problems shifted media focus away from Sarah Palin; there was an uneasy question mark over the fundamentals of supply side Reagan-economics and the economic philosophy America should adopt for the 21st century. But, historically, economic uncertainty, unless it is of the Great Depression type with a figure like Roosevelt stimulating a class polarization, leads to less, not more voter participation in the electoral process; moreover, voters tend to vote both right and left in such an atmosphere.

 

 To understand the invisible specter that seems to haunt the American electoral fight, one may have to look towards India, a country where regular elections since 1952 have thrown up what is known as a `base assertion’ ― as  opposed to the `Independent voter assertion’ ― theory.

 

While America has a Presidential system, Indian democracy has a Parliamentary system; but electoral trend behavior in democracies has shown a wide level of similarity.

 

In India, from 1952 and roughly till the late 1980s, the Congress Party was able to win elections after elections because of the assertion of a single bloc: the minority-Muslim voter. Fighting on a socialist plank, Congress always formed a coalition of social forces and got the vote of the vast majority of India‘s poor. Yet within that coalition, it was the assertion of the minority-Muslim vote in successive constituencies that provided the resources and the atmospherics for the non-Muslim poor to assert as well.

 

A quick look Congress’ electoral graph over the years reveals a startling pattern: the party suffered significant defeats whenever, within the pro-Congress coalition, the minority-Muslim vote dipped by as little as 2-3%; thus in the 1967 General elections, the Congress lost more than 100 seats; in the 1977 General elections, when minority-Muslim support dipped by 10%, the Congress party was for a moment wiped off from the Indian electoral scene.

 

By the early 1990s, following a series of anti-minority-Muslim measures, most importantly the decision by a sitting Congress Prime Minister Narsimha Rao (who wanted to attract Hindu votes to the party) to allow the demolition of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, a town in the province of Uttar Pradesh (UP), the party lost the minority-Muslim support for the first time over an extended period. Consequently, throughout the 1990s, the Congress was relegated to an unthinkable third position, as the Hindu Nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and a new secular and Left leaning anti-Congress front of regional parties slugged it out in the electoral arena.

 

Thus was born the phenomenon of regional secularism, wherein in UP and Bihar, two of India’s most populous states, backward caste, anti-Congress, anti-BJP Hindu leaders stormed to power, mainly on Muslim support. In both UP and Bihar Muslims formed roughly 15% of the total population. But their unprecedented electoral group-base assertion swayed the Independent voter completely in the favor of regional secularists.

 

A similar phenomenon accompanied the rise of Mayawati, the Dalit leader in UP, in the 1990s; Dalits, or the lowest of the low caste, comprise 22% of UP’s population; earlier, they used to vote for the Congress; but then, their vote was not part of a singular group assertion. Mayawati was able to triumph because the Dalits decided to jettison the Congress and identify with her totally.

 

In the American elections, the most obvious and simple aspect― the African American black vote in Obama’s favor― may well prove to be the most relevant in the final count. True, the black vote has traditionally been with the Democratic Party; and often, black assertion was not enough for a Democratic Party victory. But it has to be seen and analyzed as to how many times black assertion was base assertion― it seems that the three times when black assertion was base assertion, with Roosevelt, Kennedy and Clinton, the Democratic Party made history.

 

In the 2000 and 2004 American elections, Bush was able to defeat the Democrats, because somewhere along black assertion did not approximate in intensity to base assertion. On the other hand, the Christian Right, perhaps for the first time, asserted as a base for Republicans. Interestingly, the white vote, like the Hindu vote in India as such can never form a base assertion vote― it has been seen that in democracies, majority communities are too fragmented along class, regional or ethnic lines, to comprise a base assertion vote. The assertive minority vote has been decisive― and yet, ironically, it has remained so far the least recognized element of pre-election calculations.

 

In America, black assertion in Obama’s favor, is leading also to a pro-Democratic swing of Hispanic and white working class voters, much more than this otherwise would have been even in an economic crisis situation. In fact, the economic crisis has led blacks, the worst hit, to assert more as a group― few will recognize this at the end, but on 4th November 2008, America‘s 12% minority blacks will play the determining role in choosing the next President of their country.          

 

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The Neocons’ Palin Project by Patrick J. Buchanan

September 17, 2008

 

The Neocons’ Palin Project
by  Patrick J. Buchanan 
09/16/2008

Will the neocons who tutored George W. Bush in the ideology he pursued to the ruin of his presidency do the same for Sarah Palin?
Should they succeed, they will destroy her. Yet, they are moving even now to capture this princess of the right and hope of the party.
In St. Paul, Palin was told to cancel a meeting with Phyllis Schlafly and pro-life conservatives. McCain’s operatives said Palin had to rest for her Wednesday convention speech.
Yet, on Tuesday, Palin was behind closed doors with Joe Lieberman and officials of the Israeli lobby AIPAC. There, according to The Washington Post, Palin took and passed her oral exams.
“Palin assured the group of her strong support for Israel, of her desire to see the United States move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and of her opposition to Iran’s aspirations to become a nuclear power, according to sources familiar with the meeting.”
AIPAC’s mission, like that of Likud, is to goad America into launching air and missile strikes on any and all Iranian nuclear facilities.
AIPAC went away happy. Purred spokesman Josh Block, “We were pleased that Gov. Palin expressed her deep personal commitment to the safety and well-being of Israel.”
Heading home to Alaska to prepare for her interview with Charlie Gibson, Palin was escorted by Randy Scheunemann, McCain’s foreign policy guru and, until March, a hired agent of the Tbilisi regime.
Scheunemann’s lobbying assignment: Bring Georgia into NATO, so U.S. troops, like 19-year-old Track Palin, will be required to fight Russia to defend a Saakashvili regime that has paid Randy and his partner $730,000.
Reportedly, a phone conversation was held between Saakashvili and Palin, in which Palin committed herself to the territorial integrity of Georgia, though South Ossetia and Abkhazia have declared independence and been recognized by Moscow, which now has troops in both.
Also on Palin’s plane was Steve Biegun, formerly of Bush’s National Security Council, and Scheunemann’s choice to tutor her. Of Biegun, Steven Clemens of the New American Foundation says, “He will turn her into an advocate of Cheneyism and Cheney’s view of national security issues.”
During her interview with Gibson, Palin often took a neocon line. Three times she said that, should Israel decide to attack Iran, the United States should not “second guess” Israel’s decision or interfere.
This contradicts U.S. policy. Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the joint chiefs, has warned Israel not to attack Iran, as the United States does not want a “third front.” And the Pentagon is withholding crucial weapons the Israelis want and need to carry out any such attack.
Palin also volunteered that the Russian invasion was “unprovoked,” though Georgia attacked South Ossetia first. She followed up by saying that Georgia and Ukraine should be brought into NATO.
Would that mean America would have to go to war with Russia on behalf of Georgia in any new conflict, asked Gibson.
“Perhaps so,” said Palin.
Scheunemann should get a fat severance check from Saakashvili for that one.
One ex-White House aide at American Enterprise Institute, asked by Tim Shipman of the Daily Telegraph if AEI sees Palin as a “project,” replied: “Your word, not mine. … But I wouldn’t disagree with the sentiment. … She’s bright, and she’s a blank page. She’s going places, and it’s worth going there with her.”
In fairness to Palin, on issues like NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia, her answers reflect the views of the man who chose her. She has no option at present but to follow the line laid down by Scheunemann.
But make no mistake. Sarah Palin is no neocon. She did not come by her beliefs by studying Leo Strauss. She is a traditionalist whose values are those of family, faith, community and country, not some utopian ideology.
Wasilla, Alaska, is not a natural habitat of neoconservatives.
And her unrehearsed answers to Gibson’s questions reveal her natural conservatism. Asked if she agrees with the Bush Doctrine, Palin asked for clarification. “In what respect, Charlie?”
Gibson: “Do we have the right of an anticipatory self-defense?”
Yes, said Palin, “if there is legitimate and enough intelligence that tells us that a strike is imminent against (the) American people, we have every right to defend our country. In fact, the president has the obligation, the duty to defend.”
Exactly. The intelligence must be legit and the threat “imminent.”
Interviewed by Alaska Business Monthly in March 2007 on the surge, Palin said, “I heard on the news about the new deployments, and while I support our president, I want to know that we have an exit plan in place.”
That is not the language of empire or “benevolent global hegemony.”
Palin may disappoint many conservatives in the next seven weeks by having to parrot the McCain-neocon line on NATO expansion, NAFTA and a “path to citizenship” for illegal aliens. But the battle for Sarah’s soul is not over.
For, again, the lady is no neocon. Nor is the husband Todd, First Dude of Alaska and former member of the “Alaska First” Independence Party.
Mr. Buchanan is a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Churchill, Hitler, and “The Unnecessary War”: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World, “The Death of the West,”, “The Great Betrayal,” “A Republic, Not an Empire”and “Where the Right Went Wrong.” 

Comments posted on New York Times, article on Sarah Palin

September 4, 2008

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September 4th, 2008 5:34 am

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Sarah Palin will a big success with all her assets. However while she was like a Viagra for the GOP, the 2008 presidential election is already rigged when Dick Cheney sneaked in the dark of the night to Georgia to write a billion dollar check for Saakashvili to drum up trouble on the Russian border, so that Republicans can resurrect the familiar scenario: America in danger and project old war horse McCain as the best man to take care of the new ‘devil’ on the block; Vladimir Putin.

So this time possibly, the focus will be away from Al Qaeda and Islamic terrorism. That cow has been milked to its last drop. America’s name all around the world is dirt. So now the new cold war with new screen play had to be stoked with dollops of billion dollars a pop, running up the credit of another trillion dollar worth of war funding. The invisible neo-cons sure know their job, as to how to disappear and raise up stakes in another part of the world.

While poor Obama is collecting 5 dollar each from his internet contacts, Dickey boy has in one stroke raised a billion dollar to run Republican Campaign.

This can only happen in America. While the people are engaged in reality show running to packed auditoriums and millions and millions of TV screens, the underground conspirators are at work to subvert the so-called spectacle of democracy right on the sidelines while the public gaze is away.

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

— Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai, India