Romney? No. Obama? Yes



Just a few days before Obama’s “Yes We Can” Denver convention four years ago, I had told Carolyn Sauvage Mar, a Democrat campaigner in Delhi, that America should allow an international group of eminent citizens to vote for the US president. A bizarre idea but American politics is hardly just about America.

The US presidential polls are a good time to predict how an average Muslim in a Casa Blanca kasba or in an Iranian bread shop will be doing in the next four years or so, or what shape Israel’s policies are likely to take.

Politics in America, the nation that will continue to be at the heart of global affairs, is seldom as insightful as when the presidential polls draw up. Conventions take place, campaign hits streets and people worldwide get a glimpse of what’s in store.

President Obama has not been able to get much jobs back, or get the Israelis and Palestinians back for meaningful talks, two issues that can be the sum of achievement for anybody in the White House.

But President Obama has done better than seems possible. To be sure, he did not let things get worse, on the home front and in the Middle-east too.

Republican Mitt Romney seems to me to be one of the poorest choices in decades. He and his running mate Paul Ryan remind me of the BJP of the Ayodhya movement era.

Romney talks tough on China and Russia without realizing that this is a changed world, where working closely with these adversaries is critical for the new Arab world and a belligerent Iran.

The Republicans tend to charge up hardliners in Israel, who push back the Israeli doves. The Republicans are generally tough on the Muslim world, much less religiously tolerant.

American Jewish don’t vote on Israel. They vote on domestic issues. American politics is divided between religious and secular, and religious Christians largely vote for the Reps. The secular go mainly with the Democrats. Jewish Americans are mostly secular and so tend to be with the Democrats.

Romney’s motivation for the Israel trip, where he took a swipe at Muslim culture, was his Jewish donors.

But it is the American economy that Romney and his mate have mostly got wrong.

President Obama has enhanced the state’s roll in welfare not just because of his faith in social justice but because Americans need it now.

I still think he was right when he said hospitals, health and schools were important, so government paved the way for the American dream. The big guys flourished but they “didn’t build that”.

So, let’s try some crystal-ball gazing. If Obama wins four more years, America’s interests in the Middle-east will still be tied to oil and energy security. But not at the cost of peace. Two, he will not move the embassy to Jerusalem, but still will not push the Israelis and Palestinians if the economy takes longer to fix. Nor will he be hysterical on Iran because he knows Khomeini is neither well nor young. So, it’s better to wait.

Bottomline, four more years for Obama will ensure global stability. Why do I say that? The last four have been the stablest since 9/11, when they could have been the worst.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003563439127 Vignesh Here

    Wanna share one of my personal fav quotes in dis regard:
    “I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.”- John Burroughs

    N mam, I’ve been following ur blog for quite sometime now…u r generally all praises for various books… It wud b fun 2 c u blasting-off some book/author for a change ;) ;) Can I xpct that anytime soon??

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    Kushal Reply:

    Grin. I don’t usually blast off against books / authors, Vignesh, because they’re like mosquitoes – irritating and not worth raising my blood pressure for. I do love talking about books I like very much though, because I want everyone to read them.

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    Vignesh Here Reply:

    Gud reply…But some books end up as a sheer waste of time leavin u so frustrated that u hafta vent ur feelings n also warn other readers ;)

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    Kushal Reply:

    Hmm, I’ve done that in actual book reviews on HT’s books page, Vignesh. But mostly, if a book really, REALLY annoys me, I don’t bother reading it to the bitter end unless I’m doing a book review or a feature story for which I have no choice but to finish the book. Life’s too short to spend on doing things you don’t like. If, by chapter four, I realise I’m not going to like the book, I stop and read something I will like.

  • http://twitter.com/amishra77 Akhilesh Mishra

    “It’s strange how something that gives me so much pleasure can cause so much stress, but sometimes it really does”

    But it is true about almost everything in the world. Take for example the HT Blogs themselves – and the writers on it. There are such fantastic bloggers as you who imbibe their readers with pleasure . Then there are bloggers like Vir Sanghvi / Vinod Sharma who are propagandists of a political party masquerading as journalists. Stress is the least of emotions while reading them !

    But just as you happily continue doing your work, we happily continue coming back to HT Blogs. Some things are simply irresistable !

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  • Abhiroop Banerjee

    She came across it in one of those circulating libraries that dot the inner streets of Bombay – some part raddi shop, part library, some part DVD library, part books library. How does a library circulate?

    I totally know the stress you talk about. Apart from books, thinking about all the places I want to visit before I become a doddering geriatric freaks me out. I now stay away from travelogues because every time I started reading one I would slap the book/magazine down, light up and start pacing up and down furiously, frustrated that there is simply no TIME.

    I want to get off the information superhighway.

    But, I’ve learned to be content with the few books that I do get to read after I realized one day that I wasn’t enjoying reading as much as I used to. These days, I read one book at a time, slowly, like I used to, drifting into a reverie after every other sentence, talking to myself, smiling at what I thought was a clever one-liner I’d come up with, forgetting where I’d started as I realize that my finger is still between the pages I was on as I come back and dive into the story again. Or barrel through a novel like a train!

    Earlier, I loved the new book feeling that would accompany the trip back home from the bookshop. I would go to sleep with my latest buys on my bed’s headpiece. These days I consciously keep the other unread books away.

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  • Proton75in

    for dhai bhallas, many choices in delhi, each market is having his famous dahi bhalla but to find the best u must taste some of the stated below
    1. At shakti nagar ganda nallah. you will find a lot of dahi bhalla lovers there
    2. At maya puri bearing market.
    3. At chavdi bazar chowk

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  • http://www.facebook.com/ram.lakhani.33 Ram Lakhani

    Romney? No. Obama? YesTitle should be Romney…. No Obama? Just a word game…..Dont beat voters right

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  • http://www.facebook.com/amitbhatia80 Amit Bhatia

    Obama has done himself no good but criticizing the video and then killing of American diplomat. This has become big election issue that he is a weak president who is into appeasing muslims. he should have first have send strong signal by talking tough about killing of US diplomat and then criticize the video but he did the opposite.

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    Barnslayer Reply:

    The video was just a convenient excuse for more moslem brutality.

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  • The Shaft

    Khamenei is not Khomeini, Zia. Netanyahu is doing his best to arm-twist Obama into attacking Iran’s nuclear-whatever; arranged to kill the US envoy in Benghazi and mock at Obama’s foreign policy gains in the M.E. by the easiest ploy possible – insult the prophet and get the lumpen elements on the street. However, Obama the under-dog fighter will not allow a criminal like Netanyahu to beat him at this game.

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    Barnslayer Reply:

    Arabs firing rockets into Israel. Yep, that’s Netanyahu arm-twisting obama alright.
    Islam tolerates no religion but islam.

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  • Foulitics

    Zia’s Islamic brothers are rioting and murdering all across the world over a very silly movie and no mention of that by the “Muslim affairs” correspondent.

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  • Plumbline

    Political correctness means you cannot speak the truth, or you can’t get elected……..you have to talk grey, not black and white………..

    ………Revelation 19:15……..Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.

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  • Barnslayer

    How much time have you spent in he USA? Obama is destroying our economy. By the way… ever hear of a poor person giving someone a job? Having money is evil? The Obamas, Oprah, the Kennedys and Clintons are millionaires. So are lots of liberal Hollywood. I guess it’s only evil to you if conservatives have money.

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  • devil_wheels

    I’m not sure how you can compare Romney/Ryan to the BJP. Neither Romney nor Ryan will advocate breaking the law, buildings or people. Both may be personally opposed to abortion but will ultimately uphold Roe vs. Wade.

    Both men also conceive of politics as a civil profession and neither will be found on stage with a naked sword in hand like Modi or countless other Indian politicians. There is just no valid comparison here between Romney and Ryan and the BJP or any other Indian politicians.

    I assume you were trying to make an analogy but it’s not a true one and I’m tremendously happy that you won’t be voting the US Presidential election.

    And by the way, Obama is wrong. They did build it.

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  • devil_wheels

    We are unfortunately living in a world in which many groups think the world revolves around them or at least that it ought to. The Hindus think that their ideology should be at the root of a chimerical “Indianness.” The Muslims think they ought to rule the world. The AARP thinks the old own the world and so do all the unions.

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  • devil_wheels

    There is a problem, yes but going off the deep end in the other direction is not a solution. There are also people like Aayan Ali Hirsi and a great many Muslims who I would not describe as “moderate” in the conventional sense who see the problem. They are becoming more vocal.

    There is also a great deal of culture left in the Islamic world. There are better and more intellectual movies and music that come out of Iran, Egypt and northern Africa than the nonsense that Indians seem to prefer.

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  • Subho

    Fair analysis and spot on bottom-line.

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  • P S

    ” Let us just say anybody below 30 years is disallowed from driving anything but a small car.” Thats idiocy of the highest order. What we need are strict drunk driving laws. In the US, a similiar crime can land you in jail for life. In all the developed countries, driving under influence is a zero tolerance offence. Not only strict laws but also strict implementation is necessary. In a country where roadside cops can be bought for Rs 100, this will remain a utopian dream.

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  • Sughosh Bansal

    I am surprised. Occasionally there are write ups in the Media about Traffic Rules – their adequacy or lack of it, but no one questions the Government which had been working on amendment of MV Act for the last few years and have not yet arrived at the level to issue Notification. These days one can view on the roads that (1) One can drive on both sides of the roads; (2) Colour of Signal Lights are meaningless; (3) One can hear the loud music, and talk over Mobile, while driving; (4) One can jump the red light with impunity; so on and so forth. Even if one is caught, the legal fine is Rs. 100 which today does not fetch even an ice cream for the family of 5 people. And Rs. 50 is the bribe with which one can get scot free. The Motor Vehicle Act needs a drastic Amendment and without losing any more time, increase the penalties several times to deter the drivers from violating the laws. And attempt which could endanger the lives of third person leading to killing must be equated to culpable homicide killing a person and the accused must be tried under the relevant laws.

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  • rani

    Yes definitely Drucken driving should be non bailable its not an accident even those found to be on the mobile phones and earphones at the time of accident should also be made non bailable

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  • Ayan

    “It is obvious, people who buy and drive cars are rich, wealthy and influential and have no fear of the law.The need is to scare them a little bit.” Pardon me Mr. Banerji and I don’t intend any hard feelings but your assumptions here are not anywhere near to your ultimate conclusion.
    Firstly, assuming your conception as the truth, it implies that every other vehicle owner in the street is a rich, callous, and non-law abiding citizen; all of them, and they have enough money to hit and run and not convicted by any law. Is it so Mr. Banerji?
    Secondly you think that by the way of a stricter law implemented, one below 30 should not be allowed to run a ‘BIGGER CAR’ !!! And that will help prevent accidents more than doing anything else ?? So thats how you think people are going to behave more responsibly on roads, rite???
    Let me ask you a question here. How do you differentiate between a small car and a large car? Or better can you please explain which category of a vehicle does a TATA ace, or a TATA MAGIC models belong? In which category would you put the Grand i10 OR Maruti Ritz ( having the same torque as Renault Duster of lower variant) into?
    I hope you know that by the law of physics the more the torque , the more the momentum, the greater the damage.
    Mr. Banerji the problem is not in letting someone to drive a particular class of a vehicle, the problem here is attitude, or say basic education. I travel a distance of 40 kms daily and I must say I have saved myself many a times from dangerous gonna-be accidents from people belonging to any age group and driving any type of vehicle that you can imagine on road. I myself am driving for 6 or more years and do try to follow traffic laws at any situation, but thats my gurantee. What about the other fellow’s gurantee?

    Any case study on a road accident you pick up and 95% of the time it will derive the main cause of an accident as the other fellow’s misdriving. Yes there are unfortunate times also when there are cases like you mentioned above. In this case you are right that one needs to have such a rule that such offences go non bailable. This will straightway call for amendment of the Motor Vehicle Act ( the one which was written during our great grandfather times and which some foolish people could never follow nor amend till date), and have a stricter administration implemented. That’s where one, as a common man, have to think how to make things right, how now to let a donkey rule over a buddhijibi society.
    I hope I could make myself clear. We could discuss more on this issue if the situation allows.
    Regards,
    Ayan

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