Sunday, January 06, 2008

Face the nation!

With the possibility of the US Democratic Presidential Nomination being decided as early as the New Hampshire Primary in two days, lets get a dekkho of the happenings. I had almost given up on Obama upstaging Hillary for the nomination. But in the aftermath of Iowa, there is more than hope for Hope! We may be headed for a Obama-Edwards ticket.

But it remains that Obama is inexperienced and his speeches however amusing and inspiring are mere rhetoric. The Obama presidency may either go Arnie's California way or turn farcical like Dubayya's. Hillary even under siege right now, seems more abreast of issues. But her coldness and last name are real liabilities. I guess this country has had enough of Cowboys and Clintons.

On the Republican side, its dire straits when a senile Vietnam Vet (McCain) remains the only sensible choice. The table leader Romney is a disaster in the making. Not because he is Morman (?!!) but because he is Kerry, act II. Guiliani ofcourse is a joke. But the man catching up right now is the eloquent and humorous former baptist preacher Mike Huckabee. He wants to abolish IRS and impose a flat consumption tax!

People who underestimate the dangers of 'creationism' to the world, need to look no further than Huckabee. It will not be amusing to have a world leader talking 'my God created Earth'. With the likes of Bobby Jindal of "no abortion, no evolution" vintage as Governor in Lousiana and "Ram built Sethu" kinda politics resurfacing in India, rational minds are headed for troubled times.

But the US primaries are indeed the epitome of democracy which we sorely miss in India. With a prime minister who refuses to get elected, a ruling party hell bent on sucking upto a family and a media which flames hatred on the party which still retains a semblance of inner party democracy and transparency, we in India live upto our reputation of a flawed democracy.

I wish bloggers take the initiative to get the following in Indian elections. a) Parties must declare prime ministerial and chief ministerial candidates ahead of elections, b) They should announce thier coalitions and tickets for all seats well ahead of the first round of polling. c) Exit polls of all hues must be banned between multiple polling dates. d) candidtates must face the media and the voters in public debates at the constituency level.


Ridhus said...


I am currently reading Ponniyin Selvan, in it RajaRaja cholan steps up to lead the battle in lanka becuase there is bitter infighting between the commanders in deciding who should lead.

I guess it is the same logic which makes the Congress choose a Gandhi family member as its leader - to avoid infighting and splitting of the party, and of course a Gandhi name means a certains number of votes.Ask why BJP uses Varun Gandhi for campaigning.

Even in the BJP where the leader is elected democratically there is a lot of backbitting and struggle. This will be all the more visible once established patriachs like Vajpayee and Advani leave the scene.

Democracy brings its own sets of problems - factionalism for one, swaying opions of the misinformed is another.

I guess the practice of the leader handpicking his successor is a better model, as is done in the RSS or in China, atleast until the majority are well educated and balanced individuals.

Balaji said...

Ponniyin Selvan: hmm... who is fighting whom to lead the battle. I don't seem to remem. It was Kodumbalur Siriya Vellalar who died in the battle in Lanka and then Periya Vellalar takes over the leadership. Since Arulmozhi is the prince, he is allowed the title of chief although the forces are still Vellalars.

Anyway that aside, unless I'm mistaken India is a democracy. I don't see people craving for monarchy, dynasty (gandhi) or dictatorship (china).

BJP, it beats me how in a democratic party we can discourage intra party debate and rivalry for leadership. Its a party where even a veteran like Advani has to earn his nomination.

And the last time I checked Varun was sulking bcos BJP put him in his place for demanding to contest from a safe seat in Vidhesha ignoring the local leaders.

Ridhus said...

The part I was referring to is in the 16th chapter titled Arulmozhivarmar.

The point I was making with reference to Varun Gandhi is that a Gandhi name fetches a certain number of votes.

Anyways, I think democracy is ill suited for India in its present state, where a a large number of people are illiterate and vote for a candidate who is an actor, or belongs to their religion/caste or to the one who promises free handouts.

We would be better off with a dictator like Augusto Pinochet rather than having a criminal as the prime minister/chief minister. With todays coalition politics it is very much possible!!