As I’ve been thinking about the democratic front-runners, I’ve been taking note of how different desis have been choosing sides.
Key Clinton advisor Neera Tanden made it clear in the New Yorker Magazine that she thinks Obama is too soft for the dirty work of winning an election:
Advisers to Clinton told me that there is something naÃ¯ve, even potentially fatal, in Obama’s vision of leading the country out of its current political battles… Obama will be annihilated by what members of the Clinton campaign call “the Republican attack machine.” Neera Tanden, the campaign’s policy director, … cautioned that the general election will be brutal. “You cannot let your guard down with these guys,” she said of right-wing politicians. “They take people’s strengths and make them weaknesses; if you give them an inch, they’ll take a mile. …Both of the Clintons have been through it and won before.” [Link]
From a more parochial perspective, the Clintons have a decades long association with South Asians:
No other candidate has raised more money from the Indian America community than Hillary Clinton. More Americans who trace their roots to India are working for Hillary Clinton. [Link]
p>As a young’un 16 years ago I worked a South Asian fund raiser at the Waldorf for the Candidate Bill Clinton (just after the Gennifer Flowers scandal). There’s a reason why Hillary herself cracked:
“I can certainly run for the senate seat in Punjab and win easily,”… [Link]
p>However, as the primary season (and general election) grew nearer, Hillary distanced herself from public appearances with Sikhs, perhaps to avoid more photos like these. Instead, she cancelled several fundraisers and refused to engage with issues that were important:
She stands up for the Sikh community when politically expedient. On the campaign trail, she made several cancellations to appear with Sikhs in public and refused to join Obama in supporting the Sikh Coalition’s appeal to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to protect turbans from searches at airports. [Link]
In general, Obama has shown more commitment to defending civil-liberties, even when unpopular, than Hillary. According to Gitmo detainee lawyers Gita Gutierrez, Elizabeth Arora, and Varda Hussain:
Senator Obama helped lead the fight in the Senate against the Administration’s efforts in the Fall of 2006 to strip the courts of jurisdiction …Senator Obama worked with us to count the votes, and he personally lobbied colleagues who worried about the political ramifications of voting to preserve habeas corpus for the men held at Guantanamo. He has understood that our strength as a nation stems from our commitment to our core values, and that we are strong enough to protect both our security and those values. [Link, via UB]
p>Civil liberties in the US is a brown issue to me because South Asians are far more likely than white Americans to get locked up and forgotten about by the system.
p>In terms of race, the Clintons have gone out of their way to point out that Hillary is the white candidate (and is she ever – have you seen her dance?). Obama, on the other hand, comes across as an immigrant. He talks openly about both family in the United States and on the other side of the world, and his own upbringing betwixt and between has helped to shape his outlook on politics:
Senator Obama’s political outlook is shaped by truly having been a citizen of the world. He was born to a black Kenyan father, and a white mother from Kansas. A self-made man, he was raised by his single mother and maternal grandparents in an environment without many material advantages. His paternal African grandmother still lives in a Kenyan hut without running water and electricity…Senator Obama can passionately engage with, actively listen to and respectfully speak with people of all backgrounds and faiths. [Link]
p>In this way, Obama comes across as the quintessential second-gen politician and his comfort with his identity stands in sharp contrast to repeated efforts by Jindal to whitewash himself. Whereas Piyush ran as Bobby, Barack did not run as Barry, even though he was once known as such. While Jindal, despite having been the former chancellor of LSU, ran away from the killings at LSU; Obama took time out of his schedule to call politicians in Kenya when election violence began, and has openly remained involved since.
p>I suspect that the age-gap amongst Clinton and Obama supporters is replicated in the division between first and second generation brownz. And who better to exemplify 2nd genniness than Mr. Namesake himself?
And while we’ve posted it before, it’s worth nothing that Obama is the only candidate in either party to inspire this sort of creative bolly style adulation:
I don’t understand why so many indian americans are for clinton. There is so much BS coming out of her, she is gonna be just another politician. She says how she is more experienced and got leadership qualities and yet followed bush like sheep into voting for IRAQ war. In my opinion Barack Obama and Ron Paul are the only two candidates who don’t treat voters like children and give a straight answer.
To all the Billary supporters.. why? why her? whats so great about her ?
Rahul will be glad to suggest several. Will you agree to run for office?
That’s an in-joke, I’m afraid, and therefore a bit rude of me. It’s not my given name, it’s a pseudonym I adopted when I started to blog. It’s an Irish name, although not picked for reasons of assimilation at all. I was pointing out to Anna that “Ennis” too is guilty of not having a “desi name.”
I don’t want to derail this thread but I do want to inject some context. (since we are speaking about which candidate may support civil liberties). I read the DTA statute and re-read some of the backstory. It was a republican (essentially Bush) sponsored bill which was amended only after Mccain opposed it and demanded a provision specifically banning torture of combatants, the amendment was supported by both Clinton and Obama and passed the senate 90-9.
You are correct that the act, limits the review of the treatment of enemy combatants by the courts. Which for ay lawyer and any citizen should send shivers down your spine. It is truly breath taking in its scope, in a very bad way. There is a standard clause that requires it to comply with the US constitution. BTW, it does require the Circuit Court of Appeals of DC to review appeals on the determination of who is an enemy combatant. Frankly, I’m surprised that the DTA has not been stricken.
I do get the impression that if Mccain didn’t lead the charge in adding the provision on banning torture and making it unlawful, that the act would go truly unfettered. In the unlikely event, that an enemy combatant does get free, if he or she is treated inhumanely, he/she could bring suit against the US for that treatment as it is deemed unlawful by this act. There is also a possibility of criminal penalties for those who would engage in inhuman treatment. I just don’t know who enforces it. It’s not much and I do agree that DTA effectively suspends Habeas Corpus, but, without the protection offered by Mccain’s amendment the combatants would be totally bereft of any cover.
Though after reading Wiki, I see that some of the protection offered by Mccain’s amendment has been eroded and why Bush may have acceded to his demands in the first place. If some of you are wondering, why care about who is listed as a combatant or whether they are treated inhumanely, its not a far leap to envision a day where an administration might seek to add to who can be held without trial or charge.
I may keep my man-crush on Mr. Mccain a little longer, but, you do have me double checking my facts. In my perfect world, I might have voted for a Mccain/Obama or Obama/Mccain ticket.
To all the Billary supporters.. why? why her? whats so great about her ?
I am not a Billy die hard but lean towards Billary. I lean towards Billary when the other option is Obama. In the end, its a choice. I dont like the race baiting of Billary though and will change my preference if the race baiting continues.
Can we get some live blogging of these debates 🙂 I am tired of Wonkette’s hilarious but lacking in brown live blogging.
No, he chose Bobby to replace Piyush that’s the basis of the observation.
That was a great column actually.
Andrew Young is an embarrassment. I don’t have a personal experience with the immigrant second gen thing that Ennis is referring to. Yet everyone should recognise that there is a generational shift, in all Americans as well as an evolution in “black” politicos. I know that some [generally older] black people on the right like to pretend that every (other) black person is obsessed with race, “the man” keeping them down, getting govt benefits etc. But the world was never that simple- and at any rate has moved on.
People from every race/color/creed can embrace different ideologies, religions, preferences for government, etc. That’s the original definition of liberalism. There has been an evolution in how minorities in the US have viewed themselves and others (totally avoiding the self hate argument). It may very well have been the case that Bill Clinton’s great grandfather, as a child ,could see himself as POTUS one day. I’m sure the thought never crossed the mind of Andrew Young’ black father, much less his grandfather.
Please don’t fool yourself that it’s only one ‘type’ of person of a singular political persuasion who has corned the market on this sentiment. If you heard about a catastrophe in India, a place you may still have relatives/connections in, hopefully you would feel empowered enough to express that. Since all Desiâ€™s are Drâ€™s if not Ibankers, 😉 in fact it would be “cool” to do so.
(It could be an urban legend?)- But some other individuals seem to go to great lengths to distance themselves, from showing any feeling of community, to avoid being pigeon holed into a negative, narrow definition of who/what they are. I think that is a generational thing. Obama is a product of his generation,perhaps the vanguard, and not constrained by the self doubt, internal/external barriers that his predeccesors faced. He can and does define himself on his own terms, bigger than his race,or the fact that heâ€™s biracialâ€¦ he hasnâ€™t made that his calling card.
It doesnâ€™t matter if he goes all the way or not, people on the left and right will have to get over the old divides/distractions and actually address the real issues facing the US now in a non parochial “American Century” way. Better yet, Shelby Steele might have to find a real job.
Mr. Sailer, being a paragon of color blindness, must really be put off by Obama’s unnatural hang up on
anybody really suprised that ennis is really just a politically opportunistic racist?
you know who else is an uncle tom ennis…condy rice and clarence thomas
also obama was raised in middle class american family..the rags to riches minority story is fake and manipulative
More McWhorter, less Steele. More Glen Loury, less Bill Cosby.
An interesting detail regarding Obama and reaching out to this hispanic vote is this:
Kennedy boosted Obama for 20 minutes on the #1 radio show in the country, that just happens to be in Spanish. This is worth something like $2-4 million of advertising, not to mention the fact that it’s targeted and probably more effective given the loyalty of the show’s listeners. This guy, Sotelo, has a lot of clout and was influential in organizing those rallies earlier in the year.
Obama is a second-gen bi-racial law professor with a degree from Harvard – quite a khichdi.
why hawaii in the same sentence as Indonesia. Last time I checked it is USA.
Has ‘she’ become a better candidate now as compared to 2004. I suspect Billary did not have the courage to take on George Bush in 2004 – wanted an easy way out in 2008. I for one am rubbing my hands in glee. A good fight is far more interesting than a one sided ‘whitewash’.
If you spend some time in Hawaii, you’ll see why. They refer to the rest of the US as the mainland, and it’s far more multicultural than the mainland is. Lastly, you’re very aware that the territory was annexed, and that there was a Hawaiian royal family (because they endowed a trust which is important in local politics).
Hawaii is different
I attended the SAFO (South Asians for Obama) event tonight in Manhattan. Preeta Bansal was there representing Obama. One guy asked what Obama’s reasons were for voting to reauthorize the Patriot Act, and she said that she didn’t know the specifics of why he did that. Does anyone know? I can’t think of another piece of legislation that has affected the desi community as much as the Patriot Act. I just wonder what worthwhile components the legislation had such that he would support it. Anyone know?
Thanks. my knowledge of Hawaii is limited to the info from James Michener.
Many of us forget when we consider Billary is that it is not just the illiberal garbage of his first term (Dick Morris, welfare reform, “Three Strikes, You Are In”,”Don’t ask, Don’t Tell”, execution of a mentally challenged man, Marc Rich and of course Paula, Gennifer and Monica) that will be rehashed. After all, this trash has been vetted, buried and is now resurfacing like scary repressed memory.
What we may have to worry about more is Billy Boy’s “quiet” post-presidential years. Does anyone know what he has been up to? (Surely the Republican oppo research will find out.) The newspapers are already digging. Bruce Lindsay is guarding his papers like a bull dog. Frank Rich warns exactly about that lacuna in Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. Then today I read about Bill Clinton’s trip with a mining tycoon to Kazakhstan. The tycoon got an exclusive uranium mining deal and is now a huge donor to Clinton’s causes.
And I bet it won’t be just about money and donations either – a late bimbo eruption is entirely possible. If Democrats want a fighting chance at winning back the White House, Obama is a safer bet.
I have never understood why this is such a big deal. The women that he sleeps with know that he is married and that does not seem to bother them. In fact I wonder if Bill goes looking coz his madam is not good enough. It is a very rare case when a man can wear out a woman – mostly it is the other way around. Is this an exception – any opinions.
65 Ã‚Â· BrooklynBrown said
BB, I was at the event as well, and the question was valid and slightly disturbing. I’ve been digging around, can’t find a press release or statement around PII reauthorization. If you have any further insights please share here. If you are planning on being on the Saturday conf call hosted by Penn, let’s ask the question again.
It is not a big deal as long as he is a private citizen. It will be a big deal if he’s back in the White House. The US has a lot of work to do at home and abroad. We don’t want new Clinton scandals to distract from the nation’s business. And believe you me, Bill Clinton is going to be a distraction – for his wife and for the nation.
And also what Ennis @ #70 said.
I’m wondering, where does Obama get all his money from? He has tons of it but nobody seems to question his sources whereas Hillary is always cast as the consummate wheeler-dealer. Is he really above all of that? I don’t mean to ask about that one odd slumlord, but just in general, since I know nothing about this.
I really feel sorry for Bill and have done so for several years. There is no penalty for Bill to sleep with other women because it is /was done with Hillary’s knowledge. She is not naive. I d prefer Obama to Hillary but the entertainment value of Bill in the White House is priceless.
I think the Clinton reputation has to do with money for things beyond just the campaign (ie: the whole Kazakhstan Canadian-Businessman kickback scheme to the Clinton Foundation reported in the NYT yesterday); but in a campaign sense they’ve got a pre-existing network hence the reputation. Obama, as you’d imagine, had to build it up from a relatively small base a year or two ago. He’s courting rich donors as well, but the $2300 ceiling includes plenty of non-super-rich people as well.
As for the recent surge, it’s a lot of grassroots support: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/01/us/politics/01donate.html. The money he raised in January, $32 million, was from 170,000 new donors in addition to that from previous donors who hadn’t hit the $2300 limit. I remember in the summer at some point Obama had raised about the same money from Clinton except from twice the number of people. The brilliant thing is, he could (and has) keep going back to all the grassroots donations (that are relatively small). His campaign has done a great job online to build this grassroots support up; hell I know poor grad students who’ve donate thrice already to the campaign!
From the article I linked to above:
I think it is a “cultural” difference. Indians don’t delve much into their leaders’ personal lives. Vajpayee (though a bachelor) was living with his girlfriend from college and her husband all his life. Karunanidhi, the atheist CM of Tamilnadu has had thee wives (legally) and would give a discourse on how his “rationalis ideals” are beneficial for women’s liberation. Jayalalitha, an ex CM (I suspect) is a lesbian. She is living with her girlfriend. Narendra Modi is rumored to have ditched his “wife”.
I guess it’s a big deal in US. Leaders should have an “ideal family”. Any other self respecting and smart woman (like Hillary) would have left Bill Clinton if not for the image of maintaining a “family”.
Kush, Bruce Springsteen is too old of us 🙂 (although, give me Bruce circa 1972 — rawr!)
ANNA, I feel you on the names, sister. As another desi woman with a “white” name, nearly every conversation I had in college was about a) what my “real” name was, and b) if my parents were assimilationist [coincidentally, my sibs have super traditional Punju Sikh names]
The Clintons make me uncomfortable, and I keep wondering what role Bill will play if they’re elected. He’s been the big bully on the playground these past few weeks, and I’m glad people have told him to calm down. I never actively disliked the Billary campaign (except for some irritation around the “35 years of experience” lie) until New Hampshire, when I started to seriously question their honesty vis-a-vis campaign ethics. I know electoral politics is dirty, but it’s that same opportunism and voter suppression/misinformation that turns people off to participating in the first place. And let’s be real — she galvanizes the opposition base. At any rate, I’ll stop now. At the end of the day, I don’t feel terrible about my options for the primary, which is a marked change from how I’ve felt during my entire voting career.
Oh, also, Obama uses elements of grassroots organizing in his campaign structure — often his donations are (many) small donations. He’s used online interfacing relatively well.
Bloggers here have pegged Bobby Jindal wrong… he loves being called a coconut, sell-out to browns and brown-averse politician. He can cultivate a larger “American” base by pointing out how much the South Asian consider him a traitor. Classic triangulation — Jindal would lose popularity if SA groups endorsed him strongly.
Billary is an experienced team that has contacts, know-how and toughness for White House politics. I worry this rough campaign has alienated people even more so. We shouldn’t base our opinions on the deranged 15% of the population that despises Billary as trailer-park trash. Billary are top-notch policy wonks who pay attention to details.
Classic triangulation — Jindal would lose popularity if SA groups endorsed him strongly.
which is why minority groups played it smart, and didn’t say anything strongly about obama until Iowa.
Brooklyn Brown (#65) and HarlemSun (#69), Obama’s statement on the Patriot Act reauthorization is here. Some blog reaction to Clinton’s criticisms of his vote here and here. Note that Clinton and everyone else in the Senate except for Feingold voted for reauthorization, and that Clinton voted for the original, worse version of the Patriot Act.
As Obama’s floor statement indicates, the problem really is that as a single Senator, particularly in the minority (which the Dems were in Feb. 2006), you only get to ote yes or no on the entire bill. The Patriot Act reauthorization bill, like many bills, had some good parts that law enforcement actually needs to combat terrorism, as well as other stuff that goes too far or does not provide proper procedural safeguards. Obama joined a flibuster of an earlier, more extreme version, and supported a different version of the bill that addressed the problem in the Patriot Act. However, he and the other Dems were in the minority, and they could not get enough votes for the good version, and ended up voting for the bill with some good and some bad — with some reservations, as Obama’s statement makes clear. This is why people often say it is hard to run as a Senator — opponents can easily attack one’s record by saying that a candidate voted for some bad thing, when in fct the bill he or she voted for might contain one bad thing and 100 good things. And while some bills — like the Iraq war vote — are pretty simple yes or nos, many bills are not and Senators in the minority have limited ability to change the law.
Thanks for attending the SAFO event last night, and I hope you are able to volunteer this weekend — either in NY or come join us in Jersey (see my comment in #34).
OK, I admit, I don’t follow politics much…so what exactly has Bill Clinton said/done during the campaign these past few weeks that has everyone so riled up? Was it just anti-Obama statements?
Amitabh, he attacked Obama in ways that really misrepresented the dynamic of the campaign (e.g., since when has Hillary been the underdog? Last I checked, until she lost Iowa she was up by double-digits in nearly every state). He also made a lot of really condescending comments that conjured race-baiting, e.g., likening Obama’s win of South Carolina to Jesse Jackson’s win (i.e., saying he won because he was black and that it doesn’t make him a viable candidate). He’s just shown a harsher, more negative side of himself, and it’s turned off a lot of folks. It’s literally like watching the schoolyard bully cry because the kindergartener got to have a ride on the swings first.
A less weighty comment for sure, but does anyone else enjoy/get a little chill from the parallels between Neera Tanden and Battlestar Galactica’s Tory Foster, fantastically played by Rekha Sharma? Both aides to female presidents/candidates, both very clear-eyed about the ugliness that is so often necessary in a political machine, and both with strong ideas about what kinds of things “need to be done” to win elections…not that Neera would engineer an election fix like Tory did…..OR WOULD SHE? 🙂 If she really believed the opponent was pure evil? Would we want her to? 😉
Thanks for the follow-up. I still completely disagree with his vote, but it helps to know that he’s aware of the issues involved.
Let’s not forget politics has always been blood sport. If Obama is rattled so easily, how will he deal with the roughnecks of the world? The Clintons are experienced warriors. A less than 1-term senator with little economic, military, diplomatic or security background isn’t ready to lead the free world. Let him get a little more seasoned.
If Obama is rattled so easily,
How was he rattled? he answered people’s questions when asked about his opinion of Clinton’s statement.
Jackson’s win is absolutely comparable to Obama’s… look at the breakdown of his support.
Never mind the fact that in 88 it was a caucus, not a primary, and by that time the nominee had already been chosen.
When Jackson won in SC, both times the nominee had been chosen and the major candidates didn’t bother to even compete in SC. This time round not just Hillary but Bill were in SC. Big difference between the Jackson and Obama victories.
Are you forgetting that he won in Iowa too?
Doesn’t even approximate accuracy or a fact-based comparison. To make this claim you have to completely ignore EVERYTHING about the election, including the demographics, the style of vote (caucus vs. ballot), the previous state primaries, the list continues. Politics is a dirty sport, whine whine, how dare people take issue with the ex-President using his influence to lie about another (Democratic) candidate who, gasp, had the gall to run against his wife? Clearly this is proof that no one should stand in front of the Clinton dynasty.
I’m going to stop commenting now because I’m not adding anything useful, but I’ll say this: I used to like the Clintons, or at least feel neutral towards them, and I can’t say the same after their spoiled behavior this past month.
?! Are you referring to Sasikala? Wasn’t Jayalalitha associated with MGR and with Shobhan Babu? Must not be a fussy lesbian then.
On second thoughts, it makes good sense to not ponder about the personal lives of Indian politicians. Thinking of MK and JJ’s personal frolics for any length of time is quite an effective form of natural birth control.
There’s some interesting controversy associated with that comment:
United States Senator Barack Obama told rediff.com in an exclusive interview that the controversial document his campaign circulated last week, attacking his Democratic rival Senator Hillary Clinton’s Indian links, “was not a memo that reflected my views or my attitudes, and didn’t reflect my long-standing friendship with the Indian-American community.”
The document attacked Clinton’s record on outsourcing, on protecting American jobs, in addition to the Indian-American fund-raisers of her campaign. It dubbed her the ‘Democrat from Punjab.’
As the Senator and his campaign came under attack from the Indian-American community, Obama acknowledged that “the concerns are entirely justified.”
He told rediff.com “I was furious when I heard about it,” and noted that “we are taking corrective action to make sure that people understand how this could be potentially hurtful.”
full article: http://www.rediff.com/news/2007/jun/19aziz.htm
Umang – follow the link through. The comment originally came from Hillary, long before its use by Obama’s staff. The article shows you the context in which it was made by Hillary Clinton herself. There is no debate about the fact that she described herself that way at a fundraiser where she was collecting money from punjabi donors.
When 50%+ of the electorate is Black and 80%+ of Blacks (men & women) support you in South Carolina, it puts you at 40%+ of the votes cast. Obama got another 15% or so of the total vote. It is not an error to attribute it to strong Black support. These numbers are similar to what Jesse Jackson received. There’s nothing wrong with his getting Black support, and hopefully he will widen his support base as Iowa.
I like Barack, but he’s too much of a neophyte for my taste.
He got 25% of the white vote, around the same on all white men as HC, but he lagged on white women.
Billary had better be careful in disillusioning too many voters. The Republicans will unite like flies on dung when Billary is the opposition.
95 Â· Ennis said
To add to this, that’s 25% of the white vote in a 3-way race, which isn’t too bad. (No one says that Hillary only got 29% of the white vote in Iowa, for example.) He also got over 50% of the white vote among voters under 30.
Seriously, this “he only wins the black vote” meme has to stop — it is both wrong and offensive. Obama won Iowa by 8 points over Edwards, 9 over Hillary, and narrowly lost New Hampshire by 2-3 points. These are two of the whitest states in the nation. He got 45% of the vote in Nevada, which doesn’t have much of a black population either. And it isn’t like someone’s vote counts for less because of their race.
Moreover he won the rural vote in Nevada — which is more white (he also got more delegates than Clinton from Nevada..)
It’s a nice Clinton talking point to pigeonhole him this way, but doesn’t really accord with reality.
Well put VV. However, the Democratic decision should be made on who we like, not what we fear from the Republicans.
The media coverage of New Hampshire was disgusting. The media wolves were salivating at the possibility of HC’s demise. Cocky Obama declared the nomination was his if he won. Good for Hillary for spanking him there. She’s who I would want in a foxhole: smart, crafty, tough, resourceful and Qualified!
Thanks for the response Jackal. I’m embarrassed you found the information right on the front page of today’s Times. I actually believe Obama is electable vs. the Republicans and also that he will be able to withstand a Bloomberg or a Nader intrusion better than Hillary would. I also believe he is genuinely a good guy. But I just rememberd something else that was nagging me about him. Obama is supposedly even more of a liberal than Hillary. Now that’s a dirty word in my book and if this is true I would prefer to go with the tried and tested Hillary. While watching the debate last night, I couldn’t really tell how his positions were in any way different from Hillary’s, but the reputation seems to be there nonetheless.