The Presidential Questions

Like the movies Back to the Future, Lord of the Rings, and Scream, I too have returned for Part III – my third stint as a Mutineer. And like every good trilogy, I have a plot line that resuscitated me from the dark basement of the North Dakota bunkers – the exciting 2008 Presidential Elections.

Here in Southern California, the Asian and Pacific Islander community is all abuzz with the upcoming Presidential Townhall Forum to be held at the University of California, Irvine this Saturday May 17th at 4pm. In the works for the past few months, the Townhall will bring the candidates together and hold them accountable to OUR community in a historic first time ever event. At least 4,000 members of the APIA community are expected to come out, and it will be a great opportunity to have OUR issues finally highlighted in this important election.

The million dollar question – are the candidates really coming? Angry Asian Man says…

I’ve heard a pretty reliable rumor that the Clinton campaign has confirmed their participation for the event, but the organizers have yet to hear from the Obama and McCain campaigns. Dude, they better be there. Barack, where you at? And McCain, if you are indeed interested in courting the Asian vote, it might be a good idea to show up… this is Orange County, after all.[angryasianman]

McCain should pay attention — in Orange County, 47% of all Asian American voters are Republican. And why should Democratic candidates care? 46% of South Asian voters in Orange County are registered Democratic — the only APIA group in Orange County to have more registered Democrats then Republicans.

With the Clinton camp basically just confirmed, and McCain and Obama still in the air with confirming for this event, I am struck with the sad thought – does our community (whether the under the umbrella of the ‘APIA’ label or the sub-heading of ‘South Asian’), really not matter to the candidates to come out to listen to APIA issues in a townhall setting? Is this election really simply about the “hard working white Americans”, black and white racial politics, and the “si se puedes” of Latino union workers? Where is our Macaca Moment in this election cycle?

As we move forward in this election, I hope that we can force the media to have an APIA angle to this racially charged election. And hopefully, this Saturday can play a big part in it. I will be there front and center, hopefully, live blogging the Presidential Townhall Forum to let The Mutiny know just what is going on. And maybe I can sneak my way into even asking the candidates a question or two.

My question for you is this: If you could ask the presidential candidates, whether McCain, Obama, or Clinton, any question in a townhall setting, what would it be? Mainstream issues such as universal healthcare, downward economy, or rising cost in education? Or desi-related with outsourcing jobs, health disparities and ‘the rice crisis’? You ask the questions in the comments, and I’ll do what I can to make sure the questions get to the candidates on Saturday.

And if you are in Southern California and want to go, it’s not too late! FREE tickets are still available to the Townhall event. If you are not in Southern California, no worries – there will be a live stream of the event available online the day of the event also accessible here. And of course, I’ll be blogging for you as well!

On a personal note, I just want to say that I’m excited to be back in the North Dakota bunkers to be writing for you! Whoohoo! Election 2008, here we go…

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About Taz

Taz is an activist, organizer and writer based in California. She is the founder of South Asian American Voting Youth (SAAVY), curates MutinousMindState.tumblr.com and blogs at TazzyStar.blogspot.com. Follow her at twitter.com/tazzystar

40 thoughts on “The Presidential Questions

  1. Taz:

    Please grill Obama about outsourcing, and make sure you address him as “Sweetie.”

  2. Is this a joke? California is a one party state. Nobody has to go there. When you guys figure out how to become a swing state then you’ll see some candidates.

  3. Yeah, I got an email about this and was like whatever. No presidential candidate will care about CA until it’s at least somewhat possible that it could be a swing state. According to the email I received, Obama is going to speak at the event, by VIDEO FEED FROM OREGON. The other candidates are sending “high” level representatives, whatever that means. So basically it will be some campaign staffer, saying how much _______ (insert candidate) loves APA’s. A big whatever.

  4. The million dollar question – are the candidates really coming?

    Were they faking their coming before?

  5. I am struck with the sad thought – does our community (whether the under the umbrella of the ‘APIA’ label or the sub-heading of ‘South Asian’), really not matter to the candidates to come out to listen to APIA issues in a townhall setting?

    Since South Asians make up less then 1% of the total population they don’t matter as much in the States. Now in Canada and England it’s a different story.

  6. Since South Asians make up less then 1% of the total population they don’t matter as much in the States. Now in Canada and England it’s a different story.

    Yes, but they do represent a disproportionate share of the fundraising options for these candidates (see SM’s earlier posts about Hillary’s Indian “bundlers”). Hence, one could argue that the candidates should be paying attention to them after all.

  7. Yes, but they do represent a disproportionate share of the fundraising options for these candidates (see SM’s earlier posts about Hillary’s Indian “bundlers”). Hence, one could argue that the candidates should be paying attention to them after all.

    when brownz give as much as jews to the democratic party, perhaps. but until then, not likely. as it is, there are about 3 times as many jews, and many live in the swing state of florida. the argument is not false, but it too weak now to justify candidates showing up on the OC (as noted above, california is in the dem column).

  8. Welcome Taz, I see that the second majority (Hispanics) are going for McCain, so I think taking granted for Obama is not a good idea.

    Reemas, PrivateMarriage.com

  9. What % of the south asian community are American citizens. I can recall seeing a story somewhere that 71% of all south asian americans were born outside of the country.

  10. Is this a joke? California is a one party state. Nobody has to go there. When you guys figure out how to become a swing state then you’ll see some candidates.

    This year it is a swing state if Obama is the nominee. Obama’s great but the overtly racial voting by African Americans has turned many sane White and Hispanic democrats off. McCain justifiaby is a Republican with a very high appeal to Hispanics. No matter what that ‘ flake and diva ‘ Huffington tells you, McCain hasn’t backed off his immigration reform agenda.

    A lot of Hillary’s supporters are also very upset about the unfair primary process to choose the democratic nominee. Obama has won mostly caucuses and Hillary has bested him in primaries where people actually get to vote in secret. The former process has in many instances turned into melees. And old people and white people both don’t do well in those situations.

  11. bing ding, obama has beaten mccain in the polls all year in cali. as has clinton. it’s a dem state; but with politics people can express any opinion they want without really corrected. who knows how people will vote in the fall? aliens could land and turn cali into a republican state. you never know….

  12. McCain wasn’t even registering in the GOP primary polls for almost half a year. Look where’s he now. California is in play this year and let’s talk about the polls with one month to go to the election.

  13. the overtly racial voting by African Americans has turned many sane White and Hispanic democrats off.

    The super-delegates must be insane then by your reckoning for they sure aren’t turned off at all. By “sane” you must mean senile, undereducated, sexist or racist, right? For its they who constitute Clinton’s core constituency. The young and the college educated are still voting for Obama along with african-americans.

    A lot of Hillary’s supporters are also very upset about the unfair primary process to choose the democratic nominee.

    She knew the rules of the primary process and signed off on them. If the process was unfair why didn’t her campaign object beforehand? Its only when she started losing that she began whining about Florida and Michigan and the caucuses. You can be sure she and her supporters wouldn’t be whining if they were winning under the rules everyone agreed on. What’s unfair is trying to change the rules in the middle of the process, when you are losing.

    The former process has in many instances turned into melees. And old people and white people both don’t do well in those situations.

    Bullcrap. Many if not most of the caucuses were held in overwhelmingly white states like Iowa, Idaho, North Dakota etc

  14. California is in play this year and let’s talk about the polls with one month to go to the election.

    States like California, New York, New Jersey etc will go Democrat in the general election regardless of who is the nominee. Here’s something else for you to chew on:

    http://www.411mania.com/politics/columns/75389/Clinton%5C%5Cs-Changes-Wouldn%5C%5Ct-Have-Won-Her-The-Race.htm

    ” Clinton did better in states like PA and OH because she played to the right and tried to pander to lower income, uneducated voters with things like her NAFTA position and the gax tax holiday. She also made statements like threatening to “obliterate” Iran to try and get many Republicans, knowing that they were following the Obama/Clinton race too and were already being told to vote for her by Rush Limbaugh, to come out and vote for her. She went to the right on guns, war, and liberalism in general as a final attempt to cast herself as something she wasn’t — a conservative warrior for blue collar America. How would this have gone over in California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, etc.? The proof is in a SurveyUSA poll done last week that showed that had California voted today, Obama would have won by six points. Another poll done last week also showed that Obama would have won New Jersey if that state voted today.

    The message she ran on in OH and PA would have lost her states like California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, etc. You can’t just change your entire message depending on what state you’re in. You can make minor changes here and there, but you have to stick to a central theme.”

  15. The former process has in many instances turned into melees. And old people and white people both don’t do well in those situations.

    caucus states: iowa nevada alaska colorado idaho kansas minnesoa north dakota nebraska washington maine D.C. hawaii wyoming

    who lives in some of these besides white people???

    like i said, when talking about politics no one needs to know nothing. just fart your opinions out and they’ll be engaged.

  16. i recall cali being somewhat in play in ’04, with the bush campaign predicting a victory. of course, its Reagan’s state, the terminator is governor, and mccan may go after the Hispanic vote, perhaps with a Hispanic VP.

    could be interesting.

  17. Yes, but they do represent a disproportionate share of the fundraising options for these candidates (see SM’s earlier posts about Hillary’s Indian “bundlers”). Hence, one could argue that the candidates should be paying attention to them after all.

    As for CA being a swing state or not – what matters this stage of the game is money. Orange County is in a Democratic state, but is a wealthy Republican county with much fundraising potential. In fact, Clinton is down in Newport tonight raising money, and McCain is scheduled to be fundraising later this week.

    As for “high” level representatives, I think that may be code for former Prez Mr. Clinton, which most APIA folks I talk to would be completely happy about.

  18. Happy to see you back here, Taz. I would like to ask McCain when he is ranked last (535th) by the League of Conservation Voters then why should he be taken seriously in his claims to work on climate change in a future administration.

  19. Regarding Presidential candidates and the south asian connection, was just reading an article over at the Huff post about Obama’s friends in college

    “Obama had an international circle of friends _ “a real eclectic sort of group,” says Vinai Thummalapally, who himself came from Hyderabad, India.”

    and this…”

    The friends got together often to watch basketball games _ they were Lakers fans _ and eat the southern Indian food that Thummalapally cooked with his cousin.”

    How many candidates can we say hung with south asians socially and chowed down on some down home south indian cooking.

  20. I hope you lucky bastards get to see McCain do it live! After all, if we are to be confident about the person with their finger on the nuclear button, we need to know that our president can be firm with reporters, not some ninny who offers to talk unconditionally with them.

    I have just one question for McCain: “Do you know the difference between Shia and Sunni Muslims? If so, can you explain why you repeatedly made these statements about the most important foreign policy issue facing America in the near future?”

  21. McCain should pay attention — in Orange County, 47% of all Asian American voters are Republican.

    This is a sad statistic.

  22. like i said, when talking about politics no one needs to know nothing. just fart your opinions out and they’ll be engaged.

    At least I am farting an opinion. You just regurgitate data day in and day out. Your cachet of course is that of a born Muslim who is an atheist and doesn’t miss an opportunity to beat down on Islamists. It’s a good time for a Ali Hirsi lite on the blogosphere. Ain’t it?

    I personally like Obama very much. And I am capable of nuance unlike the Hannity and Limbaugh wing of the republican base. But didn’t Obama win many of those white states before the reverend Wright videos surfaced? Even Obama says it’s a legitimate issue. That’s the kind of forthrightness I like about Obama. But it is hard to believe he didn’t know of Wright’s views in all those twenty years. His church attendance though certainly helped his political career in Chicago/Illinois. Could Obama be a smooth talking opportunist?

    I didn’t mention the Florida and Michigan primaries. Yes, Clinton is wrong to bring those up. All I am saying is if polls were indeed primaries with secret voting Hillary might have had more than just a shot at some of the states she lost. A lot of caucus venues were commandeered by Daily Kos like left wing extremists who are intolerant of Clintons. The insult and name calling that Clinton supporters have had to endure on blogs and on campaign buses from left wingers and many black people has also been quite unsettling. But the worst canard has been that Hillary and Bill have made statements demeaning blacks. To say that nine out of ten blacks are all voting for Obama because of his noble ideas is ludicrous. And I don’t know what to make of the fact that they are voting against a couple who probably did the most for black people when in White House.

    By “sane” you must mean senile, undereducated, sexist or racist, right?

    I bet you couldn’t get away with that if you were saying that about black people.

  23. The young and the college educated are still voting for Obama along with african-americans.

    In this election (and at least for the next five elections till the boomers are too old to vote), it’s the elderly vote that matters to the winning candidate.

    M. Nam

  24. For Obama, I’d like to ask him, “Why talk to your enemies (such as Iran)? Isn’t isolating them (also economically) the best possible mechanism for a regime change in Iran (where majority the population is 30 years or older & is pro-American)?

    And I’d also like to ask Obama, “Don’t you believe some of the radical things Rev. Wright has stated?” You’ve stayed in the church for 20 years, but you claim you didn’t know any of the heinous things your pastor has stated. Isn’t that a poor lack of judgement for a person wanting to become president of the U.S.?

  25. Why talk to your enemies (such as Iran)? Isn’t isolating them (also economically) the best possible mechanism for a regime change in Iran

    That worked pretty well in Iraq didn’t it.

    Isn’t that a poor lack of judgement for a person wanting to become president of the U.S.?

    No, it’s not. Because it’s a right step in actually looking at the way the US has carried itself, and a huge deviation from the rah rah america, f*ck yeah! nonsense you’ll get from a mccain admin. THe macho bullshit approach was tried for 8 years.

  26. 33 · HMF said

    Why talk to your enemies (such as Iran)? Isn’t isolating them (also economically) the best possible mechanism for a regime change in Iran That worked pretty well in Iraq didn’t it. Isn’t that a poor lack of judgement for a person wanting to become president of the U.S.? No, it’s not. Because it’s a right step in actually looking at the way the US has carried itself, and a huge deviation from the rah rah america, f*ck yeah! nonsense you’ll get from a mccain admin. THe macho bullshit approach was tried for 8 years.

    Iran has the second most oil in the world next to Saudi Arabi. However, they’ll be forced to cut of their oil exports in half in 2011 due to the lack of foreign investment and technology (due to their inward oriented economic policy). In 2014, they’ll virtually have no oil exports. Their economy is on the verge of bankruptcy. Plus, look at the times Western powers have spoken to their enemies (it emboldened them). Chamberlain spoke with Hitler in 1938, and Hitler agreed that he wouldn’t invade a European country. This appeasement doctrine made England look weak in the eyes of Germany. In ’39, HItler invaded Poland, and WWII started. In the 1940′s there was Yalta, and Truman spoke with Stalin. They agreed that they wouldn’t invade countries. The Soviets found the Americans as weaklings. They took over Czecholsovakia, Turkey, and Greece. That’s why Truman implemented the Truman Doctrine after that. Talking doesn’t do jack; it strengthens the enemy. However, Reagan did talk with Gorbachev in the 80′s, but he was more accepting of American powers (if compared to their other Bolshevik leaders). My opinion, let Iran crumble on its own, and go back to the good days of the pro-American leaders like Shah (minus the human rights violations).

  27. Iran has the second most oil in the world next to Saudi Arabi.

    Wrong. Iraq does.

    My opinion, let Iran crumble on its own, and go back to the good days of the pro-American leaders like Shah

    That worked real well too, didn’t it.

    There’s a difference between appeasement, and saying “we are so high, we won’t even consider speaking with you” Secondly, None of these arab nations would ever dare invade other countries in a post-nuclear age. Germany was a strong nation with infrastructure behind it.

  28. Welcome back, Taz!

    Is this a joke? California is a one party state. Nobody has to go there. When you guys figure out how to become a swing state then you’ll see some candidates.

    Not true. California becomes a swing state when you either a) run a (seemingly) moderate Republican, or b) run a Republican from in-state. While CA is the first “majority minority” state in the U.S., the demographics of its voting population are not quite the same. Additionally, while better known for its Democratic core (Bay Area, central and west LA), there is a VERY strong and present Republican population. In short, it depends on who you run.

    Since South Asians make up less then 1% of the total population they don’t matter as much in the States. Now in Canada and England it’s a different story.

    That might be more accurate if you were thinking of the national level, but much different in California where there is a VERY large desi population (and, in a broader sense, a very large APIA population). Also, keep in mind that the % of desis born abroad only “waters down” the population effect if they are not moving towards citizenship.

    I think it’s misleading to think Latinos will break predominantly McCain. I think we’ll see a split in voting patterns, both by age and by party.

  29. 35 · HMF said

    Iran has the second most oil in the world next to Saudi Arabi. Wrong. Iraq does. My opinion, let Iran crumble on its own, and go back to the good days of the pro-American leaders like Shah That worked real well too, didn’t it. There’s a difference between appeasement, and saying “we are so high, we won’t even consider speaking with you” Secondly, None of these arab nations would ever dare invade other countries in a post-nuclear age. Germany was a strong nation with infrastructure behind it.

    Iran is a state sponsor of terror. Why should we dip that low, and talk to them? They’re a lot of radical Shiite & Sunni Muslims. What if they get hold of the nuclear weapons. Plus, the demographics of Iran has changed. Most of them are younger than 30, and are pro-American. Did detente work in the 70′s? Nope.
    He complains that people are losing their jobs to oversea companies. Yet he wants to increase the corporate tax rate (of 35%) to something even higher; that will end up sending more jobs overseas. Can you say naive & inexperienced?

  30. Iran is a state sponsor of terror. Why should we dip that low, and talk to them?

    It’s called perspective. from their point of view. the US is a state sponsor of terror, by pumping billions of dollars to Israel to maintain military control of all the resources in Palestine.

    What if they get hold of the nuclear weapons. Plus, the demographics of Iran has changed. Most of them are younger than 30, and are pro-American.

    And you know this how?

    . Can you say naive & inexperienced?

    I sure can.

  31. 38 · HMF said

    Iran is a state sponsor of terror. Why should we dip that low, and talk to them? It’s called perspective. from their point of view. the US is a state sponsor of terror, by pumping billions of dollars to Israel to maintain military control of all the resources in Palestine. What if they get hold of the nuclear weapons. Plus, the demographics of Iran has changed. Most of them are younger than 30, and are pro-American. And you know this how? . Can you say naive & inexperienced? I sure can.

    The market forces are supposed to take of itself. But the shocks in the market require fed intervention. That’s why the Fed was created. Government intervention is the reason why we’re in this mess. If the government didn’t force banks to give loans to individuals who put down 0%, the fed interest rates wouldn’t be low (gas wouldn’t be expensive, food wouldn’t be expensive, etc). Democrats shaft the little guy once again.
    You can say all you want about the Iraq war. However, the Palestinian terrorists are hurting their own people by engaging in these activities. And in addition, what will talking to Ahmedinijad (however you spell his name) accomplish? Khomeini and his disciple want to eliminate us…why would we talk with them? They shafted us in 79, and as a result, we ignore those bastards.

  32. 38 · HMF said

    What if they get hold of the nuclear weapons. Plus, the demographics of Iran has changed. Most of them are younger than 30, and are pro-American. And you know this how?

    Author David Frum’s book Conservatism that Can Win Again.

    Plus, we can’t forgive terrorists, and therefore, talk to them. Just want to add that.