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Samvaad: A Conversation


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Wednesday, November 03, 2004

 

America turns RIGHT

Less than an hour ago Senator Kerry conceded the election to President Bush. As time goes by we'll have more data to analyze the results but somethings are getting clear. Not only did the President carry the southern states he carried them with record turnouts thereby winning the popular vote. And even more importantly the Republicans have strengthened their grip on the Senate and House. They sent Senator Tom Daschle, the Democratic leader in the Senate, packing home. Most of the new winners on the Republican side are distinctly from the right-wing of the party.

Exit polls indicate that in the end "values" was the most dominating issue. We all felt that it would an issue but I doubt anyone other than the Bush campaign really believed that it would be THE issue. A new brand of cultural conservatism is on the rise. One which has now been shown as politically beneficial.

We'll have a lot more analysis on the site and events to grasp the emerging realities. Today is a day of celebration for neo-conservatives and a day of relfection for the progressives in this country.

Peace.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

 

A Day to Celebrate

Almost all nations cherish their independence days as the most important days of their national life. I somehow feel that election day is equally important for two reasons. One, it most tangibly puts democracy in action and no matter how acrimonious campaigns may be if the elections are held fairly then every citizen has a voice. Second, I feel it's a day to pay homage all those people who laid down their lives for us to have the right to self-determination. And not just the ones in our countries but as history has shown that democratic movements derive strength from endeavors way beyond their own national frontiers. Today I feel a sense of deep gratitude towards all those great souls.

Congratulations to the people of the United States and may their democratic experiment get even better and inspire others across the world.

Do vote!

Peace.


Monday, November 01, 2004

 

The final hours...

A long political journey culminates tonight for American democracy. Tomorrow it will exercise its most cherished right. The national polls are as indecisive as are the voters split. There is no statistical measure that could help us predict the outcome. It all depends on who shows up at the polls tomorrow.

Moving beyond the statistical excitement and the electoral college permutations (which I've addressed in the last posting) there is a significant ideological fight at hand. George W.Bush is an icon for the neo-conservative movement. There's not even a close second to him. This derivative of conservatism that most notably championed the doctrine of pre-emptive war is really fighting for survival. Four years without power and more importantly a leader this ideology could face extinction. George W.Bush is their last hope since he embodies some of the old conservative principles that are electorally critical. If you look at the second string of Republican leaders there just aren't many of them that can appeal to the base across its ideological and intellectual spectrum.

A victory tomorrow will validate the neo-conservatives and show to emerging conservative leaders that their ideas can fetch votes too. George W. Bush did NOT run as one in 2000 so that that makes this election the first neo-conservative election. They were surely emboldened by their 2002 Congressional success.

There is no coherent competing ideology to neo-conservative thought today on the American political landscape. There are supporters of it and then there are critics of it. That's why it's no surprise that this election is more about George W. Bush more than it's about John Kerry.

A win for Bush, however, does NOT guarantee a more right-ward turn for the United States. That will hugely depend on the Senate races. The ultra-thin majority of the Republicans can conceivably evaporate. A Democratic Senate will alter the agenda for a Bush second-term, if that happens. So, I'd say keep a very close eye on the control of the US Senate.

Election results from Uruguay just came in this morning declaring another win for a left-wing Presidential candidate. South America is going left-of-center. International developments like these will temper the right-wing turn the Bush administration may want to take if they win.

A John Kerry win will create a more of a attitude change compared to an ideological one. The lack of ideological baggage may lend it more flexibility in dealing with issues. It may encourage a Kerry administration to look at things without the color of pre-conceived notions. A second-term may find a Bush administration more liberated from its right-wing base and electoral politics. Many questions remain and the answers to which will only be known in due course.

But no matter where you stand on the issues do cast your vote!

Peace.
Rohit.

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