Obama as President: We’ve seen it all
by R. Vaidyanathan on 21 Nov 2008 12 Comments

The election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States was made into a big news event in this country, as though he was elected Prime minister of India. Every newspaper and television channel went berserk; some called it a revolution, some a renaissance, some even suggested we should introspect and learn from his victory. The last expert did not specify the nature of the lessons we need to learn.

Unfortunately, not a single newspaper pointed out that Americans are imitating or copying the Indian system. We had our MGR and Reagan followed suit. He was as inarticulate as MGR, but he carried the day with the idea of attacking the elites and liberals and stressing the good old Republican values of small government etc.

Now Obama is praised to the hilt for all the wrong reasons. He is similar to our own M. Karunanidhi (or Mu Ka), the current Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. Both are excellent orators and can speak for hours without communicating anything of substance. Obama has written books. It is really the audacity of hope that the writer can write hundreds of pages, when after going through it agonizingly, the reader is left with a feeling of vacuity.

Mu Ka had a patron or mentor called EVR, who used to abuse the notion of India and Hindu gods etc. At an appropriate moment, Mu Ka and his associates like Annadurai distanced themselves from their mentor, but never disowned him. Obama was associated with his pastor Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. for over twenty years; the latter also hatred the America known to its founders. Obama had to distance from him and denounce him as “inflammatory and appalling” to be accepted by Middle America. 

Obama also had to give another long vacuous speech about American ideals, religion and its role in temporal affairs. It was as vague as vague can be. He then participated in a pseudo- debate [since he and Mc Cain appeared one after another] with McCain, moderated by an Evangelical priest Rick Warren, where Obama explained he was very much a believer etc.

Imagine Mu Ka and JJ [J. Jayalalithaa] being moderated by say, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, to explain their positions. Our Mu Ka never had to denounce his mentor. Actually, if we go one step further, our own Mayawati and her mentor encouraged their followers to hit with chappals (slippers) the Tilak, Tarazu and Talwar [code words for Brahmins, Vaishyas and Kshatriyas], but will never ever need to repudiate or offer apologies for these views. She just became Chief Minister of the largest State and is a possible contender for Prime Minister.

The point we want to stress is that the Indian democracy is more vibrant, robust and revolutionary compared to that of the United States, as here the so-called underdogs take power on their own terms. In America, Obama has to present a face of reconciliation and even has to withdraw his comments on Middle America clinging to ‘guns and God.’

Obama talks of revolution and change. By that he means his election as President. Same thing in the case of Mu Ka - for him all great change has come to the Tamil “race” after he acquired power.
But what does Obama stand for? This intriguing issue has not been addressed by American experts since nobody wants to be accused of being racist in that God-saved country.

He claimed he would not take private funds and would use State funds for elections. But he was awash with funds from Main Street, Wall Street and all streets. His ability to deal with the evolving recession in USA is highly suspect. He might reduce tech visas and cut on the outsourcing, and big business in the US may not appreciate that. He will create lots of ill will within a year or so because he does not have it in him to take any decisive steps. His record as Senator is pathetic to say the least, and he has not authored any major Bill, leave alone modified any other Bill. He is just a snake oil salesman but Black in colour. If he were white, he would not have become even a State Senator.

He was projected as a Black President, but he is not a descendant of slave labour and is what Americans call a “mullato” – born of a White mother and Kenyan Black father. That is why Jesse Jackson called him “not Black enough”. Actually he is a usurper, and a smooth-talking one at that.

A large part of his early life is as mysterious as that of Jesus Christ. He mentions he was in Pakistan in the eighties and even in Hyderabad, India, due to his Pakistani friends. Nobody has questioned him about the nature of those friends or what exactly he was doing in the emerging Terrorist State of Pakistan. Was he fascinated with Taliban? Thousands of British and US Muslims came to Pakistan then essentially to “purify” their faith.

It is understandable that Americans have their guilt and expiation issues. Like confessions before a priest in church, they all stood before the polling booth and wept for CHANGE. But why should we in India be subservient and pay obeisance to him? He is enthusiastic without understanding the nuances of global politics, including that of India. He has announced a group to tackle the Kashmir problem - whatever that means - with Bill Clinton as chief.

India recalls with anger the role Robin Raphael, a second grade bureaucrat, played during the Presidency of Bill Clinton in encouraging the formation of the Hurriyat Conference, the umbrella organization of moderate terrorists and terrorized moderates. Her only claim to fame was that she had studied with Clinton. Obama’s interest in this part of the world can be egged on by many a lumpen liberal inside and outside India, who think India is a market or a use-and-throw entity.

His other misadventure is going to be the CTBT. There are plenty of nuclear Ayatollahs roaming in Washington, and these loony liberals will attempt to push India into it.

Actually, whenever Democrats take power, India is treated like dirt. That some middle class Indians want to be treated like dirt is a different issue. Now it is not only the White Man’s Burden, but also that of a semi-Black Man.

India should be careful and alert as the Mu Ka’s of the world are going to dictate to us. But we know how to handle them as they can only deliver speeches and clench their teeth. India should not be awed by Obama and should tell him where to get off.

The author is Professor of Finance, Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore; the views expressed are his own. He can be contacted at

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