Thursday, June 7, 2007

Betrayed By My Daughter

Rubina just laughed at the pain and anguish she caused me.

It began last July when she was home and about to go to Columbia University. I found that our US Senator from Connecticut (CT), Joe Lieberman was trailing 45% to 55% in the Democrat primary polls, behind a Ned Lamont whom I'd never even heard of.

Rubina and I both liked and respected Lieberman as did much of CT, and Rubina as a college undergrad had been in touch with him. He had national stature, been Al Gore's running mate as VP in the 2000 Presidential election, and was briefly Democrat Presidential candidate for 2004.

But he had supported the Iraq War and as a Democrat had often reached across the aisle and worked with Republicans and George Bush. So the liberal Democrats were out to get him.

Many Democrats had been wrong about the war so I didn't think Lieberman should be ousted for that reason. Plus, I had rather liked his ability to shed partisanship and work with Republicans on several issues. CT is a small state and for the first time I felt our vote mattered.

"Lieberman needs our help" I told Rubina, "so let's register to vote." She nodded and we went together to Danbury City Hall for the purpose. I switched from Independent to Democrat (the only way I could vote in the Democrat primaries) and Rubina registered as a Democrat. "At least two more votes for Lieberman" I thought with some satisfaction as we left.

You can guess what happened next. That night Rubina said she liked some things about Lamont and wasn't so enthusiastic about Lieberman. To my increasing mortification over the next few days she switched to Lamont despite my admonitions and arguments. Why don't children listen to their parents? We went to the Democrat primaries voting together on August 8 to neutralize each other's Lieberman - Lamont votes, with her laughing at my reproachful looks on our way in.

Lieberman lost those primaries 48%-52%, but won the general elections in November as an "Independent Democrat" with sizable Republican support. That time I helped Rubina process her postal ballot since she had gone to Columbia. Like digging my own grave I said in my email and she responded with "ha ha."

And now it is Hillary versus Obama. Rubina told me last week that two of her friends were Obama state campaign coordinators, one for Illinois and the other for Georgia. We argued semi-seriously after I looked heavenwards and said "what's wrong with them?" This time I'm not sure if Rubina's all for Obama or merely defending her friends.

I don't think Obama is that bad, but he is likely to force Hillary more to the left during the Primaries so that she is weakened for the general election. Much like that Howard Dean created trouble for Kerry & Co. in 2004. If Obama were to actually win, I'd probably prefer Giuliani though I've reservations about him.

But whether it's sour grapes or not I'm now beginning to think that Obama in the race is not that bad. That's because John Edwards is now firmly to the left, so Obama and Edwards may divide the anti-Hillary votes that can work to her advantage. She will still have to deal with all the anti-Hillary sentiments in the general elections, but enough people may change their perceptions in time to understand her and start liking the poor dear...


kenrod said...

I thought Lieberman had the best position in the last presidential race. If he was the Dem's candidate he would have beaten Bush. He is a centrist and still liked by his state. One personal thing that bothered me was in his will he would cut out any of his children who married outside the race. Isn't that a little cruel considering we live in a multi cultural nation? You wouldn't do that to Rubina, would you? But Lieberman has courage to stand up for his beliefs on the war even though he's a Dem.

I think Obama looks more presedential than Hillary. He speaks with a command of the language, never denigrades an opposing view point and has passion. I would never vote for his far left position but he does command respect.

John Edwards has lost it. To fight poverty in America is to trivialize the issue. We drink our supersized Slurpees in our giant SUV's, come home to our 4 bedroom houses and watch a movie on our plasma TV wolfing down supersized burgers, and he wants to fight poverty? The public is upto their ears in debt and just want jobs to pay for it. But we're not poor.

Sandip Madan said...

Kenrod, I haven't heard this thing about Lieberman's will before. I think Republicans love Obama because he can weaken Hillary and diminish her chances in the general election.

As for Edwards, he's not my preferred candidate either. But people can be rich and live that lifestyle and still work or have feelings for the poor. I don't like Edwards' baggage as a trial lawyer (he'll probably oppose tort reforms, for example) and his turn farther left seems cynical.

Still I find it silly when people or the media denigrate his $400 haircut. Even small things matter in these campaigns and Edwards' looks are certainly a political asset. If he can get the teensiest advantage by plunking $400 (a measly sum in the overall campaign scenario) for a haircut, why not go for it?

kenrod said...

Sandip, I'm glad your daughter is working for Obama. After all wasn't it Winston Churchill who said, "If you're young and not a liberal, you don't have a heart. By the time you're middle aged and still a liberal, you don't have a brain." But should middle aged Sandip have joined the Dems?

Nonetheless, I think the Dems are over confident. They almost feel they're entitled to 2008 because Bush's polls are so low. But yesterday I think Guiliani made a knockout blow by suggesting health plans should go individual. Every other candidate either has a Single Payor solution mimicking Canada, or, no plans at all. The Dems are only focused on Iraq which I feel will be Bush's burden and largely forgotton by '08. Guiliani's solution is using market forces, offers portability, and doesn't cost a whole lot except tax deductions. It works within the framework of insurance companies, PBM's, HMO's, PPO's etc. I think Guiliani's going to pull it off unless Bloomberg enters.

Sandip Madan said...

Kenrod, one has to be very old and senile to vote Republican. I'm not there quite yet, unless Obama wins the primaries. :-)

About Democrats being confident about 2008, far from it. Americans have shown in the last two elections how they can elect a really bad President. So (lack of) voter judgement and recent history is all on the side of the Republicans. :-)

Rubina said...

I don't really support any of the presidential candidates yet. I was just saying I can understand why people don't like Hillary. She is calculating, and Obama seems more genuine. If there's one thing he's got going for him, it's personality. I don't think either can win the general election though. Hillary is hated by too many people. And I still don't think many Americans will consider voting for a black man. Unfortunate, but true.

Sandip Madan said...

Well, Rubina, your prediction will make someone like Kenrod real happy. I like Hillary AND her personality so why can't other people be sane and have good judgement like me? :-)

Then, too, Hillary may be an acquired taste, like fine wine. Many people haven't liked her for almost fifteen years. But who knows - may be sixteen will be the magic number...

kenrod said...

I'm with Rubina's predictions. Though I think Hillary is more formidable than Obama. I predict Guiliani will be the next WH occupant on your blogsite.

But let me tell you my favorite presidents in the last century. They are Reagan and Johnson. (Maybe Sandip is old enough to remember FDR:)) Reagan for his conviction of beliefs and his ability to communicate them. And Johnson for his calculating character and using that to get bills passed. Johnson, from what I gather, passed an enormous amount of legendary bills,(Medicare, Civil Rights...) and fought the Cold War successfully. Most people think I'm crazy for liking Johnson because he was very unpopular in his days.

But the genuine presidents like Carter and Kennedy are not calculating enough to get us out of a crisis. Carter bungled the Iran hostage situation, and Kennedy got sunk in the Bay of Pigs. They don't know how to play poker with the enemy and stay one step ahead.

But don't underestimate Obama. Remember he's a "Chicago" politician. In English that means he's the best, like Shakespearian actor or New York writer.

So Sandip I might be senile but I've never left the Independent party. My two favorite presidents are from each party. We know you're not senile because of your scores in Delhi U. But an apologist for the Dems?:)) Tsk Tsk!

Sandip Madan said...

Kenrod, I would indeed not have predicted Lyndon Johnson as one of your favorite Presidents.

About Reagan too I'm a little mystified about why he's held in such high regard. The Soviets collapsed in (or just after) his watch through sheer luck. True, I was an outsider to the US looking in for most of his Presidency. I associate him with the start of the huge deficits that ultimately did his successor Bush Sr. in. Also I remember his senility and forgetfulness during the Iran-Contra hearings (though that fuss was overblown.)

Paul Krugman wrote an interesting peace Reagan nostalgia (though NYT non-subscribers may not get to see it:

Btw, I not firmly in Hillary's corner as of now. Yesterday Paul Krugman said in his column "By the way, one reason I want health care specifics from Mrs. Clinton is that she’s received large contributions from the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. Will that deter her from taking those industries on?"

I didn't know this. If she really falls short in her healthcare proposals I'll revise my opinion about her and may well switch. (And this is ironically when a continuing US healthcare mess likely furthers our medical tourism objectives.)

kenrod said...

Sandip, I am definitely in the minority when I say Johnson was a good president. People call him a war monger, guns-and-butter spender and blackmailer. But he was the ultimate politician because he could get tough bills through congress. In the 1967 war between Israel and Arabs he played excellent poker with the Russians. I would never have him as a personal friend because he would use any and everything against anyone. But that's how he got bills through.

Reagan's greatness came both from his ability to deliver a speech and his ability to play poker. I think he bankrupted the Soviets by telling them he had a "Star Wars" missile plan plus other "Manhattan projects". They tried to keep up and the defense spending broke them. The deficits came from Congressional spending gone amok. One thing I didn't like about him was he threw out the mentally disabled on the streets by cutting off funding.

Another great poker player was Eisenhower.

In Greek history parallel, you want a poker player like Themistocles. Hard charging, genuine leaders like Leonidas often get trapped by their own rhetoric.

I will give you my ideas of Hillary's healthplan on your medical blog.

kenrod said...

Okay Sandip, I have bared my soul and told you what I think are my favorite presidents. I know it is unconventional to pick a LBJ and most of my friends pick a JFK. It was mainly for his chiseled good looks and his Berlin speech. But he reminds me of Leonidis in the movie, "300". Brave and eloquent, but if he had his way Sparta would have been vanquished by the Persians. JFK and Clinton were only great "poke her" players. What are your leaders' qualifications be, and who are your favorites?

Sandip Madan said...

I haven't seen "300" but certainly want a President to have a good heart and character. Despite their one failing I'd give "poke her" players JFK and Bill C high marks in this dimension. Political savvy is good but nowhere enough to have me thinking well of LBJ.

Reagan's bankrupting the Communist regimes is just so much propaganda, in my view, and not supported by facts or figures. E.g., here's one refutation:

The Republican Prez I like best is Lincoln, and Eisnhower was fine from what I know about him.

kenrod said...

One of the marks of a good leader is to find idea that is unpopular yet morally or strategically right and bring everyone to his side. In politics you have to be flexible but in those unshakeable ideas they have to stick to their guns.

Lincoln stuck with the idea of freeing the slaves and preserving the union. Unpopular and costly, but that's what made him great.

Johnson wanted to pass Civil Rights and bring the blacks into the fold. Unpopular and it cost him the election.

Reagan wanted to break the Soviets, and though it the Bear was disintegrating, he was the straw that broke the camel's back. He was also able to bring the nation to his viewpoint.

Gandhi stubbornly held to his non-violent freedom cry despite imprisonment and brutal impositions. That makes him great.

But Hillary seems obdurant. She wanted a healthplan but hers was the only way. Well, excuse me, there are many ways to skin a cat. That's what makes her divisive of the worst kind. Besides, a national healthplan is not in the same catagory of "Lincoln's freeing the slaves" so you have to give and take. Obama seems a lot more of a unifying kind. But in a 911 type national crisis he won't have a clue, whereas Hillary's ice watered veins won't flinch.

GWB had an idea of fighting terrorism which is good. But his inflexiblity makes him look silly, and such people would do underhanded things to achieve their objectives. Like Halliburton no-bid contract, Gitmo, Abu Gharib.... And the religious conservatives have made him and the GOP look obdurant.

I think Fred Thompson's entry into the race is significant. He was the only one to shut up Michael Moore who is never usually in loss for words. The GOP alway seem to come up with the ugly ones, don't they? Nixon, GWB, Thompson:))

Sandip, are you running for Congress? What are you trying to achieve with your project on "medical tourism?"

Sandip Madan said...

Don't blame Hillary, blame the special interests and the portion of the public they conned into sabotaging a needed medical overhaul in 1993-94. May be Americans now know better.

No Congress run. Our website explains how medical tourism figures in what we're doing.
The irony is that a bigger healthcare mess in the US helps medical tourism and our endeavours.