Sunday, March 09, 2008

Why I prefer Obama to Hillary

Today is International Women's Day, a phenomenon brought to India mainly by the smart marketing honchos at Unilever (when they associated Pond's with it) and their media agency, Fulcrum. On this pious occasssion, CNN-IBN had a special talk show hosted by Anubha Bhonsle, where apart from having an increasingly unbearably irritating Preity Zinta as a panelist (good job by the PR agency of Godfrey Phlips), they discussed some genuine women stories, like Bhanwar Devi.

Now apart from the professional necessity of being aware, I watch and read news mainly to push myself out of my comfort zone. For instance, when I saw Bhanwar Devi fighting a village's ostracisation for the last fifteen years (because she seeks justice against her upper-caste rapists) and raising her kids on 500 bucks ($12.5) a month, I got some perspective on my latest fad about how to afford the Skoda Fabia. Somehow, it gave a sense of my position on the wish-list queue.

But I am writing this not for the Women's Day, but because Senator Obama has managed to arrest the slide somewhat, and won Wyoming today. I usually am an inverted snob. And when I do not follow politics in India or South Asia, I definitely should not show any interest in the primaries of the Democrats, forget the US presidential elections. But it is difficult not to get swayed by the American commercial might, as to how their genuinely open democracy has taken to the genuinely democratic digital medium. After all, politics is ladened with dirty money and deeds everywhere, the Yankees somehow are that much so frank and casual about it.

The youtube elections have been captivating. And Obama is genuinely charismatic, may be as much as Hillary's husband. While both the Democratic candidates are actually not saying much (refer this brilliant piece,, I prefer Obama.

My reason is simple. I think Hillary Clinton is a fake, a hypocrite. While her husband was going down on more women than there were on the Titanic (source: The Times of India), she was about to walk out on her marriage (similar to what Shanie's wife Simone did). But then she had her own political aspirations. She wanted to become a Senator, and then get back into the White House.

Hillary and Obama have ran a rather nasty personal campaign, and it is difficult to justify either. But what really got to me was when after agreeing to do so, Hillary refused to pose for the Vogue magazine. In an election fought on the new medium, it would have been an absolute first, for a presidential candidate to appear in a fashion magazine. But at the very last moment, Hillary Clinton thought doing this will be too elitist/glamorous/feminine. I anyway have strong thoughts about people reneging on commitments. Moreover, if these primaries are going pretty much as per vote-bank politics, Hillary Clinton basically rebuffed her core audience - the women (or the feminists).

The need to beautify oneself is universal, across genders. The choice of the individual is possibly how to go about it, and at what expense. So when an Aishwarya Rai takes two hours to adorn her makeup, her chubby hubby Abhishek also does need to groom a beard to disguise his double-chin. Moreover, her ex Salman has possibly given metro-sexuality a really bad name by taking his gait more seriously than her catwalk.

The American media does get into their leader's personal lives. For instance, in India, have we ever had our press trying to dig into who all did Vajpayee date, or MGR married? However, the good side of the American politics is then the President (or the leader) pretty much does the usual American things, like going for a jog in the morning and watching baseball games. Possibly, Hillary Clinton proved 'The Economist' right, that she actually does not have much of an agenda, even a feminist one.

P.S. And in all this hullabaloo, the Republicans have nominated John McCain who actually does have a serious agenda.


ayush said... your article on Obama...just wanted to say a couple of things in support of Ms. Clinton

Even the American Media is acknowledging that,so far, they have been soft on Obama and harsh on Hillary
Being someone who has spent 22 of his 29 years in a capital city of a vibrant democracy (much like America), I can safely say that thanks to her years as The First Lady and of course a Senator, Hillary is much better poised to wade the channels of Washington's power circles than a rookie senator (Obama) is said that the tone of a presidency is decided in the first 100 days - widely known as the "Honeymoon Period" (exception: Dubya, he initially wanted a soft foreign policy but was forced / advised to take hard decisions post 9/11)..if Obama spends these 100 days learning the intricacies of Washington politics (which he may be aware of as 1 of the 100 senators, but not as the ultimate insider)who takes the decisions? Change is good, but change doesn't run a country.

I acknowledge that,as an Indian and someone who grew up during the Clinton years, I do have a soft spot for Hillary. Only time will tell whether she will retain her Indophilia (cant think of a better word..did I just make it up??) if she becomes the President of the only (but declining in influence) superpower.

Sanath said...

Hello..could u pls link my blog onto your site as i've done regarding yours...tks a ton..TC

... said...

does it really matter as to who comes to the white house in novemeber. nothing'll change anyway.

Sanath said...

Hello..could u pls link my blog onto your site as i've done regarding yours...tks a ton..TC