Wednesday, November 14, 2007

American Politics: Passage to India?

I once had the occasion to be in Mumbai [then Bombay] for a week during statewide elections in Maharashtra State, one of the most populous in that populous country. I watched the [Muslim, not Environmental] Green Party's long cavalcades wind through the crowded streets with songs and very un-Islamic pictures and behind giant emerald flags with what appeared to be Arabic script written on them---like Saudi flags. John Dickerson has an interesting anecdote about "plantgate" in Slate that could indicate that the US is sliding inexorably toward the seething factionalism and countless political tricks that the ingenious sub-continentals have invented in only sixty years of Democracy since their independence. In Slate, John D. relates about Hillary's questioner:
I didn't think the question was a plant at the time. It sounded a little general and prerehearsed, but a lot of town-hall questions sound that way. Days before the controversy broke, Bhagyashree Garekar, a correspondent for Singapore's Straits Times, asked me if I thought the questions had been planted at Clinton events we had both attended. I said I didn't think so. No candidate would be so stupid. When news broke that at least one had been, I called Garekar to ask what had tipped her off, since she hadn't made it to the Newton event. "This is common practice in many foreign countries, particularly India," she said. What was supposed to be a free-flowing exchange sounded rehearsed to someone with firsthand knowledge of the practice.

Only a cloud no larger than a man's hand.

Perhaps America's passage to India may be more than getting one's computer fixed via phone at 3AM.

Or perhaps Hillary's mysterious girl Friday of Pakistani heritage had come up with the idea---given the tightness of the Clinton Inc. ship, we'll probably never know.

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