So long, Obama

Posted in culture, people, politics by jrahman on January 18, 2017

Consciously or otherwise, most of us tend to compartmentalise our existence into home and work.  On the first front, above everything else, I consider myself a father first.  And on the second, well, let’s just say that I have been a bureaucratic functionary for most my working life.  On both, I cannot stress how much there is to learn from the outgoing American president.

Anyone who has ever worked in any bureaucracy would know to choose cock ups over conspiracies.  Well, it’s remarkable how few cock ups — I am talking about executive failures such as Katrina, not policy failures like Vietnam or ethical breaches like Watergate — there has been under Barack Obama.

Hats off Mr Chief Executive.

It’s been slightly over 10 years that I first saw the beginning of the Obama campaign.  I emailed my then wife that there was this really cool guy running for presidency, too bad he won’t get it.  Upon joining me in DC a few weeks later, she saw him and said that I was wrong, that this guy would make it all the way.  A few years later, while expecting our son, the mother-to-be read Obama’s memoir.  Barack was in the running for middle name right till the morning of his birth (losing out to his maternal grandfather).

Much has been written about the mercurial nature of Obama’s rise, his intellect, or oratory, or his policy and political legacy.  And I am sure much more will be.  But to me, it is much more striking how this ‘skinny boy with a funny name’ overcame his personal demons and with equal partnership with Michelle Obama raised two kids.

I am never going to have as demanding a ‘work’ as Mr Obama.  But I do have the privilege — and it is a privilege, not a right — to be a father.  I will reflect on his experience.

So long, Barack.

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The POTUS post

Posted in books, Drama, elections, movies, politics, thriller, TV, US by jrahman on November 8, 2012

So Barack Obama has been re-elected as the Emperor of the World President of the United States.  Cool.  I guess I should do a post, just to mark the occasion. 

The thing is, until very late in the game, I couldn’t get excited about this election.  You see, until the first debate, betting markets consistently had Obama as the odds on favourite.  And on most issues, I agree with the president’s politics.  So what was there to get excited about?  It’s not like any of this would ever happen. 

Then, for a while after the first debate, it looked like things could shake up a bit.  Except it didn’t.  By mid-October, the betting market had gone back to portraying Obama as the favourite.  And yesterday, the votes reflected the punters’ expectations.

But imagine if Obama had a better first debate?  Would that have led to a landslide?  Imagine if Michelle Obama had cut the president’s tie?


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The redneck factor

Posted in democracy, elections, politics, US by jrahman on November 1, 2012

I am not an American.  But as a de facto subject of the de facto American Empire, obviously I have an interest in who our next Imperial Overlord will be.  Four years ago, I urged my American readers to vote for Barack Obama.  Those arguments, broadly speaking, still holds.  So, dear reader, if you’re an American and for some reason still undecided, please re-elect your president.

Four years ago, I thought Obama was going to win, and acted on that belief.  I was lot more sanguine about the better angels of America than my friends with whom I wagered — they were convinced that America wasn’t ready for a black president with middle name Hussein.

Turns out, I was lucky.  According to a fascinating paper, racism might have won the election for John McCain.  And if these estimates are right, Mitt Romney might easily be the next Global Emperor President of the United States.


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