Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bhutto's Assassination and Why Huckabee won't get the Nomination

When the Republicans went out to look amongst their very interesting field of candidates they were posed with a very difficult decision. The conservative values base that put George W. Bush into office didn't like the leading contenders both who are (or where) pro-choice non-religious candidates. They looked to good old Senator McCain with his good old experience but he just was either to old or too moderate at the time and Fred Thompson well lets just say Law & Order seemed to be a better gig for him. Frustrated with their lack of choices, values voters gave birth to a new candidate one that stood for them and with them former Iowa governor, Mike Huckabee.

His quick rise came as people soon realized Rudy couldn't win in Iowa and New Hampshire and well they didn't want Romney to steal the show. Huckabees publicity grew as value voters continued to push him along up the chain and in many polls is seen as a top contender in Iowa but even with all that loss of weight and his executive experience Huckabee lacked an important understanding, Foreign Policy. On several occaisions Huckabee was stumped by the press on recent foreign policy developments which he had no briefing or understanding for. Not only did Mr. Huckabee not have an understanding of most any foreign policy he also rarely knew about latest developments where he would respond to reporters with a puzzled look and a lack of understanding.

Now going down the list of top tier candidates although Giuliani has no street credentials on foreign policy he does typically know whats going on and bottom line knows how to attach it to his policies; national security. Romney is quite well versed on foreign policy compared to most republican candidates and has released many policy papers on important international issues as well. McCain having served time in Vietnam and long time senator is probably the most well versed on foreign policy with good ideas for implementation.

With the tragic assassination of Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, this has dominated the news cycle meaning if a candidate doesn't have anything good to say regarding this issue it probably won't be covered. With the Pakistani elections right dab in the middle of early primary/caucas season this will be a huge time share on the network news cast with presidential politics meaning foreign policy becomes the trump card.

With polls still showing Huckabee in the lead, a number of news outlets are starting to scrutizinize candidates foreign policy and once these come under the microscope there is a good chance that the Huckabee campaign will come to a collapse. Most campaign officials are even admiting a lack of understanding on the issue.

So what does this all mean for Mike Huckabee and the Republican nomination? Although recently Mr. Huckabee has had a huge rise to almost the top Huckabee will not be able to gather the support for the Republican nomination. He may win Iowa at best and maybe a smooth talker but not understanding an international political situation in an ally and nuclear power in the middle of the Iraq and terrorism conflicts is something that just won't be overlooked.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Common Ground - Raj Verma

What’s Your “Presidential Test”

For some, the principal litmus test for their selection for President is a candidate’s view on abortion. For others, their selection of President is contingent on a candidate’s moral values and/or executive experience. What we look for in a Presidential candidate is worth big money. Political strategists on each campaign staff are aggressively trying to understand what the public wants in a Presidential candidate, and are investing huge amounts of dollars to identify the most desirable Presidential qualities.

The science of decision-making and sociology are highly complex and variable. A multi-disciplinary model, one which includes economics, political science, and psychology, helps strategists understand how people come to make decisions. The common denominator is the study of human behavior and decision-making—precisely what political strategists, pundits, and commentators are assessing in a highly complex matrix. With that in mind, what factors do you take into consideration when choosing the candidate of your choice? Here is my generic ‘Presidential Test’ for you to consider. The test attempts to identify the strong qualities of a candidate given the current social and political condition of the country. The five-step test should be applied in sequential order and considers each candidate outside of his party or political persuasion. Of course, there can be plenty of other tests applied—can you think of any? The strategists and pundits are listening!

1) Which Presidential candidate offers the most convincing evidence and opinion of the condition of our country today?

2) Which Presidential candidate offers the best vision of where our country is headed, or where he/she would like the country to go?

3) Has the candidate delivered on a vision he/she presents, in his/her current job or in a former position?

4) Does the candidate offer any ‘value-added’ agenda or scheme that separates him/her from other candidates in relation to how the candidate addresses foreign policy?

5) Has the candidate left his/her current position in a better position than when he/she first entered the position? i.e. if a candidate is currently a senator or governor, how has the senator’s district fared, or governor’s state progressed over the course of the candidate’s term?

Given these five tests for a good President, who comes out on top? Which candidate is your winner at this time?

Raj Verma, JD/MPA
Blog Contributor

Raj Verma is the President of the Future Leaders Council for USINPAC. He currently resides in Washington DC.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Clinton Getting Desperate?

After the release of the most recent poll which shows Obama tied or leading Clinton in New Hampshire along with Iowa as discussed in an earlier post discussed today it seems that the Clinton Camp is no looking for any way possible to stop Obama's sudden rise to the top. As reported by the Washington Post today, Bill Shaheen a top NH Clinton Rep was quoted saying

"It'll be, 'When was the last time? Did you ever give drugs to anyone? Did you sell them to anyone?'" Shaheen said. "There are so many openings for Republican dirty tricks. It's hard to overcome."
Although the Clinton Camp was quick to respond in this story by the AP

"Senator Clinton is out every day talking about the issues that matter to the American people. These comments were not authorized or condoned by the campaign in any way," spokeswoman Kathleen Strand said.
Ofcourse the Obama camp thinks completely differently on the whole discussion:
"Hillary Clinton said attacking other Democrats is the fun part of this campaign, and now she's moved from Barack Obama's kindergarten years to his teenage years in an increasingly desperate effort to slow her slide in the polls. Senator Clinton's campaign is recycling old news that Barack Obama has been candid about in a book he wrote years ago, and he's talked about the lessons he's learned from these mistakes with young people all across the country. He plans on winning this campaign by focusing on the issues that actually matter to the American people."
I think what you are seeing here in this whole case is the Clinton Camps worst nightmare. Clinton was comfortable in the early lead and it seemed that Obama's big message was not resonating with voters in the early states. Although Clintons lead remains strong in National Polls the recent slip ups in Iowa and New Hampshire are of big concern and the only challenge she can really provide is on experience. The voters seem to be choosing the voice of change and hope over the voice of experience and the Clinton campaign really have no way to fight back Obama.

Obama has written several books in which he has pretty much put out on the table all the poor decisions he has made in his life and how he has learned probably one of the smartest moves he made in his move to run for President, even the republicans seem to only have one attack on Obama for his lack of experience and that just doesn't seem to be enough for voters. These negative campaign tactics Shaheen is using is not a sign of how Hillary runs her campaign but really more an expression of the real feeling of concern that exists within the internal ranks of her campaign.

Slip ups seem to be happening across the board for the Clinton camp and as things seem to be getting heated up the exchange will be interesting in the upcoming democratic debate at 2pm EST on CNN in Iowa. Will they be cowards like our republican friends or make a true spectacle?

We shall all see...


Republican Debate: Whats the Point?

If you watched the republican debate you realized as Taegan Goddard described was a "shoulder shrug". It seemed that no candidate really stepped forward to shine in the spotlight. What could of been one of the most important opportunities for all the major candidates to solidify leads and for 2nd tier candidates to gain a voice in a crowded field, was essentially a waste of time.

Romney seemed to stick to his normal tone but there were no major attacks as were expected against his now leading Iowa/SC rival Mike Huckabee. Marc Ambinder described how "Huckabee sounded good" but nothing out of the ordinary. The candidates seem to be comfortable with their respective campaign models and don't seem to want to change it up at all. The Republican field is still wide open but Giuliani continues to not really distinguish himself in a race where every thing he says includes three words 9/11, Hillary Clinton, or lowering taxes. Giuliani seems to think he can truly survive till Florida as he portrayed in his interview with Tim Russert on Meet the Press Sunday.

I do think that the democratic debate will have more of a purpose where Obama and Hillary definitely starting their duel as Bill Shaheen announced attacks on Obamas Drug use today!


Clinton and Obama Tie in NH: What the Poll Really Tells Us

CNN has just reported that the a recent CNN/WMUR poll from the Granite State shows Clinton and Obama tied up around 30%. With other polls that continue to come out stating Clinton is on top by 3 or Obama leads by 6, the truth is the actual numbers here mean nothing. With margin of error these polls show how irrelevant the numbers actually are but they do tell us another story, this election is in no way over. In most cases this is just heating up...over the course of the last 24 hours I have received over a dozen emails from different representatives at all levels in both camps saying the same thing....THEY NEED SUPPORTERS TO GET OUT THERE!

The polls tell us that the election is very close and truly in this one every vote does matter in Iowa and New Hampshire where the tie is essentially three ways with John Edwards still in the mix. And if Edwards does win in Iowa or finishes a close second NH polls will all go to the dust and it will be a fighting chance along with South Carolina. People are really starting to tune in now with less than a month to go before the January 3rd Iowa caucus and every campaign is looking for the same thing. Volunteer or Donate...this is one race where every penny, every phone call, every door and every vote really matter because the momentum and the election are all still very much in the air.

There are about 8000 Indian Americans in both Iowa and New Hampshire, many of which in key precincts where a couple hundred votes could easily swing the election. Now is the opportunity to get out there.

If you live in NH and Iowa I recommend you:
  • Learn and find a candidate whose policies and issues you agree with
  • Take a Saturday and go out volunteer & help campaign
This is one election where I promise you every vote does matter!

If you don't live in an early primary states I recommend you:
  • Learn and find a candidate whose policies and issues you agree with
  • Call your local DNC and Check the Candidates site to see how you can help!
  • Make a contribution to the candidates, EVERY PENNY MATTERS so your $15 dollar donation could help pay for a 1000 flyers to support your candidate in New Hampshire
If you already are helping comment below and tell us how...


The Rise of the Indian American: NRI Named CEO of Worlds Largest Bank

Fortune, CNBC and many have been predicting the successor to the Citi Thrown as being one of two Indians for a few weeks and now the announcement has come. Thanks to SAJA Forum for getting this out quickly, a truly remarkable moment for Vikram Pandit the new CEO of Citigroup. Vikram who has been an executive in Citigroup made his mark on Wall Street and at 50 years old is now controlling over 200,000 employees and over $2 trillion in assets for Citi.

SAJA has a great list of Indian CEOs of major companies but I think there are still more out there that we should continue to compile! The continuing rise of Indian Americans in major multinational companies shows the drive our community has to move forward and really live the American Dream. Leaders of most major banks in the US play a strong role in Financial policies that are set forth by the Government and with the Presidential race heating up a great deal of talk is about how the Mortgage crisis can be solved, I wonder what Vikram thinks?


Monday, December 10, 2007

The Race for the Vice President

Currently the attention in the Presidential race seems to be all focused on the Iowa and New Hampshire caucuses, but they are also giving an indication of what could be the VP derby that will soon follow the nomination process.

If Senator Clinton, Obama or Edwards become the Democratic nominees the following names are rising to the top of the betting pool:

Sen. Evan Bayh: from the Midwest and has a background as a Governor and a successful Senator in a Republican state and he has been campaigning for Sen. Clinton since he withdrew from the election

Governor Bill Richardson: A Hispanic Presidential Candidate and from the Mountain states that are now in clear play for both parties

Governor Tom Vilsack: He has been very active with Sen. Clinton in Iowa and also has a great personal story and will not overshadow the Presidential candidate

Senator Joe Biden: He definitely bolsters any Presidential candidates Foreign policy credentials

Senator Jim Webb: Strong Military background, former Republican, from a Republican state also very symbolic over his victory over Mark Allen

Governor Mark Warner: Attractive candidate who won in a Republican state and is very popular in Virginia and could bring that state to the Democrats

There are many other candidates and as the picks of Sen. Lieberman, Dan Quayle tell us there are some surprising candidates that are not talked about a lot but could surprise us like Gov. Martin O'Malley from Maryland, Harold Ford Jr., Gov. Schweitzer from Montana.

Who else could be a VP for any one of these candidates?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Common Ground - Raj Verma

The Race Behind the Race

There can only be one winner. Well, usually. On its face, the debates showcase competing egos and differing ideologies all with the aim of securing the most powerful position in American government. A subtle look at the presidential debates reveals a different race for other coveted posts, and is something to debate about. As you watch the Presidential debates and discuss the various differences on foreign policy, domestic issues, and character traits, be aware that some of those on stage are vying for desirable and high-impact positions in the winner’s administration. If the polls, at this point, suggest that Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic nomination and gain the Presidential nomination, does candidate Bill Richardson return as Secretary of Energy? Will Edwards be appointed to a post in the administration? Perhaps Clinton will nominate Obama for a position on the Supreme Court. Similarly, if Giuliani grabs the nomination on the Republican side, do we see Mike Huckabee appointed as Secretary of the Interior? Perhaps John McCain is interested in a post in the State Department. Is he preparing himself for such a position?

One has to remember that although the candidates present themselves in the most ‘presidential’ manner as possible, there can only be one president, and all the candidates bring various strengths to the table that better equips them for a position they currently hold (senator, governor) or a position they may seek (Secretary of State, Vice President). All the candidates brandish strong credentials. But take a closer look at the debates and identify who is vying for an alternative position. One clear example of this appears to be the well-orchestrated positioning of Joseph Biden and Bill Richardson, two darkhorse candidates who have virtually little to no shot at winning the presidency. In a recent debate, Biden and Richardson both admonished Obama and Edwards indirectly for attacking Clinton’s integrity and character. Was this a noble gesture? Or a subtle hint to Clinton—‘I’ll protect you now, you find a position for me later’? The next time you watch the Presidential candidates during the debate, be aware of the jockeying, the kind of positioning that will help each candidate win, in ways that you may not expect.

Raj Verma, JD/MPA
Blog Contributor

Raj Verma is the President of the Future Leaders Council for USINPAC. He currently resides in Washington DC.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Bollywood Ad for Barack Obama

Just found this hilarious campaign video someone made for Obama mixing in some Bollywood. This almost beats the Obama girl video, whats next Obama in a movie with Madhuri Dixit?

Republican You Tube Debate Harbours Immigrant Bashing

As we discussed in our last post about the you tube debate immigration is becoming a huge talking point among Republican candidates and the debate showed a lot of interesting points against Immigration which hade a wide range but at large can be considered immigrant bashing.

How do Indian American Republicans feel about the Immigrant bashing by the Republican Presidential Candidates?

During the 2004 Election President Bush had several Rangers and Pioneers who supported him. How do Dr. Zach Zachariah, Dr. Raghavendra Vijaynagar and others feel about the current crop of Republican candidates who cannot outdo themselves in bashing Immigrants? Are they going to raise funds for the Guliani's, Romney's, Thomsons, Huckabee's or are they going to take a pass on this one?

We have been looking to the IARC for a response but the site has not been updated for almost 2 years now!

I hear crickets churping...

Varun Mehta

USINPAC Hosts Fundraiser with Generation Obama

Generation Obama is a grassroots group consisting of Young Professionals and was founded in Boston. Last night was the first major event featuring Senator Obama himself where we hosted a fundraiser for the Senator at a local Boston Lounge, Venu. The event went great raising over $50,000 for the Senators campaign as less than 3 weeks remain till the first Iowa Caucus. The event was sold out with about 400 young professionals from the Boston Area. USINPAC was able to get young Indian Professionals, entrepreneurs and students to come out to this event where Senator Obama talked about the Politics of Change and how important it is for the young people to get engaged and go to NH to help canvass.

Senator Obama also mentioned that the stances on the Energy Policy where due to his "cousin", Dick Cheney and joked about how the campaign tried to keep this information out of public eye for sometime. This event went great! Indian American Young Professionals were at bay to here the message from Senator Obama himself in an exciting setting.

There are several news reports about such events happening all over the country in todays LA Times, check it out!



Poll: Obama, Huckabee take lead in Iowa

Obama, Huckabee on upswing in Iowa
Obama, Huckabee on upswing in Iowa

Republican, Democratic races still a dogfight as 2008 caucuses near

Would an Obama victory mean a generational shift in the political activism of the Indian American Community?

The Democrats within the Indian American community have supported the campaign of Sen. Clinton in overwhelming numbers, the support that Sen. Obama has received has predominantly been from the 2nd generation of the Indian American community. If Sen. Obama would end up winning it would mean a generational shift iwithin the Indian American community since the 2nd generation would have come on its ownn by being very active in the campaign and also providng contributions to his campaign. Today the 2nd generation of Indian Americans who are professionals like lawyers, accountants, venture capitalists and others have the desire and the means to be politically active and understand the political system!.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Indian American Student hired by Presidential Hopeful

S.R. Sidarth, the University of Virginia student who exposed George Allen's use of the word "macaca" and doomed his presidential campaign, is now a paid staffer for Bill Richardson in Sante Fe, NM.

In 2006 Sidarth was working for Sen. Jim Webb's campaign by video tapping Allen's stump speeches, when Allen singled him out twice by calling him a "macaca" and saying the infamous phrase "Welcome to America kid". Ironically, Allen is not originally from Virgina, while Sidarth was born there.

Allen is currently working for Fred Thompson's presidential campaign.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

GOP Candidates Trade Barbs during CNN/You Tube Debate

The Republican Presidential candidates squared off tonight in Florida debating typical conservative issues such as illegal immigration, taxes, gun control, and gays in the military. However, with the unique You Tube format, candidates were grilled by ordinary Americans. One of the things that struck me was when a guy from Dallas, held up a copy of the Bible and asked, “All of you should be judge on one question only, do you believe every WORD in this book?” Giuliani answered first saying that many of the stories act as metaphors, however, Romney answered that he believes the Bible is the word of God, implying that he believes in the literal sense of the book.

Another question that stuck out was when a user asked what the Confederate Flag means to the candidates. Surprisingly, an issue I thought that could be pivotal for voters in the South was very answered decisively. Romney immediately argued that a symbol that divides the country so much should not be tolerated, even attacking John Edwards in the process. “Every time I hear Edwards talk about two Americas, I want to throw something at the TV. We are one country and should be united.” Knowing that South Carolina is a key primary state for him, it was sort of reassuring that a man who changes his mind quite a bit came out so strong. Former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson also spoke out against the flag, in a mush softer manner, saying that it should not be flown individually in public places.

The candidates were asked to create a 30 sec You Tube ad for their campaigns, but Thompson’s clearly stood out being the first and only attack ad. Many insiders afterwards sense this was a sign of desperation for his campaign.

Another interesting thing about the debate was that the name Bush was only mentioned twice. Virtually all the candidates, aside from Ron Paul, agree with Bush on the vast majority of things such as Iraq, taxes, gun control, religion in public life. It’s funny that though he still has over a year in the White House the candidates pretend he doesn’t exist (no credit to him). Given Bush’s popular rating, I think not differentiating themselves can come back to haunt the Republican candidates in the general election.

Finally, the winners of the debate were declared by CNN’s panel. Conservative commentators said that Romney came out the strongest, but all analysts voted Mike Huckabee (and I agree) the winner. Huckabee came out ready to answer challenging questions with thought provoking explanations, all in a funny/witty manner. In terms of losers, internet darling Ron Paul was extraordinarily weak today and there was a sigh of disappointed when he said he would not run as an independent (perhaps a sigh of relief as well.)

Stay tune for some video postings of the debate that we’ll post on the blog.

Anay Shah

Oprah Winfrey to Amitabh Bachan: Does celebrity campaigning work? By Sanjay Puri

Oprah Winfrey is supposed to be campaigning for Senator Obama for his Presidential Bid in key early states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina to give him a boost in these close contests. Does this work? Amitabh Bachan a star of Oprah’s magnitude in India recently campaigned very heavily for his friend Amar Singh and Mulayum Singh in the recent UP elections and they lost and Mayawati won the key state electons.

Does star power equal votes in India or the US?

Sanjay Puri is the Chairman of USINPAC

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Romney Slip-Up Offers Insight into His Politics

In an opinion piece in today's Christian Science Monitor, Mansoor Ijaz, an American-born Muslim American talks about a recent encounter with Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. While at a private fund-raiser in Las Vegas, Ijaz asked Romney if he would consider appointing a Muslim to a national-security post to help curb radical jihad, which Romney has stated is the biggest threat to today's America. Romney quickly dismissed the thought saying that there are not enough Muslim Americans to "justify" a Cabinet post, but that he could "imagine" Muslims in lower offices in his administration.

"Romney, whose Mormon faith has become the subject of heated debate in Republican caucuses, wants America to be blind to his religious beliefs and judge him on merit instead," Ijaz writes. "Yet he seems to accept excluding Muslims because of their religion, claiming they're too much of a minority for a post in high-level policymaking. More ironic, that Islamic heritage is what qualifies them to best engage America's Arab and Muslim communities and to help deter Islamist threats."

Romney, interviewed Monday on CNN, was asked about diversity in his inner circle and in appointments.

"Suggesting that we have to fill spots based on checking off boxes of various ethnic groups is really a very inappropriate way to think about we staff positions," he said.

It seems to me that Romney is treading on dangerous grounds. He is going the way of many-a-politician on trying to toe both sides of the line. On one hand he states that he will not fill his administration based on quotas, on the other it is obvious that he won't even consider certain segments of the population for Cabinet posts. Over the past seven years we have seen what happens when a President chooses a Cabinet full of his cronies. We as Indian Americans need to make sure that we are not shut out of the political process by candidates like Romney who will not be open to ideas from people who are different than him.

Ronak Shah is the President of the USINPAC BU Campus Committee and a Senior studying Political Science at Boston University.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

New Hampshire Primary Set for January 8th

Some of our NH insiders and now the CNN has confirmed that the First in the Nation Primary in New Hampshire will be set for January 8th.

We are looking for volunteers to work there on the day before and build up to the primary so if you are interested email:


Islamaphobia in the Indian American Community Part II

This post is in response to the long post on Sepia Mutiny blogger Abhi. The post pretty much looks to talk about the various misguided points made in the article we had discussed in the past post on Sunday.

I think it is shameful that Abhi would even reference this as a viable source, it seems as if it is a hatchet job as referenced by many of the comments to this post.

"I do not feel that USINPAC represents my interests whatsoever and I wish the press would stop assuming they speak for all Indian Americans."

Abhi although you are free to believe that the organization doesn't represent your beliefs the truth is the organization does work to promote values important to ALL Indian Americans. Our legislative accomplishments, our work and support for Indian American candidates, and our work with various initiatives such as this Presidential Portal, which is a strong example of this.

"Unless our generation (through orgs like IALI, IACPA, SAALT) find more issues that we agree about and are willing to work hard to lobby Washington for, our “community” will increasingly be hijacked and represented in Washington by “long-distance Nationalists.”"

I want to say and always have said I have great admiration for the work done by IALI and SAALT, if these organizations have problems and issues with USINPAC as described in the article I hope they are bringing them to our attention because working together as a unified voice is important for all of our organizations. Working directly with the organization I can assure Abhi that your claim is baseless, all of our supporters are hard working US Citizens and without really knowing the truth I think you should be careful with your words. I think the work being done at Sepia Mutiny has been great, I have spoken to Anna about this before but making harsh accusations against others never seemed to be anything I have seen before.

It is important that Indian Americans understand what USINPAC truly stands for and in no way have our views been anti-Muslim. Other accusations that went on in many comments to this Sepia Mutiny post accuse "H-1B Warriors" to be strong supporters of the agenda. For anyone that knows anything about election laws, foreign nationals are prohibited by FEC regulations from donating to a political candidate, party or organization such as USINPAC. Many people have also accused USINPAC of being a voice of "old hands". I can assure you that although I may have a few gray hairs, my hands still are very young. The membership and leadership base of USINPAC reflects people of all ages, at all walks of life and is not really dominated by any one "type" of Indian.

As discussed before, the Indian American community is very diverse. Most ethnic communities have religion, food or language to tie them together but our community proves to be different. It is difficult to distinctly represent all groups but I assure you USINPAC support is from various people and in no way would support be turned away due to religion or any other qualifying factors.

I encourage people to ask questions about the organization if they exist but to try and restrict themselves from making baseless or falseless accusations. I am a volunteer and have never recieved a penny from the organization and can tell you that Indian Americans need to come together as a unifying force to tell politicians what is important to us to move our community forward.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Islamaphobia in the Indian American Community

The Web Newspaper, IndoLink just posted a story reporting a recent "study" published in the South Asian Multidisciplinary Academic Journal entitled "Islamophobia in Indian
American Lobbies". From the looks of this paper it seems more like an editorial columnist than an actual academic study that you would find in most respectable foreign journals. Essentially bottom line is that this study and furthermore the article in IndoLink both looked to accuse Indian-American Lobbying efforts as anti-Islam.
The study was posted by Ingrid Therwath as a part of a project to talk about South Asian Issues and pretty much underlined her the point that any view any anti-Pakistan sentiment is essentially anti-Muslim. The story continued to look to tie USINPAC as an organization that promotes an anti-Muslim agenda. Working with USINPAC for almost four years I can tell you first hand that this is far from the truth. Being born and raised in the United States, a product of the public school system in Rochester, NY and now an Engineering Student at Boston University I can tell you that USINPAC works hard for the Indian American community.

The basic fact is that USINPAC works tirelessly to represent the concerns and values of the Indian American community. This portal is a clear example of this looking to connect the Indian American community with the upcoming Presidential Election. This portal is as grass roots as it comes with strictly volunteers working on this for one common cause, having a vibrant voice in the political world for our community. Our community continues to prove its diversity and complexity and this is something we all should celebrate and be proud of.

USINPAC too celebrates this diversity and is evident with the bipartisan approach. We look to support all Indian American candidates running for office and area always reaching out to the community for their thoughts, insight and ideology. Once again this portal is proof with an opportunity to ask Presidential Candidates questions of their choosing, an opportunity to talk and blog about the issues important to YOU and US.

The truth is in today's day and age all Americans are concerned with the instability of Pakistan and all Americans are concerned with the dangers of terrorism. Does this make every American anti-Muslim? The Indian American community reflects these American ideals and values.
We also bring to the discussion a unique appreciation for how America is perceived globally and how great democracies can work together in partnership and cooperation. We as a community or as an organization should not be singled out for beliefs that are pretty consistent all around.

Friday, November 9, 2007

House Passes Diwali Resolution

Happy Diwali!

The US House of Representatives recently passed H.R. 747 unanimously, which officially recognizes the historical and religious significance of Diwali. The Hindu American Foundation, a nonprofit based in Washington D.C., led the effort to get H.R. 747 passed by Congress.

Dino Teppara, the first Indian-American chief of staff for a US Congressman, help draft the proposal, and his boss Rep. Joe Wilson (R-South Carolina) was a co-sponsor along with Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Washington).

The U.S. Senate must next vote on the resolution for it to be passed.

Read the full article here.


Happy Diwali Folks! FYI Barack Obama just sent a note to the community and wishing Hindus, Sikhs and Jains a Happy Diwali!

We should have it on the Message From the Candidates Page soon but I have posted it on your left. Being in touch with most campaigns no other campaign has submitted such a letter so Obama will be the first but hopefully not the only.


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Cliintons Lead Falls as Obama and Edwards Pick up Steam

As primary season continues to heat up the polls are too in early Primary states.  Boston Globe is reporting that the Zogby survey in Iowa puts Clinton  28% just slightly ahead o Obama at 25% and Edwards at 21%.  Iowa was always going to be a close election and good be a HUGE opportunity for Obama or Edwards to pick up some serious steam.  

New Hampshire which seemed all for Hillary seems to be back into play as Rasmussen Reports last night that Clintons lead has narrowed to 34% over Obamas 24% and Edwards at 15%.  As The Globe Reports this is the first survey in NH since the Democratic debate last week and it seems to have given Obama a boost.  Considering margin of error Obama and Clinton COULD BE TIED.  

With primary season less than 60 days away things are all but certain and how this plays could be very different from what early poll indicators seem to show. 


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Bollywood & Hollywood Fusing the Future of Entertainment

USIBA just recently sponsored a panel and helped organize and actively participated in several events in Hollywood through the American Film Market. Here is a link to a release from USIBA. Leaders from Bollywood made out to events throughout LA from the 31st-7th of November. Even Variety, the leading Hollywood newspaper reported on the exciting event.

As Indian Americans continue to move forward the fusion of Hollywood and Bollywood continue to show the increasing influence of Indian Americans in Space, heads of State and on the silver screen just to name a few.



Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Common Ground - Raj Verma

What is Popular Today?

You saw it yesterday, and you will probably read another one today. Media is littered with public opinion polls purportedly representing a national perspective. With the Presidential elections one year away and mounting scrutiny facing each candidate, the media is aggressively employing their resources to gauge public opinion and force candidates to respond to abstract hypothetical questions and esoteric polls. As in a once-popular television game show, ‘Family Feud’, where contestants are pitted against each other with the intent of determining the most popular answer to questions posed on a survey, American media tends to compel candidates to answer questions based on numerous and differing ‘public opinion polls’. However, this poses a serious leadership dilemma for the next President of the United States and our nation’s leaders. In fact, this dilemma has haunted modern American presidents-that is- how to balance the demands of popular opinion and accurately extract the will of the people (originally assigned as the role of Congress) while attempting to achieve what is in the best interest of the entire country given the social, economic, political and moral context, no matter what public opinion offers at any given point in time. The overuse and overemphasis of public opinion polls, especially in a media-saturated culture, has been and continues to undermine effective democracy because the nation’s leaders have emerged as mere panderers.

Winston Churchill once stated, “Nothing is more dangerous than to live in the temperamental atmosphere of a Gallup poll-always feeling one’s pulse and taking one’s temperature.” Ironically, those candidates and current President who completely ignore or are impervious to polls are not likely to succeed, as they will be labeled ‘out of touch’ with the general public. Granted, the importance of keeping one’s eyes and ears close to the ground should not be underestimated. But there are serious and important policy issues that require effective leadership to transcend popular sentiment. For example, a recent Gallup poll, among several deployed every month, indicated that most Americans believe that Iraq and national security are the two most pressing issues facing the nation. Interestingly, immigration and the environment fell at the bottom of the list. It naturally follows then, that if a leader is to pander to public opinion, then the administration should place extra emphasis on addressing each issue in hierarchical order. Yet, we know that immigration, the environment and national security are inexplicably intertwined. Failed immigration policy and dependence on foreign oil were two of many compelling causes for this nation’s worst national security disaster in 2001. Relying on public opinion polls to measure popular political sentiment has inherent defects, such as small sample sizes, confusing questions, and other methodological errors. Even if the polls were completely accurate, heavy reliance on them derogates from the purpose of Congress to divine the will of the people. In turn, it is the role of the public to employ grassroots lobbying and participate in public debate to signal to Congress their desires. Overuse of polls extinguishes any value of discussion and Congressional receptiveness to public will.

The point is that the next American president and future leaders to come, must possess the courage, fortitude, and initiative to look beyond public opinion polls and read what lies ahead—even if the leader’s reading of politics contradicts public opinion, at times. It requires the President to evaluate his/her success not based on a man being the measure of all things (otherwise known a as humanism), but rather on values, mores, and moral code. He or she must elevate particular issues and build consensus on them, no matter what public opinion serves at any given time. Harry Truman once stated “I wonder how Moses would have gone if he had taken a poll in Egypt.” Similarly, strong, effective, and meaningful leadership will be able to withstand unfavorable popular opinion and execute what is in the best interest of the nation—even when the barometer indicates a paltry zero degrees.

Raj Verma, JD/MPA
Blog Contributor

Raj Verma is the President of the Future Leaders Council for USINPAC. He currently resides in Washington DC.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Co-Chair of the Congressional Taskforce on US-India Trade Supports Romney

Earlier today Congressman Chris Cannon (R-UT) who serves as the Co-Chair of the Congressional Task Force on US-India Trade announced his support for presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's campaign. Both Cannon and Romney's experience working with Indian businesses showcase the growing influence India's economy has in US policy. Romney explains in his message to Indian-Americans on India's 60th Independence Day how his own personal work experience with people of Indian descant has impacted him on the capability of a surging India.


Monday, October 29, 2007

Rep. Honda: LA Times Campaign Finance Story is Racist and Biased

Just Found this Press Release by California Congressmen Mike Honda. The post blasts the LA Times for their story from October 19th, "An unlikely treasure-trove of Donors for Clinton"
The story talks about the growing contributions from Asian Americans which Rep. Honda proclaims

“I am appalled by the irresponsible and biased portrayal of the Asian American immigrant community, published by the L.A. Times today. "

“Drawing a connection between the emerging political involvement of Asian Americans and individual cases of possibly suspect donations sends a strong message that the political participation of minority communities is undesired. Minority communities in America have been shut out of the political process through poll taxes, literacy tests, and other tactics throughout our country’s history. As leaders, we should be encouraging, not chilling, the legitimate involvement of underrepresented communities in our democracy." -Rep. Mike Honda.

I applaud Rep. Honda for this bold statement. Lately the names of a few sour Asian American donors have been used to make Indian American and Chinese American communities as illegal donors. Trying to brand all of these successful emerging communities to the likes of Norman Hsu and Sant Chatwal is just unfair, our communities have worked hard to become successful working towards the American dream. Almost every major newspaper has reported stories that hint at branding this and our friend Lou Dobbs (video below) has been the worst. It seems to me that they agree with Tom Tancredo's view that Immigrants are what is wrong with America.


HR 747: Officially Recognizing Diwali in the US

Our Friends at Sepia Mutiny are reporting something that Congress's website officially confirms. The Bill labeled HR 747: Recognizing the religious and historical significance of the festival of Diwali. This is continuing to show the growing role of Indian Americans in the political realm and that they will be an important community in the upcoming 2008 election.

The full resolution is below but with the US strongly pushing the 123 Nuclear Deal, Bobby Jindal winning as the first Indian Governor in the US, and IALI reporting almost a dozen Indian American Candidates nationwide. The community has a lot to be proud about but we need to move forward as a united community and issue strong responses when necessary. I still think the community needs to send a stronger message to Presidential Hopeful Fred Thompson for picking up George Allen as a national chair we reported a few days back.


DNA India Reports on Diwali Resolution
NDTV Reports on Diwali Resolution


1st Session
H. RES. 747

Recognizing the religious and historical significance of the festival of Diwali.


October 16, 2007

Mr. WILSON of South Carolina (for himself and Mr. MCDERMOTT) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs


Recognizing the religious and historical significance of the festival of Diwali.

Whereas Diwali, a festival of great significance to Indian Americans and the people of India, is celebrated annually by Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains throughout the United States and the world;

Whereas there are more than 2,000,000 Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains in the United States;

Whereas the word `Diwali' is a shortened version of the Sanskrit term `Deepavali', which means `a row of lamps';

Whereas Diwali is a festival of lights, during which celebrants light small oil lamps, place them around the home, and pray for health, knowledge, and peace;

Whereas celebrants of Diwali believe that the rows of lamps symbolize the light within the individual that rids the soul of the darkness of ignorance;

Whereas Diwali, falling on the last day of the last month in the lunar calendar, is celebrated as a day of thanksgiving and the beginning of the new year for many Hindus;

Whereas for Hindus, Diwali is a celebration of the victory of good over evil;

Whereas for Sikhs, Diwali is feted as the day that the sixth founding Sikh Guru, or revered teacher, Guru Hargobind ji, was released from captivity from the ruling Mughal Emperor; and

Whereas for Jains, Diwali marks the anniversary of the attainment of moksha or liberation by Mahavira, the last of the Tirthankaras, who were the great teachers of Jain dharma, at the end of his life in 527 B.C.: Now, therefore, be it

    Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

      (1) during this time of celebration, in order to demonstrate support for Indian Americans and the Indian Diaspora throughout the world, recognizes Diwali as an important festival;

      (2) acknowledges the international religious and historical importance of the festival of Diwali;

      (3) recognizes and appreciates the religious diversity in both India and the United States and throughout the world;

      (4) acknowledges and supports the new relationship of collaboration and dialogue in international efforts between the United States and India; and

      (5) in observance of and out of respect for the start of Diwali, the festival of lights, acknowledges the onset of Diwali and expresses its deepest respect to Indian Americans and the Indian Diaspora throughout the world on this significant occasion.

Everything You Need to Know About the Recent Updates on the US-India Nuclear Deal

If you have been keeping up this has been a long week for the US-India Nuclear Deal. There has been a great deal of press on the comings and the goings of the deal and I'd like to bring you a comprehensive update. I will also include a thorough list of Links of Stories I have compiled for all of who are interested.

On October 16th We brought you Breaking News on the Nuclear Deal coming apart for all that could be done with this current government. The problems lay particularly in India with the governments not being able to resolve their differences.

This sparked worry both in India and the US so USINPAC (our parent group) put together an Emergency Delegation to help lobby for the deal in India with major groups. On October 18thUSINPAC put out a press release

The USINPAC delegation intends to assess the perspectives of all stakeholders in the Indian system -- political and technical -- and to provide an Indian audience with the viewpoints of key Indian-Americans who were actively involved in the public discussion of the nuclear exemption for India in the U.S. The Indian-American community played a crucial and unique role in this public discussion.

and a You Tube Video (below).

The video is essentially USINPAC founder Sanjay Puri discussing the importance of the Delegation and how it all came together.

A great deal of press resulted from this effort from USINPAC and Indian American leaders to help lobby for this deal to have a positive end result.
Daily India, The Hindu, NDTV all had great stories highlighting the Delegation and Effort. They mentioned the goals of the delegation and how some Indian American leaders thought the delegation wasn't worthwhile.

Oct. 22nd: With the delegation beginning, USINPAC released another press release talking more about the delegation as it happens and how they plan to meet with the leaders of the BJP, Communist & Congress Parties, the Indian Ambassador, and the Prime Minister.

Oct. 23rd: The Delegation meets with the Prime Minister Singh
We met the Prime Minister who received us very graciously, and found him determined to take the U.S.-India Civilian Nuclear Agreement forward despite some opposition typical in a vibrant democracy like India, said Mr. Puri.

Very good news being that with the setbacks the PM was still on board and confident and optimistic that all parties will be able to meet in the middle. As you can imagine a great deal of very bold news stories resulted from this message the PM sent out after meeting with the delegation. Economic Times, Hindustan Times, Business Line, and many other media outlets reported this on the 23rd.

Oct. 24th: Delegation continues meetings. The PM delivered a message of assurance to a special nonpublic event with the Indian Military forces as reported by The Telegraph.

A source said Singh spoke “at great length on the deal and he talked about the necessity and the future of the deal”. -Telegraph Reports

Also on the 24th the International Media began to carry the PM Singh's message of confidence including: Reuters , The Hindu, Christian Science Monitor, India Daily, Business Standard

But sources from New Delhi says that PM office has officially told the Left parties that Indian Government has abandoned the implementation plan of the 123 agreement with US. It is up to the next elected Government to look into the matter and do what is necessary.
-India Daily Reports

"Many members of Congress are growing increasingly skeptical of what the Bush administration is negotiating," says Rep. Edward Markey (D) of Massachusetts, a longtime supporter of multilateral nonproliferation efforts. "It's heartening to see the members coming over to me and shaking their head at what the Bush administration went so far to accept." -Christian Science Monitors Report

While the PM riled the troops and the International media carried his message, another important player joined back in the diplomatic fight, Under Secretary of State Burns. NDTV reports Burns urges that Indian leaders sign on to the nuclear deal.
''The Indian Government now needs to make a decision. We do not intrude into the Indian domestic politics, but we do believe that the Indians need to make a decision at some time. We hope the decision would be positive to go ahead because this agreement has enormous benefit for us, " Secretary Burns said to NDTV.

All this was happening while the Delegation continued lobbying as CNN described it "Left-Right and Center". The delegation met with leaders of the BJP and Communist parties as the story describes in the video post below.

Oct. 25th: Several stories summed up the meetings the delegation had with the the Left and the BJP. The Economics Times, DNA India, New Wind Press, and several others with a great quote below.

"We need to brief our constituency, the Indian-American community, as well as Capitol Hill,'' said Sachdev . He admitted that the purpose is also to “request, push and nudge the leadership to find a way forward”. He also added that what is needed is innovative thinking to reconcile differences. -DNA India

Oct. 26th: Sify does a story on the Delegation meetings, while Business Line editorial writer B.S. Raghavan talks about Why the US is pushing the deal so hard. Where he estimates the deal could rake in as much as $100billion for the US and “an increasingly powerful India represents a singularly positive opportunity to advance (the US) global interests”. Great piece I thought.

The Times of India also ran an editorial piece by Sumit Ganguly entitled "Save the Nuclear Deal". The piece gave great insight from a real scholar on US-Indian relations

The abrupt halt in the quest to move the nuclear deal into a safe harbour has now cast serious doubt about the willingness and ability of any government in New Delhi to act in a responsible, predictable and reliable fashion. -Sumit Ganguly

Oct. 27th: The Australian Reports
that as the nuclear deal seems to go sour the worst reports are coming out that could be troubling for India's leading party and PM Singh.

REPORTS that India's redoubtable Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seriously considered resigning this week are among the most disturbing recent developments in international politics. -The Australian

As the roller coaster of this deal and the Indian leadership continues it seems that the parties continue to value political destruction versus building whats good and right for the country. This report deeply saddens me as I agree with Mr. Ganguly, this could serious prevent strong relations between the US-India in the future.

Oct. 28th: And the roller coaster continued with Henry Kissinger being interviewed by CNN-IBN watch the video below where he pretty much proclaims a failing of the deal would be worse for the US.

The interview is pretty good as Kissinger really puts the deal into perspective, something Secretary Boucher and Congressman McDermott had assured to USINPAC at a briefing back on September 18th. The deal as important as it is to India is more important to the US and would just be a minor setback in the future of US-India relations.

The Hindustan Times also did a piece somewhat recapping the delegation, recalling how the Indian American leaders became Conduits between the opposition parties in India.
To sum up the delegation in one line is a quote from Sanjay Puri to the newspaper.

"We are taking the message back to Washington that the prime minister is committed to the deal, but it is in a delicate situation," said Puri.

Oct. 29th: Indian Ambassador to the US, Ronan Sen is going to testify before the Lok Sabha in India. CNN-IBN Captures it below.

I will try to brief on this as it happens.

He was concerned that with 2008 being the presidential election year, it would be difficult to shepherd legislation with congressmen and senators distracted by campaigning.

"Time is an enemy," stressed Puri, who was concerned that the next occupier of White House may not be as enthusiastic a backer for the nuclear deal as the incumbent.

-Hindustan Times October 28th.

Time is the problem as the future president won't care as much about this deal and presidential politics well can complicate things. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds. Below are some blog links as well to some interesting articles I found.

India Blitz: Nuclear Deal
E-News India
India Times

-Varun Mehta

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

USINPAC BU Students Active at Obama Rally

On October 23rd Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced his Support and Endorsement for Presidential Hopeful Barack Obama. This event featured a large rally with both Patrick and Obama in attendance and students from the USINPAC Boston University Campus Committee were volunteering and in attendance. Helping to promote the rally and getting there in attendance we were fortunate enough to stand right behind these two great leaders of today. A video is below where you can see us at the rally!

Over 11,000 showed up to this event in the Boston Common and it played to be a huge endorsement for Obama considering Patrick worked under the Clinton Administration and was endorsed and supported by former President Bill Clinton himself.


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Jindal Wins Louisiana Governor's Race

Moments ago Indian-American Bobby Jindal was declared the winner of the governor’s race for Louisiana. Read the full article here.

Jindal, a republican, needed to win a 50% majority to avoid a runoff in November and won with 53% of the vote.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Clinton vs. Giuliani: "Hillary's already won it..."

Source: Real Clear Politics

As national media focuses even more on the top to candidates as the race gets closer to the early primary states, Hillary vs. Rudy seems to be the topic of every discussion. Giuliani seems to attack Hillary in almost every speech pretty much telling the republican base, I can beat her! As national polls continue to match up Hillary vs. Rudy, even most republicans believe that only Giuliani is strong enough to beat Hillary.

In what seems to be the first attack from the Clinton Campaign against her leading GOP competitor, Mark Penn, leading startegist for Hillary for President, says essentially Hillary has already beat Rudy.

"We started in New York about seven or eight [percentage points] behind; when he dropped out we were seven or eight ahead," Mark Penn said, referring to — and perhaps overstating — polls from Clinton's 2000 Senate race against Giuliani. "We have gone through a cycle with Giuliani."

From Politico Article

This is very interesting attack on the Giuliani as it makes Republicans remember this element of Giuliani's history that Rudy hopes they forget. Nothing would energize the Republican base more than Hillary Clinton as the Democratic Nominee, to them she represents all things Liberal. The Republicans though are in it to really win it, stick it to Hillary and in turn Bill as well, a vision that many conservatives I'm sure dream about. Rudy is suppose to be that guy, being the protector of NY, a vision for a safe terrorist free America and with lower taxes what Republican won't love him? Well as great as all those elements are if there is any light into the fact that the Republcian Nominee CAN'T beat Hillary they will lose hope.

This isn't good for Rudy, with Romney leading in the Early Primary States and Huckabee and McCain growing in popularity I think the schedule works against Rudy from the getgo. Then bringing light to the fact that Giuliani has already lost a battle to Hillary in NY will surely turn off many conservatives. As we continue to move forward what you see is that the Republican race is very much in the air. These next few months really will show if the strong national support Rudy has can translate into key state primaries and with republican heartland voters.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Brownback Drops Out, Huckabee to Gain?

Several news sources are reporting that Senator Brownback of Kansas is dropping his bid for the Whitehouse. This is the the second recent GOP candidate to drop, the first being Former Health & Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson.

The race is really starting to enter prime time as the money end of the game is really starting to take over. By Friday Senator Brownback isn't expected to have more than $95,000 cash on hand and although only plays 2% of the polls, really drummed up a great deal of the support with the Evangelical Christians. This foundation of the republican party has yet to find a solid candidate that aligns with their views and identity and it seems that Mike Huckabee is picking up from the demographic.

Huckabee has all to gain from Brownback dropping out in both votes and financial. He has consistently been second to Romney in Iowa polls, whose success is credited to the over 10,000 ad spots his campaign has purchased to raise awareness and profile for Mitt Romney. Huckabee appeals to the conservative voters and as governor of Arkansas can claim to have the executive experience needed to run the country.

Can Huckabee gain from this? What do you think?


Common Ground - By Raj Verma

Back to Fundamentals

In response to last week’s USINPAC Quick Vote on whether the U.S. Constitution and American form of government was founded on Christian principles, the answer must be undeniably in the affirmative. What is remarkable to observe in our society is the degree of outrage and animosity displayed by some individuals and groups when a public official makes a statement affirming the idea that this country was founded on Christian principles. These groups find this assertion offensive and an affront to their own religious expression. More and more, we see an exaggerated sensitivity among various groups who deny the historical facts of this nation’s heritage. To say that this country was not founded on Christian principles and/or beliefs is tantamount to saying that the Apollo space mission to the moon was actually a bogus plot that was captured on film in the desert of Arizona. While the Constitution and American form of government was forged primarily out of a compromise among competing articulations of an effectively governed society and political expediency, nevertheless it is absolutely true that the Constitution rests on Christian principles. In turn, this is not to state that non-Christians in a democratic society cannot be leaders or stewards of democratic principles, nor does it imply that we are strictly a ‘Christian-nation’. It appears that we all too often are over-sensitive to public statements that simply iterate the historical truth about the nation’s heritage and foundation, which by all measures, has been eminently successful. Many times, we attempt to replace statements about faith, principles and values grounded in Christianity as remarks that condemn and submerge other religious groups. This should not and is not the case. Rather, by affirming the intellectual honest answer that the Constitution and American form of government possesses clear Christian principles, we can still have an ideologically diverse society, reconciled by the fact that universally-acknowledged values, albeit Christian values, drive our nation’s glory and not to the exclusion of other religious or non-religious groups.

The Founding Fathers of the American Constitution fully recognized, not by their own personal desire, but out of necessity, that a peaceful, organized, and enriched democratic society could not withstand the forces of divisiveness and depravity that exists as part of human nature unless a higher authority was invoked. In devising the Constitution, these ‘wise men’ did not simply grasp principles out of thin air. Rather, the Founding Fathers were entrenched in Christian intellectual thought (even though some of the Founding Fathers claimed to be Deists) and others were Christians themselves. The enormous pitfalls and political devastation in Europe prior to 1776 illustrates the perspective and context by which the American form of government and Constitution was crafted. Although the Founding Fathers were fully aware of the harm placed on a society that constructed government as a purely religious institution, unduly indoctrinating their constituents, the key issue that was to be addressed in crafting the document was recognizing the nature of humanity and what kinds of principles and beliefs accurately reflected human behavior. The Christian principles of human depravity and dignity were extracted from the Bible to influence the Constitution and American form of separate but equal government, precisely because these principles accurately reflected what was observed in the human condition. Furthermore, the written statements of James Madison, John Adams, and Daniel Webster, among others, evidence the principles of Christianity in the Constitution (although the term ‘God’ is not displayed in the Constitution itself, rather, the principles of Christianity are firmly exhibited). James Madison, considered the ‘architect of the Constitution,’ noted, “We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all our political institutions on the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves, according to the Ten Commandments of God.”

Whether it be religiously inspired or culturally inscribed, the average and common citizen can agree on universally acknowledged values that the Constitution rests upon. The principles of human depravity and dignity, respect for authority and rule of law, among others, are favorably recognized among many other religious and non-religious citizens. As a result, citizens from any religious or non-religious faith can emerge as leaders of this country, whether it be as board member of the local school district, to President of the United States, as long as that person can be held responsible for safeguarding the democratic and Christian principles and values enshrined in the Constitution.

It is important, as a nation, not to become overly-sensitive to comments made by public officials or private citizens who remark about the foundation of this country’s heritage as ‘Christian-based’. Hindus, Mormons, Muslims, Sikhs, and atheists should not feel alarmed or threatened when a statement is made that ‘this country is founded on Christian principles’. The statement is a recognition of what is (a fact)-good or bad- and in that sense can only be good, because this country has progressed over the course of 200 years to fully accommodate the different views, perspectives, and beliefs of a variety of people, without compromising its foundational elements. Of course, it is entirely appropriate to condemn and exercise outrage when public statements about a particular people and their beliefs are made in condescending fashion, such as the case with political candidate George Allen’s reference to Indian-Americans as ‘Maccaccas’. But to smuggle in the course of discussion legitimate statements made about this country’s Christian heritage into the category of Allen’s reprehensible remarks is misguided and unworthy, because it debases the truth and historical facts to that of lies and half-truths. The interpretation of many non-Christian groups about public statements made about the country’s heritage as an assault on their own beliefs is quite odd, and sadly, unnecessary. In the final analysis, we need only agree that the principles of this country, whether or not one believes are derived from Christianity, are effective and have successfully produced excellent citizens, and that to continue on this positive trend, we need moral and virtuous leaders (Christian or non-Christian) to safeguard these principles and values- the very principles that make this country unique and enriched.

Raj Verma, JD/MPA
Blog Contributor

Raj Verma is the President of the Future Leaders Council for USINPAC. He currently resides in Washington DC.