Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Gandhi for President

Bad Taste Political Analysis

NEW DELHI (Reuters) -- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi has studied the latest poll results and decided he could wait no longer. He announced through a medium that he is forming an exploratory committee that wild help him decide whether to run for President of the United States.

In a prepared statement, Gandhi emphasized that he has never equivocated in his advocacy of non-violence as a means of resolving conflicts – in stark contrast to Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Bringing a swift end to the Iraq War is expected to Gandhi’s principal campaign promise.

Some political analysts question whether an Indian national is qualified to run for U.S. president. But opinions differ.

The movement to qualify California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as a potential presidential candidate opens the door to other foreign-born politicians like Gandhi, said Ralph Kramden, a politican science professor at the Gleason Institute of International Studies in the Bronx.

“Gandhi is a living legend and the celebrity status thing wins elections these days,” Kramden said. “So long has he can raise the money to buy television airtime, he’s in the race. If he gets the big bucks, he can say, 'How would you like a trip to the moon, Hillary? Pow! Right in the kisser.'”

However, the failure of the would-be future president to make public appearances over the past six decades has many Washington insiders shaking their heads. Ben Kingsley, a spokesman for Gandhi’s campaign committee said it was premature to draw any conclusions about the fitness of the political maverick to endure the rigors of the campaign trail.

Is Gandhi, who will run as an independent, electable? Or will his past practices of civil disobedience, illegal salt gathering and non-cooperation in prison spoil his chances in the primary season, when a candidate's record and personal history are scoured by weasels in the media to discover skeletons in closets.

“Bapu has no skeletons to hide other than his own,” Kingsley said. "His body is wasting away, but we can't promise he won't go on a hunger strike if he feels his message is misunderstood."

The conventional wisdom is that Gandhi will not be viewed as a serious contender for the 2008 election, but will use his campaign as a bully pulpit to promote his controversial views on peace.

Gandhi is rumored to have been a member of India's radical leftist Congress Party, but has disavowed any association with Stalinism. Reports that he once paraded through the streets of New Delhi wearing only a loin cloth could not be corroborated.