Tag Archives: Mitt Romney

Presidential Polls: The Journey to the White House and Rashtrapati Bhavan

Guest post by Madhu Nair

Just a day ago the elected representatives of the Republic of India cast their vote to elect the 13th President of the country. While Presidential polls have so far been a low key affair, the recent showdown between the ruling Congress party and the self-declared Presidential nominee PA Sangma has taken the whole process to an all new level. The government’s nominee and Ex-Finance Minister Mr. Pranab Mukherjee has won hands down, Ex-Speaker Mr. Sangma had put up a very brave front. The Presidential polls have never been such a talked about issue as the chair was usually seen as a rubber stamp post until Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam changed the face of Presidency. His reservations in the Office of Profit bill had the government see red and since then all political parties have been actively involved in the process.

While the Indians take to the button, the stage is set for a heated showdown in the United States between President Barack Obama, the Democrat nominee and Mitt Romney, Former Governor of Massachusetts and the Republican candidate. With the Supreme Court giving thumbs up to the ambitious healthcare reform or Obamacare, the President is beaming with confidence which has left the Republicans fuming. Issues like immigration, economy, foreign policy, energy and environmental affairs have become the burning topics where both Obama and Romney have been trying to score points one over the other. While Romney had given Obama a run for his money initially, recent polls indicate the needle to be slightly in favor of President Obama. But that can never cast a shadow over the fight between the two most powerful people in the country. Finally, it will all come down to November when they slug it out in the fight round.

Though both India and America share being the largest democracies in the world, the chair of the President has a lot of difference. While the American President controls the government and has a greater role in governance, the President of India has limited powers when it comes to having a say in the governance of the country. As both the countries get ready to welcome their new President, here is a brief comparison between the Presidents of the two countries.


President of India

President of the United States

He is a figurehead. The real executive power is vested in the Prime Minister.

He is the real head of the executive.

Appoints the Prime Minister and other ministers based on the PM’s recommendation.

The members of the cabinet are nominated by the President.

Bound to follow the advice of the cabinet.

Not bound to follow the advice of the cabinet.

Has no vote power.

Has veto power.

Has a term of 5 years.

Has a term of 4 years.

Indian President represents Parliamentary Democracy.

American President represents Presidential Democracy.

Elected by indirect election by a special process known as “Electoral College”.

Elected practically by direct elections.

May be re-elected as many times as possible.

Can function for only two terms.


Santorum’s Rise: the Republicans’ Fall

Statistics from the recent Iowa GOP caucus revealed Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum to be in the lead, with a disparity of a mere eight votes separating the first and second place candidates. But statistics are but numbers and do not reveal the true victor of the GOP contenders’ cage-fight debates. The true GOP victor is not the newly ‘reborn’ Rick Santorum; it is not former President Bill Clinton’s congressional adversary, Newt Gingrich; it is not the neo-John Winthrop of contemporary Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, either.

The true victor? Obama. Indeed, the view from the White House looks electorally fortuitous. Despite a low approval rating surfing around 42% (Gallup.com), Obama may have the upper-hand in the 2012 presidential elections as the beneficiary of a split right-wing vote. Two decades ago, when the senior George W. Bush attempted his reelection as president, Ross Perot’s conservative independent candidacy divided the right-wing vote, subsequently allowing Democratic Bill Clinton to break the successful conservative legacy created by Ronald Reagan. Even with talks of the hitherto declining and ‘forgetful’ Rick Perry running as an independent candidate, proclaiming a literally divided vote as in 1992 seems far-stretched. More likely, however, may be an out-of-touch, overly radical Republican candidate as a whole.

But how? For one, many analysts and individuals like to focus in on the main ‘anchors’ of the GOP presidential contenders, namely Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich – the already well established and usually well (poll-wise) performing candidates. But the Iowa caucus has proven one significant plus for Obama: the GOP’s nomination is still up for grabs, an impetus for further competition. Rick Santorum was relatively a nobody, trailing behind the main anchors of the GOP with poll ratings not even in the double digits. For him to come second, and by a paltry eight votes too, shows that even for the underdogs, the coveted Republican nomination is up for grabs; the ‘anchors’ of the GOP may not individually hold the political muscle they are thought to have.

Thus far, the competition has unleashed devastating effects for many of the candidates, and as one candidate after another gets slammed, the others recoup to reclaim their shot. Newt Gingrich’s brief rise was followed by negative ad campaigns and questioning over past consulting work. Herman Cain’s lead over even Romney was followed by a crippling affair scandal (although Cain has since then suspended his bid). With each case, former supporters of one candidate swing over with little hesitation, rousing up competitors’ optimism. This newfound determination and hope adds fire to an already hot GOP contest. Santorum’s near-victory in Iowa surged nearly two million dollars in fundraising in two days (CNN.com), indicating that there is newfound trust and belief behind the neophyte senator.
Ultimately, no matter how much rhetoric comes to pass in support of Santorum, his bid is still up in the air; the Republican Party has tended to favor its more experienced comrades in the past, and Santorum’s two million dollars is petty-change compared to Romney’s $32.2 million (ABCnews.go). But Santorum’s new stardom will bring about even more negative inter-GOP rhetoric for the nomination, it will bring out or create more scandals, and, more importantly on the long run, it will push the candidates further right to woo their party for the nomination.

On the faithful day when the smoke clears for a clear GOP presidential candidate, it may be too late to for the Republicans to center up and get the American people’s moderate vote.
Indeed, score one, Obama.