musings on music, travel, books, and life from Southeast Asia

Primary Politics

In the New York Times last week, columnist Frank Bruni provided readers with a deliciously cutting analysis of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his flip-floppy tendency of changing — or adjusting — his position on various issues:


But if Romney nabs the nomination, his malleability may be an asset, allowing Obama-soured voters to talk themselves into him. After all, a creature without passionate conviction doesn’t cling to extremes. He surveys the scenery and makes sure his outfit doesn’t clash.


That hits the nail on the head! Looking at the dysfunctional field of freakish candidates for president in the Republican Party this year, most of whom are religious nuts from the far right wing, Romney is considered by most pundits to be the “most electable.” He certainly has the best hair. But amongst that motley crew, Jon Huntsman appears to be the most sane and intelligent of the bunch. Of course “sane and intelligent” are hardly apt descriptions for most politicians nowadays, and certainly no indicator of electability. Money still talks, and makes all the difference in the outcome. Americans may like to crow about their “free and fair” democratic process, but the reality is that elections are all still governed — and won — by big money.


Here in Thailand, the political scene is equally weird and warped, the participants more akin to the revolving cast in a bad TV soap opera. This year will see former politicians from the disbanded Thai Rak Thai party worm their way back into greasy grid when their five-year ban from politics expires;  although that ban didn’t stop many of them from operating from the sidelines as very active advisors, or acting as “persons of influence” in recent years.


Just last week an MP from Thailand’s Democrat Party was charged with murdering a rival politician from the Pheua Thai Party (they prefer to now spell it Pheu, which is as idiotic as their policies). This being Thailand, however, the murder suspect has used his MP status to avoid arrest and has failed to respond to two court orders demanding that he furnish two pieces of evidence in the case — those being his pickup truck and a Glock gun. When investigators when to the MP’s home on Sunday, the suspect’s mother told them that her son wasn’t at home and “did not wish to receive” the court order. Oh, to have such options!


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