June 5, 2006


Indian-Americans Test Their Clout on Atom Pact (MIKE McINTIRE, 6/05/06, NY Times)

Officials in Washington and New Delhi have called the agreement historic, a centerpiece of American-Indian relations. But to many Indian-Americans, the plan is something more personal: a confirmation of India's emergence as a global power. And they see the increasingly contentious battle in Congress as a unique opportunity to demonstrate their budding political influence in their adopted homeland.

Indian-Americans, a small but fast-growing, affluent and well-educated group, are not new to lobbying in Washington. But the proposed nuclear pact has energized them like nothing before. In recent months, Indian-Americans, as well as the Indian government in some cases, have invested heavily in proven political tools that have helped previous immigrant groups break into American politics — hiring lobbyists, organizing fund-raisers and blanketing Capitol Hill with briefings, phone calls and petitions.

"This is the chance to show that the community has matured and can translate that into political effectiveness," said Sanjay Puri, an information technology executive who is chairman of the U.S.-India Political Action Committee, or Usinpac, one of several Indian-American political groups that are working on the issue. [...]

The Bush administration is now pushing for approval in Congress, where a vote is not expected until at least the fall and the outcome is far from certain. Some lawmakers have asserted that the White House should have brought Congress into the loop earlier before striking a deal with India, and the president's low poll numbers have made Republicans less willing to embrace the issue in an election year.

Even reliable allies of the administration, like Senator Richard Lugar, a Republican of Indiana who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, have expressed concern that it will undermine the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. [...]

By 1994, Indian-Americans had raised their political profile enough that House members formed the India Caucus, led by Representative Frank Pallone, a Democrat from New Jersey. Although Indian-Americans have contributed heavily to both Democrats and Republicans, they have tended to favor Republicans, giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to President Bush's campaign in 2004. That year, Bobby Jindal, a Republican from Louisiana, became the first Indian-American elected to Congress in almost 50 years.

You'd think even the Stupid Party wouldn't be stupid enough to screw over a key member of the Anglosphere and an emerging political cohort at home.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 5, 2006 7:55 AM

I'll bet there aren't three senators who've heard of the Anglosphere much less understand its importance. This is where Bush deserves the most criticism. Congressional leadership isn't strong enough. Frist is so weak and limp-wristed, yet I can't think of a replacement who would be an improvement.

Posted by: erp at June 5, 2006 9:38 AM

And all Frist and Hastert do is keep passing the major legislation the president asks for...

Posted by: oj at June 5, 2006 11:53 AM

Mrs. Erp, I think the problem is we don't have enough representives(don't freak! be calm!). Helpin g people who are being ravaged by the bureaucracy is a big, important part of a congressman's job now. The districts are large, and a caring soul could be helping people 24/7 and not get caught up. It's easier for the democrats, the bureaucracy favors them(thank you FDR). I imagine it's hard to keep informed while being bombarded with endless cries of "Save me!". You've seen the bureacracy try to use this tactic againest Bush. Nasty leaks and anomous lies by State and the CIA and others, trying to force Bush to put out brushfires, tying him down so he can't push his agenda. Leading to angry cries from the Right, "Why doesn't he deal with today's scandal!", and "Bush needs to go to the American people!". Appointing Leftists when he got into office and then making them civil service really was a hat trick for FDR.

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at June 5, 2006 1:02 PM

You'd think even the Stupid Party wouldn't be stupid enough to screw over a key member of the Anglosphere and an emerging political cohort at home.

I don't know, the port deal and immigration reform suggest that you're wrong.

Posted by: David Cohen at June 5, 2006 2:14 PM

Rbt. & oj. I agree with both of you. Bush shouldn't be feeling our pain and the leadership has passed the president's initiatives.

I wonder if many of the bros ever speak to Normal People, i.e., not political junkies like us. NP's read the papers and listen to the news on TV and radio, so all they hear is a constant drumbeat of negativity.

We need strong congressional leadership to put the right (pun intended) spin the president's accomplishments and keep the troops in line.

Posted by: erp at June 5, 2006 3:33 PM

You can't talk politics with normal people because they just don't care. They're too sensible. All they really want is to bomb Iran and Saudi Arabia and take their gas.

Posted by: oj at June 5, 2006 3:38 PM

Help me! I've been thrown into to contact (against my will) with NP's. How can I stop my serotonin levels from slumping and the rage taking over when I hear statements like, and this is verbatim , "I've stopped reading the papers and watching the news because I can't bear waking up every day and learning that more of our brave soldiers have been killed."

I was able to change the subject quickly before she launched into the rest of the leftwing creed. Oh when will these mouth breathers go home so I can return to the safety of my bunker.

Posted by: erp at June 6, 2006 5:10 PM