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What is Sarah Palin doing in India?

Soutik Biswas | 19:00 UK time, Friday, 18 March 2011

Sarah Palin

 

What is Sarah Palin doing in India? The former vice-presidential nominee and Alaska governor is famously travel-shy and a largely unknown entity in the subcontinent.

Though her reality Alaska TV show premiered this month (aired on Monday nights) it doesn't appear to have been a hit with audiences addled on political scandals, cricket and soap. People are not even sure what Ms Palin knows about and thinks of India. "I am very excited to visit India," she has been quoted as saying in what appears to be her only observations on the country so far. "Americans have a great respect for the world's largest democracy."

Ms Palin, who arrives in India barely three months after President Obama's high-octane visit, is a key speaker at a glittering annual conclave organised by India Today Group, a large media conglomerate. She shares this widely-attended mega-talkfest with such speakers as Germaine Greer and Fatima Bhutto, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Niall Ferguson and Mohammed ElBaradei.

The theme of the conclave is "the changing balance of power". India Today owner-editor Aroon Purie believes America's supremacy is being challenged. "A feisty former vice-presidential nominee from America," said Mr Purie, while opening the conclave, "who will be our gala night speaker [on Saturday] will surely disagree with this."

Clearly, there are high expectations of Ms Palin, who will speak about her vision of America.

Whether or not Ms Palin knows much about India, few Indians know what she stands for. On a frenzied Internet debate on the conclave site, a woman participant says it would be "interesting" to have a woman in the White House "after a black president". She is promptly admonished by another respondent - gender unclear - who writes: "Shaking my head at the naive casual support thrown by a woman to a woman who does not support rights of women such as the right to her own body." Please "familiarise yourself with Sarah Palin [and] her political views," implores the writer.

But to put Ms Palin's appearance at a private Indian conclave down to a sizeable fee - the organisers are reported to have paid thousands of dollars to marquee speakers such as Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and Pervez Musharraf in the past - and a paid holiday, might be unfair.

Indian commentator Pranay Gupte, who describes the conclave as the "biggest private-sector megaphone in the world's largest democracy", says Ms Palin's journey to India is an important one: she will be able to discover how politics works in the subcontinent, seek to deepen her "geopolitical education" about South Asia, experience the "colours" of India and hear from Indians their concerns about China's rise.

The media coverage of Ms Palin's visit has so far been subdued, though one expects things will heat up over the weekend, when she makes her appearance.

The Times of India wonders whether the trip is a build-up to a White House bid in 2012. Others back home take the opposite view. A blog in The New Hampshire Union Leader, the leading newspaper in a state that hold's the US's first primary, speculates that Ms Palin's visit means that she is not interested in contesting the elections. The blogger Andrew Cline writes he finds it difficult to believe that "someone who makes a trip to India a higher priority than a trip of New Hampshire is a serious presidential candidate". So, he writes, "chalk this up as one more bit of evidence that she's probably not running". A Huffington Post cartoon is acerbic - one of the characters in it says that Ms Palin is going to India "probably because she can't see it from her house in Alaska" (a reference to an ABC interview in 2008, when she talked about Russia being visible from an Alaskan island).

But what is quite certain is that Ms Palin will be well received. As a rank newcomer, she has novelty value with the audiences. Also, as analysts like Gupte say, India loves women leaders - India's most powerful leader is Sonia Gandhi, the Congress party chief and daughter-in-law of Indira Gandhi, the country's most powerful prime minister ever. Indians also have traditionally loved Republicans. So while Ms Palin's journey to India may never be fully explained - unless she comes clean to the Delhi glitterati in audience on Saturday night - it will possibly end up provoking a lot of interest. To mop up that kind of attention in the world's largest democracy cannot be a bad thing for any aspiring US presidential candidate.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.


    Will Sarah be returning to Alaska via Scotland? I can make myself available for dinner and ceilidh dancing at very short notice.

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    She is there only to collect her speaking fees. Sarah is only interested in her bank account and feeding her ego.

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    I just don't understand this comment "Indians also have traditionally loved Republicans." How many Indians did Mr. Soutik Biswas survey or ask before making such a comment?
    More than anything, I would characterize Palin as a misfit for the Presidency of the United States, as well as to be the main speaker at this forum!

  • Comment number 6.

    To understand Palin's grasp of foreign policy you don't have to go any further than her contribution to solving the BP oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico; and I quote, "well it just goes to show you can't trust foreigners". Well said madam half-term governor.

  • Comment number 7.

    The photograph you have of Palin portrays her perfectly... a loud mouth full of hot air.

  • Comment number 8.

    BOO PALIN.
    what is she tryint to do? prove this time she knows where India is? and that she can differentiate between India and Pakistan? Go back. We dont want you in India.

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    With a little luck, maybe she will move to India.

  • Comment number 11.

    Wonder if she knew where it is before she went. Actually wonder if she knows now she's been!

  • Comment number 12.

    Outside of a few (quickly dwindling) "Tea Party" diehard fans, Palin isn't taken seriously by U. S. citizens anymore. In fact, she has become a joke to most Americans, so India is kind of late to the party if they are wanting to get excited about her potential as a leader. She doesn't have a chance of winning the U. S. general election in 2012. However, I'm sure that she appreciates India helping her stretch her fifteen minutes of fame.

  • Comment number 13.

    Hey, why does the BBC always use such flattering pictures of Sarah Palin - would you have an agenda by any chance?

  • Comment number 14.

    She probably thinks she's visiting Indiana

  • Comment number 15.

    I think our Politicians, Journalists will have to learn lot from Sara Palin.
    I am not sure about Mr.Biswas statement that "Indians traditionally love Republicans". What is the source for this? Is this his personal opinion?

  • Comment number 16.

    liz11biz wrote:With a little luck, maybe she will move to India.

    Well liz, I am sure Indians don't want her there, as she might well become Prime Minister of India! Unfortunately, India does not have laws in its constitution that can prevent a foreign born person from become a PM!
    Italian-born Sonia Gandhi was a heartbeat away from becoming the Prime Minister!
    Palin's moving to India might be good riddance for the Americans but not so good for India. On second thought, she might be testing the waters for a run to some office in India!

  • Comment number 17.

    What these countries have failed to verify is that we here in the US have agreed to let Palin return.

    It solves a problem. We all want to see what happens if Palin runs a country. We just don't want it to be ours.

  • Comment number 18.

    $arah is in it for $arah, lots of money to shoot off her mouth about lots of topics that she knows nothing about. She does not represent America fortunatly, just some of the right wing nutters.

  • Comment number 19.

    Comeon friends!!! Poor woman has not yet spoken.
    I am not a big fan of hers but I think she is being treated unfairly in this forum.
    We should be open to alternate views (at least to listen). We can disagree all we want.
    I cant believe how authoritatively Sautik Biswas writes about India. He is literally out of touch with India. His blog is amusing. I read it. Enjoy it. Dont necessarily agree with it.

  • Comment number 20.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 21.

    I do not know how Sautik got his fact that "Indians also have traditionally loved Republicans". I think most of the Indians prefer Democrats to Republicans (just like many of the immigrant communities in US). Am I wrong here?

    Btw, Ms Palin will find lots of encouragement for her upcoming presidential fight (in case she decides to contest) from so many ignorant and idiots to win "democratic" elections in this largest democracy of the world. I hope she will meet "great" Indian women "leaders" like Mayawati, Mamata, Sonia, Jayalalitha etc before Ms Palin finalize her strategy for her presidential fight.

  • Comment number 22.

    i believe Sarah was the first one to say no fly zone over libya.. if she is not in the republican primaries no one will watch the debates. listen republicans have her in the debates and the whole world will watch. then you can expose the fraud in the whitehouse,and win.

  • Comment number 23.

    Sarah Palin unfortunately does not understand American history or politics let alone to expect that she will get even a superficial understanding of the very opaque politics of India, It is just not to be expected. The fact that she has not yet been dismissed out of hand as an uninformed, wholly unqualified opportunistic talking head is really astonsihing to me as an American.

    John McCain rues the day his team picked her and now she basks in the limelight for what? Her grasp of issues? Her understanding of how the world works? Her frame of reference is to quit half way through her term in office as Governor to go on a money grubbing book tour and reality TV spree as a paid Fox TV commentator.

    Seriously. Is this how large portions of the Earth's population are supposed to be governed. It is a joke but there seems to be no last punchline.

    India is a fantastic country with grinding poverty, despite high rates of GDP growth, and pervasive corruption at every level in society. This is not a criticism, it is an observation. Sarah Palin has less than nothing to offer an audience in India, she is so far removed from international political affairs. She is a novelty, nothing more and perhaps far less.

  • Comment number 24.

    Palin being the Republican nominee for president in 2012 would be tantamount to the GOP giving President Obama a second term, all wrapped up in a gift box with a ribbon and bow.

  • Comment number 25.

    I agree with the above comments that criticize Mr. Biswas's assertion that "Indians also have traditionally loved Republicans." Did Mr. Biswas have some evidence for this statement? Given the xenophobia that plagues the Republican Party in the U. S., does Mr. Biswas realize how ridiculous that sounds to U. S. voters who are actively fighting racism/xenophobia at home?

  • Comment number 26.

    Dear BBC and Soutik: I hope that this part of a "Before and After" feature, where you show local Indian people's views on her before she opens her mouth...then interview them all AFTER she speaks. I would especially love it if you could take pictures of the pained and bewildered expressions on their faces after walking out of the conference hall where she's giving her speech. You will make my day!

  • Comment number 27.

    Typo correction: In my comment above I asked, "Did Mr. Biswas have some evidence for this statement?" I meant, "Does Mr. Biswas have some evidence for this statement?"

  • Comment number 28.

    My goodness. She's getting attention here on BBC as well? When will I enjoy surfing the web knowing that I'm "Palin free"?

  • Comment number 29.

    Please,

    Could the "Features & Analysis" be kept to relevant topics, such as the
    state of the world.... following a failed politician is not in anyones best interest, especially those in need, not greed.

  • Comment number 30.

    23. At 9:34pm on 18 Mar 2011, Terrance Barkan CAE

    well said.

  • Comment number 31.

    Sarah will do anything that involves media coverage and appearance fees. I suspect, however, that the conference will realize quite quickly that it has wasted its money, in this case!

  • Comment number 32.

    Thankyou Terrance

  • Comment number 33.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 34.

    People in India:
    It's not a language barrier. We can't understand her either.

  • Comment number 35.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 36.

    I live in the USA and have observed and read much of Sarah Palin.
    She seems to be incapable of representing the views of moderate Americans, including Republicans, who appear to be ashamed and embarrassed by her antics and rhetoric in her very obvious chase for the $$$.
    I worked as a VP in Germany for several years. They have a wonderful way of "cutting to the quick" and have a saying.
    " If 5 reasonable people around a table point at a 6th stating that that person is an idiot then rest assured that it is true."
    Case closed

  • Comment number 37.

    Hi good people!
    Her Tea party have run out of tea over there in the USA, So Sarah Palin`s mission to India,is as you all knows, and she had been well informed that India have the best tea in the world. So she`s just here to purchase some nice aromatic tea for there next tea party convension in the USA. He`s just a new tea costomer,and nothing else.

  • Comment number 38.

    Except for a few USA citizens India is a lot more important then New Hampshire. Most certainly for a president of the USA.

  • Comment number 39.

    I hope Palin does not talk about her views on sex education, gay marriage, abortion, and feminism because we all know her views are anti-feminist, and India does not need to hear any more conservative views. Indians support democracy and need to make the country a safe place for everyone regardless of a person's sex, sexual orientation, religion, caste, etc. And choosing a woman for a leader certainly does not mean that woman leader will work toward advancing women's rights; it is important to choose the right leader based on intellect and talent, regardless of the person's sex.

  • Comment number 40.

    Your finger on the pulse of America is quite biased---there are millions of us who support the articulate speaking of Sara. you seem to be in the flow of the progressive main stream media. Your hit piece articles flow off our back like water on a duck! So your ranting is meaningless to the heartland of America--oh, how long did you have to search for such an unflattering photo??!!!

  • Comment number 41.

    85% of folks have no clue about Sarah Palin. If you're clueless don't feel bad, the media in the United States is fawningly submissive to Obama since Oprah introduced him to the public years ago and angrily agressive to everyone Republican. The UK media, is refreshingly factual about Palin, although they also feel reflexive about mentioning her speaking fees. When was the last time the media mentioned Bill Clinton's fees?
    A few facts:
    -Palin is almost singlehandly responsible for the Dems being crushed last November.
    -Used a Blackberry to harness Facebook and Twitter to harrass Obama daily for 2 years and is the only "politician" the White House immediately responds to.
    -Pegged Obamacare for what it is - an unhealthily obscene decrease in healthcare quality while quadrupling the cost.
    -A terrific state executive forced to resign because the Dems hit her with frivolous daily formal complaints which was bankrupting her family.
    -If you think I am making all this up, check it yourself online. And why are the media covering her if she's an idiot who has no clue?

  • Comment number 42.

    She will be well received until such time as she opens her mouth, I suspect.

  • Comment number 43.

    "Indians also have traditionally loved Republicans."!! Since when? Mr.Biswas, this reader has a lot of respect for you as a journalist. In this case however, you have tripped over yourself!

    This reader has a very simple explanation why Ms. Palin may very well hit it off with Indians. Since Bollywood culture is so hugely popular (according to some detractors it takes an IQ less than one's show size to understand the theme of a Bollywood movie) in India, her folksy presentation should also fit perfectly.

  • Comment number 44.

    I think she has been invited as humor entertainment. The Indian people will laugh at her as an example of the worst of American culture.

  • Comment number 45.

    Who thought Sarah Palin will be a good speaker..she has less information of her country, how can she do this .even a yr8 student in India would be smarter than her...you have congratulate her speech writer if she does a good job...

  • Comment number 46.

    On behalf of all thoughtful Americans, I apologize to India for Sarah Palin.

  • Comment number 47.

    The first Bush caused an Indian fiscal crisis with the Gulf War, Reagan supported Zia and his Pakistani terrorists, Nixon hated Indira Gandhi with a passion, and was especially close to China and Pakistan. George W. Bush is likely the only Republican any Indian could claim to even be comfortable with, let alone love.

  • Comment number 48.

    Very disappointed. Why is Sarah Palin giving a speech in the same forum with the likes of Mohammed ElBaradei and Niall Fergusson? and most dissapointing, why is BBC featuring Sarah Palin's adventures in the front page? I browse the BBC online news because I think I can escape Palineske type of news...but I guess she is perceived as someone who deserves front page attention, or maybe someone who can increase traffic to the site? Please don't feature her front-center again!

  • Comment number 49.

    46. At 01:08am on 19 Mar 2011, Rambova wrote:
    On behalf of all thoughtful Americans, I apologize to India for Sarah Palin.
    ---------------------------------
    Do not worry about that. India have seen mostly Palin type politicians and we are habituated with such speakers. In fact, we get mainly those in our politics. It may be a study tour for Palin to judge her political future in India.

  • Comment number 50.

    On behalf of all fair thinking Americans, I'd like to apologize for all the rude, crude, and thoughtless comments that have been posted regarding Sarah Palin. Considering how often those on the left side of the political spectrum are so fond of telling the rest of us we need to be more open minded, it disappoints me at their lack of open mindedness. But I guess I shouldn't be too surprised. They tend to be more along the lines of "do as I say, not as I do" sort of people.

    Oh, and I think the the picture, BBC chose to put up, sucks.

  • Comment number 51.

    She would never have chosen to go there. Must have misread the invitation, thought it was Indiana.

  • Comment number 52.

    well, theres a huge radiation plume heading towards north america, and if theres a meltdown, its only going to get worse..where would you go?.. the palins are there..david rockefeller is there with his childern and grandchildren..bill gates is there..warren buffet is heading there soon...im contemplating a plane ticket...

  • Comment number 53.

    Sarah Palin is to the USA what Maggie Thatcher was to the UK. Both ladies have suffered incredibly ignorant abuse from people who, I dare say, are as ignorant as their insulting comments. I remember when Maggie Thatcher was maligned and criticized for everything from her voice to her handbag. Yet, she went on to be the best PM since Churchill.
    If Sarah Palin decides to run I will definitely vote for her. Oh, and by the way, I am an intelligent American citizen but was born and raised in England so I am in a unique position to compare Sarah Palin and Maggie Thatcher. One thing I can say for sure - after 2 years of Obama's socialism which has brought America almost to it's knees, not to mention his total lack of leadership, this country is more than ready for a female who has more guts than all the men put together.

  • Comment number 54.

    Why has Mr.Biswas found it necessary to focus on something quite as trivial as Sarah Palin's impending appearance in a talk fest?
    It might be relevant if, at a future date, the India Today conference itself was discussed, and the opinions and impacts of the speakers, including Palin was discussed in detail.
    But just discussing the fact of her presence in a conference seems to be more suited as a topic of polite banter than worthy of a debate on a BBC forum.
    There are some very interesting and defining moments in Indian polity right now; the Wikileaks exposure on the levels of corruption in various levels of the Indian Government, for instance. It is a crucial development which needs to be amplified on such an international forum, as the power of this media as a tool of social change is unquestionable.
    Sarah Palin's visit to India pales in significance

  • Comment number 55.

    Shame !shame! shame ! on indian media; ifyou want to invite controversial speakers ,there are plenty in USA; Inviting a cult figure to a nation of intelligentia ,just to get ?attention is a shameful act;I wouldbe surprised to see ifyou can come up with a reason to invite sarah palin.Why dont you invite brittany spears or another reality star "snooki"to decorate your stage; I might prefer "snooki".
    It is sad to see the standard of Indian media come down to this level.You dont need palin to argue in favor of USa might.

  • Comment number 56.

    I recall pakistani president,s awkward comment when hemet sarah palin in DC."your are more gorgeous than in pictures???"hello you are a statesman.Not a salivating john; MAy be you get similar scenario from some indian politician?

  • Comment number 57.

    some one e compared palin to maggie thatcher!!!;that is ignorance;thatcher was a satesman; palin is under educated misinfromed talking head; Please let my nausea subside

  • Comment number 58.

    "A blog in The New Hampshire Union Leader, the leading newspaper in a state that hold's the US's first primary, speculates that [...]"

    The apostrophe in "hold's" is wrong.

  • Comment number 59.

    Sarah Palin continues to polarize opinion. Reading through the comments I am stunned to see an American compare Sarah Palin to Margaret Thatcher.

    Thatcher was a fiercely intelligent Prime Minister serving in various high profile UK government offices. She spent 25 Years as a Politician before she became Prime Minister.

    Palin is a half term governor who quit to make money promoting herself through a moronic reality show and make equally moronic statements from her blackberry.

  • Comment number 60.

    Her invitation was clearly meant to be provocative and stir discussion/debate. That's an acceptable strategy, but do not be misled. Her near complete lack of understanding of the world beyond the US state of Alaska requires you to be prepared for stereotypes of the worst kind, misinformation, and/or total blather to spew from her mouth if she's asked anything about India. So - India media - give it a try and see what you get. Ask her some questions about any current topic of the region. But also remember that she does not represent America or American thought about India. She is simply a representation of her uninformed and very misguided self.

  • Comment number 61.

    Indians will see through her thick skull and send her packing. They are not easily bamboozled by idiots.

  • Comment number 62.

    Didn't they already film the episode of an idiot abroad in India?

  • Comment number 63.

    Perhaps she can condemn the Jesus Jihad being waged in India against Hindus by Christian militant churches in the U.S.
    She should specifically help stop the importation of arms by radical Protestant churches like the Southern Baptists who are funding violent rebellion's in the Northeast and sending arms and funding to Maoists.

  • Comment number 64.

    "ifyou want to invite controversial speakers ,there are plenty in USA"

    Considering the Indian government and media is controlled by powerful radical Christians, it's hardly surprising they would a Christian fanatic like Sarah.



  • Comment number 65.

    Sarah Palin is certainly an interesting personality in American Political scene today. Having lived in US for 40 yrs, I heard her speech in India and have been following her more via msnbc (the democratic view) than fox news or BBC. John McCain selected her as VP candidate to boost his dying Presidential interests prior to the 2008 Elections. She was a Governor, but then had little national political experience beyond her immediate interests. Unluckily she has been ridiculed by experienced journalists. In India her speech and responses to Arun's questions were all frank and honest. Though I voted Democrat, I respect her as any honest American. She is a busy hockey mom who has not aligned her political beliefs and principals with the mainstream yet. She is trying to establish herself in the field and I wish her the best.

  • Comment number 66.

    liz11biz wrote:
    "With a little luck, maybe she will move to India."

    Tell me, what did the poor Indians do to deserve that?
    The Americans were daft enough to get her elected as a Governor and to continue giving her much undeserved credibility, despite her oh so obvious lack of intelligence and milk of human kindness, so let them keep her!

  • Comment number 67.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 68.

    She is good entertainment. She reminds me of Miss South Carolina. Welcome to India, Sarah!

  • Comment number 69.

    Sarah Palin is a hypocrit. Usually that wouldn't be a problem, but in the case of a U.S. representative trying to act as if she is Hillary Clinton, Israel and India should be off limits, especially is she is only traveling because she thinks it is a good opportunity to help her win the White House. If the majority of Americans laugh at her in the United States, how will it help when the international audience laughs at her in India and Israel? This makes Sarah Palin lethal to America's business interests.

    The GOP is scared. Republicans know Sarah Palin is seperating the GOP. Sarah Palin should remember Lloyd Bentsen. Lloyd Bentsen will be remembered for his interchange with Dan Quayle in their vice-presidential debate in 1988, in which Quayle, a Republican senator, compared himself to President Kennedy. Bentsen, a Democratic senator, replied: "Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy, I knew Jack Kennedy, Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you are no Jack Kennedy."


    "Sarah Palin is no Hillary Clinton!"

    Palin is a threat to business relations, diplomatic relations, not to mention that she makes the United States look weak - If not ignorant - Sarah Palin's trip to Israel and India reminds me that she is a Pentecostal Evangelical Christian. Sarah Palin’s blessing against witchcraft was scene by voters across the Internet. Sarah televised her evangelism. Studying Sarah’s past in the fall of 2005, Sarah Palin was running for Governor of Alaska when a Pentecostal Christian minister from Kenyan named Pastor Thomas Muthee rebuked witchcraft when he prayed over Sarah Palin. She asked for this “protection”. Sarah Palin volunteered to be video taped. Pastor Muthee preached several times at Wasilla Assembly of God, Sarah Palin's church for more than two decades. If Sarah Palin is hunting for witches. If she believes that non- Christians run this risk? Should Sarah Palin be preaching in India and Israel right now? Delware voters were surprised when Republican candiate for the Senate Christine O’Donnell came out as a self-proclaimed witch, but Christine O’Donnell was hand picked by Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin gave Christine her Tea Party backed endorsement to run for the vacant Washington DC Senate seat. Many GOP officials were angry because O’Donnell’s drama lost them the Senate seat where Republicans could have gained a majority in the Senate as they won with the House of Representatives. Sarah Palin was to blame. Christine O’Donnell’s quotes were used by comedians - As were Sarah Palin’s quotes.

    Thomas Chi
    Publisher
    Selling Sex with Sarah Palin
    PresidentSarah.Net

  • Comment number 70.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 71.

    May be she can help usher in some "Designer Dress Age" into Indian politics too!!

  • Comment number 72.

    Oh dear lord,I hope she doesn't humiliate us on an international scale. She rarely knows what she is talking about, and tends to speak her mind without knowledge of any facts.

  • Comment number 73.

    To comment # 57 - analiser:
    Yes, I DID compare Palin to Thatcher. I am sorry to disabuse you of your thoughts but I am far from "ignorant" and would suggest that before you make further comments you learn to spell and brush up on your grammar.
    Additionally, I would draw your attention to the fact that Maggie received extremely bad press when she first came onto the scene ... "She found her position frustrating not because of the all of the bad press around her actions, but because she had difficulty getting Prime Minister Edward Heath to listen to her ideas. Seemingly disenchanted on the future of women in politics, Thatcher was quoted as saying “I don’t think there will be a woman prime minister in my lifetime,” during a 1973 television appearance".
    Shortly after this, of course, she went on to become the STATESWOMAN that we all remember. Sarah Palin needs her rough edges smoothed (and who doesn't have those?) and she, too, will become a great stateswoman regardless of whether she becomes President. I have watched her since she burst upon the public scene, have listened to her give policy speeches on "Energy", "Financial Status of the USA" and "Handicapped Children", to mention but a few. I have also read all her books and watched her TV series on Alaska.
    I have also read all Maggie Thatcher's books (I have a signed copy of her autobiography) and will say, yet again, that the 2 women are more alike than not. It's a sad day in our world when people will say anything, regardless of the facts in front of them, to tear down another human being.

  • Comment number 74.

    Hi flossymeg (@ #73)

    A couple of things, since you brought it up, regarding grammar and spelling:

    1. Following a form of to say you'll almost always need a comma: for example: Thatcher was quoted as saying, “I don’t think...."

    2. Small numbers, such as whole numbers smaller than ten, should be spelled out: for example two rather than 2.

    I'm not a grammar expert, but I'm just saying....

  • Comment number 75.

    Quite literally, what is Palin doing in India? Any mama grizzly sightings off late? Or does she intend to entertain us with her literary genius and possibly spice things up with a "misunderestimate" or maybe even a "wee-wee'd up"? Yes #73, very Thatcher like indeed! Then again, maybe India is simply a stop over on her way to meet her North Korean allies. Either way, I'm sure I'll be grinning when it's all over. Note to self- watch speech.

    But seriously, what in heavens name does she have to contribute on "the changing balance of power"?

  • Comment number 76.

    Sarah got 48,000,000,000 votes in 2008. Yeah 48 million. 48 Million Americans love her. Including me...

  • Comment number 77.

    Obama got 51 Million Votes. Thanks to George Soros, who broke the BoE. Oh and the Union thugs in USA and Mainstream Media backed BHO. Now America is 'reaping the whirlwind' she sowed.

  • Comment number 78.

    NevinKnows wrote:

    Sarah got 48,000,000,000 votes in 2008. Yeah 48 million. 48 Million Americans love her. Including me...

    Sums up the intelligence of Palin voters. 48,000,000,000 is 48 BILLION.

    And flossymeg, Palin and Thatcher are not to be compared together. One had a vision, intelligence, worked with overseas leaders, stood her ground and placed a country on a path to improvement. The other is Palin.

  • Comment number 79.

    Thx for the correction No Worries.
    And you got how many votes?
    I think you are here just to insult peple and vent your self loathing.
    Yeah..and you have nothing inspirational or uplifting to add like Sarah.
    SO why do you 'bash and degrade Palin"?
    Because she is succcesful, rich and influential?
    Are you jealous of her success?
    I wish you well dear friend.

  • Comment number 80.

    '"Indians also have traditionally loved Republicans" - Is this Soutik Biswas' view from 30000 feet? Or 30 million feet?

  • Comment number 81.

    As sarah palin is largely an unknown entity in india, her visit will give a opportunity for indian people to know her. Her GENIOUS COMMENTS WOULD enlighten the indians about her great knowledge and ability.

  • Comment number 82.

    I wonder if the writer means Indians living in India or the Indians living in the US( many citizens of US) like Republicans. Both are far from the truth. Many Indians now the younger generation those under 70, do not know or care to learn about Mr Gandhi, Nehru or the sacrifices they made and the cause they fought for.
    Indians in US many well educated do not unfortunately show any interest in what is going on in politics or government. They are so concerned about making money and getting their kids in great colleges.Some do not register to vote like many ill informed Americans. Many who are rich, doctors and Internet millionaires may vote republican and love pictures with the Politicians. But a vast majority of concerned and educated Indians are firmly Democratic, and like other educated here have no admiration for Palin or other light weights, who are in the show business, to make money.Unlike in India politicians are paid, to make speaches even after they have lost their jobs. I cannot think of any one more liked, than Kennedy, Clinton and Obama by Indians everywhere.

  • Comment number 83.

    I am puzzled by this invitation to Ms Palin. A woman who is blessed with neither brains, judgement, experience, nor eloquence, seems a poor choice for such a conclave. Did they do this just to attract some publicity?
    Mr Biswas, I agree with most of your articles and respect you, but the claim that "India loves women leaders" seems a bit of a stretch. Indira Gandhi became PM because she was her father's daughter, and Sonia because of her marriage; not because they were women. Please be a little more cautious before making generalisations.

  • Comment number 84.

    Only those Indians (in US) prefer Republicans mainly for personal business interest. Such "businesses" include joining politics to make money (as a typical Indian learns from its childhood), particularly when other traditionally lucrative businesses are doing doing so well. the trend became more prominent after the recent financial meltdown (in IT, real estate, banking/finance and few other selected sectors where such morally bankrupt Indians typically operate) became less profitable. Many rich Indians involved with cheap, highly exploitable workforce import from India and/or expending their (mostly) cheating businesses in India (in the name of BPO or dirty manufacturing or consulting or non-profit-NGO operations), using all-pervasive corruption and almost non-existent corporate governance in India are the typical support base for Republicans among Indian community in US.
    But to describe that part of Indians (or Indian origin but currently US citizens) living in US as majority is very far away from reality; particularly after mid 90s when hard working and qualified to do specific jobs Indians started coming to US in a mass scale. Although majority of them are mostly naive and only interested in money than contributing to either US or Indian society- but that's a different story.

  • Comment number 85.

    If Palin runs (and I think she will), watch her choice for Vice President. She's a famous quitter, so the VP will likely wind up in charge while she gets a larger fee for traveling around giving speeches. She'll need all the money she can get to pay Todd for continuing as Mr. Sarah instead of running off with a girlfriend.

  • Comment number 86.

    Mr. Biswas's piece has done what every mention of Sarah Palin engenders, a spate of hateful bile from her rabid detractors. The rhetoric displayed by these bloggers, who come out of the rotting woodwork to attack this woman, is disgusting. Could it be that most of them just happen to be from the left side of the body politic, and take great delight in denigrating this woman, who has displayed such grace in the face of these unrelenting attacks. Why don't you just leave her alone! I believe that she won't run for President, but the eventual Republican nominee will see to it that the present occupant of the White House will have to order the moving vans in 2012.

  • Comment number 87.

    What is your problem with Palin going to India? Are you that prejudiced and judgmental about all public personalities or just the people you disagree with or dislike?

    If you start down this road you're going to have to spend every hour of the day slamming yet another world citizen about their global travels. Where was Al Gore last month? And what was he doing there?

    Just wondering.

  • Comment number 88.

    Correction (#84):
    Only those Indians (in US) prefer Republicans mainly for personal business interest. Such "businesses" include joining politics to make money (as a typical Indian learns from its childhood), particularly when other traditionally lucrative businesses are NOT doing so well.

  • Comment number 89.

    Sara complimented the people of India for the continued running of that classic auto race "the Indy 500" and apologised for the mistreatment of Native Americans (formerly known as "Indians")

 

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