Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Unbearable Lightness of Raj Peter Bhakta

Somewhere between farce and the absurd lies the congressional campaign of Raj Peter Bhakta.
The 30-year-old Montgomery County resident is running against Democratic incumbent Rep. Allyson Schwartz in Pennsylvania's 13th Congressional District, which sits astride Northeast Philadelphia and the Montco suburbs.
Maybe the word "running" should be in quotes. In political terms, this is a laugher. Bhakta has no money, no visible party support, no new ideas and no chance.
The 13th was redesigned in the 2000 re-apportionment to tilt Republican. Instead, Schwartz, who is a freshman, is the runaway favorite. So it goes.
What Bhakta does bring to the table is celebrityhood, albeit a weak-tea version of it. He appeared on the television show "The Apprentice," in 2004, before being booted off by The Donald in episode seven.
Almost weekly, Raj displays for us the vast difference between being youthful and being juvenile.
Since he got the Republican nomination, Raj has been hamming it up, bringing his flair for self-promotion to bear on a variety of issues. First, he put the spotlight on crime. Now, it is on illegal immigration, though it's more accurate to say that the spotlight is always on Raj. It is the Reality-TV school of politics. In fact, in a exquisite example of life imitating art imitating life, Raj has had a camera crew following him. Their hope is to turn the Raj campaign into a reality TV series. My suggested working title: The Fool.
Given this background, why am I not surprised to see Raj in the news again, this time from the U.S.-Mexican border near Brownsfield, Texas making a point about illegal immigration -- with three elephants in tow, along with a six-piece mariachi band.
Let's pick up an AP dispatch about the stunt:
Bhakta paraded an elephant and the band through the water near the mouth of the Rio Grande along the Texas-Mexico border Tuesday.
"The elephant never made landfall into Mexico, but I tell you something, he could have made 15 laps back and forth, but no one showed up," Bhakta, a Republican, said in yesterday's Brownsville Herald.
Bhakta, who favors construction of a fence along the border, said he was in Brownsville to raise money with friends when he saw a half-dozen men swimming under one of the international bridges "with complete immunity" and decided to pull the stunt.
Circus producer James Plunkett said he had been hired for the photo shoot and had provided three elephants.
Plunkett said his crew had entered the Boca Chica beach area in Texas and remained for about an hour. The Border Patrol alerted the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the elephants were detained and sprayed for ticks, then released, the newspaper reported.

Myself, I wish that Raj had been detained and sprayed for ticks, but there is no justice in life.


Blogger NE Suburbanite said...

The rule of thumb in this race is that if you live anywhere in the 13th U.S. Congressional District (or throughout most of the U.S. for that matter) you see Raj Bhakta as the outfront best choice and the incumbent Allyson Schwartz as the joke. But if you live anywhere in the Philadelphia area not part of the 13th District (or moved to the 13th District temporarily to shore up or intimidate votes for Schwartz) you fully share Tom Ferrick Jr.'s view. For beneath the showy and attention grabbing facade, Raj, from the moment he first made his candidacy known, has shown real substance. And nothing made this clearer than at the onset of his campaign when he held a community picnic on behalf of Northeast Philadelphia's Burholme Park, which the neighboring Fox Chase Cancer Center for over two years now has been seeking to acquire through an illegal land grab for expansion purposes. For those of you unfamiliar with that controversy, Burholme Park is a beautiful 70 acre tract of land that was willed to the people of Philadelphia to remain open green space forever, and today is the one saving grace that prevents all the communities surrounding it from being reduced to complete ghetto. The Fox Chase Cancer Center nextdoor, taking full advantage of breakdowns in Philadelphia government and intelligent urban planning, is pushing to acquire and develop the park regardless of the inevitable enormous negative impact it will have on ALL the communities surrounding it. And U.S. Representative Allyson Schwartz, who holds no loyalties whatsoever to the 13th District, supports the expansion proposal 100%. To be sure, what she is supporting is illegal, and if our government were functioning properly she would have long ago been impeached over this by now. And to be sure, the news media, which Mr. Ferrick is a part of, would've covered this story totally differently. too. But under current conditions I liken Mr. Ferrick's style of journalistic coverage regarding the Burholme Park story, the campaign of Raj Bhakta, etc., to that of Ezra Pound when the Nazi political machine and the fascist regime of Mussolini were on upswings in Europe. What a pity it was for Pound, as history would later drive home. For if not for that he could've gone down in history as one of the great thinkers/writers of all time. And what a pity it will be for poor Tom Ferrick as well. We would all think Mr. Ferrick would know better, wouldn't we? But then I guess Mr. Ferrick's reasoning is: What's time's remembrance of who we truly were compared to the buck and popularity we can realize today?

1:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I just realized you were actually serious about the elephants and border and stuff. This guy's a nutcase.

1:35 PM  

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