The President and the Challenger (President Obama vs. Mitt Romney on Asian-American Issues)

by Fred C. Wilson III
April 16, 2012
“In the final analysis, the whole cause of world revolution hinges on the revolutionary struggles of the Asian, African and Latin American people who make up the overwhelming majority of the world’s population.”
-Lin Biao-

Mitt Romney
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s Asian policies can be summed up in a single word in my opinion-containment. Keep rising economic/military Asian ‘tigers’ like China and India ‘in their places’ well under the American economic/military heel. I don’t want to sin against charity by snap-judging this man so let’s examine Romney’s past record on dealing with Asian-Pacific American (APA) issues:
When Mr. Romney was governor of Massachusetts he rarely appointed APAs to salaried positions. To his credit he did appoint an Asian-American as deputy director of the State of Massachusetts Office of Refugees and Immigrants. Even in this capacity Romney created rival positions thus nullifying any programs that this office managed to accomplish. Here’s the ‘twist,’ several governors of both parties appointed APAs to similar positions. Romney’s APA appointments were merely cosmetic. For the record Romney appointed APAs to various governmental posts only in his final year of office.
Is Romney the ‘bad guy;’? Hard to tell from my information on him. I think his omission of Asians and other minorities to government positions is partially cultural. I say partially because I don’t know his true feelings for APAs and other minorities. He’s a hard one to pin down (discern). The man was raised in an affluent section of Michigan in an area where you can count minorities on a single hand. He’s a member of a church (Latter Day Saints) that refused admittance to Blacks until recently as 1987. Reader, don’t quote me on this but I heard stories that Latter Day Saints (Mormons) once considered Blacks as the accursed descendants of the biblical Ham a son of Noah and the Catholic Church satanic in origin!
Mitt Romney grew up during the 1950’s when whites posted signs warning Blacks not to be seen on streets in white areas after dark. It was an era when separate never meant equal, a time when Black people had to sit in the rear of busses, trains, and could face serious ‘beat downs’ (beatings) or worse (lynching) for merely looking at white women or refusing to get off sidewalks when walking past them. Your writer vividly remembers those days when he was young when visiting relatives ‘down south.’ My mom coached us on how to address whites in stores, shops, and other public places. Judging from Mr. Romney’s past, I’m not surprised at his frosty attitudes towards Asian-Americans. He should know better.
For nearly a century, a substantial number of Mormons have their origins in the islands of the Pacific Ocean. Case in point: Next time you’re in Hawaii (Oahu) take a tour to Honolulu’s Polynesian Cultural Center as I did and see for yourself. If he desires leadership of the so-called ‘Free World’ he must overcome his myopic (limited) world view. Cultural ignorance of real world peoples and issues is inexcusable. If you don’t know something damnit learn! (Sources: ‘Romney on Asian American issues’, ‘Is All White all Right for Romney?’ and sections from ‘The Daily Beast’)
President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama is America’s first African-American president. The President has Asian roots. After his bio-father deserted him and his mother, Obama’s mom eventually remarried. Her new husband Lolo Soetoro, an Indonesian, moved his family to his native country (Indonesia). A few years later the Obamas settled in Hawaii where young Barack attended the very prestigious Punahou School. The President has relatives from all over the globe particularly Africa and Asia. Our president’s a one man UN all rolled into one. His cultural/racial characteristics are plus factors for his job as chief executive for multi-cultural America.
President Obama’s APA policies can be construed as a given, considering his racial/ethnic (Asian-African-Caucasian) roots. Do these imply that our President is pro-Asian in policy and legislation? Not necessarily though in his case yes. According to what I’ve researched the president has a list of Asia friendly accomplishment as long as your arm. He’s initiated enough pro-Asian legislation to justify his pro-APA stances. Here’s a short list of some Asian Pacific Americans our president has hired, appointed or supported for election in his efforts to ‘level the American playing field:’
Eric Shinseki (Secretary of Veteran Affairs), Steven Chu (Secretary of Energy), Gary Locke (Secretary of Commerce)
Chris Lu (Cabinet secretary), Sung Kim (nominated Mr. Sung Kim for Ambassador to South Korea), Denny Chin (confirmed as judge on the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Second Circuit), Jacqueline Nguyen (nominated as Federal Appellate Court and Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit), Goodwin Liu (nominated as Federal Appellate Court Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit), Brigadier General Coral Wong Pietsch-USA (Ret) (nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims), Miranda Du (confirmed as U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Nevada)
John Z. Lee (nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois), Edward Chen (confirmed as Federal District Court Judge for the Northern District of California-San Francisco), Edmond E-Min Chang (confirmed as U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois)
Leslie Kobayashi (confirmed as U.S. District Judge for Hawaii), Lucy Koh (confirmed as U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of California-San Jose), Dolly Gee (confirmed as U.S. District Court Judge for the Central District of California-Los Angeles), Jacqueline Nguyen (confirmed as U.S. District Court Judge for the Central District of California-Los Angeles), Pete Rouse (White House Chief of Staff), Dr. Rajiv Shah (Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development-USAID).
Sanjay Gupta (nominated as Surgeon General-Gupta declined), Ms. Preeta D. Bansal (General Counsel and Senior Adviser at the Office of Management and Budget)
Neal Katyal (Principal Deputy Solicitor General)
Harold Koh (Legal Adviser to the Department of State)
Nicholas Rathod (one of three Deputy Associate Directors of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs-Indian American lawyer), Yul Kwon (Deputy Chief of the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Federal Communications Commission-attorney, community leader and “Survivor” winner), Ivan K. Fong (Homeland Security General Counsel-former Chief Legal Officer and Secretary for Cardinal Health)
Tammy Duckworth (Veteran Affairs’ assistant secretary of public and intergovernmental affairs), Preet Bharara (United States Attorney for Southern District of New York)
Betsy Kim (White House liaison officer to the Defense Department), Tina Tchen (Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison).
When Aurora Abella-Austriaco (D), a Filipino-American, ran for Trustee of the Maine Township (Illinois) three years ago, Senator Barack Obama personally campaigned for her. Undoubtedly he has many other pro-Asian ‘credits’ though too numerous to list. The President has been accused reverse discrimination. He initiated bans on Affirmative Action and Quotas in college admissions in order to benefit Asian Americans in January of 2008. (Above source: ‘Obama on Asian-American Issues’) Reader if you compare these two men’s (Mitt Romney and Barack Obama) stances on APA issues President Obama is light years ahead of Mr. Romney. GOD bless.

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