BANGKOK – Following the re-election of US President Barack Obama, leaders of various political factions and interest groups struggled to work out some kind of metaphor to apply to their own campaigns.
“Obama represents the power of the people to overcome the elitist structure,” said Jatuporn Prompan in an interview on the pro-Thaksin Voice TV. “Many people never believed that a black man, traditionally a member of the lower classes, could rise up to take power in the world’s most powerful nation.”
Jatuporn also likened Obama to Thaksin, self-made men from humble backgrounds who succeeded through hard work.
“The difference between Thailand and America is that in America the army takes orders from the President, and there are no coups,” he added.
Meanwhile Sondhi Limthongkul wrote an editorial in his anti-Thaksin magazine Manager this week citing Obama’s victory as proof that you can’t buy an election in a true democracy.
“The Koch brothers spend hundreds of millions of dollars trying to get Romney elected and they failed, because Americans can’t be bought, unlike Thai buffaloes who will sell their votes to Thaksin for just Bt300,” he wrote.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra offered her congratulations to Barack Obama, citing her admiration for the US electoral process.
“America respects its elections, and we could learn from that,” she told reporters.
Bangkok Governor Sukhumband Paribatra, a member of the Democrat Party, tweeted that Obama’s win was a “victory for tolerance and open-mindedness,” possibly referring to the US Democratic Party’s progressive social stance on issues such as homosexuality. Sukhumband’s Democrat party has often been targeted by supporters of Pheu Thai as a haven for homosexual politicians.
One notable exception was General Boonlert Kaewprasit, leader of the ultra-right wing Pitak Siam group, which has openly called for a military coup at its rallies.
“I don’t care what Americans do, because they do not have our King and will never understand Thai-ness,” he said. “Elections are not suitable for us.”