janan.ganesh@ft.com on Mitch McConnell. Old Socialist comments

Headline: Democrats need their own Mitch McConnell

Sub-headline: The left must learn from the Republican majority leader’s tactical successes

Mr. Ganesh’s opening paragraph of his admonition the New Democrats, who the headline writers of the Financial Times misidentify as ‘Left’ , is a wonder of praise for that Old Dixiecrat McConnell:

Mitch McConnell’s ever-startled face could have been drawn by the cartoonist Tex Avery. The majority leader of the US Senate also does a vivid line in Southernisms: his support for Brett Kavanaugh, whom he navigated on to the Supreme Court, was as “strong as mule piss”.

Frankness demands that McConnell’s face always resembles a soup plate of mush. That the Republicans controlled both Houses of Congress made the confirmation of Kavanaugh almost ‘a slam dunk’. Even after the unmasking of the revelation of the Ford testimony. Mr. Kavanaugh is and was an entitled white heterosexual male, exactly like McConnell. They are both members of the Club! Hard to miss that truism, except to the sycophants of that Republican Party. That Party long ago betrayed its heritage of Abraham Lincoln, for that of Jefferson Davis and his Plantation Mentality: in its contemporary iteration of the Neo-Liberal Trinity of Mises/Hayek/Friedman!

The second paragraph, in sum, is a genuflection that hints at kowtowing to the good grey persona of Sen. McConnell.

And there, his outwardly interesting characteristics end. Grey of hair and persona, the distinguished side of 70, Mr McConnell blends into the collage of Republican life so well that you wonder if a country club is missing its chair of governors. His indistinctiveness allows the craftiest politician in the land to work in relative stealth.

But Mr. Ganesh can’t quite control his enthusiasm, which becomes a careen in the following paragraph:

And to nation-changing effect. With a one-seat margin in the Senate, he has populated the judiciary with conservatives, secured the highest court for the right and passed an improbable tax cut. He fleeced Barack Obama of his last Supreme Court nominee and changed the rules to install Donald Trump’s first by a bare rather than super majority. He survived the Tea Party’s cull of mainstream Republicans, as well as low approval ratings in his own Kentucky. His passage from state-level moderate to operational arm of Trumpism has been bourbon-smooth. This summer he became the Senate’s longest-serving Republican leader.

Sen . McConnell prevailed by his own stealth, and triumphed over many obstacles and who eventually supported Trump. Elaine Chao is Sen. McConnell’s wife and is now Secretary of Transportation, that sinecure was the demonstrable effect of McConnell’s  bourbon-smooth opportunism?

The New Democrats are not ‘Left’ but Neo-Liberal, while Warren and Sanders are New Dealers. To end my comment on Mr. Ganesh’s verbose exercise in political free association, I must point to the utter dependability of a Conservative obsession:

What knavery it used to have was often learnt in the unions.

Old Socialist


Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.

Perry Anderson



About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer.
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