edward.luce@ft.com on ‘Spoilers’. Old Socialist comments

The utter desperation of Mr. Luce , as apologist for an utterly exhausted bourgeois American politics, presents ‘Spoiler candidacies‘ as a clear and present danger .  I recall reading a Joe Conason column in the New York Observer in 2000, that called Nader a ‘spoiler’ or at least alluded to it.  It escapes Mr. Luce’s attention that Gabbard is an active candidate in the Democratic Party, a ‘race’ that predates any of the primaries-consider Luce’s hectoring essay a preemptive strike against a political phantom?

The ‘Political Apostates’ need to be identified and publicly shamed. We’ve been reading this dreck since Ross Perot. Should the reader look to Theodore Roosevelt, Socialist Eugene Debs ran 1904, 1908, 1912 and 1920, or more contemporaneously George Wallace, Benjamin Spock and Ralph Nader, it is an inescapable American Tradition: that expresses popular discontent with both Parties. Not a comfortable concept for Mr. Luce to even contemplate. The only possible consideration worth entertaining is Luce’s positing of Left political nihilism:

As the Green party candidate in 2000, Ralph Nader took more votes in Florida than the infamously contested gap between Al Gore and George W Bush. But for Mr Nader, the Iraq war may never have happened. In 2016, the Green party’s Jill Stein took more votes in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania than Mrs Clinton’s margin of defeat. But for Ms Stein, Mr Trump might still be trying to make a comeback in reality TV. A Gabbard candidacy could accomplish the same for Mr Trump next year. Little wonder that conservative influencers, such as Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, have been welcoming the Hawaiian congresswoman on to their show.

Mr. Luce then dons the musty, threadbare cloak of the Inquisitor, in a near hysterical defense of American Exceptionalism,  by way of his collection of villains: Gabbard, Jeremy Corbyn, Bashar al-Assad, Muammer Gaddafi, Marxists, Susan Sarandon. With this cast of characters this essay realizes all of the dramatic weight of the Telenovela.

Old Socialist




Thank you for your comment.  On your first point: here is a list of members of Congress who voted against the Iraq War or changed their minds:


Here are the yes votes on the War from the Senate:


Yes: 29 Democrats, 48 Republicans

No:  1 Republican, 21 Democrats, 1 Independent

The House vote on the war:


From the above NYT link:

The 296-133 roll call Thursday by which the House voted for a resolution to authorize President Bush to use military force in Iraq.

A “yes” vote is a vote to approve the resolution.

Voting yes were 81 Democrats and 215 Republicans.

Voting no were 126 Democrats, six Republicans and one independent.

The votes for are not surprising, as majority of New Democrats were supportive of the war. Recall that Feinstein(D) delayed the vote for one day? Bush and his Neo-Cons whipped up war fever, with lies, and the UN testimony of Colin Powell!  A large majority of politicians and pundits cowered from the charge of lack of patriotism. Now the New Democrats are just as bellicose as the Republicans, they were ‘re-educated’ by their defeat at the hands of a noxious Game Show Host.

On your second point:

There is a very real, fundamental issue / danger of a third-party candidate resulting in Trump’s re-election. This should be utterly obvious. Somehow dismissing this as “…the utter desperation of Mr. Luce , as apologist for an utterly exhausted bourgeois American politics..” is pure demagoguery.

As I wrote in my comment, Third Party candidates are an American political tradition, that escapes the notice of those defending the American Political Center: that can be defined as the toxic alliance between the New Democrats and the Neo-Conservatives. That claim the moral/political high ground ,represented by Obama and Clinton, with the aid of fellow travelers, like R2P Neo-Colonialist Samantha Powers, various well funded Think Tanks and a ‘Liberal Press’: New York Times, Washington Post , not to forget America’s favorite political gossip sheet Politico.

As to the charge of ‘pure demagoguery’ : as I write polemic, an honored literary tradition, at least since the Greeks, let me attempt a pastiche of aphorism: ‘One man’s  demagoguery is another man’s polemic’ . Not likely to end up in Bartlett’s !








About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. '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.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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