janan.ganesh@ft.com as Political Fabulist. Political Observer comments

I still think that Mr. Ganesh’s novel is still a work in progress! But to earn a living he writes in the most hybrid of forms: the feuilleton blended with political commentary, I think that these two rhetorical practices are immiscible, that might even be thought of as a misbegotten marriage of opposites?
Consider these two ideas/constructs presented by Mr. Ganesh in his latest essay :

‘tribal Democrats (the strategist James Carville)’

Not ‘tribal’ but in fact Neo-Liberal, who warns in his Financial Times polemic on the dangers of Sanders, as the recrudescence of McGovern. I was a voter in 1972 and cast my vote for McGovern! Mr. Ganesh wisely leaves this alone.

‘and Republican apostates (the writer David Frum)’

Mr. Frum’s rise is the Horatio Alger mythology turned upside-down: Canadian Posh Boy makes good in America, by becoming a propagandist for Bush The Younger. He worked from January 2001 to February 2002, and in his very short White House career authored the ‘axis of evil’ propaganda. He is and remains a Neo-Conservative, who has re-invented himself, in the political present, as the ‘Wise Republican Elder’, in this guise he is the agreeable house-pet of Corporate Media.

As I find Mr. Ganesh’s political chatter causes something akin to ennui, I will skip to the last two paragraphs:

Just because Mr Sanders can win does not mean that a party so monomaniacal about unseating Mr Trump should take the chance. Former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg, Tuesday’s runner-up, is more saleable to the moderates who turned Democratic in 2018. Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar has similar views and a pugilist’s edge, so essential against this president. It is just that those of us who swore off political certitude after 2016 are amazed how much of it survives in the form of the Sanders bears. If he is the nominee, it would not be a Democratic forfeiture of the White House.

Mr. Ganesh here speculates, in an unsurprisingly negative way, about the ‘thought’ or ‘conjecture’ of the Democratic Party, as if it were a singular sentient being, who wills the defeat of Trump, while not factoring in the costs incurred, by the possibly of winning in 2020, with Sanders as its nominee. This, almost dazzlingly highfalutin preamble to Buttigieg and Klobuchar, as the more ‘rational choice’ for the sentient being that is the Democratic Party. That is if I have managed to decipher Mr. Ganesh’s nearly serpentine argument?

Not content with the above, Mr. Ganesh , with the aid of the personages of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, constructs a fable of Sanders and Trump as the harbingers of a yet to be completed secularising imperative, in the foreseeable political present. Yet Ganesh expresses an ersatz puzzlement over his gangling rhetorical creature. Mr. Ganesh shift of both subject and register leaves this reader in a state of bewilderment!

What it would be is a cultural moment. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams expressed their doubts in a grander register, but Mr Sanders and Mr Trump would be among the least religious contestants for the presidency. They tend not to even go in for the muddled spirituality of the confessional memoir and the damp-eyed stump speech. With a combined age of 151, these men are a curiously future-facing pair, heralds of a nation that is, albeit in fits and starts, secularising. Theirs would make for an unusual showdown, and one whose outcome is not as foregone as lately billed.


Political Observer


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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