Niall Ferguson & Edward Luce on Michael Bloomberg. Old Socialist comments

Compare Mr. Luce’s ‘political wisdom’, or should it be properly named a collection of reportorial, rhetorical cliches, a product of lazy thinking, that could have been written in haste? to that of Niall Ferguson’s essay of Sunday 23, 2020:

Mr. Ferguson is an admiring  ‘friend ‘ of Bloomberg and offers some insight into his political calculation, that are in fact Ferguson’s own:

So long as Sanders does not collect a majority of delegates by the time of the convention (in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in mid-July), Bloomberg can hope that the Democratic Party elite will hand it to him, not only to stop Sanders but also to channel all that lovely money to the races for the Senate and House held on the same day as the presidential election.

The second reason is simple: that caustic wit of Bloomberg’s — so effective on Wall Street — does not work well in the political arena. Mike, seriously: no one outside New York ever says: “What am I, chicken liver?”

In the end, politics — even in the United States — is about more than money. It’s about mass communication. It’s about charisma. And, to judge by Bloomberg’s miserable performance as a punchbag in last week’s debate (watched, unfortunately for him, by a record 19.7 million viewers), those things cannot be bought.

Mr. Ferguson’s essay is then a prescriptive rhetorical, political meander, with a coda that tells his ‘friend’ the news, that money can’t buy what he wants to purchase.

Mr.Luce’s strategy, in his essay, differs from the panic of the Neo-Liberals and Neo-Conservatives: his essay is not Chris Matthews’ unhinged intervention comparing Sanders win in Nevada to the ‘Fall Of France’ on MSNBC, nor the political anguish of  rabid Neo-Conservative Jennifer Rubin. Mr. Luce places the ‘blame’ on Bloomberg as if this rhetorical sleight of hand, call it a political diversion, in service to the Neo-Liberal/New Democratic candidates subject to the Sanders Juggernaut.

Mr. Luce then engages in the sure fire resort of Corporate Media pundits, with the utterly dependable ‘horse race’ of American Politics:

There are two other striking similarities with Mr Trump. The first is that mainstream Republicans kept reassuring themselves that Mr Trump had a ceiling of support — he never seemed to get much above 30 per cent. The same applies to Mr Sanders. They underestimated the advantage of Mr Trump’s solid floor, which other candidates lacked. The same absence of core support applies to Mr Sanders’ rivals. Pete Buttigieg came equal first in Iowa and second place in New Hampshire. Polls show he would be lucky to make fourth place next weekend in South Carolina. The same applies to his Super Tuesday prospects. Joe Biden came fourth and fifth respectively in the first two contests. Even if he wins South Carolina, he is probably too deeply wounded to regain his mojo. Elizabeth Warren had a strong debate in Las Vegas on Wednesday. But she directed most of her ire at Mr Bloomberg. Her real rival is Mr Sanders. While the former New York mayor remains in the race, the rest of the field cannot afford to ignore him.

Cliche follows cliche, in the above paragraph, followed in the next paragraph with the obligatory appearance of Putin: The New Cold War is an article of faith of both the Neo-Liberal and Neo-Conservative coteries , a reference point for the loyalists to political conformity. Not to ignore Mr. Luce’s  final paragraph, suffused with what can only be called ‘magical thinking’ , that demonstrates a kind of exhaustion of rational thought in favor of what?

Old Socialist


My reply to : Wenren

Thank you for your comment. I Just finished reading ‘At The Origins of Neo-Liberalism : The Free Economy And The Strong State, 1930-1947’ by Ben Jackson of Oxford University. And published in The Historical Journal ,53, I (2010) pp. 129-151 that I downloaded from JSTOR :

Thinking and writing presents certifiable problems, except that the notion of reactions:  ‘that’s quieter than a Wuhan mall.’ , which partakes of a contemporaneous hipster mentality- what really matters in writing polemic is to use the tools of discourse, laced with invective, as part of the tool-chest, in its various iterations, to open up a conversations, or just to subvert and inflame. My model is Karl Kraus refracted through many texts, that began with ‘Wittgenstein’s Vienna’ in 1976.








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.'
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