On the virtue of Joe Biden’s ‘mundanity’, via janan.ganesh@ft.com. American Writer comments

Mr. Ganesh’s usual political feuilletonism devolves into a long commentary on Joe Biden’s mundanity, as his saving grace, in the the Age of Trump. 

But first, just to clarify, Delaware is a Tax Haven:

Headline: How Delaware Thrives as a Corporate Tax Haven

NOTHING about 1209 North Orange Street hints at the secrets inside. It’s a humdrum office building, a low-slung affair with a faded awning and a view of a parking garage. Hardly worth a second glance. If a first one.

But behind its doors is one of the most remarkable corporate collections in the world: 1209 North Orange, you see, is the legal address of no fewer than 285,000 separate businesses.

Its occupants, on paper, include giants like American Airlines, Apple, Bank of America, Berkshire Hathaway, Cargill, Coca-Cola, Ford, General Electric, Google, JPMorgan Chase, and Wal-Mart. These companies do business across the nation and around the world. Here at 1209 North Orange, they simply have a dropbox.



Headline: Forget Panama: it’s easier to hide your money in the US than almost anywhere

Sub-headline: The term tax haven may evoke images of exotic locales, but Panama actually ranks as the 13th most attractive spot for hiding assets, while the US lies third

Welcome to Delaware

A while back, Shah sent her husband to return an overdue book she had borrowed from the library. When he returned, he told her her library card was expired and that to renew it she would have to bring her driver’s license showing her current address or a utility bill with her address.

“If I were to open a shell company, I wouldn’t require any of those things. I would actually need less information to open a shell company in the US than I would need to get a driver’s license or a library card,” pointed out Shah.

There is nothing illegal about setting up a shell company. US states are proud of their business-friendly policies. Delaware, for example, prides itself on being the incorporation capital of the US. “More than 1,000,000 business entities have made Delaware their legal home,” claimed the state’s Division of Corporations website. “More than 50% of all publicly-traded companies in the US including 64% of the Fortune 500 have chosen Delaware as their legal home.”



Mr. Ganesh begins his essay, with a small, but important bit of propagandizing about the fact that Delaware is a notorious Tax Haven. With that attempt at rhetorical prestidigitation, what can his reader expect? 

Delaware can reasonably claim to be the most innocuous state in the US. The tax-advantageous peninsula seldom incurs hatred, its opposite, or even a second thought from those outside its nearly 1m residents.  

Not content with this first exercise in faint praise, Mr. Ganesh continues in the same vein:

Not all politicians take after their states, but despite being Pennsylvania-born, Joe Biden is Delaware incarnate. In half a century of public life, the Democratic candidate for president has never assembled an intense fan base or many dedicated enemies. His politics are middle-of-the-road and his charisma is of the functional, baby-kissing sort. 

After more of the same Mr. Ganesh discovers ‘the enthusiasm gap’ between the Trump Ideologues, in the loosest sense, and Biden’s political deficit  ‘disturbs the sleep of some of Mr Biden’s supporters.’ 

But the reader is then confronted with this pronouncement of Joe’s utter mediocrity as a virtue: 

It is also the most precious thing about him. The US has had two consecutive presidents with messianic followings, and it is worse off for the 12-year surge of emotion. No democracy is riper for a period of tepid leadership. 

What follows is the usual cliche ridden History Made To Measure, of the apologists for the Political Present. What escapes Mr. Ganesh historical grasp, is one of the literary observations on American political life, in ‘The Last Hurrah’ the 1956 novel written by Edwin O’Connor.


While not a perfect descriptor of Biden in 2020, it does make plain the fact that this run for the presidency, is indeed Biden’s last hurrah. While Biden has no political charisma, like Frank Skeffington, he represents the final gasp of the New Democrats/Neo-Liberals. As the ‘reformers’ are winning seats in Congress as ‘insurgents‘ , in the face of The Pandemic, and the economic collapse that has placed a majority of American in jeopardy of loosing all that they have worked so hard to build. The vexing question that Mr. Ganesh avoids, by way of his rhetorical/political ploys, is the utter failure of the whole of America’s Political Class, to even govern with a sense about the shared destiny of The Republic: E pluribus unum? 

American Writer 





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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