Janan Ganesh discovers the virtues of Eisenhower, in the Age of Trump. Political Observer comments

This reader just has to wonder at the ‘why’ of Mr. Ganesh latest essay in celebration of Eisenhower. Perhaps an advanced case of ‘Trump Political Exhaustion’? Its ‘as if’ Reagan, and his tag-line of ‘government is the problem’, had never reached to the very center, of the greed ridden class, that made their money supplying the Defense Industries of the American Post War period, that were not actually ‘entrepreneurs’, in the political romantic parlance of the Mises/Hayek/Friedman coterie. But rather just part of the ‘supply chain’ of vendors, who were just the smaller cogs, that held the machinery of mammoth corporations together.

One also thinks about the Republicans, like Howard Jarvis, of the Tax  Payers Association, named after him, Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform and Lewis H. Brown founder of AEI, and their epigones, on the vexing question that Mr. Ganesh’s celebration of Eisenhower evokes. Or the Neo-Cons, that had their political moment in the Bush II administration: recall the White Phosphorous used on Fallujah, a monument to their moral/political nihilism?  

Consider some quotes from Mr. Ganesh essay :

The mistrust of government that has defined the Republicans since the 1980s is a liability in a nation that has grown more collectivist in its views. 

One might more pointely opine that the American electorate has come to realize that they share a common political fate.

Its market dogma is a much larger cause of that drift than one demagogic president.

The reader needs no reminder that both the Republicans and New Democrats are Neo-Liberal. Bernie Sanders was/is the only Dissenter!

Free-market economics were necessary and popular as his postwar consensus soured in the over-governed 1970s. Whether they answer the public anxieties of the early 21st century is doubtful.

Free Market necromancy never, ever goes out of style!

Republicans seem to mistake the public’s cynicism about “government” in the abstract with indifference to actual services and fiscal transfers.

The fact is that the Neo-Liberal State must be a strong state, as the in-order-too of its proper functioning.

The cause of Republican reform will go nowhere until it makes peace with the state

The ‘Never Trumpers’ are the sales people that brought the catastrophic ‘War on Terror’ with the help of ‘The Architect’ or just call him a gutter-snipe, Karl Rove and his henchmen here identified as ‘noble’. This not just a ‘misreading’ but shameless apologetic propaganda.

The “Never Trumpers”, the Bush-era alumni who endorse Mr Biden, the Republican donors who fund the other side: there is a nobility to these apostates, but a shallowness of thought, too.

Ganesh links to an Eisenhower letter, and his truncated quotation from it ‘about the who could not reconcile themselves to the New Deal” “Their number is negligible, and they are stupid… Yet read more carefully, what appears in addition, is an apologetic for the Iranian Coup, that sent the duly elected Mossadegh into internal exile,  and that prefigured the rise of the Islamic Republic.     

A year ago last January we were in imminent danger of losing Iran, and sixty percent of the known oil reserves of the world.  You may have forgotten this. Lots of people have. But there has been no greater threat that has in recent years overhung the free world. That threat has been largely, if not totally, removed. I could name at least a half dozen other spots of the same character.

That Eisenhower was a Cold Warrior, not a surprise. In an attempt, to find reasons for the present inability of the contemporary Republican Party, fully colonized by Trumpism, to recognize Eisenhower as a viable touchstone of Republican Values: the inquirer might just look to his appointment of Earl Warren to the Supreme Court, and the unanimous decisions in Brown I & II. The sending of Troops to Little Rock and his Farewell Address? 

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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