Joe Biden as ‘constructed’ by Janan Ganesh. Political Cynic comments.

Mr. Ganesh employs his talent for aphorism, here, for a remarkable assertion, wrapped in a pastiche of that rhetorical gift. Or is it the product of the headline writers? The reader might just ask many questions and consider many avenues of thought… 

At some point, these figures become less striking than Biden’s ability to propose them without political cost. More than a decade ago, Republicans framed President Barack Obama as a spendthrift radical for vastly less. Against Biden, the same line of attack elicits more giggles than nods.


Should the reader look to Bush The Younger’s  Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson’s approach to the Crash of 2008, and his adaptation of Keynesianism? A crisis of massive proportions demands both swift action and policy flexibility? The Pandemic is a catastrophe: 30,532,965 cases and 554,064 deaths according to the CDC. At 77 Biden had better secure ‘his legacy’ with bold and decisive action : forgetting that $2000 and the $15 minimum wage?  

Mr. Ganesh opines on ‘troubled Progressives’ which is the stand-in for ‘The Left’ ?

If they care to notice, there is a lesson here for troubled progressives in Westminster, Paris, Berlin, Canberra and beyond. Only an established moderate can win from the left and then govern from there.

Biden then acts as ‘outwardly innocuous a leader’ : the heroic political actor of Ganesh’s political imaginings? Does Ganesh stand for or against the Progressive Agenda, if it is consonant with The Left Political Program: if that can even be defined by its antagonist?  Or is Mr. Ganesh engaging in some word play, just fancy foot-work, that might just pass for political analysis? Which by some form of ‘logic’, as the in order to win, via this scenario, constructed by Ganesh: the Left/Progressives coterie must put forward an innocuous candidate?  Mr. Ganesh is not deterred by such ‘logical‘ demands! 


The more outwardly innocuous a leader, the bolder the schemes they can smuggle under cover of superficial blandness. Journalists never see them coming. Voters back them not to over-reach. Opponents who allege extremism radiate an unbecoming hysteria.

If anything, Biden is one of the less vivid examples of this phenomenon. What stands out about the greatest US reformers of the last century is how fantastically improbable they were.

A history made to measure relying on American and British sources , follows featuring FDR. Then these two paragraphs attaching two Left-Wing Social Democrats, as exemplars of his reviled ‘Left’, are given a strategic walk-ons. Except that Warren didn’t drop out of the 2020 contest even though she only received eight delegates, in her home state. And her declaration that she was ‘a Capitalists to her bones’ places her in the Neo-Liberal category. In sum Warren entered the Clinton Coterie by doing its dirty work! Mr. Ganesh unctuous prose, enlivened by near paradoxes can’t quite match the headline. Propaganda is about serving evocative political purposes, here this writer almost makes it work

As long as the one emits a Tuscan-tanned perkiness, and the other daunting intensity, the misperception will hold. Such are the heuristics with which our erring species forms some of its deepest judgments.

To wish away the superficiality of politics is itself frivolous. The point is to bend it in one’s favour. Consciously or not, Biden is putting on a masterclass. We can never know, but I suspect he is spending more than a President Bernie Sanders or a President Elizabeth Warren could have done as out-and-proud leftists. Even that is to assume the White House was ever plausibly theirs for the taking.

Political Cynic


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.'
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.