Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Garry and Barry

You'll recognise the guy on the left of this photograph. You might not recognise the guy on the right, but Garry does and that's why they're shaking hands.

His name is Grover Norquist.

They met a couple of weeks ago at the Goldwater Institute, named for the subject of Garry's speech, Barry Goldwater. Garry sets out this reasons for admiring him here.

That's an interesting summary, which, either because Garry doesn't know, or doesn't care, leaves out that Goldwater was an fierce opponent of federal attempts to desegregate, at a time when segregation and the effort to end it was a central issue in American politics. Goldwater's strategy (one employed by the Republican Party ever since) was to rely on racism in the South and elsewhere. If Garry Kasparov doesn't know that, maybe somebody should tell him.

Goldwater lost badly in the 1964 Presidential election, not least because he was viewed as a fanatic who had every chance of bringing about a nuclear war, of which this early attack ad is a famous reminder.

I'm guessing that Kasparov is more aware of this aspect of Goldwater's politics, and has no problem with it.

What of Grover Norquist?

You might not have heard of Norquist if you don't follow US politics: if you do, you could hardly avoid him, since there's no individual more responsible for the state of the Republican Party than him.

Why am I bothering to mention any of this? For one thing, because Garry makes a lot of noise about being against Trump: but as I've said on here before, the people who he admires most are often backers and admirers of Trump themselves, Grover Norquist being no exception.

For another, with Kasparov, it's always about Russia. It blots out everything else. He can admire a Barry Goldwater, because in the final analysis the only thing that matters is that Goldwater was prepared to make war on the Soviet Union. It's more or less his entire worldview, politically and economically: in a way its just a standard kind of anticommunism, but let's call it what it is.

Garry's friends are far-right republicans whose enthusiasms are war and tax-cutting, each on as large a scale as possible. He's entitled to hold those views, and people are entitled to pay him to propound them, but that's where he is - something his opposition to Trump tends to obscure in some people's minds, especially his own.

I mean "shrinking bases moving to the extremes" is precisely what Barry Goldwater represented...

...and "the moderate middle" isn't where Garry and his friends are, either.

But my main issue, as ever, is with the way Kasparov is presented, in all the media interviews he ever does, which is quite a lot. "Aren't your friends nearly always friends of Trump?" "Weren't the American figures you admire friends of segregation and apartheid?" "Do you really know anything, or just get space for your views because you used to be world champion?"

These are questions Garry doesn't get asked. And he really ought to be, because it's not as if the answers are hard to find.

[Image: Gage Skidmore]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There has been a signifcant amount of revisionism about Goldwater, so in fairness to Gazza on this occasion at least maybe he isn't fully aware of all that?

(that "revisionism" was also aided by the fact BG - not unlike George Wallace - did somewhat mellow in some of his more strident stances in later life)