As hard-right movements rattle or control European governments, the words of George Steiner animate James Carville.
“Nationalism is the venom of our age,” Steiner wrote in his 1965 essay on the Holocaust, A Kind of Survivor. “It has brought Europe to the edge of ruin.”
Those words prompted Carville, the centrist Democratic political consultant who guided Bill Clinton to the presidency, to say: “The greatest distinction in the world is between patriotism, which is positive – a piece of ground as an idea – and nationalism, which is tribal, exclusionary and, yeah, poisonous.”
Carville zeroed in on the US variant: white Christian nationalism, particularly as embodied by Mike Johnson, his fellow Louisianan and the US House speaker.
“Johnson has no skill, no background, no majority to speak of,” the so-called Ragin’ Cajun declaimed on Saturday, hours before he watched the Louisiana State Univeristy quarterback Jayden Daniels win the coveted Heisman award.
Football is as dear to Carville as politics and his Roman Catholic faith. A graduate of LSU and its law school, he wears the Tigers’ gold and purple shirts in many of his TV appearances, accentuating his flamboyant presence.
“What Johnson does represent is a level of breathtaking hypocrisy,” Carville said. “His anti-homosexuality and young earthism are hypocrisy on steroids.” [Continue reading…]