As the controversy over whether those close to Margaret Thatcher described half-term Governor Sarah Palin as “nuts” continues to give off heat on both sides of the north Atlantic, one of those inhabiting the bear pit that is Maily Telegraph blogland has waded in with his own supposedly authoritative view.
Step forward Nile Gardiner, whose screaming denunciation of Barack Obama is becoming a legend in his own lunchtime. But who is this bearer of an almost rictus cheesy smile? Ah well. While anyone not venturing near the Maily Telegraph would be asking “Nile who?”, the paper clearly has a high regard for him.
Indeed, the Telegraph included Gardiner in its “most influential Britons in America” list back in 2008 (but he was well down the list, behind even Sacha Baron Cohen). This was on the back of his working for Mrs T after she left office, and being appointed to head the Margaret Thatcher Centre For Freedom at the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing “think tank”.
That body calls Gardiner “a leading authority on transatlantic relations”, although much of the evidence of this specialism on public view is a succession of anti-Obama knocking copy (HERE in the Daily Mail, HERE in the Telegraph), which is consistent with the assertion that “His policy papers are read widely on Capitol Hill” does not include the current Presidency.
Moreover, the Heritage Foundation is a major recipient of Koch Foundation largesse ($2.2 million between 2005 and 2009), which is happily coincident with its bias against the climate change consensus. The Kochs also support groups opposed to healthcare reform, union rights, environmental protection, unemployment insurance and social security.
Small wonder, then, that Nile Gardiner writes as he does: the Kochs are desperate to get Barack Obama out of the White House next year, and install a rather more malleable Republican stooge. That is what Robert Greenwald means when he accuses them of “Buying Our Democracy”.And it’s happening in the UK too: think tanks and lobby groups reluctant to reveal who funds them. Next time you consider the wisdom of Nile Gardiner, consider also that he is one of the finest conservative commentators money can buy – and, indeed, has already bought.