When mortals appear before Senate panels, they are expected to show proper deference to these lawgivers of the American republic. But while senators may consider themselves Solons, Pericles they most assuredly are not. Going through life in an impregnable carapace of sycophancy is agreeable, no doubt, but as Marie Antoinette discovered, it does not tend to sharpen one’s skills in public argument. So when a feisty member such as Mr Galloway shows up in the midst of these august figures, the effect is a little like a character from a Damon Runyon novel let loose among the Gatsbys.
The average MP, schooled in the knockabout tactics of the House of Commons, is far better equipped to score points and persuade undecided minds. And Mr Galloway’s performance duly earned him some rave reviews, not least from startled American journalists who wouldn’t dare treat their betters this way.
On the other hand…
But forgive me if I don’t participate in the adulation. As I watched, it wasn’t a grudging respect for the perfectly tailored and coiffed tribune of the masses that filled me, but a wave of nausea. His testimony left me with a renewed understanding of just how uniquely repellent Mr Galloway is.