Let’s face it: nothing pleases the Left more than Republican-on Republican-violence—especially when it aids the Regressive agenda. So, if you’ve discerned snickers and smirks amidst the latte-sipping social justice warriors patronizing the Starbucks you pass on your trek to 7-Eleven for a Big Gulp (before it’s banned), this untoward occurrence is the consequence of a recent GOP internecine warfare trifecta.
On August 8, in response to conservative calls for the firing of President Trump’s National Security Advisor, General H. R. McMaster, the Wall Street Journal—a.k.a., the Republican Establishment’s version of Tiger Beat—advocated his retention. Fair enough. The Journal has traditionally, and successfully, advocated American internationalism, especially in the area of trade. (Folks, there’s a reason it’s named the Wall Street Journal.)
But the editorial also called for the ouster of President Trump’s chief political strategist, Steve Bannon. Uncool.
The paper’s reasoning for proposing Bannon’s dismissal was premised on the same mistaken memes emitted ad nauseum by the Left: twisted-genius Bannon sired the alt-right (whatever that nebulous epithet means—it’s really just an all-purpose slur now); he commands his unholy, slovenly legions with a wink and a nod against his more respectable enemies inside and outside the White House—i.e., everyone else; and, ergo, he has created within the Trump Administration a “poisonous atmosphere.” (This, you can expect, will be added to a Green Peace lawsuit against EPA Chief Scott Pruitt.)
But is Bannon really the far-right superstar/omnipotent evil bastard as portrayed?
A Conflict of Visions
First, the inside joke: He’d like you to think so. After all, a swamp built on quicksand measures everyone—friend or foe—by the perception of power. Thus does the swamp breed and teem with irony (or, less charitably, perversity); consequently, the Wall Street Journal has unwittingly played into Bannon hands by repeating the Left’s and GOP Establishment’s caterwauls about his clout.
In the instance of McMaster—a warrior-patriot who in the past has served our nation well—one need not be a placard carrying member of Bannon’s “alt-right brigades” to worry the general is draining the swamp’s foreign-policy eddy with a Dixie cup: the NSA’s purging of Trump loyalists; a perceived failure to the foreign policy as it is currently, contentiously constituted—a cage match between “leading from behind” and “America First”—but as a chummy club of enlightened elitists subverting our superpower status to shepherd America into a multipolar world. The accusation by Circa’s Sara A. Carter, that McMaster is allowing “unfettered and continuing access to classified information” to former Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice only fed the fire. The worst of the accusation has been debunked—Rice retains a security clearance, as do all other living former national security advisers, so that the current NSA can discuss prior and ongoing operations with them if necessary. To date, White House sources say that Rice, while retaining the clearance, has no independent access to information and has not been briefed by McMaster.
But again, the perception matters. This is the Susan Rice the woman who blamed Benghazi on a video, helped execute the Iran nuke pact, and, by the way, may well be involved in the previous administration’s surveillance and unmasking abuses and criminal leaks. Clearly, one need not be in Bannon’s minions to privately or publicly differ with the Journal’s “What, Me Worry?” opinion about McMaster; nor does it require the cue of Guru Bannon to do so.
While the Democrats, media elite, and “NeverTrump” foreign policy establishmentarians are loathe to concede the point, a popular component of, Donald Trump’s electoral appeal was his foreign policy platform, “America First.”
Though insidiously mischaracterized as an echo of Charles Lindbergh’s isolationist call for America’s retreat from the world, the foundational principle of Trump’s foreign policy is the prioritizing of America’s strategic interests over those other nations and international organizations. Where there existed a mutually beneficial convergence of interests, there would be engagements, accords and alliances. Thus, Trump’s foreign policy approach is essentially that of “Win-Win,” wherein the bad dudes lose.
In a saner age, Trump’s approach would be recognized as traditional American foreign policy.
But after eight years of President Obama and his foreign policy team subordinating and rationalizing away America’s strategic interests to those of sundry globalist gaggles and rogue regimes, the world is not a saner or safer place. Consequently, upon his election, supporters eagerly anticipated President Trump would help rectify this situation by ending the inane, failed policy of “leading from behind,” and, indeed, implement an “America First” foreign policy. In fact, many of the president’s initial foreign policy, national security, and homeland security appointments (including now-Chief of Staff John Kelly) are champions of American strategic interests.
The Truth About Bannon
Unfortunately, however, leap frogging America’s strategic interests to the front of the line where they belong has proven more difficult than expected; and, as noted, the concerns of Trump’s base have focused upon McMaster as the cause. Whether he is or is not is the crux of the present debate it remains the case that neither Steve Bannon, Superstar, nor his “alt-right brigades” or “minions”are the cause of it.
Because, again in reality, there are no Bannon “alt-right brigades” or “minions.” There are tens of millions of Americans who supported Bannon’s boss, President Trump. Tired of a waning American Dream, they trusted and voted for Trump to put their freedom and their nation’s interests first. Having long recognized this yearning amongst Americans, especially in the heartland, then candidate Trump discovered a kindred soul in Steve Bannon—who did not create but recognized and helped articulate working Americans’ loathing of Washington. With Bannon’s political assistance, candidate Trump connected with these concerned sovereign citizens to “drain the swamp” and win what was supposed to be an “unwinnable” election.
Still, painfully aware of how the swamp’s enticements and entanglements have preyed upon other elected officials and administrations, Trump supporters keep a wary eye on all those they’ve just sent to drain it. In short, they practice the Reagan dictum of “trust but verify”; and, while unsure of others, to date they believe the president and his advisor Bannon have met the test and kept the faith of Trump supporters. In sum, Bannon is not a superstar or svengali; he is a public servant who has become a symbol of good faith to Trump supporters.
Thus, in yet another swampy irony, and contrary to the paper’s angst, should the Wall Street Journal’s opinion be heeded, the firing of Bannon would not result in an orchestrated outcry by his supposed outside minions or torch-lit, pitchfork marches by alt-right brigades.
Across the spectrum of Trump supporters, Bannon’s firing would be viewed as an abandonment of the “America First” agenda; and, in consequence, a breach of faith with the president’s base.
In reality, if the president pushes Bannon out the White House window, the administration’s alleged “poisonous atmosphere” would not be let out. Instead, the swamp’s miasma would be let in. In this toxic climate, the president’s supporters’ faith in him and their hopes for “Making America Great Again” would be snuffed. The resultant darkness, though, wouldn’t come from Bannon’s eclipse as a political “superstar.” It would stem from the dying light of Americans’ “shining city on a hill” as its descends ever deeper into the murky bogs of a brimming swamp.
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