Bannon is the Avatar of the Trump Agenda

By | 2017-06-02T18:30:05+00:00 August 15, 2017|
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The long knives are out for Steve Bannon. Again. Or maybe it’s still. Every month the media narrative pits the president’s Chief Strategist against some other member of his inner circle. Bannon’s bete noire used to be Jared Kushner, but for the past few weeks the stories have all been about an internal feud between Bannon and H.R. McMaster.

NPR’s Morning Edition asked me to join them to discuss the debate going on in the White House because of my relationship with Bannon. My answer was simple: he’s a principled and tenacious former Naval officer who wants to advance Donald Trump’s agenda. And if there’s a debate, it should be about how best to implement that agenda. You can listen to that interview here: 

Naturally enough, they asked if I thought Bannon’s job was in jeopardy. How could they not? Especially in light of McMaster’s appearance on CBS Sunday where he said he could work with “anybody” in the White House but when pushed refused to say that “anybody” included Bannon. Everyone got the joke: McMaster wants Bannon gone and used his television appearance to let the nation know it.

There has been an ongoing battle—a war really—to undermine the president and overturn the election. The campaign of character assassination waged against Bannon is one of the fronts in that war. But neither Bannon nor even Trump are the real target. The war is against the 63 million people who voted for Trump and, more importantly, his agenda. These forgotten Americans had been cowed into silence or tricked into supporting candidates who sold them out as soon as they arrived in Washington for years. But in 2016 they woke up and voted for a pro-America and pro-American agenda. They wanted a candidate who would change the way Washington works because Washington is broken. It is parochial, self-serving, corrupt, and heedless of the rights and interests of average Americans. If you’re not connected to the courtier class you’re out of luck.

The equation is simple: What’s good for the president is bad for the D.C. establishment and what’s bad for the president is good for the D.C. Establishment that wants desperately to go back to business as usual. “Vote all you want, but we’re the ones in charge.”

Steve Bannon understands that dynamic and has been a keen supporter of the president and his agenda—which is why he has been the object of sustained attack since last year.

The president’s political enemies both Democrats and Republicans believe that if they destroy Bannon they can alienate the president from his base which will see it as a betrayal of what they voted for. It will leave the president more isolated in the White House with fewer people who were with him during the campaign and who believe in his agenda of reducing foreign military adventurism, moral imperialism, a pro-worker trade policy, and a pro-citizen immigration policy.

I think they’re right about that. Bannon is one of the few representatives of the political movement that elected Trump holding a high position in the White House. But that’s not the media narrative—for them it’s a personality driven Game of Thrones with daily installments.

Those stories are salacious, but not helpful when we should be talking about which of the perspectives—which of those agendas—vying for ascendancy in the White House is good for the country.

Do we really want more military involvement in the Middle East? Bannon doesn’t. And most of the people who voted for Trump don’t.

Do we want to be ruled by the unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats of the deep state or by the people and their representatives? Bannon has outlined a strategy to dismantle the deep state.

Do we want to live in a country that believes that citizenship and a healthy middle class are the essential building blocks of a healthy polity or one in which America becomes a plantation state of rulers and ruled? Bannon describes himself as an “economic nationalist” who wants government policy to favor American workers.

For base Trump voters, Bannon is their voice in a White House they see as increasingly populated by representatives of the very establishment they voted to evict. Perception plays a large role in politics and symbols matter—especially in a political climate rife with suspicion and mistrust. That’s why I told NPR that I think any move to fire Bannon is more dangerous to the future of the Trump Administration than anything Robert Mueller can do.

About the Author:

Chris Buskirk
Chris is the Publisher and Editor of American Greatness and the host of The Seth & Chris Show. He was a Publius Fellow at the Claremont Institute. and received a Fellowship from the Earhart Foundation. Chris is a serial entrepreneur who has built and sold businesses in financial services and digital marketing. He is a frequent guest on NPR's Morning Edition. His writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Hill, and elsewhere. Connect with Chris on Twitter at @TheChrisBuskirk
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16 Comments

  1. Whiskey Sam August 15, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    Chris seems to have the measure of it. Conceding even an inch to the swamp only emboldens it and would be catastrophic to his support. It would also heighten the “I told you so” mentality of the Never Trump rump.

  2. colleenaplin August 15, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    Bannon has to stay but I do find myself questioning his competence, in part because of not knowing much about him, and only going on (i) the first roll out of the travel ban without AG and replacement for Scalia in place, (ii) not good things read about his communication skills with the freedom caucus to pass the healthcare bill out of the House, (iii) not bringing in enough Bannonites into the W.H. when the chance was there early on, (iv) lack of draining the swamp / too many Obama holdovers still in place, and (v) not knowing what was going on with his apparent alignment/backing of Reince Priebus, who we know was ineffective.

    I want him to stay but I’d really like to know more about his competence. Writing things on a whiteboard is one thing. Execution of a vision is another.

    • hamburgertoday2017 August 15, 2017 at 5:27 pm

      He is an adviser. His competence as an *adviser* seems pretty solid. He know what needs to be done and, if I have any measure of the man, he is *not* going to telegraph his moves to the opposition. They are, largely, just going to *happen* (whenever possible). To understand much of what you’ve described as issues, it pays to understand that Donald Trump if fighting the media, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. Very few DC careerists are willing to thwart *all* three of these power blocs by taking a position in the Trump administration, hence the difficulty in filling positions with people who will *support* the MAGA agenda. Execution takes time and there’s many a slip between the cup and lip. But, *over what the President has direct control* we have seen amazing progress in execution of the MAGA agenda and, I hope, more to come.

  3. Hcalla August 15, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    Well said

  4. Dylan Roy August 16, 2017 at 5:10 am

    He is an adviser. His competence as an *adviser* seems pretty solid. He know what needs to be done and, if I have any measure of the man, he is *not* going to telegraph his moves to the opposition. They are, largely, just going to *happen* (whenever possible). To understand much of what you’ve described as issues, it pays to understand that Donald Trump if fighting the media, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. Very few DC careerists are willing to thwart *all* three of these power blocs by taking a position in the Trump administration, hence the difficulty in filling positions with people who will *support* the MAGA agenda. Execution takes time and there’s many a slip between the cup and lip. But, *over what the President has direct control* we have seen amazing progress in execution of the MAGA agenda and, I hope, more to come.

    • Spencer August 28, 2017 at 10:37 am

      Apparently, all you do is steal other peoples’ comments. LOL.

  5. DAlnB41 August 16, 2017 at 7:42 am

    It seems to me that the nations biggest problems are rooted in the men and women who are allowed to interpret and expand on other peoples comments; those who seem to think they are mind readers. It is as if they believe they -fully- understand everything people say and mean in their conversations.
    UNFORTUNATKY, to them, whether they do or they don’t is irrelevant as long as the media has an opportunity to again air not so much the original comment but rather the interpretations of what was “really meant” by the speaker and what the MEDIA sees as the consequences AND THEY WANT US TO BELIVE IN THEIR WORDS rather than the words the original speaker actually mean! !
    It seems irrelevant as to what Trump might have really meant if he said, this morning I walked out the door —; the media interpreters would not know if he meant out his office door, the back door of his house or the bathroom but they would quickly interpret it to mean he was sneaking out the back, or had not yet dressed and was still half nude, or was leaving his house ready to do battle. The media talk hosts would make their interpretations, the media would jump on every possibility, magnify the already absurd interpretations and soon the internet and the media would be in a frenzy as the most absurd interpretations are being spread.
    It all comes from a lack of professionalism and a dishonesty from those who set in front of TV Cameras building their own success with unsupported facts they have little interest or concern about.
    This morning I listened to a CNN talk show hosts commenting on the Presidents statement (regarding the Charlottesville riots); he said; “there were a lot of good people caught up in the riots.” CNN immediately jumped in saying those people Trump called “good” were chanting Ant- American slogans. – – – IT WAS LIKE CNN must have known who it was, the exact ones, Trump was referring to. CNN showed videos of people chanting their slogans and, again, CNN must have known their names, their cause and who supported their being there; anything said CNN did not like was blamed onto Trump regardless of who said it – NAD CERTAINLY, unless CNN sponsored the person or have personal knowledge of them, they are ready to claim it was Trumps fault.
    ACTUALY, the nation has been building up to this from the time the Clinton Election Team hired thugs to riot and create problems at the Trump Campaign events. The Left has had a major campaign going on to see that Trump fails. Hate and confusions is screamed out over the networks when instead of working to help fix our nations problems, Left party leaders’ (specifically Schumer and Pelosi) keep stirring hate, discontent and confusion – – those who are eager to hurt and destroy are quick then to jump in regardless of what the facts are, regardless of the party, regardless of the consequences – just an opportunity to do something.
    As long as we have a run-away media that is given the liberty to say anything they want, that takes advantage of the fact they are protected in what they say, are seemingly immune from stirring hate and discontent, America will continue to slip deeper and deeper into the depths of failure, the media and the lefts design to cause failure of this administration.
    I would say everyone has the right to say what they want – – BUT – – no one has a right to tear the guts out of this nation. .- – – The ONLY PEOPLE who are right are the ones who continue to work to fix this nations problems with honesty and respect for American values! . Unfortunately they seem to be in the minority, or at least the media is ignoring them. The only ones who seem to be getting any notice are the ones who are ready to denounce Trump and destroy any effort to bring sanity back to the nation.
    This morning one of the CEOs that had been sitting on one of the committees Trump set up to review the nations problems (made up of CEOs from numerous organizations) announced his resignation; his reason – – as announced is based on the REASONS the news media are throwing out against Trump and the riots without the specific words of that CEO; AGAIN – interpretations made and magnified by the left leaning media with only THEIR interpretations of what was said and truly meant; the CNN mind readers!.
    I would think a CEO would be broader minded than to let what we have seen as a weak, unethical and continually untrusted media allow him/her comments influence their decisions – – BUT here we are folks – being driven by an untrusted media, weak politicians and those in America who are dead set, by any means, to change our nation for the worst.

  6. BobVasile August 16, 2017 at 7:52 am

    Trump and Bannon should enjoy their short lived stay in the White House. Trump wanted to ” drain the swamp” but instead he has filled up the toilet with the likes of Bannon, Miller, Price, DeVos etc etc ! Time to FLUSH ! BV

    • BCML August 16, 2017 at 12:55 pm

      Trump’s runway is indeed short. I think Mueller is warming up the Impeachment Train as we write.

  7. crushlimbraw August 16, 2017 at 10:20 am

    Chris – you’re right that Bannon represents the Trump base. Let me expand this further – if DaSwamp eventually succeeds in removing Trump or neutering him, the next one who appears to represent them will be tougher than Trump. Why?
    Trump was NOT the primary cause – he was the only one who seemed to represent the wave which has been building for some time – thus the wave is not dying – it is in fact rising.
    My personal gut says that Trump is the last POLITICAL chance to save our country – the next stage will be civil war – which, for all intents and purposes, has already started.
    You can read more at my website and blog archive – we are in for a very rough ride, folks!

    • Adobe_Walls August 18, 2017 at 5:19 pm

      That’s War of Liberal Aggression.

  8. BCML August 16, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Trump is grinding his base down – little by little – to a pathetic core. He has vilified and attacked virtually every moderate point of view. His hypocrisy around buy_American is breathtaking. Sad to say, but his die hards are shrinking in numbers and are now pretty much a group of angry, low-functioning, under-educated, bigoted, gullible, misogynist, white, male, slobs. He has convinced them that their plight is not their fault – but the fault of Mexicans, Chinese, Globalists, NAFTA, the deep state, and on and on. They have bought a load of bull$shit from a con$ummate bull$hitter. We will look back on this era in stunned wonderment that we could have elected the most buffoonish Neanderthal possible. America, if we survive, is forever diminished by this impulsive erratic maniac.

    • Sofia'sDad✓ᴰᵉᵖˡᵒʳᵃᵇˡᵉ August 16, 2017 at 10:57 pm

      Why are you a fan on American Greatness, given these opinions? Or are you just an attention seeking troll?

    • Stanley1 August 17, 2017 at 10:38 pm

      What a pompous twit you must be in person.

  9. mlopez August 16, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    Buskirk is right. Bannon represents a crucial link to the President’s base. That’s why they are trying to get rid of him to deprive the President of his council and experise

  10. RPDC August 19, 2017 at 2:23 am

    Trump has adopted a new theme song: “I fought the swamp, and the … swamp won.”

    Congratulations to President Gary Cohn.

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