Steve Bannon, former Trump advisor, a Republican strategist, and former executive of Breitbart News, is a dreadful individual. He also has some advice for the GOP ahead of midterms. I suggest that they not take it.
Mr. Bannon is the kind of person who would do anything (and has) to be close to power. He is not driven by a sure and steady moral compass. To him, winning is the ultimate goal. It matters not how one gets there or who they have to bulldoze to get to the finish line.
In a Sunday interview with the Associated Press, Bannon made it clear that his strategy has not changed. Despite being ostracized from the MAGA clan he once knew, he is still thirsty to see that it’s victorious. Unfortunately, that means disregarding human beings along the way to success. So for Bannon, a darling of the alt-right/white supremacist/Milo Yiannopoulos crowd, it’s business as usual.
…Bannon backed the president’s aggressive tariffs, which have drawn criticism in agricultural states crucial to Trump’s victory. He argued they were a key part of Trump’s nationalistic economic strategy.
“People in Iowa, once it’s explained to them, will fully support the president in this,” he said.
No. Whether you’re just a person in Iowa who Bannon loves to disrespect or someone entirely removed from an agriculture-heavy state, tariffs are not smart economic policy. They are taxes and they hurt consumers. President Trump, who defends tariffs because of his beliefs about trade deficits, is incapable of accepting a much more nuanced take on the issue. But definitely, don’t take my word for it. Listen to economist Thomas Sowell:
…international deficits and surpluses have had virtually no correlation with the performance of most nations’ economies.
The United States was the biggest debtor nation in the world during its rise to industrial supremacy, became a creditor as a result of lending money to its European allies during the First World War, and has been both a debtor and a creditor at various times since. Through it all, the American standard of living has remained the highest in the world, unaffected by whether it was a creditor or a debtor nation.
The recent tariffs are a result of the president’s economic illiteracy where he sees deficits as automatically bad when in fact, their overall effect is largely immaterial. I guess those “people in Iowa” who are hurting from the trade war just don’t know better than a Wharton alum like President Trump one thousand miles away from reality.
Bannon also doesn’t care about decency, but that’s hardly surprising given his own lack of character and the character of his associates.
He said Trump’s culture wars, which have included public attacks on women and minorities, don’t present a problem, calling it his “house style” and saying people should “separate out the signal from the noise.”
The “Who cares; it’s just words!” faction of the Republican Party is nothing but a repulsive, putrid abyss of rationality. But then again, entire swaths of voters cast aside hesitations (if those existed in the first place) they held for the 2016 party nominee. His past, his language, his ridicule, his misogyny, his lack of character, his faux faith, and shaky “conservatism” didn’t matter at all, for he had a golden (R) next to his name.
Steve Bannon’s dismissive attitude at something he calls “house style” is proof positive that there is a sickness within the GOP that goes deep. What Republicans would rightly criticize Democrats for is approved of and allowed so long as it emanates from the side closest to your policy leanings. Utter foolishness. Then again, this is the mindset that propelled someone like Donald Trump to the throne in 2016, so it’s not surprising. It’s also not something to brag about.
Another notch on Bannon’s belt of indifference is his loyalty to Alabama Senate candidate, Roy Moore. Despite very credible allegations against the Republican, Bannon stuck by him through a losing campaign. More than one member of the GOP dismissed potential problems with Moore and essentially said, “Who cares if the claims are true? We need a win.” Steve Bannon sang along with that chorus.
When talking about GOP survival, I’m not focused on their midterm results. What I’m addressing is the GOP that used to exist, long before it whored itself out for a win in the 2016 election. Principles used to matter. Taking a loss but still maintaining one’s character used to supersede winning at all costs. That’s the GOP that I would love to see come back.
The GOP that takes advice from Steve Bannon and those like him? I’m not concerned if it loses. Pain and lessons learned might be just what the doctor ordered.