Those who predicted Bannon’s departure from the White House would mellow the shameless attack dog are in for a shock. As his interview yesterday demonstrates, he looks set only to have turbo charge his indignation for the mainstream, says Andre Walker.
Yesterday saw the very first (can you believe it) ever TV interview (click here) by former White House Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon. He used CBS 60-Minutes to call himself a “street fighter” who not only wanted to “go to war” with the Republican establishment but also hoped there would be civil strife amongst Democrats too.
It was a typically belligerent performance from a man who has no interest whatsoever in impressing the established media. He told Charlie Rose he didn’t need the “affirmation of the mainstream media.”
He continued: “I don’t care what they say. They can call me an anti-Semite. They can call me racist. They call me nativist. You can call me anything you want. OK? As long as we’re driving this agenda for the working men and women of this country, I’m happy.”
But if media bosses were shocked by this performance, then it must pale into insignificance compared to what he said about Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan. Both of whom were basically accused of being against the American working class, of opposing the draining of the swamp and of trying to “nullify the 2016 election”.
He listed a series of other Republican top brass, like Condoleezza Rice and Dick Cheney, whom the very mention of gets “all over me like, like nothing else.” He went on to describe them as “the same geniuses that got us into Iraq” and “idiots” he holds in “contempt”.
Strong stuff from a man for whom high office was short, and being totally honest, appeared to take quite a physical toll on.
But Bannon did set out a big vision for his future and for the future of the populist movement he built. He was clear that America was not successful because it was an immigrant nation, but rather because of the values of economic nationalism. It was a strong rebuke to the internationalist model of recent years, something he plainly views as un-American.
In fact, he believes American values have been absent from the federal government for 50 years. and this was made worse by the failures of the Clinton, Bush and Obama administration on the international stage.
His vision is to be Trump’s “wingman outside”, attacking those Republican’s that are wishy-washy on the repeal of Obamacare, are fearful of a tough immigration stance and are opposed to a trade war with China.
Bannon is now firmly back at Breitbart, and the interview was conducted in the media company’s HQ, his house in Washington DC. He will use that position, and the financial might of billionaire Republican donor, Robert Mercer, to launch a series of blistering attacks on GOP rivals.
In the past Mercer has pumped huge amounts into Breitbart, lifting it from an obscure blog to an outfit with significant power. He was also willing to make major donations to Tea Party challengers to sitting Congressmen and Senators in GOP primaries.
Time will tell whether Bannon and Mercer have cooked up a similar plan for the next few years, do not be surprised if they have.
In looking at what will happen next it is worth remembering that Breitbart was willing to launch attacks on National Security Advisor, HR McMaster, even when Bannon was still in the West Wing. Trump was said to have wanted Bannon to call the attacks off, but he didn’t.
If Bannon was not willing to show restraint against his enemies when he risked being fired, it is hard to believe he’ll be a shrinking violet now.
He was clear that the swamp still needed to be drained, but that Trump’s eight months were not enough time. In fact, he predicted the project to change Washington DC would take decades because the establishment was so ingrained in the federal capital.
For him, it is a “business model” that creates a cycle of donors, lobbyists and politicians effectively marginalising the very voters that the system is meant to serve. And it is the reason DC has seven of the nine richest counties in America.
If you expected Bannon the shameless attack dog to have mellowed you’re in for a shock. This performance sets out his desire to turbo charge his attacks.
He’s as brash, tough and ideological as he’s ever been. I’m not sure his enemies scored a win by pushing him out of the White House!