Bannon’s back at Breitbart

Bannon’s back at Breitbart
CPAC 2017. (Image: Screen grab of NewsHunter29 video, YouTube)

That didn’t take long.  (The haste of the transition does tend to bolster Sara Carter’s Circa report that Bannon submitted his resignation on 7 August.  He seems to have had time to plan and make some decisions.)

Breitbart confirmed Friday evening that Steve Bannon is back with the brand, and chaired an editorial meeting today.

Former White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon returned as Executive Chairman of Breitbart News Friday afternoon and chaired the company’s evening editorial meeting.

Breitbart also ran a story on Bannon’s reported meeting with billionaire Bob Mercer in New York this week.  The meeting was originally reported by Axios (which has a history of over-the-top leftism and anti-Trumpism), but presumably Breitbart wouldn’t have published its own post if the report of the meeting weren’t true.  Mercer is a major investor in Breitbart as well as Trump’s 2016 campaign, and a long-time backer of Bannon’s media enterprises.

Axios describes the situation this way (emphasis in original):

  • Bannon has felt liberated since it became clear he was being pushed out, according to friends. He’s told associates he has a “killing machine” in Breitbart News, and it’s possible he returns to lead their editorial operation.
  • A source familiar with Breitbart’s operations told me they would go “thermonuclear” against “globalists” that Bannon and his friends believe are ruining the Trump administration, and by extension, America.

We’ll see.  For what it’s worth, I tend to think Bannon means what he told Bloomberg today:

Ousted White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon returned to the conservative Breitbart News website on Friday and said he’ll be “going to war” for President Donald Trump, vowing to intensify the fight he has waged against opponents of his brand of populist conservatism.

“If there’s any confusion out there, let me clear it up: I’m leaving the White House and going to war for Trump against his opponents — on Capitol Hill, in the media, and in corporate America,” Bannon told Bloomberg News Friday in his first public comments after his departure was announced.

That may, in Bannon’s view, include “globalists” who are “ruining the Trump administration.”  If so, the implication is that Bannon will fight on the field of reporting, opinion, and rhetoric to bolster the original Trump agenda, keeping it alive on its own terms rather than solely in the demonized, misleading version presented by its opponents.  (I don’t agree with all of Bannon’s views myself.  But I can see clearly how they are routinely misrepresented by his policy opponents.)

Basically, Bannon had to leave the administration to be able to resume articulating the original Trump agenda.  From his White House perch, he was unable to give voice to the agenda and drum up support for it.

It’s an interesting question whether Trump sees clearly that having Bannon able to resume this role would be valuable to him.  Trump has been silent on the matter, and in any case, if he does see things that way, he isn’t likely to spill his guts about it.

Ann Coulter definitely does not see it that way.

Ben Shapiro, for his part, is certain that Bannon will go to war with the Trump White House, vengefully determined to get back at his opponents on the inside.

And here’s Jonah Goldberg’s take (somewhat similar to Shapiro’s, but Goldberg doesn’t make the character accusations against Bannon):

Trump’s core supporters — which now clearly includes the tiki-torch Nazis marching behind Obergruppenführers Richard Spencer and David Duke — may indeed be intensifying their investment in Trump, but far more people are intensifying their opposition to Trump, including as of this morning the folks at Breitbart.com. It’s funny. For a year now, they’ve been beating the drums insisting that everyone join the Trump cult of personality. But it turns out they were in it for Bannon all along. After all, no policy has changed. No new program has been announced. Trump is the same man he was yesterday. But with Bannon gone, the Breitbarters are going to war.

It’s like no one out there can talk in anything but personalities, dog whistles, and simplistic implications.  A key “problem” with Bannon all along has been that he doesn’t do that, at least not when he’s making a case to a public audience about something.  His “Fourth Turning” views about what’s going on with America and the world are much more nuanced and intelligent than you’d imagine if you went by the opposition critiques of him — and I say that as someone who actually thinks the “Fourth Turning” construct isn’t big-picture enough.  (I think we’ve left any 100-year cycle there was in the post-Reformation West in the rearview mirror.  The level of civilizational upheaval we are seeing today is of a much higher order.)

But, again, we’ll see.  In the spirit of higher-order upheaval, it may well be that independent thinking serves us best outside the Beltway.  The Washington “swamp” is going to be drained; the only question is how.  It’s no longer sustainable, and therefore not relevant to the future.

I don’t know what exactly will happen in the coming days, but I know what won’t, and that’s the revolving-door denizens of Washington being able to order things to suit them.  The world that made them possible is crumbling around them, and virtually all of it is outside their control.  Some of them think things are going their way.  But when the evidence is thugs in bandanna masks beating others with bats, and burning busts of Abraham Lincoln, it’s pretty unrealistic to prophesy a new golden age from that.

Is Trump at the head of a “dead presidency walking,” as Jonah Goldberg puts it?  He’s beaten the odds so far, and I’m withholding judgment.  Meanwhile, I think Bannon is the lucky one, out breathing the free air again.  The battle for the future doesn’t run down the National Mall now.

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer is a retired Naval Intelligence officer who lives in Southern California, blogging as The Optimistic Conservative for domestic tranquility and world peace. Her articles have appeared at Hot Air, Commentary’s Contentions, Patheos, The Daily Caller, The Jewish Press, and The Weekly Standard.


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