Donald Trump’s Brain
Steve Bannon is Trump’s brain. He’s also Trump’s Dick Cheney. As Lawrence O’Donnell pointed out last night, he’s really more than that.
Karl Rove-W’s brain-was just a spinmeister. He had no say over policy. Cheney had a lot of influence on foreign policy at least in the first four years, though less after. But Bannon is the most powerful non President in the WH we’ve ever seen.
What was striking in his speech to CPAC yesterday was both the breadth of his vision for ‘Taking our country back’ and his arrogance.
He talks as if he-and he sounds as if it was his name on the ballot and not Donald Trump’s-won a landslide on the level of FDR Circa 1936.
“The reclusive mastermind behind President Trump’s nationalist ideology and combative tactics made his public debut Thursday, delivering a fiery rebuke of the media and declaring that the new administration is in an unending battle for “deconstruction of the administrative state.”
“Stephen K. Bannon, the White House chief strategist and intellectual force behind Trump’s agenda, used his first speaking appearance since Trump took office to vow that the president would honor all of the hard-line pledges of his campaign.”
“Appearing at a gathering of conservative activists alongside Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Bannon dismissed the idea that Trump might moderate his positions or seek consensus with political opponents. Rather, he said, the White House is digging in for a long period of conflict to transform Washington and upend the world order.”
“If you think they’re going to give you your country back without a fight, you are sadly mistaken,” Bannon said in reference to the media and opposition forces. “Every day, it is going to be a fight.”
He continued, “And that is what I’m proudest about Donald Trump. All the opportunities he had to waver off this, all the people who have come to him and said, ‘Oh, you’ve got to moderate’ — every day in the Oval Office, he tells Reince and I, ‘I committed this to the American people, I promised this when I ran, and I’m going to deliver on this.’ ”
An American people the majority of who did not vote for Donald Trump much less Steve Bannon.
As I argued in a piece about FDR 1936, there are no mandates in politics.
FDR after the breadth of his victory-he won 523-8 in the EC-and had 76 Democrats in the Senate and 331 Dems in the House-still got beat on court packing. Yet, Bannon imagines that a campaign that won 3 million fewer votes is mandated to ‘deconstruct the administrative state’ and ‘take our country back.’
At the core, Bannon said in his remarks, is a belief that “we’re a nation with an economy — not an economy just in some global marketplace with open borders, but we are a nation with a culture and a reason for being.”
Our reason for being is ‘our’ culture though you get that ‘our’ mostly includes straight, white, Christian men. If you want to see what ‘our country’ looks like, take a look at the Trump cabinet.
Meanwhile, Bush’s Brain-Rove-has bad news for Trump’s Brain.
“To expand his appeal beyond his core supporters on Tuesday, Mr. Trump must persuade the skeptical. That means focusing on the economy, offering a unifying and positive tone rather than a divisive and dark one, and sticking to his text rather than freewheeling. He should also look forward. The closer Mr. Trump’s speech is in style and substance to his remarks at last weekend’s campaign-style Florida rally, the less likely his approval numbers are to rise.”
“Public sentiment is everything,” Abraham Lincoln said during a debate with Stephen Douglas in 1858. “With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed.” Right now, public sentiment is not on Mr. Trump’s side. Tuesday is an excellent opportunity to recalibrate after a haywire first month. He would be smart to take advantage of this window to reshape public opinion. It might be smaller than he thinks.”
UPDATE: To complete the metaphors, Lawrence just referred to Mike Pence as: the acting President.
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