There is no doubt that Steve Bannon was instrumental in helping then-presidential candidate Donald Trump in 2016 hone a message that Washington, D.C. is broken and only an outsider can fix it, bringing real change.
The buzzword for Republican’s dissatisfaction was "establishment." The key word for Democratic intransience was "corruption." And, the key word for defining the mainstream media was "fake news."
Trump and Bannon were able to strike a chord with millions of Americans fed up with the status quo. Americans wanting to shake up Washington, D.C. and bring about real change — and accomplishments.
After President Trump was sworn in, Bannon thought Republicans got the message delivered by the electorate. He was banking on an easier time of honoring promises made in the campaign of 2016 by getting behind President Trump’s efforts to "Make America Great Again," by repealing and replacing Obamacare, tackling immigration reforms —beginning with the securing of the border — tax reform, and infrastructure spending.
When it was clear that things were not going according to plan, the pushback and dysfunction of Republicans was both open and notorious. Bannon wanted to wage war, using the White House as his fort. But, instead of leading the charge Bannon was courtmartialed and walked out the gates of the White House, to become an outside insurgent.
There is no doubt that congressional Republicans have wasted time and opportunities the during past nine months to get through their big ticket agenda items. The American people could not have given Republicans anymore power than they have now. After all, they control the White House and both houses of Congress. There is no doubt that many Republican voters today are frustrated and disappointed, as is the electorate in general with Republicans inability to perform as promised.
Bannon knows that with Republicans' lack of performance and dissatisfaction brings opportunity to continue to try to control and shape the party to match his ultra conservative agenda. There are some clear and present challenges to attempt that from the outside, and not from within the party apparatus.
In my opinion, you don't divide and conquer a party you inspire and unite it. If a party is weak and divided, it cannot win and thus cannot govern. A weakened party can only hope to regain strength over time. And, that takes time — a long time. In the meantime your adversaries take full advantage.
Bannon does not want to be the RNC chairman. He wants to blow it up politically, strategically — and ideologically.
I believe the best use of Bannon’s political acumen is to make sure power given this president is not fleeting. The immediate need is to pass tax reform in 2017 and to tackle healthcare, immigration, and infrastructure rebuilding in 2018, in advance of the midterm elections.
Bannon is putting the horse before the cart and is looking to the midterms and beyond thereby surrendering the ability to help the president get his major agenda items through now. Bannon could be a tremendous positive outside force for change this fall and next spring focusing like a laser-beam on shaping the message and putting pressure on lawmakers to pass the president’s agenda.
It always makes sense to use the power you have — while you have it.
The best way to hold on to power and get more is to deliver. The sand is sifting through the hourglass. Republicans have no time to waste.
We know as a matter of fact that midterm elections are not kind to the party controlling the White House and that typically seats are lost in both houses of Congress. The only hedge against that is being able to govern effectively.
If Bannon’s goal is to rebuild the Republican Party in his own image from the outside then his chances of success are slim. Historically and practically, outside forces are not more powerful and certainly are not a substitution for a party itself. Funding insurgent primary candidates willy-nilly to take on incumbents has not had a very good track record in general elections.
Bannon’s sights are on the long term and are at the expense of immediate needs, goals, and objectives. If Republicans lose their majorities in one or both houses of Congress the president will effectively be dead in the water. Mr. Trump will have much less of a chance to "Make America Great Again."
If Republicans do not hang tough together then they will hang separately. Bannon should not be the executioner. He should be the president’s lifeline.
Bradley Blakeman was a member of President George W. Bush's senior White House staff from 2001 to 2004. He is also a frequent contributor to Fox News and Fox Business Channel. He currently is a Principal with the 1600group.com a consulting company. — Click Here Now.
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