Roger’s Rules

The Steve Bannon Bogeyman

People who hate Donald Trump and all his works are right to attack my friend Steve Bannon.

Bannon, who stepped in to serve as CEO of Trump’s campaign this summer, was just named chief strategist and senior advisor of the president-elect last week.

Why are the anti-Trumpers right to attack Steve Bannon? Because he is their worst nightmare.

He is a nightmare not only for Democrats who supported Hillary, but also for those renegade Republicans who signed up for the #NeverTrump suicide mission. Steve is more intelligent than they are. He also commands formidable street smarts and political savvy. In short, he is a one-man, industrial-strength swamp-draining apparatus.

More than anyone else on the political scene at the moment, it is Steve Bannon who will take Donald Trump’s central campaign promises — on Obamacare, on immigration, on the economy — and assure that they move from the realm of possibility to the realm of settled policy.

Politicians say a lot of inspiring things on the hustings. None manage to do everything they promise. Some never do much of anything. Donald Trump seems poised to get a lot done, and it is Steve Bannon who will instantiate the hammer with which Donald Trump will address the many outstanding nails he will confront when he takes office.

It is perfectly understandable that Trump’s opposition fears and loathes Steve Bannon. They would have to be insensate morons not to appreciate that it will be largely through Bannon’s instrumentality that Trump will accomplish his program.

But that is no excuse for the campaign of hysterical calumny directed at Steve Bannon’s character.

Readers of Saul Alinsky will remember Number 13 of his Rules for Radicals:

“Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.

We have lately witnessed a florid example of this mendacious Alinskyite tactic in the disgusting attacks on Bannon for being a white supremacist, anti-Semitic spokesman for the “alt-right.”

As David Goldman put it in his PJ Media column yesterday:

The charges against Steve Bannon are a tissue of lies without a modicum of merit.

David did a superb job of picking apart the various untruths and libels directed at Steve, and I commend his fine work of demolition to your attention. Here, I’d merely like to add a word or two about the convergence of the forces arrayed against Donald Trump and Steve Bannon.

When people lose a bet or an election they are naturally disappointed. But the reaction to Donald Trump’s victory is nothing short of hysterical. It has stirred up dark forces on the Left and has driven some otherwise sensible people nominally of the Right quite mad.

One oddity that has resulted from this is a sort of coincidence of opposites. You glance quickly at the crowd of people baying for Steve Bannon’s blood, and very different people seem to converge. Was that Michael Moore screaming about Trump/Bannon … or was it Gabe Schoenfeld? In this light, it’s so hard to tell. Was it Jennifer Rubin skirling about Trump … or was it Rachel Maddow? Their voices are so alike.

That’s one oddity. The other oddity is how futile their efforts are. The whole lumbering, moralistic anti-Trump/Bannon machine is like a gigantic gasoline-powered antique truck with a broken transmission and faulty valves. The anti-Trumpers and Bannon-bashers stomp down on the accelerator, but all that happens is that the engine roars and smoke billows out of the tailpipe. The wheels don’t spin. There is no traction. The large, decrepit vehicle goes nowhere. It’s all sound and fury, signifying irrelevance.

The demands that Donald Trump sack Steve Bannon are like Jean-Claude Juncker’s “warning” that Trump must pay attention to the EU: Pointless, because unheard. No one is going to pay attention to Juncker anymore, and the hysterical yappings of the chihuahuas nipping at Steve Bannon’s heels would be funny if it were not so pathetic.

Beginning philosophy students eventually get around to Bishop Berkeley, and are wont to entertain themselves with questions like: “If a tree falls in a forest and nobody hears it, does it make any sound?” That could be updated with the gang of irrelevant anti-Trumpers who have made Steve Bannon the current object of their repugnant obloquy.

They have worked themselves into a frenzy of groundless denunciation, but no one is there to witness their hysterics. Is there any sound, or is it all merely a politically correct pantomime?