Steve Bannon has a problem. He’s in a tribal fight against the toughest, most effective political tribe in the country, the American Jewish Community, and Bannon’s tribe, Irish Catholics, disbanded 40 years ago. They don’t wear their brass knuckles anymore and they only meet on St. Patrick’s Day.
We’re not cohesive and we don’t support each other. I know. I’m a member.
The Bannon tribe’s last hurrah was the election of JFK back in 1960. The Irish Catholic Mayor of Chicago, Richard Daley, was key, as was the longtime Boss of the Bronx, Charlie Buckley. Since then, there have been flashes of tribal effectiveness with Ted Kennedy and Daniel Patrick Moynihan in the Senate and Tip O’Neill, Speaker of the House and Hugh Carey, Governor of New York. At least then we could get our native-born Irish in the country … now, it’s like we are from Yemen.
It’s not necessary to address at great length the effectiveness of the Jewish community in American politics. I’ve done that before. Suffice it to look at the Annual American Aid Gift Package to Israel, a prosperous country of about eight million people. It exceeds the amount we give to all the countries in sub-Saharan Africa combined … a desperately poor region with a population in the hundreds of millions.
Someone should ask Mike Pence (you know the guy with the permanently sappy Prayer Breakfast look on his face) if shortchanging the desperately poor to give more to the prosperously rich gives him the Warm Christian Fuzzy Wuzzies? I don’t know exactly what he’d say, but I know it would start something like this … “Gee, I’m just so awfully glad you asked me that question, and I’m here to say I’m just proud as punch … blah blah blah.”
Thank God Steve Bannon ain’t no Mike Pence.
Clearly, the American Jewish Community is not alone in its opposition to Bannon. Feminists, gays, African Americans, have registered opposition. Their opposition, however, without significant Jewish participation, would not be fatal. With it, it could be.
So what exactly is everybody’s problem with Bannon? It’s amazing how weak the case against him is. Rachel Maddow made a big deal about the fact that while Bannon was at Breitbart, a writer who was Jewish wrote a story about a subject that was Jewish in which the headline referred to the subject as a “Jew”. Apparently in Rachel World, someone can only be identified as a Jew if they win a Nobel Prize or are being acclaimed for carrying crippled children out of burning buildings.
Now, if someone claims they’re Christian and they happen to have an affair, Rachel can barely contain her giddiness … she’s got a story she can milk for weeks.
Meanwhile, Anthony Weiner gets a pass in Rachel World. Rachel was even critical of Nancy Pelosi who laid down the law to Weiner, telling him his only option was to resign from Congress. He did.
I’ve always liked Nancy Pelosi.
What else have they got? Exactly one person (his former wife in a hotly-contested divorce proceeding) claims he said he didn’t want their children going to school “with a bunch of whiny Jewish brats”.
First, I can’t think of anyone less credible than a spouse (man or woman) in a bitter divorce proceeding. The old saying, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” should read, “Woman or man scorned”. Absolutely nobody other than his prior spouse has come up with anything Bannon has said or done that could be construed as remotely anti-Jewish.
Second, suppose he said exactly what his former wife says he said. Are you telling me that Jewish parents like Jared Kushner and Kushner suck up Gary Cohn don’t talk privately and candidly about the ethnic makeup of the neighborhoods they inhabit or the schools they send their children to? The Kushner-Cohn duo, along with Ivanka Trump, are the hot internal core looking to oust Bannon.
Bannon just isn’t obsequious enough for the Trump Royal Family and its Courtiers. Good for Steve Bannon.
What else do they have? Well, Bannon has talked about “Deconstructing the Administrative State”. How does saying that make him radioactive? It doesn’t. Except for the sometimes sleazy opportunists of the Holier Than Thou left.
I know a bit about the Administrative State. I was part of it for four years after law school. Here’s one of its characteristics. When a government agency screws up and doesn’t detect a problem that it has been chartered to oversee in a timely fashion, they never admit a mistake. Instead, they go to Congress and they say they need more statutory authority and more resources to catch problems like the one they just missed.
They usually get a big part of what they ask for and, as a consequence, government gets bigger, more expensive, and needlessly more intrusive. The Administrative State needs a little Deconstructing from time to time. Good for Steve Bannon for saying so.
What else? Bannon as white supremacist? Based on what? Nothing. Shameful.
Bannon can’t be held responsible for the views of people who comment on a website he was associated with. If you’re going to apply that standard, take a look at the people who own the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
I hope Steve Bannon toughs it out. He’s not the first, and he won’t be the last, to be wrongfully accused of anti-Semitism. That card gets played way too frequently.
When Ronald Reagan was President, the Prime Minister of Israel, Menachem Begin, accused Reagan of “anti-Semitism and betrayal”.
What had Reagan done to incur Mr. Begin’s wrath? Reagan had the nerve to proceed with an agreement to sell AWAC Aircraft to Saudi Arabia without Israel’s permission. Israel opposed the deal in the American Congress, and Reagan won a close vote.
Look it up. It’s on page 416 of Ronald Reagan’s autobiography.
I will post again on Wednesday, May 3, 2017 or before if the news flow dictates.
Comments are welcome at tomc[at]wednesdayswars[dot]com. Comments will be addressed in subsequent posts.