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Bannon Demands Senators Join Trump Cult To Survive Politically

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Bannon Demands Senators Join Trump Cult To Survive Politically


Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

Breitbart.com executive chairman Steve Bannon says that there’s still time for Republican senators to avoid being targeted for electoral extinction in a primary. All it will cost them is their dignity.

At this weekend’s Values Voter Summit, Bannon reinforced the GOP’s current state as a cult of personality and proposed using the willingness of GOP senators to publicly praise President Donald Trump and condemn his critics as a litmus test for determining whether the Breitbart boss  would support Republican primary candidates.

In his Saturday morning speech, Bannon called out Sens. John Barasso (R-WY), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Dean Heller (R-NV) by name, questioning why they had not criticized retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN)  after Corker said this week that Trump’s erratic behavior and reckless foreign policy puts the U.S. “on the path to World War III.” (Corker added that all but a handful of senators agreed with him.)

Since leaving his post as White House chief strategist and returning to Breitbart in August, Bannon has sought to position himself as the head of a supposedly anti-establishment, pro-Trump right-wing movement targeting insufficiently loyal members of the Republican Party.

Bannon’s plan apparently includes directing political spending from his longtime patrons, Breitbart part-owners Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah, along with the editorial support of Breitbart itself, to take down GOP members of Congress whom Bannon considers insufficiently loyal to the president.

Bannon and Breitbart took largely undeserved credit for the results of last month’s Alabama primary election, in which extremist Judge Roy Moore defeated incumbent Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL), who was endorsed by both Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Strange’s weakness, in turn, set off fearsfrom establishment Republicans that their base could revolt and purge incumbents, and coincided with Corker’s announcement that he will not seek reelection.

Speaking this morning before the conservative activists of the Values Voter Summit, a convention overseen by an organization that the Southern Policy Law Center (SPLC)  calls an anti-gay “hate group,” Bannon made clear that even Republican senators who vote for the president’s agenda will still be targeted for elimination if they are unwilling to publicly support the president.

After noting that some critics ask why he’s targeting “all these guys that vote the right way,” Bannon pointed to Corker’s recent comments, saying, “You know, as Bob Corker has trashed the commander-in-chief of our armed forces while we have young men and women in harm’s way, when he said he’s leading him on a path to World War III, that he is not stable, that people have to keep him moderated, that it’s an adult center and they took the morning shift off, while some U.S. senator in a position of that authority for the first time in the history of the Republic has mocked and ridiculed a commander-in-chief when we have kids in the field.”

Bannon attacked Barrasso, Fischer, and Heller for not publicly “condemn[ing]” Corker’s remarks, adding, “And let me give a warning to you, nobody can run and hide on this one. These folks are coming for you. The day of taking a few nice conservative votes and hiding is over.”

Bannon’s claim that it is inappropriate to criticize “the commander-in-chief of our armed forces while we have young men and women in harm’s way” is absurdly hypocritical given his support for Trump, who spent weeks publicly pushing birther conspiracy theories against President Barack Obama while U.S. forces were deployed in the Middle East and Afghanistan. The notion that no senator had ever criticized a president with troops in the field is obviously false; the idea that no one should is frighteningly authoritarian.

Bannon returned to his critique later in the speech, saying that “there’s time for a mea culpa” from GOP senators concerned they will face competitive primaries. But what they need to do, Bannon claimed, is to publicly “condemn Senator Corker.”

key aspect of Trump’s presidency has been his constant, public humiliations of those who try to work with him. He demands public affirmations of his greatness from appointees, regularly berates his staffundercuts those who support him, and trashes everyone on Twitter. Just last week, in the wake of a report that he had privately called the president a “moron,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson came before the press to deliver a statement praising Trump that resembled a hostage video.

If GOP senators had hoped to avoid the Tillerson treatment by virtue of the fact that they represent a coequal branch of government, Bannon is making clear that he has no intention of allowing them that thin reed of self-respect. They will be required to praise the president’s intellect and temperament and decry those who make the obviously true statement that the president is unfit for office. Their first loyalty must be to Trump

If they don’t like that new reality as members of Trump’s cheering section, Bannon is letting them know: they can quit like Corker did.

Header image by Sarah Wasko / Media Matters


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  1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth October 15, 2017

    Bannon is a perfect example of what happens to a child growing up in a modest middle class background, gets a financial break after attending quality schools, gets a lucrative job and enjoys the perks and privileges which go with that, and all enhanced along the way by virtue of taking advantage of an a certain color of skin pigmentation—the latter simply an environmental adaptation to certain intensity of UV radiation. In addition we see Bannon’s corruption taking on a definite form once Steve gets comfortable with loudly expressing self-adoration. (Cecil Rhodes, one of the benefactors of apartheid policies in former Rhodesia, went through a similar drastic transformation and distortion of personality, from boyhood until reaching adulthood, as southern Africa was coming under the sway of imperial British incursion into that region of Africa, during the early half of the 20th Century).

    What the likes of Bannon show is how a dearth of moral restraint and severance from religious values, coupled with a total immersion in the muddy waters of partisan politics, and complemented with a sense of haughtiness, arrogance can lead to total corrosion of a human being and its collapse into a collection of perverse impulses and motivations.

    For now, we should take some comfort in watching this gradual collapse of a society undergoing a slow and relentless process of decay—a decay long ago anticipated by Abdu’l Baha, foreseen earlier by his father, Baha’u’llah, and described at length in detail by Shoghi Effendi in the 1930’s.

    What many Baha’is then in America could but see the vaguest outlines of this collapse in morality here as described by Shoghi Effendi, has over time taken on a degree of enormity which should be obvious to even the most Lazarus-like inhabitants in America.

  2. Richard Prescott October 15, 2017

    Bannon is a douche, but he is fighting the Republicans with the hope of replacing them with radicalized politicians. We do not need any more Tea Party or Freedom Caucus goofs.
    All the Democratic Party needs to do is grow a pair and start doling out the reality in the same way Bannon and these slugs dole out their versions of the truth.
    Or put another way, lies. Their version of the lies vs the GOP’s version.
    Let Bannon rip apart the GOP, leave it in ashes. And burn himself in so doing.
    I can only hope that most people now have seen that the stories perpetuated before and during the election of 2016 for what they are. Lies. And that Russia helped screw that election up by doing a modern day 5th column (read up on WW II if you don’t know that term) that was far more successful than the original version.

  3. angryspittle October 15, 2017

    Bannon is a fucking pig. Ethically, morally, intellectually, politically, spiritually, he totally lacks any fucking humanity whatsoever.

    1. latebloomingrandma October 17, 2017

      Though your adjecives are hardly a prayer, I say Amen!

  4. latebloomingrandma October 17, 2017

    “Values Voters Conference” —what an oxymoron.
    I saw a blurb on FB yesterday that said,(paraphrased) Why obsess about putting Christ back in Christmas by saying Merry Christmas. How about we put “Christ” back in Christian?

    Republicans in Congress are so debasing themselves by kowtowing to Trump and/or that snake Bannon. They have no courage at all. I don’t think more than 30% of the country are on the far right fringe. Why should they be calling all the shots? Democrats need to get their message out that they are still the party of working people. Work hard on voting rights and getting people signed up.

    And I certainly hope the news media in general have examined their collective consciences about how much free publicity was given to Trump. All because of ratings.
    Bad for our democracy.


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