A marvelous interview with Donald Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon has suddenly appeared in, no less, The Hollywood Reporter: “Ringside With Steve Bannon at Trump Tower as the President-Elect’s Strategist Plots “An Entirely New Political Movement” (Exclusive).” It is a perfect antidote to the McCarthyite insults being heaped on Bannon by the elitist left and its handmaiden, the mainstream media.
Bannon is a provocateur. No sin in that; the left has a plethora of provocateurs.
By every account he is an open-minded, generous (albeit demanding) soul. The media’s efforts to smear him are the most shameful application of “Tailgunner Joe,” guilt-by-association tactics seen since the days of the House Un-American Activities Committee. Wolff quotes Bannon:
“I’m not a white nationalist, I’m a nationalist. I’m an economic nationalist,” he tells me. “The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get f—ed over. If we deliver” — by “we” he means the Trump White House — “we’ll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we’ll govern for 50 years. That’s what the Democrats missed.”
Wolff goes on to observe:
Breitbart, with its casual provocations — lists of its varied incitements … were in hot exchange after the election among appalled Democrats — is as opaque to the liberal-donor-globalist class as Lena Dunham might be to the out-of-work workingman class. And this, in the Bannon view, is all part of the profound misunderstanding that led liberals to believe that Donald Trump’s mouth would doom him, instead of elect him.
It’s the Bannon theme, the myopia of the media — that it tells only the story that confirms its own view, that in the end it was incapable of seeing an alternative outcome and of making a true risk assessment of the political variables — reaffirming the Hillary Clinton camp’s own political myopia. This defines the parallel realities in which liberals, in their view of themselves, represent a morally superior character and Bannon — immortalized on Twitter as a white nationalist, racist, anti-Semite thug — the ultimate depravity of Trumpism.
He [Trump] gets it; he gets it intuitively…. You have probably the greatest orator since William Jennings Bryan, coupled with an economic populist message and two political parties that are so owned by the donors that they don’t speak to their audience.
Nationalism does not equate to, or even imply, racism. It means a willingness to fight for the little guy against the Establishment.
Bannon’s choice of Bryan is erudite and interesting. Bryan’s 1896 speech to the Democratic Convention — which propelled him to a presidential nomination — is thought by many the greatest political speech ever. In it Bryan said:
[I]t is simply a question that we shall decide upon which side shall the Democratic Party fight. Upon the side of the idle holders of idle capital, or upon the side of the struggling masses? That is the question that the party must answer first; and then it must be answered by each individual hereafter. The sympathies of the Democratic Party, as described by the platform, are on the side of the struggling masses, who have ever been the foundation of the Democratic Party.
There are two ideas of government. There are those who believe that if you just legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous, that their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous their prosperity will find its way up and through every class that rests upon it.
Trump, like Bryan, spoke to, and for, the struggling masses. Unlike Bryan, in the minds of the voters Trump could back it up. And, as Dizzy Dean once said, “It ain’t braggin‘ if you can back it up.”
Bryan’s 1896 campaign theme was an attack on the gold standard. Bryan lost to William McKinley, who implemented the gold standard. The economy flourished.
Trump, who has spoken twice in favor of the gold standard, won. Donald Trump does Bryan one better, hinting at great — not good, but great — monetary policy substance and not just soaring rhetorical flourishes.
And as for those on the left who are using McCarthyite tactics on Steve Bannon? One only can say:
Let us not assassinate this lad further. You’ve done enough.
Have you no sense of decency, at long last?
Have you left no sense of decency?
Ralph Benko, internationally published weekly columnist, co-author of The 21st Century Gold Standard, lead co-editor of the Gerald Malsbary translation from Latin to English of Copernicus’s Essay on Money, is American Principles Project’s Senior Advisor, Economics.