In many quarters he is reviled for his naked comments and opinions. Within his new book, “Bannon: Always the Rebel,” he is far from the “goose-stepping neo-fascist” the Obama-hating liberal media wants Americans to perceive.
The very fact that news outlets such as CNN, The New York Times, MSNBC and The Washington Post revile him is not a revelation. But the portrait they attempt to paint of the man is far from the truth.
Liberals commonly label him a racist. Since that is one of their wide-brush strokes on anyone not in lockstep with their narrative, the word has completely lost the potency of its dictionary meaning. Responsible members of the media are surprised to find a man who is substantive in his thinking and not at all akin to the vile accusations thrown his way.
Bannon is neither a racist nor anti-Semitic. In fact, his partner on Breitbart.com, the late Andrew Breitbart was Jewish, as are several of the most senior people at the website. The site is ardently pro-Israel. If anything, Bannon can perhaps be accused of allowing too much racist content in the Breitbart comments section. But isn’t that part of any free speech mix of ideas?
There is the criticism that he is anti-Islam. Bannon believes that Islam, like Christianity, patronizes its fundamentalists and literalists who pose the greatest danger. Islam has not made the transition to modern times. He sees a civil war in Islam between Sunni and Shiite. It is a conflict that pits radical adherents of an austere, puritanical aspect against the more moderate Islam. It is the ultimate realignment for the ages.
Bannon has a very specific plan for America’s future. It is a mixture of traditional Republican ideas associated with those of some Democrats. That includes lower taxes, reducing government dramatically and bringing down the national debt.
Conversely, but not a retreat from his conservative beliefs, he endorses few limits on free trade, but firm and amenable alterations on immigration much to the consternation of establishment Republicans. He is a free-thinker who is obliged to no particular special interest group.
To understand Bannon, you have to target the core of his ideology. Economics flows from culture. It derives from U.S. workers, especially the middle class, not the “elites” that he despises. Average Americans are essential to long-term prosperity. Capitalism must resist the use of cheap labor. Vast hordes of unskilled labor will be the downfall of American society.
Yet Bannon is not an isolationist in any sense of the word. America must be very careful where they choose to become involved overseas, but remain the guiding light of the world. He argues that the average American has seen little for our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of this nation’s “adventures” have squandered our riches. The objective of such operations should be victory and not protracted engagement.
Moreover, the Chinese, not the Russians, are a threat to U.S. military and economic hegemony. The ultimate security issue facing the United States in the twenty-first century will center on China. America must confront Chinese expansionism and vigorously compete with them on the economic front.
Bannon is not opposed to broad trade alliances like his old friend Donald Trump. But he is wary of international rules that impinge on U.S. sovereignty. In regards to American-made goods, he is aghast at unfair trade practices that cheapen imports and have impinged on U.S. manufacturing. It is critically harmful to American’s quality of life, especially the middle class.
The Breitbart.com chief views his form of “protectionism” less as withdrawing from the world rather than saving average Americans from the ravages of unfair trade. If America goes the route of “globalism,” it will be to the detriment of every citizen of the country.
The portly media executive is unconcerned with his oddly layered shirts, open collars, and protruding waistline. His physical image does not fit the slick-suited public image many in the media expect. The Virginia Tech graduate is comfortable within his own skin. That may be the most irritating quality he possesses in a town filled with political enemies.