The release of Bannon reveals an insight seldom learned in politics, the nature of limits and the central abiding role culture has in shaping policy. If team Trump is to gain any traction on any policy grounds, he’s going to need far more political acumen than Bannon or any other self serving politico. Working at the highest levels of American statecraft isn’t a place for self serving diatribes. If Nixon taught anyone anything, it was the need for those in executive leadership the ability to shape the national culture; Bannon and most of Trump’s campaign staff was never up to this task.
My guess is that strongly held beliefs get trampled in D.C. For the kinds of folk that succeed in that town aren’t the kind that are capable of lasting change. Before she died of cancer, the late great Meg Greenfield, Newsweek’s senior editor wrote a political biography titled Washington, in it she reveals a startling truth about the dominant working ethos of D.C. “If you want to understand how this town works, remember high school.” Sickening in its simplicity, Greenfield was right, D.C. is predominantly backward looking, trailing the dominant trends of our mass induced culture. It isn’t a place to go if you want to do great things. Most CEO’s in fortune 500 companies understand this, and stay far away.
Two points to ponder with Bannon out. How is Trump going to reform himself in the quest to field national policy resolutions of the first order. Afghanistan, North Korea, tax reform. The list is daunting. Any failure after the health care debacle will permanently halter the growth and appeal of his Presidency. Willingness to temper himself and field sound small tactical policy gains immediately after the loss of Bannon will demonstrate that Trump acknowledges the peril he’s created. Secondly, can Trump posture an appeal of humility in his quest to unite the country. The office he holds in daunting, but many fine men before him mastered it, can he learn how to learn?
Here’s the sad truth about this debacle: it hurts everyone involved, and it emboldens our rising enemies in the ‘long war.’ Bannon’s grade of identity politics damaged the country, but team Trump cannot afford to turn inward, sulking. To procure a win, Trump must lead.
Look for signs of growth in a presidency imperiled by seven deadly sins. For its still early. . .