Remember the days, not so long ago, when Bush strategist Karl Rove, straight out of the Lee Atwater college of divide-and-conquer campaigns, seemed way out of the mainstream of American politics?
Well, meet Stephen Bannon.
A nationalist media mogul, suspected of having anti-Semitic and racist views, who is now the right-arm of president-elect Donald Trump.
That’s right. Trump has named Bannon as his “chief strategist” with Oval Office access.
As the conservative National Review editorialized today:
To conservative and liberal alike, that Bannon has the ear of the next president of the United States (a man of no particular convictions, and loyal to no particular principles) should be a source of grave concern — and an occasion for common cause in the crucial task of the years to come: vigilance.
That is actually remarkable. A top conservative publication asking its liberal counterparts to keep a close eye on the Trump-Bannon team closely.
How bad can Bannon’s anti-Semitic and racist views be?
Bannon’s ex-wife swore under oath in 2007 that “he didn’t want our girls going to school with Jews. He said he doesn’t like Jews.”
The Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other white nationalist groups have praised Trump’s selection of Bannon. Former KKK leader David Duke said the choice was “excellent.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups in the country, labeled Breitbart part of the “extremist fringe of the conservative right. Racist ideas. Anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant ideas –– all key tenets making up an emerging racist ideology known as the ‘alt-right.’”
Ben Shapiro, a prominent conservative who used to work for Bannon, says he turned the Breitbart News website “into a cesspool for the white supremacist alt-right.”
The alt-right is described this way by NPR:
The views of the alt-right are widely seen as anti-Semitic and white supremacist….Most of its members are young white men who see themselves first and foremost as champions of their own demographic. However, apart from their allegiance to their “tribe,” as they call it, their greatest points of unity lie in what they are against: multiculturalism, immigration, feminism and, above all, political correctness.
There are also those stories Bannon approved while at Breitbart, like the one calling conservative writer Bill Kristol the “Renegade Jew.”
Shapiro knows Bannon well and says many former employees of Breitbart News are afraid of him.
“He is a vindictive, nasty figure, infamous for verbally abusing supposed friends and threatening enemies,” said Shapiro. “He will attempt to ruin anyone who impedes his unending ambition, and he will use anyone bigger than he is – for example, Donald Trump – to get where he wants to go. Bannon knows that in the game of thrones, you win or die. And he certainly doesn’t intend to die. He’ll kill everyone else before he goes.”
Kind of makes you think Bannon could be Liddy, Ehrlichman and Haldaman all wrapped up in one. Considering he was Trump’s first appointment, it does send a message of things to come.