Saturday, April 08, 2017

OK, It's Official Now-- Trump White House Is Already At The Nexus Of A Bitter Civil War


Trump is deciding on scapegoats to blame for his spectacularly failed first couple of months in the White House. Mike Allen thinks it may well be curtains for Bannon... and for Reince Priebus.
The West Wing Game of Thrones has been raging ever since Trump took office. But the war between the nationalists and the moderates, led by Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, burst into the open this week after Bannon was taken off the National Security Council, setting off a torrent of leaks against him.
Maggie Haberman seems to have a good grasp on all this White House intrigue and, like most everyone, she sees it in terms of a battle royale between Kushner-in-law and Bannon... and it's right out in the open:
Thick with tension, the conversation this week between Stephen K. Bannon, the chief White House strategist, and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, had deteriorated to the point of breakdown.

Finally, Mr. Bannon identified why they could not compromise, according to someone with knowledge of the conversation. “Here’s the reason there’s no middle ground,” Mr. Bannon growled. “You’re a Democrat.”

The schism within Mr. Trump’s perpetually fractious White House has grown in recent weeks, fueled by personality, ideology and ambition. At its core are Mr. Bannon, the edgy, nationalist bomb-thrower suddenly in the seat of power, and Mr. Kushner, the polished, boyish-looking scion of New Jersey and New York real estate. Even as Mr. Kushner’s portfolio of responsibilities has been expanding, Mr. Bannon’s in recent days has shrunk with the loss of a national security post.

...On one side are Mr. Bannon’s guerrilla warriors, eager to close the nation’s borders, dismantle decades of regulations, empower police departments and take on the establishment of both parties in Washington. On the other are Mr. Kushner’s “Democrats,” an appellation used to describe even Republicans who want to soften Mr. Trump’s rough edges and broaden his narrow popular appeal after months of historically low poll numbers.

In the middle is Mr. Trump himself, seemingly torn between the two factions, tilting one way or the other depending on the day, or even the hour, while he seeks to recapture momentum after a series of defeats in Congress and the courts. As he did throughout his career in business and entertainment, Mr. Trump plays advisers off one another, encouraging a sort of free-for-all competition for influence and ideas within his circle, so long as everyone demonstrates loyalty to him.

Lining up with Team Ivanka are Gary Cohn and Dina Powell (both of Goldman Sachs. There's talk of firing Priebus and giving Cohen his job. Gannon's aligned with the Mercers, of course, but also Stephen Miller.
Mr. Kushner and the others are said to be especially concerned about the geyser of bad headlines that have marked the president’s first two and a half months in office. They have resisted many of the more polarizing policy initiatives favored by Mr. Bannon’s side, including the travel ban and rollbacks of environmental regulation and of protections for transgender students, arguing that they undercut Mr. Trump’s election night pledge to be a president for all Americans.

On foreign policy, Mr. Kushner is more inclined toward intervention in the Middle East while Mr. Bannon would prefer that the United States remain as uncommitted as possible. Even as the president signaled this week that he might respond militarily to the chemical attack on civilians in Syria, Mr. Bannon has argued that American interests are better served by not getting drawn any further into the quagmire of a civil war. From his point of view, Mr. Bannon describes the struggle in militaristic terms, vowing to associates that he “won’t give an inch.” He tells Mr. Trump that there is no political benefit to drifting even slightly toward the center on core issues like the Mexican border wall, immigration and the environment, while he argues against a large infrastructure spending package without a clear way to pay for it.

Mr. Bannon argues that it would be a fool’s errand to try to placate Democrats on Capitol Hill. That is a view shared by Mr. Priebus, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee. If Mr. Trump made a deal on health care with Democrats, Mr. Priebus told the president, it would jeopardize his chances of winning the Republican nomination in 2020, according to a person present for the conversation.

The wrestling match has spilled over into public view as each camp seeks reinforcements among news media and conservative figures. Roger J. Stone Jr., an on-and-off adviser to Mr. Trump for 30 years, accused Mr. Kushner of planting negative views of Mr. Bannon on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, a show the president is known to watch.

“Many of the anti-Steve Bannon stories that you see, the themes that you see on Morning Joe, are being dictated by Kushner, while Mr. Kushner’s plate is very full with Middle Eastern peace and the China visit and so on,” Mr. Stone said this week on the radio show hosted by Alex Jones, an avid fan of Mr. Trump’s who loathes establishment figures and traffics in conspiracy theories.

Mr. Bannon’s supporters are publicly warning about the subversion of Mr. Trump’s real agenda by the so-called Democrats.

“This isn’t about palace intrigue,” Laura Ingraham, the conservative radio host and author who was one of Mr. Trump’s earliest backers, said in an interview. “This is about a full-scale assault against the Trump agenda from within. If the president allows this to continue and drifts away from his key pledges, he risks losing his core constituency and any hope of a second term.”
Yeah, Trumpanzee seems to even have now lost American Young-Nazis leader Richard Spencer, who's both anti-Kushner (a Jew) and pro-Assad (a... well you know).

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At 6:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What all of these "conservative" pundits all dance around without coming out and saying it is that the fight is over the strings of the Puppet. The Puppet has proven to be a total incompetent, so if the GOP is to avoid an electoral disaster in 2020 (much less 2018), a competent puppeteer must be selected.

The problem with this strategy is that the puppeteers are all self-proclaimed experts with nothing realistic to back their claims. Every one of them is vulnerable to attack from the other puppeteers as they vie for control of the strings. Every one of them is being exposed as the charlatans they all are. It isn't likely that the public is going to be fooled a second time as the things they have come to rely upon (SSI, Medicare, etc.) sink into the morass without replacement.

Time to buy torches and pitchforks before the prices rise.

At 7:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Buried lede: "If Mr. Trump made a deal on health care with Democrats, Mr. Priebus told the president, it would jeopardize his chances of winning the Republican nomination in 2020,"

In other words: Somebody else has advised Trump: "Single-payer or even public-option, strong enough to win support from Bernie, and signed by Trump, would throw anchors to the sinking electoral popularity of the two Party establishments."

I suppose there might be some other Dem-establishment-supported "deal on Health-Care", but it is very hard to envision how any deal could be seen to accomplish much without hitting hard at least one side of the health-insurance trade-off triangle:
1. Young healthy people;
2. Unhealthy older people;
3. Insurers and Big Pharma

At 6:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:50, the problem with SP and PO is they both would end up doing away with the vampire insurance industry. And the vampire insurance industry owns a lot of congress bwo their billions in donations. The vampire insurance bribery is why we got the odious ACA instead of medicare for all.

So don't look for that being a "deal" between the Nazi admin and the fascist Democraps. Won't fly.

Which is why drumpfdeath/ryandeath couldn't fly without subsidies/vouchers. the insurance paradigm must be retained for that industry to stay relevant, even though they don't do shit in the CARE industry.

I was just thinking how lucky we all are... to have lived long enough to see our government, elected (sort of) by about a third-ish of eligible voters, in the midst of a civil war between the KKK and Nazis who want America to be white and Christian vs. the neocons and neoliberals who want America to rule the world('s oil) with an iron fist... and kill everyone who gets in the way of our holy crusade to own all the oil.

How proud we who remember JFK, RFK, MLK and the "new deal" and "great society" must be now that we have risen to the top of our mountain.

At 1:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To anon @ 6:03 PM

White/Christian and holy oil crusades are hardly mutually exclusive.

John Puma

At 7:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

JP, while there is some overlap, the current neonazi sect at war with the fascist doctrinaires is the one that didn't want the Syria thing. Not that they care about dead muslim kids, the orange-utang's crocodile tears notwithstanding. But... whatever.


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