Now that Steve Bannon has carried his political jihad to its logical conclusion, martyrdom never looked so meaningless. A bright and talented man has sacrificed himself over nothing more significant than anger and vanity.
Consider a recent report that Bannon was mulling the idea of running for president in 2020. Presumably that was part of his plan to elect a batch of Roy Moores, depose Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and reshape Congress to match his own definition of economic nationalism.
As such, Bannon’s decision to go out in a blaze of personal attacks on the president and everybody else in the White House does Donald Trump and the GOP a giant favor. Bannon may live to fight another day, but, thankfully, Bannonism is dead.
But what of Trumpism? Is “Fire and Fury,” the Michael Wolff book where Bannon leaks and vents, the beginning of the end of Trump’s presidency?
Maybe — but probably not. After all, every previous media-hair-on-fire moment has come to a forgettable dead end.
This time could be different, but more likely, the latest explosion of gossip and sniping marks just another day on the razor’s edge. This is the essential nature of the Trump presidency, where catastrophe is always a heartbeat away. It will be like that as long as he’s in the Oval Office.
Take Iran. Clinton shared Obama’s fantasy that there are “moderates” among the mullahs eager to play nice, so she backed the nuclear deal that is helping to finance Iranian war and aggression in the mideast.
This is who Trump is, and a year into his presidency, there is no reason to believe he will change. A penchant for creating melodrama seems essential to his being.
One result is that reports of his imminent demise have been near-constant ever since he came down the Trump Tower escalator in June of 2015. Those predictions have been nonstop — and always wrong.
Of course, this time could be different. Or maybe the next time will. Or maybe not.
Meanwhile, his is turning out to be an enormously consequential presidency.
So much so that, despite my own frustration over his missteps, there has never been a day when I wished Hillary Clinton were president. Not one.
Indeed, as Trump’s accomplishments accumulate, the mere thought of Clinton in the White House, doubling down on Barack Obama’s failed policies, washes away any doubts that America made the right choice.
This was truly a change election — and the changes Trump is bringing are far-reaching and necessary.
The economic boom is the most obvious difference voters got by electing him. The tax law he campaigned on, fought for and signed promises to add new dimensions to the boom and should fuel growth and new opportunities for millions of people.
Generations of families will lead better lives as a result, while a Clinton presidency would have been an orgy of regulations aimed at strangling capitalism’s last animal spirits. How many thousands of points lower would the Dow be?
But the Trump effect is not limited to the economy. Think of the difference between Neil Gorsuch and a supreme court justice Clinton would have picked, now multiply that difference throughout the judicial food chain.
Think of Trump’s policy toward Israel. Would Clinton dare to right historic wrongs and declare Jerusalem the capital of the Jewish state?
Never. Like Obama, she would have given the Palestinians a heckler’s veto — and paid them millions more for their obstinance.
And what of North Korea? While Trump’s taunting of Rocket Man makes me uneasy, the big difference is that he refuses to accept a nuclear North Korea. Clinton, on the other hand, would have adopted the Obama policy of “containment,” which is a diplomatic fig leaf for appeasing a madman with nukes.
Take Iran. Clinton shared Obama’s fantasy that there are “moderates” among the mullahs eager to play nice, so she backed the nuclear deal that is helping to finance Iranian war and aggression in the mideast. Similarly, Clinton probably would repeat Obama’s 2009 mistake and remain silent during the current demonstrations against the regime, while Trump is making it clear America stands with the demonstrators.
If Clinton had been elected, we would not know that top FBI leaders conspired against Trump to help her. Her financing of the Russian dossier would still be a secret, and there would be no knowledge that the FBI used her dirtiest trick to spy on Trump associates. Russian collusion would have been accepted as fact without a shred of evidence.
Even with Trump in the White House and Republicans controlling Congress, getting the truth about the deep state’s political meddling is proving difficult. But with Clinton in the White House, there would be no search and the truth of what looks like an unprecedented scandal would remain hidden forever.
Likewise, Clinton as president would face no further scrutiny over the classified email mess despite the rigged FBI probe that cleared her. And the revived examination of her pay-to-play arrangements as secretary of state would never have been considered.
There is another potential consequence of the election, too. With Bill and Hillary in the White House, would The New York Times have outed Harvey Weinstein as the sexual monster he seems to be?
I think not, for that would have embarrassed the Clintons because of their own sketchy past on the subject. In that case, the #MeToo movement would not exist and the predators, most of them media and Hollywood liberals, would still be in power.
These are just some of the many reasons why a Trump presidency, chaos and all, continues to be the course correction America needed. Here’s hoping, then, that the latest predictions of his demise, like all those that came before, turn out to be premature.
Keep reading Michael Goodwin’s column in the New York Post.