Caution, swamp draining in progress.

It’s a self-evident truism that every large organisation requires some sort of overall leadership. The usual form is one head, perhaps only titular or perhaps almost omnipotent, surrounded by people upon whom that person has devolved some of his power so that they can assume responsibility for a designated area that requires management. To a varying extent, they also act as advisers to the boss when policy decisions must be made.

That common arrangement of a leader surrounded by trusted confidants goes by a lot of names such as the board, senior management or as it’s known in politics, the cabinet. Whatever name it goes by, the unspoken rule is they discuss policy decisions in private, and irrespective of how divisively the final decision has been reached, it is always presented to the outside world with a united front. The unspoken rule is a faction who didn’t get their way still have to support the decision in public. This rule is commonly referred to as cabinet collective responsibility and in one form or another exists at the top of every western democracy.

While a president or Prime Minister, being the person elected by the people to implement his election pledges, ultimately decides policy, he still has to accommodate the various factions of his party by allowing their leading figures some role in the inner cabinet. Where the system breaks down is when the losing faction in a cabinet decides to actively sabotage the implementation of policies they don’t agree with using various covert means such as negative briefing outside the cabinet or using procedural mechanisms to stymie the legislation’s progress through the legislature.

This is what’s been happening in the Trump administration for the last year.

The rebel faction in the cabinet, who’re representative of the old Republican way of doing business, regard Trump and the populist mandate he’s trying to implement as a transient thing which they can stifle as a prelude to getting rid of him and returning the Washington swamp to business as usual. The leaders of this faction are the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and to a lesser extent Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan, who can barely conceal their distaste of the leader and administration they’re supposed to be serving.

Given the Republican majority in both houses of congress, the failure to do things like repeal Obamacare or implement tax reforms can only be laid squarely at the door of Republican congressmen rather than a Democrat party that is still in total disarray after losing last year’s election. Increasingly, the people who voted for Trump and his agenda have become aware of the problem and regard such underhand legislative sabotage as a betrayal by some politicians they elected. Not surprisingly, they’ve become angry and frustrated by it.

Trump, because of the unspoken rule of cabinet policy presentation, cannot just simply attack them publicly or fire them for their disloyalty or outright duplicity, and he must also bear in mind they still have a power base within the Republican party. The obvious way forward for Trump is to eliminate their power base as a prelude to firing them, and this is exactly what he’s doing with the upcoming congressional primaries. All the foot soldier congressmen supporting those who’re hindering Trump’s policy roll out will either come to heel and abandon their tacit support for the swamp, or run the risk of having to fight a congressional primary against a candidate supported by the Trump faction.

Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka were powerful inner cabinet members who were definitely in the Trump faction and like Trump and for the same cabinet reason, couldn’t publicly go after the GOP swamp faction. They both resigned rather unexpectedly and this was an event widely celebrated by the swampers and fake news industry alike as signifying that the reforming edge was being taken off the Trump agenda and he was knuckling under to the establishment way of doing things.

I think the reverse is actually true. It’s yet another example of people chronically underestimating Trump and the deviousness of his long-term thinking behind that seemingly simplistic and blunt façade.

Being outside the cabinet, the unspoken rule no longer applied, so Bannon’s attack on the Republican old guard commenced almost immediately. Within days of him quitting, Bannon resumed control of Breitbart news whose editorial slant immediately opened fire on the administration’s enemies within. He moved it straight onto a war footing against the anti-Trump Republicans.

Despite the liberal’s hatred of Breitbart and the establishment Republican’s grudging acceptance of it as some grubby sort of useful but necessary evil, the fact remains that it’s a very influential news source amongst Trump’s grass-roots supporters, since almost all the rest of the media are almost pathologically anti-Trump, never mind being knee-jerk critics of any conservative initiative.

More importantly, Bannon has rapidly put together a loose organisation of some extremely rich former donors to the Republican party who’re thoroughly frustrated with nearly a year’s length of a majority Republican congress that has achieved very few of the great things that were widely expected of it. They’re closing their wallets to what they perceive as the do-nothing element of the Republican establishment but opening them up to Bannon, who’s going to run populist primary candidates against anti-Trump congressmen in 2018 and 2020.

This strategy is already bearing results with the defeat of the establishment backed candidate Luther Strange by the populist Roy Moore in the Alabama Republican primary recently. That can only be called a writing on the wall event for the Republican swampers and is widely considered to be the reason for several sitting Republican congressmen like Bob Corker deciding not to contest their seats in the upcoming primaries.

Against a still powerful Steve Bannon’s political ferocity, the influence of the Breitbart news machine bearing down on them, the withholding of the usual donors’ funds and at the same time up against Bannon’s extremely well-funded organisation backing populist candidates, they don’t stand a chance and they’re politic enough to know that when holding a bad hand of cards like that, all you can do is fold it and walk away from the table.

Despite the momentary blip of him backing the loser Strange, the whole situation is working out very well for Trump. Apparently being persuaded by the swamper establishment to endorse the wrong candidate and therefore embarrass their president, has much reduced their influence in the inner cabinet. It’s yet another complex political situation which just happens to shake out in such a way as to confound Trump’s enemies and almost amazingly couldn’t have worked out any better if it had been planned that way.

And that’s because it was planned exactly that way.

Despite fake news reports to the contrary, Bannon has been very careful not to make any attacks on Trump and has already firmly established the narrative that he’s defending the agenda Trump was elected on from the machinations of a fundamentally disloyal GOP. To borrow a phrase from Lincoln who when asked why he’d invited a bitter enemy of his to join the cabinet replied, “I want him inside the tent pissing out, rather than outside pissing in”. In my opinion, Trump has deliberately positioned Bannon outside the tent to do some very selective inward pissing.

Bannon is now Trump’s deniable attack bulldog operating outside the cabinet and its restrictions, who over the next year will desolate the Republican anti-Trump faction from its congressional roots right up to its leading figures like McConnell and thereby not only break the legislative log jam and its supporters in the Republican party, but also clear the way for some big wins by the Trump faction in next year’s mid terms.

©Pointman

Related articles by Pointman:

How to get run over by the Trump juggernaut.

The great purge of the Republican party begins.

Zugzwang.

Find them, fix them and then destroy them.

An analysis of the Trump election victory.

Click for a list of other articles.

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Comments
31 Responses to “Caution, swamp draining in progress.”
  1. Shoshin says:

    Good article Pointman. I was wondering about many of the same things myself. Just to step out things a bit further, I’m also pondering whether the Harvey Weinstein debacle is the beginning of the draining of the Hollywood Swamp. I have no doubt that if Hillary won Weinstein would have continued unmolested (sorry, bad pun). With a bagman the size (again, sorry) of Weinstein on the ropes Hollywood cash may stay on the sidelines as well.

    Fallout from Weinstein is massive. It’s now certain that Hillary is neutered and radioactive. Former President Obama’s best case scenario is to fade away, giving $100,000 speeches, down from $500K. Such is the discount of a tarnished mantle. Michelle Obama? Her political ambitions are toast. After praising Weinstein and calling him a wonderful human being, I can see that clip in endless replay by GOP opponents. The Democrats? With their propagandists denuded it’s hard to see them move forward. SHAME!….Clang….SHAME!….Clang……SHAME!

    The Hollywood elite is shown to be nothing more than willfully ignorant predatory enablers. No late night monologues here. They view Trump’s hair more spongeworthy than the cesspit swamp in their own swimming pools.

    Sometimes to drain one swamp you have to drain another one first. Weinstein may have unwittingly pulled the finger from the dike himself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philjourdan says:

      I commented elsewhere that the Weinstein revelation reminds me of Dune – “Plans within plans within plans”. The rot of Hollywood has been known for years (The Godfather came out in 1969), but very few talked about it, and when they did, they were humiliated.

      The initial effect was to contaminate Hillary and a lot of other democrats. But this is bigger than that. I have no idea the end game here. But I watch with a lust for learning how it will play out.

      Like

  2. tallbloke says:

    Insightful. I was wondering if Bannon was still on-team. Well now we know.

    Like

  3. philjourdan says:

    Over 8 years ago, I was discussing the “Republicans” with a friend. He was of the opinion to move the party to the right. So they really represented Conservatives. Having just NOT voted for McCain (I saw no path for him to win), I wanted to start a new party and let the old one whither and die. I maintained that while the short term would see democrats in control for a period of time, eventually the tide would shift and we would get a real choice.

    Bannon has shown me a third way. And exposed part of my naivete. I did not think (nor do I think even today) that Trump is a conservative. He is a pragmatist. And he appears to be exactly what the Republicans need today. To do what my friend wanted done. With Bannon marshaling the money men, and Trump thumping the “democrat lites”, my friend may well be serving me crow in 8 years. We will see.

    Draining the swamp (to the Trump supporters) does not only mean getting the ruling bureaucrats out of DC, but also getting a true opposition party INTO DC. I did not support Trump early on, but I have come to admire him as I study the man and how he manipulates the clueless politicians who forgot they are not gods. The easiest way to destroy an enemy is to convince him he is infallible.

    The swamp was not created over night. It will not be drained that fast either. But the slow trickle is becoming noticeable. The leaks are now damning the swamp, instead of Trump.

    Like

  4. hillbilly33 says:

    Excellent Pointy. I agree with your thoughts and have linked your post at Chiefio’s site.
    hillbilly33 says:
    13 October 2017 at 9:31 pm
    Hi Chiefio. IMHO, Pointman’s latest post is as good an analysis as I have seen of the situation. In Australia, the MSM and ‘our’ ABC delight in daily sessions of Trump- bashing, especially if they can quote some old Republican ‘swamp-dwellers’.
    I think they continue to vastly underestimate Donald!

    Like

    • Pointman says:

      Thanks for that and welcome back HB. Our mutual friend has kept me informed of your travails of late. As always with a friend, I wish you strength of arm and length of days.

      Pointy

      Like

      • hillbilly33 says:

        Thanks Pointy. Much appreciated. Improving every day and feeling up to continuing the fight. The fat lady hasn’t yet sung in the Gillard.Wilson AWU -WRA Inc frauds affair. It has been given new life with release of the notes of Gillard’s former boss, friend and mentor in the Industrial Unit of Slater & Gordon, who of course now has the title, courtesy of Gillard when she was Prime Minister, of His Honour Justice Bernard Murphy, the first Victorian to be given such an appointment in the Federal Court of Australia, traditionally and mostly only available to members of the Bar!, Keep your eye on Michael Smith News for rapid developments..

        Cheers H/B

        Like

  5. gorillaguerilla says:

    Trump is the only way forward to save the USA from deptavity and corruption. I believe his motives are for the good of the people and middle America can see that and support him. Bannon was on hannity this week and has declared war on the treacherous republicans in congress. Also Bill O’reilly is planning something big with Hannity and I’m very interested to see what is coming. Trump is quietly working away there and I wish him every success

    Like

  6. Pointman says:

    Pro-Trump Group ‘Great America Alliance’ Endorses Marsha Blackburn, Patrick Morrisey, Matt Rosendale for Senate

    http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/10/11/pro-trump-group-great-america-alliance-endorses-marsha-blackburn-patrick-morrisey-matt-rosendale-for-senate/

    Pointman

    Like

    • NZPete says:

      Breitbart is my main source of news these days.

      Like

    • Graeme No.3 says:

      Interesting (in the old chinese sense) dilemma for many Republic members of Congress….If you don’t support Trump will you lose endorsement to a Trump supporter or even if you keep your endorsement will you get enough votes to be returned?
      And worse, what happens if dissatisfied supporters form another party** drawing votes from you.

      **The Bull Moose name suggests itself.

      Like

  7. NZPete says:

    This is fascinating stuff. Your insight, Pointy, is remarkable.
    I wonder if Trump’s recent comment about the “calm before the storm” related to what has since eventuated with the Weinstein scandal and everything *that* has unleashed.

    Like

    • Clive Hoskin says:

      One normally would feel some sympathy for these”Women”who have been wronged.But I seem to remember these same”Women”protesting with “Pussy Hats” on and dressed as”Vagina’s”because”President Trump”was DEMOCRATICALLY elected and THEIR candidate lost.

      Like

  8. NZPete says:

    Here’s an example of a learned gentleman, Professor Sir Richard Evans, currently in New Zealand, who on the TVNZ TV1 6pm News this evening, talking about the “post truth era” and the “dark side of the internet”, stated that people like Donald Trump “seem to have no scruples at all in peddling what I’m sure they know to be lies”. While I admire him for his part in defending Deborah Lipstadt against the holocaust denier David Irving, his comment about Trump does not sit well with me.
    There is an article in The Guardian:
    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/feb/14/richard-evans-interview-holocaust-denial-film
    in which this appears:
    “Trump’s contempt for constitutional propriety and for the rule of law, and his hatred of the free press, rang particular alarm bells, as did his willingness to dismantle international agreements. Evans points out that one of the first things Hitler did when he came to power was to abandon the League of Nations.”
    I don’t think this is a fair comparison.

    Like

    • philjourdan says:

      NZPete – Richard Evens is merely a different flavor of the same problem he supposedly defended against. Should the situation change, I am sure he would just as easily argue the other side against Deborah Lipstadt.

      That is what statists do.

      Like

    • Power Grab says:

      I don’t think the press are free. I believe they are bought-and-paid-for shills for those who would enslave us all.

      Like

  9. hoppers says:

    Jared Kushner persuaded Trump to support Strange. Anything that Kushner suports, best strategy is to do the exact opposite for excellent results.

    Like

  10. I was mortified when Bannon and Gorka were let go. After Kelly Ann Conway and Newt Gingrich these were the strongest voices for the Trump agenda.

    Within weeks I realized that your analysis is right. Trump has unleashed his “Dogs of War”. Bannon and Gorka will take down the Senate RINOs in general and Mitch McConnell in particular while Trump will appear to be trying to work with the swamp creatures who are putting sand in the wheels of reform.

    Susan Collins, Mitch McConnell, Richard Burr, Thom Tillis, Bob Corker and many other senators may be fine people. However it is time for them to admit that they are Democrats.

    Like

  11. Pointman says:

    GOP Strategist: Bannon’s Hostile Takeover Plan ‘Should Have Establishment Shaking in Their Boots’.

    http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/10/12/gop-strategist-bannons-hostile-takeover-plan-establishment-shaking-boots/

    What’s happening is by now obvious, but Bannon’s Breitbart is now spelling out to the RINOs the two options they might have, if he decides not to field a primary challenger against them.

    Pointman

    Like

  12. Pointman says:

    Trump And Bannon Make Up: Breitbart Chief Slams Vanity Fair, Predicts Huge Victory For Trump In 2020.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-10-14/bannon-lashes-out-vanity-fair-trump-praises-former-chief-advisor-declaring-war-gop

    Endgame – the trap slams shut. By having a hugs and kisses “reconciliation”, they can get back to working together in public. The swampers never stood a chance. From now, they’ll be facing fire from the bottom with a tacit presidential imprimatur from the top on it.

    Pointman

    Like

  13. Pointman says:

    “We Will Own This” – Retiring Republican Congressman Bashes Trump’s Obamacare Order.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-10-14/we-will-own-retiring-republican-congressman-bashes-trumps-obamacare-order

    You’ll be hearing a lot of RINOs forced out of the swamp on CNN by the end of the mid-terms. Greedy pigs whose snout has been wrenched out of the trough.

    Pointman

    Like

  14. Since Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) the power elites have relentlessly increased their power. Bill Clinton started out trying to secure our borders just like Donald Trump:
    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2016/05/17/1996_flashback_bill_clinton_talks_like_trump_on_immigration_we_are_a_nation_of_laws.html

    Too bad that the globalists, the chamber of commerce and the donor class nobbled Clinton and things have been going downhill ever since.

    Finally the American people have had enough. This is not Republican vs. Democrat. This is the Washington swamp vs. the American people.

    Like

  15. We may be witnessing the last GOP president.

    In 1852 the American president was Millard Phillmore who turned out to be the last Whig president. Following the 1852 election landslide (Democrat Franklin Pierce was elected by 254 to 42 electoral college votes) the Whig party disintegrated.

    If Trump keeps delivering on his promises he will be re-elected in a landslide in 2020. If the GOP fails to support him it seems likely that a new populist party will emerge.

    I resigned from the Republican party in 2002, realizing that neither party would allow reform of our corrupt federal government. It was therefore pointless to vote so I sat out the next three presidential elections. Suddenly in 2016 there was a candidate who had not been picked by the donor class so I voted for Donald Trump.

    If the GOP does not get behind Trump before the 2018 mid-term elections I expect to see a new party emerge in time for the 2020 election while the GOP collapses in confusion.

    I invite Pointman’s faithful to come up with a suitable name for a new populist party. “Know Nothings” has been used already. Knuckle Draggers,,,,,,,,maybe not.

    Given that I am one of Hillary Clinton’s “Deplorables” the idea of a “Deplorable Party” sounds good. Remember that Rommel called the British 8th army “Desert Rats”. That caused the seventh armored division to change its shoulder flash in 1943.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/7th_Armoured_Division_(United_Kingdom)

    Twenty years ago Hillary Clinton invented the “Vast Right Wing Conspiracy”:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vast_right-wing_conspiracy

    Of course there was no such thing but it was a great idea so one of my friends set up the VRWC that meets at 0900 hours every Friday at the Bob Evans restaurant where I-40 meets 15-501 in North Carolina. In 1998 there were only three of us but now there are more than thirty. Still not VAST but we are growing and having fun.

    Like

    • hoppers says:

      Simple. Everyone vote for their local independent. With sufficient diversity of opinion in the House and Senate as a result of many independent thinkers and no Whip bastards, they will not be able to agree on anything, or pass any more dumb new laws and so Government will be deadlocked, and the citizenry can breathe a sigh of relief.

      Like

  16. Pointman says:

    Jeff Flake’s Lesson for Republicans: Cross Trump at Your Own Risk.

    http://archive.is/uTLjD#selection-1519.0-1519.65

    Pointman

    Liked by 1 person

  17. gallopingcamel says:

    Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while. The Washington Post has finally found some news that is not fake. They actually name the corrupt politicians involved………….not all of them but at least the Republicans. It will fall to others to name the Democrats.
    https://www.naturalnews.com/2017-10-16-washington-post-u-s-congress-engineered-dea-racket-to-protect-big-pharmas-opioid-drug-giants.html

    At least WaPo should be credited for getting the ball rolling even though the story was “out there” ten years ago. “Draining the Swamp” is a great metaphor but I see Trump as Hercules cleaning the Augean stables:
    http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/Herakles/stables.html

    This is a really big deal that will lead to congressmen facing criminal charges. Raise the roof until that happens!

    The WaPo story has already had an effect. Tom Marino would have been the worst “Drug Czar” imaginable. Like appointing John Gotti to run the FBI:
    http://ux.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/2017/10/17/trumps-drug-czar-nominee-withdraws-after-his-role-backing-opioid-industry-exposed/771133001/

    I really believe that Trump wants to “Drain the Swamp” but he came close to appointing someone who helped create the opioid crisis. WaPo saved Trump from a bad decision…….what irony!

    Like

  18. Pointman says:

    Mitch McConnell Folds Under Populist Pressure, Extends Senate Workweek

    http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/10/18/mitch-mcconnell-feels-heat-makes-senate-work-longer-weeks/

    At this rate, they might eventually be forced to work a 5 day week. Fold and walk Mitch, he got you rather than the other way around you thought was happening.

    Pointy

    Like

    • gallopingcamel says:

      If Trump’s tax simplification and reductions are enacted this year the Democrats will be in the wilderness for the next 20 years.

      My guess is that the GOP will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory yet again. In this case it would be great to be proved wrong but voter betrayal is what the GOP does.

      Like

  19. richard clenney, USA says:

    As usual, clear and on point. I believed Trump backed Strange as a “team” move,
    the genius was that Trump couldn’t lose. Roy was deeply committed to the goal,
    Strange would have owed him. Like having all the horses in the derby!!

    Like

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