- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The press has been fascinated with Stephen K. Bannon for years, penning both fancy prose and damning reviews of the former White House adviser, political strategist, film producer, media kingpin, talk radio host, scholar and combat veteran. Mr. Bannon is many things. He has drawn lots of news coverage — much of it uneven, speculative and tinctured with venom from journalists who are disenchanted by President Trump. Yeah, well.

Now, at long last, there’s a book that is both a biography and a tutorial on the way things work and don’t work in authentically powerful circles. “Bannon: Always the Rebel” arrives at month’s end from Regnery Publishing.

“This book is an effort to demystify Stephen Bannon, to separate the real man from the caricatures, and to explain his brand of conservative populism,” writes author Keith Koffler, himself a political writer and founder of White House Dossier, a polished, online compendium of current news and commentary about the executive branch.

His mission is on point. Indeed, Mr. Bannon’s diet smoothies, his habit of wearing several shirts at once and his lack of hobbies are among the details in a pithy profile that appeared in Politico this week — part of a look at “post-Trump life” among those who once worked for the president.

The meticulous Mr. Koffler, meanwhile, conducted 10 hours of interviews with his subject, both during Mr. Bannon’s tenure at the White House and after he left his post in August. The author discovered a man with a good sense of humor, a steel-clad backbone and a taste for history, philosophy, theology — “fearsomely learned,” as Mr. Koffler calls him.

“Combine that with an incredible energy and willpower, little need for sleep, and a capacity for ruthlessness, and you have a force to be reckoned with or, for his enemies, preferably avoided,” Mr. Koffler writes. “Bannon is a rebel by nature, but always a rebel with a cause. That cause today is America, American culture, and the survival and prosperity of the American working and middle class.”

The book arrives Monday.


Another book has created a ruckus this week.

Published on Tuesday, “Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House” by former Democratic Party official Donna Brazile dwelled on missteps of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, failed messaging and lots more. The book prompted much squawking; there was an avalanche of sensational and/or incredulous news coverage. Ms. Brazile made many media appearances.

But why would she write a book unfriendly to Mrs. Clinton and establishment Democrats? The implications involve a former first lady, according to one observer.

“I think Brazile is clearing the decks and setting it up so that she’s going to run the Michelle Obama campaign for president,” Rush Limbaugh told his 10 million radio listeners on Wednesday.


One analyst has a handle on why Republican hopeful Ed Gillespie lost his bid for Virginia governor.

“Gillespie ran a Jeb! campaign in a Trump world,” writes J. Christian Adams, an election lawyer and PJ Media columnist.

“Ed Gillespie is certainly a good fellow. But his campaign used messages from 2004 and tactics from 1996. It seemed to exist outside of the ferocious upheavals of the modern polarized political world,” observes Mr. Adams. “The messaging was almost nostalgic, longing for a political world pre-Trump, pre-Obama, pre-polarization.”

Republican strategists, please take note: Things change. Mr. Gillespie and his team appear to have missed the marketing mark in an important election. The error is of note.

“It betrays a complete and unrecoverable disconnect with what is happening in the country. Either you get that, or you don’t. Donald Trump won the presidency because he got it. Trump defeated plenty of candidates who didn’t, who thought the messages and tactics from decades ago still worked. They don’t, and Republicans need to adapt to this new rough environment of smashmouth ideological politics, at least if they want to win,” concludes Mr. Adams.


Their day in court was Tuesday. Three Texas-based houses of worship were in federal court in Houston to challenge FEMA after the federal agency denied them disaster relief funds in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Harvest Family Church, Hi-Way Tabernacle and Rockport First Assembly of God filed a lawsuit against FEMA in September and were told, like other churches, that they are not eligible for the funds despite their efforts to bring relief to devastated neighborhoods.

“These three churches helped their communities without discrimination, and FEMA should do the same,” says Daniel Bloomberg, counsel at Becket, the nonprofit law firm representing them.

He says the policy “defies” a recent Supreme Court ruling that protects the right of religious organizations to participate in widely available programs on equal footing with secular organizations.

“Our message to FEMA is this: Don’t mess with Texas churches,” observes Mr. Bloomberg, who says a ruling is expected in the coming month.


Those who have their minds on things beyond the proverbial Beltway can focus on the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which offers unique, historic and architecturally minded tours both in the U.S. and abroad.

Among a few of the just-revealed offerings on these shores: sailing on the Great Lakes, behind the scenes of New York City theaters, Memphis to New Orleans aboard the American Queen paddle-wheeler, cowboy architecture in Dallas-Ft. Worth. Find them all at NationalTrustTours.com and send us a postcard.


64 percent of small business owners expect the overall number of jobs at their company to stay the same.

32 percent expect the number of jobs to increase; 4 percent expect the jobs to decrease.

27 percent cite government regulations as their greatest challenge.

17 percent cite economic issues, 16 percent cite finding and retaining qualified staff.

12 percent cite competition and marketing, 5 percent personal issues.

Source: A Gallup poll of 602 U.S. small business owners conducted Oct. 2-6 and released Wednesday

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