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Thread: Bannon to Alabama: 'They think you're a pack of morons'

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    Bannon to Alabama: 'They think you're a pack of morons'

    Bannon to Alabama: 'They think you're a pack of morons'

    Steve Bannon declared war on the GOP establishment at a raucous rally in Alabama ahead of Tuesday's special Senate election.

    By ALEX ISENSTADT
    09/25/2017 11:16 PM EDT


    Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon headlined a rally for former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore. | Brynn Anderson/AP Photo

    FAIRHOPE, Ala. — Steve Bannon barreled onstage at a raucous rally inside a barn here to deliver a warning to the national Republican establishment ahead of Tuesday’s special Senate election: I’m just getting started.
    In a thundering 20-minute speech Monday night that was partly a rally for insurgent Senate candidate Roy Moore but equally a declaration of war on the Republican Party hierarchy, Bannon made clear that this next act of his political career could make the Republican civil war of recent years look tame.

    “For Mitch McConnell and Ward Baker and Karl Rove and Steven Law — all the instruments that tried to destroy Judge Moore and his family — your day of reckoning is coming,” Bannon said, referring to the Republican Senate leader and a trio of prominent GOP strategists backing incumbent Sen. Luther Strange. “But more important, for the donors who put up the [campaign] money and the corporatists that put up the money, your day of reckoning is coming, too.”

    With polls showing Moore leading comfortably, the event was an early victory lap of sorts for the nationalist ex-Trump adviser. Since departing the White House last month, he’s made electing Moore — a like-minded, pugilistic outsider — the first of what he hopes will be many pet projects to oust “globalist” Republican incumbents. Bannon broke with his ex-boss, President Donald Trump — who traveled to the state last week to campaign for Strange — and suggested Monday that the president was duped into supporting the incumbent.

    Bannon said mainstream Republicans behind Strange's campaign regard Alabama voters as “a pack of morons. They think you’re nothing but rubes. They have no interest at all in what you have to say, what you have to think or what you want to do. And tomorrow, you’re gonna get an opportunity to tell them what you think of the elites who run this country!”

    Bannon headlined the get-out-the-vote rally inside a hay-lined barn alongside Moore — who at one point pulled a gun out of his pocket to highlight his Second Amendment bona fides —Brexit leader Nigel Farage and “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson.

    But Bannon stole the proverbial show. In his fiery us vs. them rhetoric, Bannon name-checked his enemies, repeatedly going after McConnell.

    “Mitch McConnell and his permanent political class is the most corrupt, incompetent group of individuals in this country!” Bannon said to loud applause.

    Perhaps sensitive to the perception that he was rebuking the president, the former White House chief strategist insisted that it was Moore, not Strange, would do the most to back the Trump agenda. “We did not come here to defy Donald Trump, we came here to praise and honor him,” he said.

    A Moore win, Bannon has argued, would open the floodgates for anti-incumbent primary challengers across the map. He has also zeroed in on looming Senate primaries in states where GOP incumbents are up for reelection, including Arizona, Nevada, Tennessee and Mississippi. Among those present at the Monday night rally was Chris McDaniel, a tea party figure who is weighing a primary challenge to Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker.

    Back at his old perch as chief executive of Breitbart News, Bannon played a key role corralling conservative support for Moore, a 70-year-old staunch social conservative who rose to national fame after defying a federal order to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from a state judicial building.

    Bannon met with dozens of influential right-of-center groups, including the Conservative Action Project, the Council for National Policy, Judicial Watch and Groundswell, a group overseen by Ginni Thomas, the spouse of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Bannon also met with key movement leaders from the Capitol Hill townhouse that serves as Breitbart's nerve center.

    Bannon made the same pitch in nearly all the meetings. Alabama, he said, was a monumental battle — the kind of fight that crystallized what he saw as a collision with the mainstream GOP wing that he was convinced was threatening the Trump presidency he and other grass-roots conservatives had worked so hard for.

    It was a perfect opportunity to undermine McConnell, Bannon argued. With the heart of the Senate primary season still months away, the special election was the moment to strike.
    He also came to relish the idea of the bellicose Moore making McConnell’s life difficult in the Senate.

    Not everyone whom Bannon met with had the stomach to take on McConnell, particularly with such a jam-packed fall legislative calendar on the horizon. But the Breitbart chief wanted to make clear that Alabama was his priority.

    Bannon got behind the candidate who was being massively outspent and had few campaign resources. The former Trump adviser didn’t work to raise money for Moore, but rather used his prominence to help get people behind him. He helped to persuade Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks, a conservative who fell short in the first round of voting, to endorse the former judge.

    Bannon met with Moore and offered him advice. And he also turned Breitbart against Strange, dispatching staffers including Matt Boyle to the state to write critical articles about the senator.

    A Bannon-affiliated outside group, Great America Alliance, aired anti-Strange ads and hosted a pro-Moore rally that was attended by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

    Yet delving into the race wasn’t without risk for Bannon, who found himself going up against the president. On Friday, Trump flew to Huntsville to hold a rally for Strange.

    Trump and Bannon recently spoke about the race over the phone, with each laying out their reasons for their endorsements.

    When he took the stage a little later in the evening, Moore almost immediately turned his attention to Bannon. “He gave more encouragement," Moore said, "than almost anybody this whole time.”

    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/0...e-moore-243131
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    Bannon said mainstream Republicans behind Strange's campaign regard Alabama voters as “a pack of morons. They think you’re nothing but rubes. They have no interest at all in what you have to say, what you have to think or what you want to do. And tomorrow, you’re gonna get an opportunity to tell them what you think of the elites who run this country!”
    Having lived in DC for a little over 15 years and interacted with politicians for much of that time, I have to agree with Bannon.
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