Thursday, December 14, 2017


Conventional wisdom says that Steve Bannon will have a hard time recovering from his Roy Moore humiliation -- but Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, and the Federalist are working hard to ensure that rank-and-file conservatives blame the Alabama Senate loss on Mitch McConnell, rather than on Bannon and his candidate.

Here's Hannity:
During an election night panel segment on Alabama, Sean Hannity blamed Mitch McConnell for what he did during the primary.

“I think Mitch McConnell has a lot of culpability in all of this,” he said. “I was a Mo Brooks supporter from day one... I thought he would have been a great candidate. The person that came out strongest against Mo Brooks, Matt, was Mitch McConnell.”
Ann Coulter is singing from the same hymnbook:
Rep. Mo Brooks was the true Trumpian candidate in Alabama, which is why I endorsed him in the primary....

Trump should have endorsed Brooks in the primary, but he endorsed Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's pro-amnesty candidate, Luther Strange....

McConnell spent millions upon millions of dollars in nasty ads to defeat Mo Brooks in the primary, because Brooks takes sensible positions on immigration.

Can't have that! McConnell pulled out all the stops to block Brooks, so he could keep big donors rolling in cheap foreign workers.
And the Federalist turns to Jordan Gehrke, a former consultant for the Brooks campaign, to make the same argument:
... McConnell is the main reason Roy Moore was nominated.

The moment it was clear there would be a Special Election to replace Jeff Sessions, McConnell and his PAC, Senate Leadership Fund (SLF) declared they would back Luther Strange and vowed to spend millions on his behalf.

Strange was a flawed candidate from the jump. The circumstances around his appointment by scandal-ridden Governor Robert Bentley were sketchy at best, and rightly or wrongly, voters just never trusted him....

Mo Brooks was never, ever going to lose this seat or even let it become competitive. In fact, as the only candidate in the field who was neither a pervert or the beneficiary of a shady deal with an unpopular governor, one could argue that Brooks was the only electable GOP candidate.

How can we be so sure Brooks would’ve won the [Republican] runoff? Because despite his strong base, Moore always had high negatives among Republicans. All of our numbers showed Brooks would win a one-on-one race with Roy Moore.

If McConnell and company had simply stayed out of Alabama, Brooks would have cruised to victory in a runoff, and tonight would have been a cakewalk with none of the drama that has engulfed the GOP in recent months.
It's hard to imagine Trump giving a primary endorsement to Brooks, who denounced Trump during the presidential campaign:
"It's not just adultery, its serial adultery and there's a difference. If you make one mistake, it's one thing. But if you make dozens or hundreds of those kinds of deeds and then you boast about it in writing, that's another thing," Brooks said. "It's not necessarily the sexual act itself, it's the honor. I want someone in the White House who is honorable. I believe honesty integrity and honor are important attributes for president of the United States." ...

"Then you've got the public policy issues - where Donald Trump is a notorious flip-flopper on a myriad of different issues," he said. "It is only a little bit of an exaggeration to say that Donald Trump has taken virtually every position - liberal, moderate, conservative or otherwise on every public policy issue that exists. Nobody knows what Donald Trump would do with any degree of certainty because Donald Trump is all over the map on every issue."

"I'm quite confident that a lot of voters are enamored by the personality and entertainment nature of the Donald trump campaign, and I am firmly convinced that 12-18 months from now, when the reality of a Donald Trump vote sets in, a very large segment of Donald Trump voters will be very angry at what their candidate is doing and [will] be very regretful of voting for Donald Trump," Brooks said.
Brooks and McConnell weren't best buds, either:
... Brooks, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said he would not vote for McConnell as majority leader and called for him to step down after the failure of the health care bill.
Coulter is more willing to blame Trump than Bannon:
Bannon is the least culpable! Order of blame: 1) McConnell; 2) Kushner; 3) Trump [August 15: Primary - Mo Brooks killed by those 3 ganging up on him]; August 18: Bannon leaves the White House, backs best of bad options.
Kushner gets some of the blame because he reportedly persuaded his father-in-law to endorse Strange. As the HuffPost reported in September:
According to two sources who work closely with the young real estate tycoon, Kushner suggested the endorsement, in part, because he believed that a Strange victory would enrage Steve Bannon, the newly reinstalled executive chairman of Breitbart News and a nemesis of Kushner’s from their time together in the Trump White House. Bannon backed the primary winner, Roy Moore....

Kushner also thought that getting Trump to support Strange would improve his own tenuous standing with Republican leaders in the Senate, according to several allies of Bannon. “He’s going to need them if things go south in the Russia investigation,” one explained.
So a lot of effort is being expended to clear Bannon's name. If this narrative takes hold on the right, perhaps Bannon will wipe the egg off his face and foist a few more unelectable candidates on the GOP in 2018.

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