The appointment of Breitbart News executive chairman to Chief Strategist and senior counselor to the upcoming Trump Administration has triggered thunderous outrage from the American left. Progressive and liberal activists have sounded the alarm on his apparent white supremacist associations and support for bigotry. Democratic politicians are outraged over the apparent damage to the White House legacy. All of these people on the left seem to share a universal hatred of Breitbart, as well.
Independent United States Senator Angus King of Maine has a different perspective.
Senator King’s perspective is unique in this situation because he is typically labeled as being more of a Democrat than Independently-minded, siding more often than not with the left-leaning political party. Here, he seems to separate himself from the Democratic Party.
“From what I understand about Mr. Bannon’s views on a number of issues, it is discouraging to me that the President-elect has chosen him as one of his top advisors. But the President-elect, like all of his predecessors, has the prerogative to select his own team, so my judgment – and ultimately the judgment of the American people – will be on the policies enacted by President Trump.”
Now while Senator King did state he is discouraged by the appointment and evidently has his own concerns, he suggests it’s not as big of a deal as many are making it out to be. Instead, he chooses to point his focus towards policies.
It will be the policies enacted that are important. Bannon may have a voice to Trump’s ear, but he is one voice among many. Is it more important what one personality’s voice says or what the policies enacted do?
The gotcha politics is characteristic of the Democratic Party as of late, though. Across the country, Democrats attempted to pin Republican politicians to Trump’s statements as a way to poison their campaigns. In Senator King’s own state of Maine, the Maine Democratic Party, alongside the state’s various media outlets, spent months trolling Congressman Bruce Poliquin about supporting Trump.
Not surprisingly, the Maine Democratic Party is aiming to take down Senator Susan Collins because she’s been silent about the Bannon appointment.
The gotcha politics are a disappointing development, as it appears to be a trend. Senator King seems to understand the need to rise above this. Ultimately, any political operation is going to come down to many moving parts and opinionated voices. The influence that Bannon has as Chief Strategist and senior counselor will be strong, but his is not the only voice in the Adminstration.
Policies are what presidents are remembered for. President Barack Obama will be remembered for things like the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, not David Axelrod. Former President George W. Bush will be remembered for his response to 9/11 and the Iraq war, not John Yoo. The list goes on.
Those who are concerned about Donald Trump’s incoming Administration should be focusing on his policies. If it’s policies that are of concern, gotcha politics involving personalities like Steve Bannon are a distraction. Beyond this point, we – as a country – should be past the point of this immature mudslinging.
As Senator Angus King himself notes, the deciding factor on the legacy of President Donald Trump will be the policies enacted, not the behind-the-scenes appointments.