Ban­non knows what he’s do­ing.

The Washington Post Sunday - - OUTLOOK - Twit­ter: @JoshuaGreen Joshua Green is a na­tional correspondent for Bloomberg Busi­ness­week and the au­thor of “Devil’s Bar­gain: Steve Ban­non, Don­ald Trump, and the Storming of the Pres­i­dency.”

Af­ter Ban­non cre­ated chaos with the orig­i­nal travel ban, the Wash­ing­ton Monthly’s David Atkins won­dered what he was up to and noted: “His ac­tions are sel­dom ran­dom and al­ways de­lib­er­ate.” When a White House vis­i­tor tweeted a pic­ture of Ban­non in front of a white board dis­play­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s to-do list, a writer for the Guardian said, “It would be naive to think Ban­non’s great white­board re­veal is a gaffe.” The no­tion is that ev­ery ap­par­ent blun­der can be ex­plained by a grand strat­egy.

But for all his suc­cess as an in­vest­ment banker, film pro­ducer, con­ser­va­tive pub­lisher and cam­paign strate­gist, Ban­non — who had no prior ex­pe­ri­ence in govern­ment — has had a much tougher time suc­ceed­ing in the White House. Al­though he was cred­ited with be­ing a tac­ti­cal ge­nius at crit­i­cal junc­tures in the cam­paign, help­ing Trump bat­tle back from crises such as the leak of the “Ac­cess Hol­ly­wood” tape, Ban­non hasn’t shown nearly the same fa­cil­ity in ma­nip­u­lat­ing the levers of govern­ment.

The travel ban he sup­ported was blocked by the courts (al­though a re­vised ver­sion has been al­lowed to take par­tial ef­fect). He ap­pears un­likely to get the “bor­der ad­just­ment tax” that he hoped would be a key com­po­nent of tax re­form. On Thurs­day, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Repub­li­can lead­ers an­nounced that they were drop­ping it. Ban­non’s strat­egy of mak­ing an en­emy of the me­dia may be keep­ing some Trump sup­port­ers in the fold, but it hasn’t done any­thing to ad­vance Trump’s leg­isla­tive agenda — a black mark for the chief strate­gist’s im­age as Machi­avelli.

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