Steve Bannon And The Devil
You do not want health insurance. You do not need a safety net
New York magazine has a great big profile on President Steve Bannon and his comeback after his near-political-death experience back in April, when he reportedly considered rage-quitting after being shitcanned from the National Security Council. It's by Joshua Green, excerpted from his book Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency, due out later this month, and it's worth the time to read in full (plus, looks like we need to order us a book to review). But let's take a moment to gnaw on the crunchiest nuggets!
The Art Of War Rooming
We know already about the ongoing Bannon/Kushner fight for supremacy in the White House, and about Trump's seemingly being all out of love for Bannon for a time there, since Bannon was getting more press than Trump. Ah, but Steve Bannon is, like his boss, a man of long-term resentments. And unlike his boss, Bannon has an actual attention span, so with Jared facing his own set of problems, Bannon's been busily plotting his resurgence by taking on the task of coordinating the response to the Trump-Russia clusterfuck, which is just about the worst job in the administration. At least after the job of Steve Bannon's skincare consultant.
Bannon took on setting up a "War Room" -- the term's been retired, the strategy hasn't, exactly -- based on the Clinton administration's response to the Ken Starr investigations of everything, and we learn that
Bannon was convinced that Trump needed his own Lanny Davis — Clinton’s pit-bull lawyer and TV surrogate — to go against Mueller, according to a source familiar with his thinking. (Bannon even called Davis to consult him.)
There was just one teensy problem with modeling Trump's response on Clinton's war room, according to Lanny Davis his own bad self, whom Green interviewed:
But following the Clinton model could be hard for the Trump White House because it would require less obfuscation from the podium and a halt to the unhinged attacks on the press. “Bannon is right that Trump needs a team like Clinton had,” says Davis. “But his boss might kill him if he followed my advice: The way you deal with the media is answer all their goddamn questions and get it over with. The model only works if the person who’s being shoveled all the nasty questions has something to say.”
Oh! That detail seems to matter! Also, while Clinton had a top-notch Washington litigator in Lanny Davis, Trump and Bannon have Trump's dumb lawyer Marc Kasowitz, from his failed attempts to sue a biographer and to defend the lawsuits against Trump University, and Jay Sekulow, who's better at raising money for a Jesus Jet than doing criminal defense.
Bannon's real value to Trump, says Green, isn't so much that he's Trump's Rasputin -- it's that he's Trump's "indispensable henchman, the man he turns to when everything’s going to hell."
“If the whole White House is backed up against the wall facing a firing squad, Steve will stay there,” says Ken Cuccinelli, president of the Senate Conservatives Fund. “Reince [Priebus] and the other guys will run.”
Best, smartest lickspittle ever!
We get a nice sketch of Bannon's background, including a fun detail: In the early part of this decade, Bannon's office featured a portrait of Bannon as Napoleon, a gift from Nigel Farage. It was not, apparently, done in an ironic style. We also learn that Bannon was behind one of Trump's stunts shortly before the 2012 election. While Barack Obama had already released his birth certificate, Breitbart got Trump to dare Obama to release his passport and college transcripts, because even with a birth certificate, the man was a complete mystery. And if Obama did, then Trump would donate 5 MILLION DOLLARS to the charity of Obama's choice -- half of which, Green learned, would be staked by Bannon's sugar daddy Robert Mercer (we'll assume the other 2.5 million would come from Trump's fake foundation, or maybe from children with cancer).
In 2015, well before formally taking over the Trump campaign last summer, Bannon worked behind the scenes, helping Trump focus his resentments on Hillary Clinton by constantly mocking her, calling the presumptive Democratic nominee fun names!
Clinton, Bannon would insist, was “a résumé,” “a total phony,” “terrible on the stage,” “a grinder, but not smart,” “a joke who hides behind a complacent media,” “an apple-polisher who couldn’t pass the D.C. bar exam,” “thinks it’s her turn” but “has never accomplished anything in her life” — and, for good measure, was “a fucking bull dyke.”"immigration policy," which Coulter then praised on Twitter -- without mentioning she'd written it -- as "the greatest political document since the Magna Carta.”
Rupert Murdoch Is The Real Soup Nazi
While Fox News is now Trump's official news outlet, we learn that Rupert Murdoch wasn't all that keen on Trump's candidacy at first, and Trump just hated Murdoch for a good long while because Murdoch didn't take him seriously. The Trumpian butthurt fairly radiates from Green's account:
Trump was stung by a humiliation he’d suffered from Rupert Murdoch. He often told intimates how, as he was preparing to launch his campaign, his daughter Ivanka had arranged a lunch with Murdoch to share the news. Soon after the three of them were seated and the waiter brought their soup, Ivanka spoke up: “My father has something to tell you.”
“What’s that?” Murdoch said.
“He’s going to run for president.”
“He’s not running for president,” Murdoch replied without looking up from his soup.
“No, he is!” she insisted.
Murdoch changed the subject.
Trump nursed the slight for months. “He didn’t even look up from his soup!” he’d complain.
We can hardly wait for the movie -- that has a real "No wire hangers -- EVER!" vibe to it.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.