The past few days may well have been the craziest yet for the current regime, which has had more than its share of crazy days. It was the “bomb cyclone” of Trumpian politics: a superstorm of right-wing bloodletting. We saw, not only Manafort suing Mueller, and Bannon’s amazing revelations from that new book—none of which he has repudiated–but Trump’s almost immediate response, which was to send him a cease-and-desist letter and say Bannon’s lost his mind.
What’s the relationship now between Trump and Bannon? Hard to say. Objective reporting, such as this story from Politico, says the friendship has “collapsed,” a casualty of ‘the most vicious falling out between a president and a former aide in modern history.”
Yet Bannon is singing a different tune. “Nothing will ever come between us and President Trump and his agenda,” he said yesterday, using the royal first person plural. Then, just to make sure no one misunderstands, Bannon reiterated on the Breitbart radio show, “The President of the United States is a great man.”
So which is it? Did Trump commit “treason,” as Bannon alleged earlier? Or is he a “great man” who is the victim of “the whole swamp up there, the D.C. apparatus, the nullification project”?
Bannon understands he’s caught between his conflicting statements. He knows, too, that the hapless white people whom Breitbart “News” succors with fake information are suffering in this tug-of-war between him and their president. Not knowing what or whom to believe, they flail and writhe, seeking comfort any way they can find it, which usually means self-delusion and ever more righteous indignation. How does Bannon wriggle out of the hole he’s dug himself into?
For the answer, let’s take a closer look at his remarks on his radio show. First of all, he can’t take back his words—they’re engraved in the hard stone of History. So he has to hedge them. “Maybe things get off track, or stuff gets said, and all this heated stuff…”. What sort of things got “off track” and “got said”? Minor peccadillos, such as a misplaced memo? No: far more serious “stuff.” Bannon’s charge that the Jared-Donald Junior meeting was “treasonous,” that the White House is “trying to stop a Category 5” hurricane, that “money laundering” will be the crime that brings Trump down, is the “heated stuff” that got “said.”
Do you see the disconnect there? “Treason” isn’t just “things getting off track.” “Money laundering” isn’t just “stuff getting said.” They’re huge, federal crimes, punishable by long prison sentences, not simple misstatements or minor accidents that anyone can make. So that part of Bannon’s mea culpa just doesn’t wash.
But that won’t stop the credulous right-wingers who love Bannon and Trump from accepting this nonsense. Listen to “Gayle,” a caller-in on the radio show: “I never thought we were delorables. I thought they [i.e. Democrats] all were criminals, because I know who they are. We are fighting the people, the Clintons and the Bushes. We are not the delorables. We are subdued by the criminals in Washington. I happen to know this country is greater because of a Stephen K. Bannon.”
Is the fawning “Gayle” perhaps Steve Bannon’s mother? In her words, you can discern every neurosis, delusion and sociopathic instinct of Bannonism-Trumpism. Where Hitler had “the November criminals” to blame for Germany losing the Great War, “Gayle,” prompted by Rush Limbaugh, Bannon and other neo-nazi propagandists, knows who the criminals are in modern America: Democrats and, of course, the Clintons, who for the Right are the devil incarnate. It’s interesting that “Gayle” also throws the Republican Bush family under her bus. But that’s very Bannon-esque: he declared “total war” on the Republican Party and his gullible fans, such as “Gayle,” believed him when he implied that her unhappiness, her frustration with her life and herself, her personal problems have all been caused by “the Clintons and the Bushes, the criminals in Washington.”
Ah, well. Gayle, poor thing, doesn’t know any better. Bannon does know better, but, like all totalitarian figures (including his former boss, Trump), once he’s told a Big Lie, he has to keep on telling Bigger Lies to cover them up. Of course, the problem with telling lie after lie after lie is that, eventually, they catch up to you, which is why telling the truth from the get-go is always the best policy. Sadly, telling the truth has never been the Bannon way. Or the Trump way. Or the Republican way. Anyhow, right now, it looks like Bannon is toast, a pariah in the very movement he helped to create.
I’ll end today’s post with the funniest headline of the week: “Alex Jones Defends Trump’s Penis.” Yes, the rabid right-wing agitator of InfoWars assures us it’s a media lie that “the president has small genitals.” Alex doesn’t tell us how he knows this for a fact. Did he see the Presidential junk? Got pictures?
Have a lovely weekend! If you’re east of the Rockies, stay warm. With climate change, the extremes of weather are getting more common.