The papers are all saying Steve Bannon was fired from the Trump White House. But he was clearly the author of his own fate. To borrow a phrase, he “self-deported.” Yes he was pushed. But Bannon rolled out the gangplank, set up the shove, and choreographed the landing. Why get yourself fired? Because rats aren’t stupid. Rats leave a sinking ship.
Consider the timeline and facts:
- On Saturday,Charlottesville happens. On Tuesday morning, Trump doubles down on Neo Nazis and the race card.
- On Tuesday AFTERNOON (after Trump’s remarks) Bannon reaches out to a mega-liberal magazine reporter to “compliment him on a recent piece on China?!?” “Needless to say, I was a little stunned to get an email from Bannon’s assistant midday Tuesday, just as all hell was breaking loose once again about Charlottesville, saying that Bannon wished to meet with me. “
- Bannon dumps a stinking mess of self-damaging statements to an obviously unfriendly audience. Later claims he didn’t think it was on the record. Which is hardly credible. As the NY Times points out “Mr. Bannon told friends that he did not believe that his conversation was an on-the-record interview. But Mr. Bannon is a savvy media operator who rarely speaks without a clear understanding of the rules. Mr. Kuttner said the issue of whether the call was on the record never came up.“
- On Wednesday, he has a 5 hour meeting with his hedge fund patron (Bob Mercer). Reportedly planning a news operation to the right of Fox News.
- His departure hits the papers on Friday.
So why did Bannon do a Scaramucci on himself?
- Bannon saw writing on the wall after Tuesday’s debacle. Time to get off the Trump trainwreck.
- He couldn’t resign “on principle” because the Charlottesville marchers are “his people.” OK, most Breitbart News readers aren’t Nazis. But a lot are soft sympathizers. The same demographic targeted by the Neo Nazi “Daily Stormer” – people who start a sentence by saying, “I’m not racist, but …”
- Bannon also needed to go out with a bang. To retain his brand value. And to set up a “I fought the good fight” Lost Cause narrative. Which Breitbart rolled out one day later on Saturday – “With Bannon gone, there is no guarantee that Trump will stick to the plan. That is why — too late, in retrospect — conservative leaders wrote to the president Friday to advise him that Bannon and campaign manager-turned-counselor Kellyanne Conway were too valuable to lose.“
That “Lost Cause” narrative is doubly appealing to his readership.
- It gets them back into a comfort zone of aggrieved victimhood. Out of the “you broke it you own it” adult choices zone. All those darn trade-offs – healthcare, taxes, North Korea, border walls, governing in general… Better to go back to complaining about how it would be if we were in charge than to actually be in charge.
- The narrative rhymes with the original “Lost Cause” myth. Already sing-along-comfortable for a LOT of that crowd. The fallback myth of good ‘ol Dixie.
The Lost Cause of the Confederacy, or simply Lost Cause, is a set of revisionist beliefs that describes the Confederate cause as a heroic one against great odds despite its defeat. The beliefs endorse the virtues of the antebellum South, viewing the American Civil War as an honorable struggle for the Southern way of life, while minimizing or denying the central role of slavery. While it was not taught in the North, aspects of it did win acceptance there and helped the process of reunifying American whites.
Those Breitbart-reading, history-bending, Southern apologists are also a core voting base of Republican party. Bigger and MUCH more core than a lot of “socially liberal, economically conservative” taxes-hating coastal types care to acknowledge. Its a harder truth to ignore after Charlottesville. But if you divert a LOT of emergency power to your personal reality denial field….
Sailing off on a ship of fools. Captained by a madman. But deserted by its biggest, most cunning rat.