How long until Steve Bannon wears out his welcome in D.C.?

Almost every spare minute I’ve had these past several weeks have been spent at 209 Pearl Street, getting ready for the launch of Landline Creative Labs. Had this been happening at any other time in my life, I might be tempted to complain about the workload, but, given the political situation in the United States today, I’m finding it a welcomed distraction. If I weren’t spending my nights hauling garbage, mopping floors and painting walls, I’d probably just be at home, obsessively reading my newsfeed, scribbling incoherent notes while mumbling to myself. As it is, though, I’m kind of blissfully unaware, lacking both the time and the energy to worry, like I usually do, about the direction of the country. I’m sure that will change once we’re open, but I’m enjoying it while it lasts… With that said, though, I have, over the course of the past week or so, heard two stories about White House strategist Steve Bannon that I feel compelled to at least here, as I think they really demonstrate not only the confrontational nature of our emerging totalitarian government, but also their complete ineptitude.

First, it’s being reported that it was Bannon’s idea last week, when German Chancellor Angela Merkel was visiting the White House, to have President Trump present her with a bill for more than $300 billion, money supposedly owed to NATO by her country. The gesture, as you might imagine, was greeted with outrage by our allies… Regardless of whether or not it’s true that Germany has fallen short in its contributions to NATO since 2002, it was an incredibly crude and shortsighted gesture that, you can be sure, will have significant implications down the road. But, who knows… maybe it’s all part of the Putin’s masterplan to destroy NATO, the only entity he sees as a real threat to his ever-expanding power.

And, second, in case you missed it, apparently one big reason why the administration failed to rally Republican support for Trumpcare is that Bannon attempted to strong-arm the far-right members of the party, telling them that, if they didn’t vote for the legislation, he’d see them driven from office. [Word is that Bannon has started an “enemies list“.] According to reports, Bannon, addressing the members of the so-called Freedom Caucus, said, Guys, look. This is not a discussion. This is not a debate. You have no choice but to vote for this bill.” Well, it didn’t go over so well with the members of the group, who, it would seem, don’t care much for ultimatums. According to a story published the following day, one of the members replied to Bannon: “You know, the last time someone ordered me to something, I was 18 years old. And it was my daddy. And I didn’t listen to him, either.” And, unsurprisingly, the administration had to pull the bill before it went to the floor of the House for a vote, as they knew it would fail to pass… I think former Congressman Joe Scarborough summed up the this showdown between Bannon and the Freedom Caucus on Twitter. “The dictatorial mindset is laughable,” he said. “They kicked his teeth in.”

I’m not suggesting, by sharing these stories, that Bannon isn’t a threat. He clearly is. The more time that goes by, though, the more I think it’s possible that his hubris and utter contempt for our institutions of government will be his undoing. This isn’t to say that serious damage won’t be done. It will be. Environmental safeguards will disappear. The gap between the rich and the poor in this country will expand. The military and our domestic police forces will grow as we stop funding the arts, services for the poor and elderly, etc. But I’m thinking that Bannon may fall short of his stated goal, which is to “destroy the state” through the systematic “deconstruction” of government. At least that’s my hope. I think, at the rate he’s going, he’ll wear out his welcome in D.C. pretty quickly.

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  1. Posted March 28, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    The insiders put up with him now because Trump still listens to him. As soon as Trump figures out (if he does) that Bannon is the cause of chaos (because that’s Bannon’s MO) Bannon will disappear. I have hope.

  2. Steve
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Trump could almost….Almost….Save his entire Presidency if he immediately fired this man.

  3. Anonyous
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Funny you should say this. I was just watching Joe Scarborough on TV saying

    “Trump Must ‘Fire Steve Bannon To Raise Approval From 36 To 56”

    The pressure is growing.

  4. Eel
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    I like the Deadspin analysis of the administration’s savvy political dealmaking: “These fucking amateurs! These butter-soft babies. These utter, utter fucking frauds. Let us clown them for all eternity; let us never forget what a bunch of unserious cosplaying shit-for-brains they are, each and every one. ”

  5. Demetrius
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Everybody knew Dick Cheney was really the president, and that GWB was just a figurehead.

    Same with President Bannon, and Trump.

  6. Lynne
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    One of the things about political power is that it tends to be pretty dynamic and changing. “The first one now will later be last” and all that jazz. One of the things about creating an enemies list is that if people find out they are on it, they tend to consider you harshly as they will Bannon. He is about to find out that cooperation always has a better long term outcome than bullying. Bullying only works until people figure out that they can ignore the bully without serious repercussions.

  7. Matt Roush
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    “If I weren’t spending my nights hauling garbage, mopping floors and painting walls, I’d probably just be at home, obsessively reading my newsfeed, scribbling incoherent notes while mumbling to myself.” Okay, dammit, Mark, where’s the camera you planted in my house?

  8. Oh, the irony
    Posted March 30, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    “Trump strategist Bannon won’t be charged in Miami voter registration probe”

  9. Posted April 14, 2017 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    It looks like I may get the answer to my question pretty soon.

    Everyone’s talking about it right now, but I like this article from the New Yorker:

    “The news from the West Wing this week is the seeming demise of the Trump Administration’s so-called nationalist faction. It is losing policy battles, and Stephen Bannon, President Trump’s chief strategist and the leading nationalist, is being marginalized. He was recently removed from his position on the National Security Council, an unprecedented role for a political adviser, and many reports suggest that could be a first step toward Bannon being pushed out of the White House altogether. Trump did little to dampen the speculation. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump described Bannon as ia guy who works for me.'”

  10. anonymous
    Posted August 18, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    It looks like you might have your answer.

    “A person close to Bannon” says that he submitted his resignation on Aug. 7th but was delayed by Charlottesville. – NYT

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