There’s something ironic about Steve Bannon believing that he can win a “war” against the GOP establishment and that’s this: if it’s an “establishment” well then almost by definition, you are not likely to win if you mount a crusade against it. If something is “established”, well then it’s inherently difficult to defeat – that’s what it means to be “established.”
But Bannon doesn’t seem to get that. And further, he seems to think that when it comes to doing something that is almost impossible by definition, he’s somehow the man for the job. That’s a bizarre claim to make for a number of reasons.
First of all, Steve Bannon went to Harvard, is a former Hollywood screenwriter, was an investment banker at Goldman, and is filthy rich. No matter how hard the alt-Right blogosphere tries to paper over that, it is what it is. There is nothing “anti-establishment” about Steve Bannon.
On top of that, the stories he tells about what caused him to take up the nationalist/populist cause are laughably far-fetched – the Marty Bannon/AT&T story has become something of a standing joke since he force fed it to the Wall Street Journal earlier this year.
Finally, Steve has delusions of grandeur when it comes to Breitbart. Nobody takes Breitbart seriously. It’s barely more credible than a supermarket tabloid and everyone knows it. That doesn’t mean he can’t use it as a tool to brainwash whatever percentage of the electorate is susceptible to brainwashing, but his characterization of Breitbart as “a machine” is a joke. It’s a propaganda rag, through and through. The more aggressive he gets with that propaganda, the more inclined real journalists are going to be to rip it to pieces and eventually, the mainstream media will simply destroy it and relegate it to the dustbin of agitprop history. That’s just all there is to it.
Well as you know, Bannon’s crusade against the establishment suffered a grievous setback last week when Breitbart-backed Alabama Senate hopeful Roy Moore landed in the crosshairs of the Washington Post, whose story on Moore’s alleged pursuit of teenage girls when he was in his 30s has for all intents and purposes deep-sixed Moore’s bid to fill Jeff Session’s vacant Senate seat.
No matter how Bannon tries to spin this (and as we documented extensively last week, he’s trying pretty damn hard), this was an unmitigated disaster. Moore represented a major coup for Bannon in his fledgling effort to oust the establishment and Alabama was a kind of beachhead for what was supposed to be an all-out effort to rout GOP incumbents in 2018 and replace them with Bannonites.
That’s all shot to shit now. And the establishment smells blood. Just one day before the Moore allegations ran in the Post, Bannon called for Mitch McConnell to resign. Steve’s certainly not alone in thinking that ol’ Mitch is a failure, but that’s not the point. The point, rather, is that Bannon is digging his own grave and the latest evidence of that came on Monday when McConnell said this about Roy Moore:
— Nick Storm (@NStorm_Politics) November 13, 2017
That’s a big deal. Mitch McConnell isn’t exactly Braveheart and he is just about the last person you would hire to lead a pep rally, but deadpan Mitch just accidentally created a trending Twitter phrase (literally).
McConnell also said the GOP is looking at write-in candidates that might have a chance in Alabama and reiterated his call for Moore to “step aside.” Asked if Luther Strange – who was backed by Trump and lost to Moore in the party primary – is an option, McConnell said simply: “We’ll see.”
Make no mistake, McConnell would be saying this anyway because Roy Moore has been saying and doing egregious things long before anyone knew who Steve Bannon was. But Steve has made this worse. This isn’t just about Roy Moore – this is about the GOP seeing an opportunity to cut Bannon off at the knees before the end of the calendar year.
Meanwhile, Moore is threatening to sue the Washington Post. “The Washington Post published another attack on my character and reputation because they are desperate to stop my political campaign,” Moore said last night in Huntsville, Alabama, adding that “these attacks said I was with a minor child and are false and untrue — and for which they will be sued.”
Spoiler alert: Roy isn’t going to sue. If he does, he’s out of his mind. Because then he’d risk discovery. And you can be damn sure that’s a risk he will not take.