Shedding Steve Bannon, Sacrificial Donkey

President Donald Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon has been fired. This is the latest and most fundamentally significant firing since the ousting of former FBI director James Comey in May. Bannon has been the president’s most controversial Cabinet pick from the start, and the one who most defined his ties with white nationalism. The natural conclusion would be to rejoice, but this was specifically done to pacify the public. It’s a callous and calculated move and it does no credit to Trump. Nancy Pelosi made a statement, saying that “Steve Bannon’s firing is welcome news, but it doesn’t disguise where President Trump himself stands on white supremacists and the bigoted beliefs they advance.”

No official reason for this has been given yet by the White House. The president, however, is said to have been “furious” over Bannon’s loose-lipped interview with right-wing rag American Prospect earlier this week. That was seen as adding even more fuel to the fire over the Charlottesville tragedy, and the Confederate monuments that have now become hotbeds of trouble everywhere they exist. It has been known for months that Bannon has been on the outs with Trump. And his firing is consistent with the departure of the rest of the Washington outsiders the president had brought along with him from the campaign days.

Even yesterday, Bannon was giving confident and pugnacious interviews. He reached out serenely to three different news networks to tell them all about how “at ease” he feels in the chaos surrounding the murder of Heather Heyer- whose mother has refused even to speak with Trump in the aftermath surrounding all this. It is unlikely that decision did much to aid his cause.

Within hours of his sudden ejection, Bannon was back at Breitbart, presiding once more over their evening news conference. His tone now was back to the radical and reckless style that had won him Trump’s attention in the first place. Many marked it as defiant.  “The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over,” he told the Weekly Standard, a right-wing newspaper.  Well said.

There has been bipartisan concern about Bannon and his value system from the first, and for good reason. Many considered him the worst appointment of all Trump’s horrid picks. He was rightfully seen as being monstrously unqualified.  Thanks to his own admissions about admiring Hitler, he was also seen as being a white supremacist, Klan supporting, denier of the Holocaust.

 

Steve Bannon has long been the living embodiment of what Hunter Thompson once called, “The forces of old and evil. At Breitbart, he did all he could to make the world a worse place, one smear job and hit piece at a time. He made the comment earlier in the week, in reference to Charlottesville, that he hopes we Democrats continue to focus on race, so that he can “crush us”. There are few people in this world more deeply repugnant.

And yet, the record is clear that at one time, Steven Bannon was a promising and industrious young American, who to all appearances had a bright and promising future in front of him, and that he continued to do reasonably well into his adulthood. It is always sad to see any man turn into the rheumy-eyed old disaster we see before us today. It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that there’s an abject warning here to our generation.

The “mutual agreement” that Bannon’s publicist insisted on calling his firing took place between Bannon and General John Kelly without Trump having to touch pen to it. Bannon and Breitbart have always been Trump’s closest direct link to his base, so there’s a benefit to Trump in not firing him directly. This will also strengthen the public’s perception of Kelly’s attempt to restore order in the West Wing.  

For Bannon, at least, the path ahead seems clear. A source familiar with Breitbart’s inner workings said they plan to go “thermonuclear” against the “globalists” in Trump’s administration, meaning Bannon’s former rivals such as White House officials H.R. McMaster,  Gary Cohn, and Jared Kushner. He’s been meeting with billionaire Bob Mercer, so it’s clear he’ll be given all the money he needs to go rip into his former colleagues. Have at it.

While the new administration is taking on water, and the swamp keeps draining itself every time he shoots his mouth off, the way ahead for Democrats is tentatively clearing. In the midst of all the constant havoc that Trump and the other Republicans are wreaking, our guys have continued to remain steadfast. In a bloc, they stood firm, saved the Affordable Care Act, and have all the while quietly offered a sane and decent alternative to the zoo we’re inhabiting under Trump. We are very proud of all of them. As things progress, especially as Kelly’s attempt to impose order continues to be the flop it’s been so far, people are going to see that more and more. Trump will be Trump, after all. There’s just no changing a 70- year old billionaire.

As for Bannon himself, it is nice to see him go, but at this point it’s too little too late. He should never have been hired in the first place, and the fact of Trump’s not being able to recognize that in such a key figure in his close personnel tells a devastating testimony against him. 45th might have shed Bannon, but it’s still the same old swamp creature.

 

 

 

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