Another day, another profile of sedition-backing, fascism-promoting, pardoned criminal Steve Bannon. This one comes to us from The New York Times … again … but it's got the hook of being written during the days when far-right Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz was plotting out how best to wreck House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's already-dubious political career.
And Six-Collar Steve was, of course, right in the middle of that, too: "For weeks, Mr. Bannon has been strategizing with Mr. Gaetz on the bid to take down Mr. McCarthy," says the Times. And that's why Gaetz and ally-of-the-moment Rep. Nancy Mace schlepped themselves over to Bannon's near-the-Capitol podcasting studio as soon as Gaetz's move to oust McCarthy had succeeded, celebrating the moment and using it to beg hard for donor money.
Mostly, the pair appeared to be deeply in love with each others' commitment to untethered and pointless destruction.
Mr. Gaetz has described himself to people as a “Bannonite tribalist.”
Mr. Bannon, for his part, is in awe of Mr. Gaetz, whom he compares to Daniel Webster. He credits the Florida Republican with recognizing early on last year how helpful a slim G.O.P. majority could be to the hard right.
If you're a professional saboteur, you don't necessarily want your party to be in a position of dominance. You want it to be just barely scraping by so that you have as many possibilities as possible to make demands and extract favors—which means it's been glory days for anyone in Congress who wants to see their name on television screens. Truly a new gilded age for self-promoting assholes.
At this point, we've seen enough stories about Bannon's single-minded scramble for power—presumably, it’s so that he can build up as large an audience as possible and scam those people, too. But there are a few observations we can make:
- I'm not sure there's ever been anyone who is as bad a judge of character as Matt Gaetz; it's almost uncanny. From his alliance with alleged college-athlete sexual-abuse enabler Rep. Jim Jordan, to conspiracy theorists like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene to the corrupt and now-imprisoned Florida politico who allegedly partnered up with him on that whole child sex trafficking thing, to gross disgraced pardoned grifter Bannon, he manages to somehow naturally gravitate towards the worst people around him and latch on—the man appears to be magnetically attracted to crimes.
- Again, we see that Gaetz, Bannon, and the rest of the sedition-backing caucus are nihilists first and foremost—and largely for the purposes of aggregating power for themselves. Neither man had any plan for what would come after McCarthy was ousted and the House Republican governing coalition had been broken. The point was to hurt him for not committing to the same level of destruction that Gaetz and Bannon would prefer, using whatever method would itself cause the most destruction.
- In many ways, both men are indeed avatars of modern Republicanism. By all rights, Bannon ought to have been drummed out of the movement after being caught in an act of fraud, except that cheating the base out of money is such a natural buy-these-gold-coins part of conservatism that you're almost a bigger sap if you don't do it. Bannon's been proven an utter fraud countless times, whether it be pandemic conspiracy theories, election conspiracy theories, or his support for overthrowing the government rather than abiding Trump's loss. And who's going to care, in a movement where the backers of a genuine coup attempt represent the majority of the party?
The most pertinent suggestions in the piece, however, are the hints that all these people truly hate each other behind the scenes. Or, rather, that the nihilism of the movement is so ingrained that Bannon and the rest of them can flip between hating each other's guts and cheering each other on depending entirely who can manage the most colorful act of sabotage. The Times notes that Bannon currently hates Marjorie Taylor Greene (because: reasons), but that he was warming to her again for her opposition to Ukraine aid.
There are no friendships here, just a bunch of people using each other and casting each other aside again, all of it based on self-promotion and not much else. And that makes sense. Just look at them. Tell me you could stand to be in the same room with any of them as they droned on and on, even if they were your allies.
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