Jared Kushner should be really nervous right now.
Steve Bannon, who with every unhinged quote since his departure from the Trump administration provides further evidence for my theory that he is a secretly prolific author of Game of Thrones fanfiction, has wrapped his first weekend back at Breitbart News, and if its recent editorial bent is any indication, Jared Kushner is about to have one more reason to lay awake at night. This exchange, as reported by Vanity Fair, seems fairly representative:
BANNON’S PROBABLY-QUAVERING FRIEND: Why do you sound unfazed?
Bannon has apparently decided that his absence from the White House means that the White House is now, functionally, a Democratic one, and that he is duty-bound to either bring it to heel or, if it won’t cooperate, to grind it into a fine red-white-and-blue dust. It’s not difficult to see why he thinks this, if you adopt the mindset of a paranoid lunatic who viewed the job he just lost as a suicide mission to see how deeply he could embed his Breitbartian worldview in this administration’s DNA before being forcibly expelled by his marginally less delusional counterparts: Jared Kushner was a Democrat. Ivanka Trump was a Democrat. Gary Cohn was a Democrat. Hell, even Trump himself was a Democrat for awhile, until he figured out that pandering to simmering racial resentment and unvarnished xenophobia was a more tenable political strategy than running for office on the merits of his policy positions, to the extent that any such positions exist.
Although Friday’s termination might be seen as evidence that Kushner won the long-running holy war between the two men, Bannon seems entirely unperturbed by his lack of West Wing credentials:
On Sunday, the website’s lead story was based on a Daily Mail report
that said Ivanka was behind Bannon’s removal. “Trump’s daughter Ivanka
pushed out Bannon because of his ‘far-right views’ clashing with her
Jewish faith,” the article noted. Another piece was headlined: “6
TIMES JAVANKA’S DISPLEASURE WITH POTUS LEAKED TO PRESS.” In his feud
with Kushner, Bannon may have a powerful ally: Reince Priebus, also
recently departed from the White House with a quiver of grudges.
Recently, according to several sources, Bannon has told friends he
wants Priebus to give his account of the James Comey firing to special
prosecutor Robert Mueller.
To be a right-wing nutjob today is to constantly imagine oneself as a doomed, aggrieved hero fighting valiantly against impossible odds. This fantasy allows adherents to be righteously angry all the time about everything, even as it simultaneously prevents them from having to fully grapple with the implications of losing. When failure is expected, it is excusable. Of COURSE I got fired, Bannon can say, smiling wryly and absorbing hearty backslaps as he walks triumphantly into the Breitbart newsroom. I was doomed from the beginning in there. I never had a chance.
The strangest part about all this, as I wrote on Saturday, is that Steve Bannon’s tenure in the administration probably exceeded his wildest expectations. He won a presidential election and then spent seven months as a White House chief strategist! But the continued viability of his movement depends on constantly replenishing its supply of bogeymen, which means that he couldn’t be successful for too long. Lobbing grenades is a lot more fun from outside than from within. Now, four days after getting shown the door, he’s conjuring up another epic struggle he can use to recruit more people to his side. And if Trump and Kushner and friends don’t fall in line to Bannon’s liking, he’s just as happy to cast them aside in favor of some new vehicle he’s been grooming to propel him further into the political mainstream.
Breitbart’s defense of Trump has so far helped keep the Russia scandal
from gaining traction on the right. But that could swiftly change if
Trump, under the influence of Kushner and Cohn, deviates too far from
the positions he ran on. If that happens, said one high-level
Breitbart staffer, “We’re prepared to help Paul Ryan rally votes for
Steve Bannon is still shadow president. That shadow is just a little longer than it was last week.
Still Making Excuses for Trump?
MORE STORIES LIKE THIS ONE