Steve Bannon may be the most dangerous man to democracy’s future

Right-wing bomb thrower Steve Bannon has arguably been the chief architect of the far Right’s burn-it-all-down philosophy and tactics. He wants to destroy Democrats, of course. But he also wants to destroy much of the GOP in the process. He revels in political and social anarchy as means to his ends.

So, news that he might testify before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection has caused much in the way of speculation as to his motives. Is he hoping to influence outcomes in his related legal battles? Will he try to obfuscate the committee’s findings and sow discord about its motives? Is he simply trying to raise his profile for the many shady ways he raises money from dupes in red America while he lives in fancy houses, stays in opulent hotels, and luxuriates on private yachts?

There’s a good article up at Vox by Sean Illing that tries to examine Bannon and the many ways in which he is opaque by design, and what he might be up to next.

Illing interviews Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Jennifer Senior who has written extensively about Bannon.

Here’s an excerpt:

Sean Illing

Well, it’s interesting that you use the word televangelist there [to describe Bannon]. When I think of a televangelist, I think of a bullshit artist, I think of a religious entrepreneur.

Do you think he is just a complete grifter? I mean, I honestly don’t know if he’s a revolutionary or just a well-financed shitposter. I guess I’m asking if you think he really believes in what he’s doing. I think he knows when he’s full of shit, but the question is, does he see it as a means to some noble end or is it just the grift and nothing besides?

Jennifer Senior

It’s the best question. And it’s what I set out to answer.

The problem is that when somebody is as practiced at bullshitting as he is, the answer in some ways has to be both. Because you can’t have two sets of books for very long without, in some way, trying to intellectually reconcile them, so that you’ve only lied once. And then afterwards you believe your own lie. I think that that might just be the psychology of grifting.

We know that he’s living very lavishly, thanks to others. He’s got houses all over the place. He’s partial to nice hotels. When he was trying to get the European populist nationalist movement off the ground, he stayed in all these fabulous luxury suites financed by others. He takes private jets that are owned by others. The Mercers underwrote him.

So I think it’s kind of not a choice. It might be both.

What is interesting is, if you ask anybody around Steve, if you ask the people who know him and who like him, does he truly believe that the election was stolen? The number who will say, yes… Did anyone say yes to me, now that I think about it? Oh my God. I mean, so many people, if they’re trying to protect him, they’ll say they don’t know.

No smart people, no people who live within the Beltway who know how politics works, no one who really knows anything about elections believes this election was stolen. That’s the bottom line.

And the January 6 hearings played this out.

You can read the rest here. I learned new things about Bannon, and that’s saying a lot because I’ve read a lot about him.

Leave a Reply