Steve Bannon: International Seditionist
Plus: My favorite read of the day
In today’s Morning Shots: The normalization of Marge; the Daily Crazy; a pop-quiz to test your knowledge of the GOP circa 2023; and my absolutely favorite bit of media '“criticism.”
I certainly don’t claim to speak for him, but I doubt that Steve Bannon, the Man of Many Layered Shirts, will be offended by today’s headline. Bannon, after all, has long reveled in posing as a revolutionary and styling himself as a Leninist.
“Lenin,” he told historian Ronald Radosh in 2013, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”
Since then, his ambitions have grown, and now he has taken his Coups R Us movement onto the global stage.
None of this requires speculation or investigative reporting, because Bannon is doing it all in broad daylight, in plain sight, with the bravado of a man who apparently thinks himself legally untouchable. (Since he holds a presidential pardon for one crime, and still walks free from another, his attitude does, perhaps, have some basis in fact.)
As I wrote yesterday, Bannon has never gotten points for subtlety, but his enthusiasm for violent insurrection has become increasingly flagrant.
You might recall Bannon’s broadcast the day before the January 6 attack on the Capitol:
“All hell is going to break loose tomorrow,” Bannon said. “It’s all converging, and now we’re on, as they say, the point of attack.”
“I’ll tell you this: It’s not going to happen like you think it’s going to happen,” he added. “It’s going to be quite extraordinarily different, and all I can say is strap in.”
He enjoyed what happened here so much that he decided to export it to Brazil. This is Bannon in November after that country’s proto-fascist president was defeated for re-election:
Bannon’s fingerprints are all over what happened next. Last November, the Wapo reported “Trump aides Bannon, Miller advising the Bolsonaros on next steps.”
Brazilian congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro, the president’s son, has visited Florida since the Oct. 30 vote, meeting Trump at Mar-a-Lago and strategizing with other political allies by phone.
He spoke with former Trump strategist Stephen K. Bannon, who was in Arizona assisting the campaign of GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, about the power of the pro-Bolsonaro protests and potential challenges to the Brazilian election results, Bannon said. He lunched in South Florida with former Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller, now CEO of the social media company Gettr, and discussed online censorship and free speech, Miller said.
“What’s happening in Brazil is a world event,” Bannon told The Post. “The people are saying they’ve been grossly disenfranchised.”
Even as he pushed Trump’s Big Lie and promoted domestic election deniers like Kari Lake and MTG, Bannon kept his focus on Brazil.
Across several episodes of his podcast and in social media posts, he and his guests stoked up allegations of a "stolen election" and shadowy forces. He promoted the hashtag #BrazilianSpring, and continued to encourage opposition even after Mr Bolsonaro himself appeared to accept the results.
Bannon was explicit about his business plan.
“[The movement] has moved beyond the Bolsonaros in the way that in the U.S. it has moved beyond Trump,” he boasted.
Lest you imagine that Bannon was talking about peaceful, nonviolent protests, Bannon celebrated this week’s rampage of destruction in South America’s largest country. After mobs of rioters attacked government buildings this week, Bannon posted pictures of the rioters, calling them “Brazilian Freedom Fighters.”
While most of the world condemned the violence, Bannon cheered on the attack in multiple posts on Gettr. "Lula stole the Election… Brazilians know this," he wrote on one post after another.
"The Criminal Atheistic Marxist Lula stole the Election and the Brazilians know this,” Bannon wrote, “now see Lula crackdown like all Communist dictators.”
Nota Bene: Bannon is not alone in his enthusiasm for Brazil’s neo-fascists. On cue… “Tucker Carlson Defends Pro-Bolsonaro Rioters, Baselessly Declares Brazil’s Election Was ‘Rigged’.”
On Monday, Carlson, who conducted a softball interview with Bolsonaro in June, told his audience unequivocally that Brazil’s election was “very clearly” stolen.
“Consider what is happening tonight in Brazil,” he said. “Thanks to what was very clearly a rigged election, a convicted criminal – Lula da Silva – is now the president of the most important country in South America. Millions of people in Brazil understand exactly what happened. They know that their democracy has been hijacked, possibly forever.”
Because, of course.
The Daily Crazy
This should be a regular feature, I know, because it’s going to be hard to keep up without a scorecard.
Our friend Tom Nichols has an update on what he calls “The Coalition of the Unhinged.”
Paul Gosar… tweeted on Saturday that Republicans “will conduct a real investigation into J6. The effort to attempt a coup between traitor Gen. Mark Milley and [Nancy] Pelosi will be reviewed and exposed.” This, apparently, is a reference to when Pelosi, as speaker, called Milley, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, two days after January 6 because she was concerned that Trump might try to start a war as a diversion from his election loss. (She wasn’t alone: Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, among others, reportedly had the same concern. So did I.)
I doubt that most Republicans in Congress actually believe that the most senior military officer in the United States is a traitor. And yet, they all remain quiet—because under the GOP’s rules, any one member can move to vacate the speaker’s chair and start the whole leadership fiasco all over again, and that includes Gosar, the dentist from Arizona turned conspiracy-obsessed crank who now sits in the People’s House.
And my colleague Tim Miller reports:
Exit take: It’s going to get worse.
I want the t-shirt
On yesterday’s podcast with Will Saletan, I read this piece aloud, but I’m not sure I can do justice to how much I love this bit of pearl-clutching from the snowflakes at the Media Research Center, so I’ve provided some footnotes.
Here's how it starts:
The liberal media like to depict Never Trumpers like Charlie Sykes as the voice of center-right reason and moderation. But in recent days, the founder of The Bulwark and MSNBC columnist has revealed a spiteful, vulgar streak.
Believe it or not… it gets better.
Last week, we caughthim literally laughing as he reveled in Kevin McCarthy's sticky predicament in seeking the speakership, and pronouncing with malicious glee the names of George Santos and Marjorie Taylor Greene, as people McCarthy had to rely on. But that was tame compared to his spit take on Jonathan Capehart's Sunday Show.
We now get to the Main Event.
Now that McCarthy has secured the Speaker's gavel, Sykes took Sunday's Democrat talking point about how the House Republicans will be incapable of governing and headed straight for the crotch:
"You look at the kind of concessions he's made, putting the bomb throwers on the Rules committee, the motion to vacate. It is extremely difficult to see how Kevin McCarthy can negotiate anything, because the man has self-gelded his speakership."
The author then felt he had to define the term for his MRC’s readers:
"Gelded" is, of course, a synonym for castrated.
You might have thought that the normally proper Capehart would have been offended by Sykes' crude metaphor. But to the contrary, he and Michael Steele, of the disgraced Lincoln Project, could be heard laughing off-camera, with one of them saying, "that is true."
Right-wing doilies were rumpled and tea spilled. Standards, must be upheld.
For the liberal media, rules of decency and decorum are apparently suspended when it comes to belittling Republicans.
Decency and decorum. Exactly what we always expect from the right-wing media eco-system
1. The Normalization of Marjorie Taylor Greene
Once considered a blight on the Republican party, writes Mona Charen, she is now one of its prominent leaders.
Greene’s makeover didn’t start this week. She’s made stabs at resets before, even traveling to the Holocaust museum to introduce a few facts into the roiling stew of garbage between her ears. She denounced Nick Fuentes after Trump dined with him (but not Trump), and acknowledged that a plane really did hit the Pentagon on 9/11. She has sparred with Lauren Boebert, the pillow guy, and Alex Jones’s fans. But this is not a case of a politician who misspeaks or commits a gaffe and must make amends. She has a disordered personality. As a grown adult, she chased a teenager who had survived the Parkland school shooting down the street, harassing and berating him. She is drawn to hatred as a moth to a flame. She is the poison that courses through the veins of parts of the right—the vicious, reality-challenged right. If she is to be normalized by the GOP, it is the party, not she, that is changed.
No sooner did McCarthy achieve election on Friday night than Greene rushed to his side. They posed for a grinning photo. It was his first act as speaker
2. The GOP in 2023: A Pop Quiz
Must-read by Bill Lueders. Bookmark it. Print it out. Share it with Friends. Take the test yourself.
What a rousing start to the new year the Republican party has had! Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s torturous 15-ballot path to the House speakership. Sniping among members of the GOP’s lunatic fringe. The seemingly endless stream of lies from now-Rep. George Santos of New York. The constant jaw-dropping flow of mendacity, madness, and moral turpitude. Here’s a quiz to gauge your command of recent news. (Answers appear at bottom.)
It’s not just “recent days.” Try to keep up people.
I want this on a t-shirt.
“Literally laughing” as opposed to just laughing. Shocking, I know.
This is, of course, true. McCarthy’s coalition of cranks relies on Santos, MTG, Paul Gosar, etc.. But, apparently, it’s maliciously gleeful to point it out.
“Spit take.” I hope so.
Actually, no, you wouldn’t have expected that at all. Jonathan appreciates a pointed metaphor.
“That is true.” because it is.
Irony is dead, Chapter 7896
To me, by far the most appalling thing about this whole Steve Bannon situation is that he has been convicted of felonies, pardoned, convicted (and sentenced?) for another felony obstructing congress, and is under investigation or indictment at the state level for the crimes he was pardoned for, yet the man still roams free as can be with no constraints or limits on his ability to stir up coups on the internet. The coup attempt in Brazil is also a failure of our own justice system to hold people accountable. Simply, they are taking too long- it's been 2 years, and we've now had another election wherein the coup planners have been re-elected and put in more prominent power but yet have not been held accountable for what they did in 2020. This only encourages this kind of behavior at home and abroad.
Bannon (and Trump, among many others) is an example of what you get when there is no justice (because you are rich or because you are connected, or because you were just asking questions or just saying things).
In a sense, Bannon is right about the system needing to be torn down if it delivers us people like trump, Gosar, MTG, Kari Lake, Hannity, Tucker.... too many to name.
I would name some left side people, but the primary danger from them seems to be to pronoun usage and to the sensibilities of people who think that racism is a good thing, rather than to the institutions of government, the US debt and economy, the defense of UKR, etc.
If I had done the things that Trump or Bannon or a lot of these other people have done, my ass would be rotting in jail, if someone hadn't offed me.