Josh Green's widely circulated 2015 profile of Steve Bannon, who, fittingly, bears a vague resemblance to Adolf-whisperer Martin Bormann in both looks and management style, is ironically titled. "This Man Is the Most Dangerous Political Operative in America," says the headline — which screams the question: Dangerous to whom? Green's article suggests an answer in a mere, overlooked 16 words. "When Sarah Palin was at the height of her fame, Bannon was whispering in her ear."
Yes, and the height of Palin's fame was fleeting; the basis of a Tea Party Thousand-Year Reich that will last less than twelve. Bannon's behind-the-scenes advice took what was a promising political career and trashed it through over-the-top hyperbole, gaudy showmanship, rhetorical incoherence and unmediated ignorance. Bannon just wanted Palin to be Palin, and that — dangerously, to herself — she was.
Notwithstanding his brashness, Bannon seems to do a lot of whispering. The NY Times reports he has also "quietly advised Mr. Trump throughout his campaign." He has, that is, encouraged Trump to be Trump. This phenomenon required little encouragement; the result has been the height of Trump's political fame, but with a low ceiling and crashing poll numbers. It's déjà Palin all over again.
Lanhee Chen, a former Romney adviser (it's not known if Chen's 2012 advice was whispered), doesn't much care about Trump's danger to Trump. He is solicitous of other dangers, however. Trump's Bannon-encouraged "nativism and nationalism" (see, again: Mr. Bormann; management style thereof) is "very dangerous to the future of the party," Chen tells the Times, "because it only further narrows the appeal of a party whose appeal was already narrow going into this cycle." Presumably in an email to the Times, Chen calls Trump's approach "a base reinforcement strategy,” which is yet more ironic wording. The absence of proper hyphenation — "a base-reinforcement strategy" — also connotes a "base, reinforcement strategy," which it is. Perhaps Chen's unhyphenating oversight was Freudian.
Far less Freudian is the increasingly overt blight of merely another Trump enterprise, which has nothing to do with pursuing the White House — said pursuit having been trashed, Palinlike, months ago. The Times:
As comfortable as Mr. Trump may feel with Mr. Bannon’s style of politics, their unconventional alliance, and the possibility that the coming weeks could resemble a conservative publicity tour more than a conventional White House run, fueled speculation that Mr. Trump was already looking past November.
In recent months, Mr. Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, have quietly explored becoming involved with a media holding, either by investing in one or by taking one over.
Again with that unmistakable sign of Bannon's involvement: a "quiet" exploration of a Trump-media regime. A former Bannon-Breitbart News employee, the enduringly despicable Ben Shapiro, proffers the selfsame speculation: "If Trump loses [ignore the 'if'], Bannon could head up a new media empire with Trump’s support and the involvement of new Trump supporter and ousted former Fox News head Roger Ailes. Look for Sean Hannity to be a part of any such endeavor."
Five'll get you ten that this alt-Fox News endeavor is more than speculation. What would Trump want with the White House when he could actually make that $10 billion he now falsely claims to have? Trump's campaign is but another con.
Meanwhile, in real presidential news, Gov. John Kasich is heading to New Hampshire later this month.