Not Even the Right “Revolution” Will Be Funded by the Rich

New Orleans   Liberals are chortling to themselves at the highly public, front page falling out of Rasputin and the Czar. Whoops, wrong country, I meant Stephen Bannon and President Donald Trump. And, probably, wrong comparison, since Rasputin was the power behind the throne, and Bannon has been the thorn on the cushion of the president’s swivel chair.

Sure, Bannon had this coming as he continually kept tripping over his own ego, and no matter how dumb he thinks the President’s wife is or how traitorous this son and son-in-law might have been, or how clueless he thinks the President himself might be, he had to know this was all going to stick to his shoes and leave tracks everywhere. Fact or fiction, threats of libel lawsuits, and attacks on free speech aside, there are other lessons to learn from the fast falling Bannon.

A big one for right, left, and in between, is that not only will the “revolution not be televised,” but it will also not be funded by the rich. Embed that in your mind in bold with an exclamation point, because Bannon is proving this on the right side of the political spectrum in the same way that it should certainly be gospel on the left as well, constant proposals notwithstanding.

Although this should be as simple as an elementary school lesson, billionaires and their buddies up and down the scale of the rich are first and foremost about the billions and millions and their families, friends, and companies. Change scares them. Conflict is to be avoided. Secrecy is to be prized. Their world is transactional, not transformative. If they want to throw the rock, they want to hide their hands. It is unbelievable that Bannon did not know this completely or could have been so caught up in the drama of a bigger stage that he forgot these foundational truths.

And, in a corollary, to believe that a populist “revolution” is in their interest is even more absurd, because, right or left, the people themselves and their interests would have to really, really matter, rather than being instrumental for their own purposes. So, sure Breitbart News could throw bricks through the window day and night, who cares. Speaking of schoolyard lessons, those are just words, and it’s only sticks and stones that can really hurt them, and for the rich that doesn’t mean a physical beating but something worse like loss of personal reputation, community standing, and of course hard currency.

Populism is about people, and when the change you demand is not for people, but for this or that sidebar craziness that distracts and polarizes rather than empowers, then the leaders will be disappointed and the donors will disappear. Bannon will learn this. He won’t disappear, but his revolution among Republicans is likely over to no one’s surprise certainly. Who ever believed that Republicans wanted a revolution as opposed to tax cuts for themselves and their companies and looser regulations to facilitate robber baron, no consequence capitalism?

But, this isn’t just a lesson for the right. The left needs to pay attention in class too. If people are not driving and funding the revolution, it will be a footnote in some other book, less widely read than this current political gossip tract. If you don’t believe it, ask Stephen Bannon.

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Breitbart’s Bannon, More Proof that What Goes Around, Comes Around?

Bannon with Breitbart Crew

Little Rock   I don’t want to speak too soon, because I don’t want to put my dirty mouth on it, but as depressing as it has been to read the Stephen Bannon fan mail in the media since the election, it has been equally exhilarating to follow his comet’s rapid descent to hard ground. I don’t want to jinx this. He’s still in the West Wing of the White House, and he’s still carrying the title of strategic advisor to the president or some such, but it’s safe to say he’s currently taking a huge beating, including straight up slap downs from President Trump himself. No matter what ends up happening, how sweet it is this minute.

If nothing else all of the big whoops are finally getting some understanding about what it’s like over there at Breitbart and what’s it’s like to be on the receiving end of crazy-ville. When Andrew Breitbart was still alive, you could spend a minute speculating how much he personally believed all of his own site’s garbage spewing. He had been an early player in the Huffington Post startup, so the many cynical bones in my body could wonder if he simply saw an open niche he now had the ability to fill on the right, and went for it for the bucks and theater of it all. The more that comes out on scrutiny of Bannon, there’s no question here whatsoever. He lives in the darkness and embraces the night.

And, there’s some really creeping critters in his night it turns out. A recent story talked about how he is a huge fan of the discredited notion that history runs in 80-year cycles, and we are coming to the downside of one of those cycles. It’s a knocking on the door of the apocalypse notion that fits snugly with his chokehold on the necessity of disruption and chaos as an operating principle. He sees himself as a “Game of Thrones” character and “winter is coming.” Whether the President gets the message or just sees the storm clouds, I wouldn’t say, but clearly the fact that the new team at the National Security Council cashiered him off of the committee is worth at least one sigh of relief from the rest of us.

Bannon is made for the late night, afterhours show, not prime time. No matter what any of us think of Trump, we know for darned sure that he is never someone who likes wiping egg off of his face every day, and Bannon has been hurling them at him. First there was the divisive inaugural rant, roundly condemned everywhere. Then there was the visa fiasco that unraveled the Muslim ban for the president, making millions the face of his abuse.

As one of my organizers always says, “you gotta learn.” In Bannon’s case, he seems incapable. Trump only knows one thing well: how to run a family business. He still thinks the White House and the Presidency is just another huge division of his family’s business. Now Bannon has managed to get sideways with son-in-law, Jared, and alienate daughter, Ivanka. A lot of what Bannon believes and has done is just plain crazy, but not knowing that Trump is always going to default to family and getting crosswise with that foundational principle is just stupid.

The clock is ticking on Bannon. He’s probably debating how to save face now. The power in his job seems already gone.

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