Reading to Bring You Christmas Cheer
Bannon has also remarked on the toll the office has taken on Trump, telling advisers his former boss has “lost a step.” “He’s like an 11-year-old child,” Bannon joked to a friend in November.
Actually, no. He’s like a four-year old child. Eleven-year old children have learned that when they tell a lie, they need to make it a plausible lie.
If he does “take down the GOP,” well, it couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of guys.
David Ignatius writes this morning that For Bannon, the game has only just begun, but the column does not quite live up to the headline. It ends on the theme that Bannon’s false start may have jeopardized his long-term goal of fostering a clash of civilizations.
As with many revolutionaries, Bannon’s story is that of a wealthy man who came to see himself as a vanguard for the masses. He rose from a middle-class life in Richmond through an uneventful stint with the Navy; but his life changed after he enrolled at Harvard Business School, joined Goldman Sachs, founded an investment bank and made a fortune. He began directing conservative agitprop documentaries in 2004, but the 2008 financial crisis was a turning point. Bannon saw it as a betrayal of working people, and he embraced the tea party’s conservative revolt against Republican and Democratic elites. …
The rise of the Islamic State in 2014 gave Bannon a new rallying cry: “We are in an outright war against jihadist Islamic fascism,” he told the Vatican audience. “I believe you should take a very, very, very aggressive stance against radical Islam,” he said. …
Bannon undeniably has a powerful radical vision. But this time, he may have blundered. The travel ban has triggered a counterrevolt among millions of Americans who saw his target as the Statue of Liberty.
Although Ignatius didn’t tell us exactly what is coming next, this morning Bill de Blasio filled us in.
Breaking news from Aardvark!
Highly placed European intelligence sources have gained access – through a mole placed in the White House staff – to Steven Bannon’s guiding propaganda principles. You may read them here.
This just in, from Talking Points Memo:
The White House announced today that the decision not to mention Jews or anti-Semitism in its announcement commemorating Holocaust remembrance day was intentional. According to White House spokeswoman Hope Hicks, the statement made no mentions of Jews out of respect for the non-Jews who died in Nazi labor camps and death camps during World War II. Hicks told CNN: “Despite what the media reports, we are an incredibly inclusive group and we took into account all of those who suffered.”
Aardvark finds it highly distasteful spending time inside Donald’s mind. If Donald lived here at Happy Acres, he is not the sort of person whom the Aardvarks would invite to sit with them in the dining room. We would not invite him to our next cocktail party. If he showed up anyway, we would both develop stomach flu and declare the party over. If we saw him walking toward us in the hallway, we would turn quickly and escape down another corridor.
All that said, he is the president of all of us, Aardvarks included, and we have to spend some time trying to figure out this disturbed person whom we have unwisely elected. So, as Aardvark writes on November 23, 2016, the day after the New York Times interview, he offers these 13 working hypotheses about the mind of Minority President-Elect Trump.
- Trump is a breathtakingly insecure person, who craves adulation and validation like an addict craves booze or heroin.
- Trump craves wealth, but mainly as a means of getting veneration.
- Trump craves beautiful women, but mainly, in all probability, more for the purpose of stroking his ego than for stroking his penis.
- Trump craves power, but mainly for the purpose of receiving adoration, as distinguished from actually doing any particular thing with that power.
- Trump is credulous, devoid of intellectual curiosity, and possessed of a minute attention span.
- In consequence of the above points, Trump has a very strong tendency to believe the last person who spoke to him.
- To achieve his unwisely chosen life goals, Trump views an essential tool in his toolkit as the spreading of bullshit indiscriminately and in all directions.
- He believes, accurately, that all “winners” (in his definition of “winners”) are bullshit artists, but inaccurately believes that all “winners” spread bullshit shamelessly and indiscriminately, 100 percent of the time. Like a color blind person who cannot tell the difference between red and green, Trump cannot tell the difference between evidence based advocacy and just making stuff up.
- In consequence of this mental deficiency, Trump feels shock and surprise, combined with a deep sense of grievance, when called out on his bullshit. That’s because he thinks he is just doing the same thing everyone else does—or at least what every “winner” does.
- Despite all of this, Trump believes some part of what he says. But because of all of this, one cannot say what part he deeply believes, what part he knows is bullshit, and what part he thinks might be true, at least based on what he was told by the last person he spoke to, before he speaks to someone else who will tell him differently. His changing views on the efficacy of waterboarding being an example of the latter.
- Because we cannot know what Trump will likely do, based on what has come out of his mouth, we must instead be guided by scripture. Paraphrasing Matthew 7:16, by his fruits shall ye know Trump.
- If a thing cannot possibly happen, then that thing will not in fact happen. Bannon, the Trump Whisperer, wants to improve the economic lot of the working class and thus build an enduring constituency for ethno-nationalism. Ryan and his merry band of Ayn Rand disciples want to adopt drastic changes in public policy whose objective effect would impoverish the working class—whatever the merry band may believe, or claim to believe. Both policies cannot happen. Therefore both policies will not be implemented.
- What policies will actually be adopted is unknown and unknowable at the present time. However, Trump may well figure out that the Ayn Randers would be highly counterproductive to his desire for working class adulation. If Aardvark were a betting man, he would bet on Bannon, the Trump Whisperer.