The face of the sympathetic, even “ethical” villain. We’ve seen it all before. Just look at those eyes. They radiate a self-perception centered on being deeply misunderstood while maintaining the delusion of a stern, yet “sympathetic” ethical worldview. Steve “Bullshit” Bannon not so deftly tries to separate white nationalism from economic nationalism. I don’t buy it. As a matter of fact, I’ll upgrade him to Steve “Buncha Bullshit” Bannon.
With would-be authoritarians, you have to look behind the rhetoric to a man’s origins, the trajectory of his character. In this case, Mr. Bannon was created by the media. He talks about waging war with the GOP establishment, but in reality he is employing the same tactics Fox News has used for…however long it’s been on the air. The flamboyant, dismissive debating strategies. The not quite erudite condescension. The constant interruptions. It’s all there. Once mastered by Bill O’Reilly, these content-less jabs are alive and well in Mr. Bannon.
While you may wage war against your enemies with the same weapons they choose, when those weapons are words, gestures, body language, debating tactics focusing on vitriol rather than content, an ever-shifting ideology that curdles on the white curtain of racism then, in the most important ways, you become the enemy.
Bannon and the GOP? They’re not so different. Despite this hasty divorce, a tenuous marriage continues behind the scenes. He talks about how the current government apparatus is a business model. But his business model firmly entrenches inauthenticity. He has dressed the Republican skeleton with the blemished skin of white nationalism. Isolationist, unethical, economically unsound, but he’ll walk away with more than your pocket change. That’s for damn sure.