Steve Bannon launched his speech to the “Values Voter Summit” — which as Lionel Hutz would point out is every bit as much a violation of truth in labeling laws as The Neverending Story — with some lines from Ecclesiastes 3, or at least the Byrds’ version of it in “Turn! Turn! Turn!” (Because do you seriously think Steve Freaking Bannon sits around reading the Bible?) By golly, Bannon knows what time it is, and which season: “Right now it’s a season of war against the GOP establishment.” But it’s not just Steve Bannon’s war against the Republican establishment — it’s a right-wing Christian war, because if the Bible is about anything, it’s about the proper direction for a political party on a continent the ancient Hebrews didn’t know existed. That’s just obvious, after all.
But don’t worry, it’s a Just War, for all you fans of Saint Augustine, Saint Thomas Aquinas, and other Florida cities who theorized about what makes wars OK, because Bannon didn’t start the fire, the ESTABLISHMENT did, by not following along with Donald Trump’s “agenda,” even if he never actually had one beyond “build the wall that will give everybody great healthcare and lock her up.”
This is not my war. This is our war. And y’all didn’t start it. The establishment started it […] But I will tell you one thing — you all are going to finish it.
And to appeal to the folks who angrily protested a production of Julius Caesar that depicted Donald Trump as Caesar, Bannon attacked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell by invoking, yes, Julius Caesar:
Up on Capitol Hill, it’s like the Ides of March. They’re just looking to find out who is going to be Brutus to your Julius Caesar. We’ve cut your oxygen off, Mitch.
Only apparently this time it was Julius Caesar in an airlock. In space, no one can hear your soliloquy.
Bannon got really big cheers for the prospect of millions of Americans losing their health insurance, because if there was anything Jesus hated, it was healing the sick, at least if taxes were somehow involved, as recorded in the Gospel of Norquist:
cover story — which no one believed anyway, but he did at least say it — was that Attorney General Jeff Sessions (barf) determined the cost sharing reductions to reduce low-income enrollees’ out-of-pocket costs were unconstitutional. Or maybe that they were just a payoffs for insurance companies. We doubt anyone on Team Trump minded too much that Bannon stripped away those fictions and made clear Trump’s real motive is simply sabotage, but Bannon’s former boss may not be happy anyway.
Then you had Obamacare. Not gonna make the CSR payments. Gonna blow that thing up. Gonna blow those exchanges up, right?
The Washington Post‘s Aaron Blake thinks this might be politically inconvenient for Trump, as if that would matter to him:
… [I]f the Affordable Care Act does implode, and especially if Congress doesn’t pass something to help stabilize it, Bannon’s comments would seem to complicate things for Trump. Here we have one of the president’s top allies promoting the idea that Trump just acted deliberately to undermine the insurance policies that many poor Americans have come to rely upon.
And we thought members of the dishonest media were supposed to be cynical.
The only thing Bannon’s speech might have done that would bother Trump is that he was the first to say it out loud. As we learned from the firing of James Comey, Trump considers it his job to throw away his cover rationale and tell the world he’s just acting out of spite, so Bannon may have spoiled Trump’s fun. Trump hates that.