I sometimes lookÂ at the long ribbons of texts Iâ€™ve gotten from Steve Bannon and wonder whether they couldnâ€™t tell the whole story all on their own.
There are certainly enough of them. He says he has five phones, two encrypted, and heâ€™s forever pecking away, issuing pronunciamentos with incontinent abandonâ€”after midnight; during commercial breaks for his show,Â War Room; sometimes while the broadcast is still live.
You can discern much of Bannonâ€™s mad character and contradictions in these exchanges. The chaos and the focus, the pugnacity and the enthusiasm, the transparency and the industrial-grade bullshit. Also, the mania: logomania, arithmomania, monomania (heâ€™d likely cop to all of these, especially that last oneâ€”heâ€™s the first to say that one of the features of his show is â€œwash rinse repeatâ€). Garden-variety hypermania (with a generous assist from espressos). And last of all, perhaps above all else, straight-up megalomania, which even those who profess affection for the man can see, though it appears to be a problem only for those who believe, as I do, that heâ€™s attempting to insert a lit bomb into the mouth of American democracy.
March 28, 9:49 a.m.
Iâ€™m taking out Murkowski today and forcing her to vote NO on judge Jackson
Heâ€™s talking about the Senate confirmation vote on Ketanji Brown Jacksonâ€™s Supreme Court nomination, and uncertainty about whether Lisa Murkowski, the senior Republican senator from Alaska, will vote yes. I tell him Iâ€™ll be interested to see if Murkowski responds.
After today sheâ€™s a NO
Murkowski did not vote no. I sent himÂ aÂ New York TimesÂ storyÂ on April 4 to tweak him. Wasnâ€™t your show supposed to flip her? I asked.
Goalposts. Theyâ€™re always movable.
This is a huge issue that Iâ€™m about to make toxic
And so it went that day:Â The work before us is to weaponize this vote. Twice he used this word,Â weaponize, in talking about his plan to flip Senate seats in Nevada and Arizonaâ€”adding,Â I can clearly see how to win.
Iâ€™m impressed by my photo!!
Innnnnnnnnnnnteresting, I wrote. Why?
Can u see the photo?
You donâ€™t like it?
Iâ€™ve never seen it before now
I want to know why you like it
I donâ€™t look so (Covid 19) UNKEMPT
Does this mean you have actual feelings?
Of course it doesnâ€™t!
But it still pleases you to look nice.
One day he called my colleague Anne ApplebaumÂ a fucking KLOWN. (He had previously referred to her work as â€œbrilliant,â€ but something sheâ€™d just said about Hunter Bidenâ€™s laptop didnâ€™t agree with him.) Later, while reflecting on this comment, I asked him: Whoâ€™s been his most worthy intellectual sparring partner so far?
Youâ€™ve watched the debates
I destroy folks except I always pull back to not be obnoxious
Did he care to name names?
Henry Levi in Athens.
Blood on the floor.
Bernard-Henri LÃ©vy, he meant, the famous French intellectual.
Biggest disappointment of my life
Made him eat this
He sent me a picture of LÃ©vyâ€™s bookÂ The Empire and the Five Kings.
I watchedÂ that debate. This was not at all my impression. But winning is certainly an all-consuming preoccupation for Bannon, just as it is for his former boss. Winning debates. Winning electionsâ€”in France, in Hungary, in South Texas, where Hispanic voters are migrating into the R column with impressive speed. One night, as I was reading in bed, I heard theÂ pingÂ of my phone: Bannon had sent meÂ a story from a Rio Grande Valley website, reporting that Republican turnout at early-voting polls was up up up.
And good night
It was 11:37 p.m. Never too late to own the libs.
See FULL STORY at The Atlantic.