It’s one of the greatest, and frankly most random, scenes from the classic movie, The Princess Bride.
Feared dead after being tortured by Prince Humperdink, Westley is dragged by Inigo and Fezzik to Miracle Max. When Max tells Inigo and Fezzik he’s going to ask Westley what he has to live for, a perplexed Inigo replies, “But he’s dead!”
Miracle Max then utters the famous lines , “Ohhh, look who knows so much! Well, it just so happens that your friend here is only mostly dead. There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead.”
Such is the case of Steve Bannon and his political aspirations, which I have noted are more Robespierre in nature than anything else. Did he ever take a beating yesterday, though. First was the news from the White House and a statement from President Trump:
Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind. Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating seventeen candidates, often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican party. Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn’t as easy as I make it look. Steve had very little to do with our historic victory, which was delivered by the forgotten men and women of this country. Yet Steve had everything to do with the loss of a Senate seat in Alabama held for more than thirty years by Republicans. Steve doesn’t represent my base — he’s only in it for himself.
I have long thought that Steve Bannon is one of the greatest self-promoters and parade jumpers we’ve seen in a long time. Take the Alabama Senate race for instance. The Roy Moore story is one that started decades ago. Moore was Alabama’s “kind of” version of a political and religious Robin Hood. He had his own following, his own story. He was going to beat Luther Strange with or without Steve Bannon’s help, but as soon as he did win, guess who was there to take credit for the victory? Steve Bannon, prompting Bannon’s short-lived charge of the Establishment’s Bastille. The media ate it up. Steve Bannon believed his own press. And that all ended yesterday.
But it wasn’t just the beatdown from Trump that raised eyebrows. It was this tidbit of news at the end of the day that clearly indicates Steve Bannon’s influence is on life support.
As I wrote this past fall , Steve Bannon’s power (for what it was worth) didn’t derive from his own force of personality or political acumen. It rose from the possibility that GOP megadonors would rally around his cause and give him the funding he needed to create political chaos. It started with Bob Mercer creating daylight between himself and Steve Bannon . Yesterday, it seems Bob’s daughter Rebekah is following suit and they were his two biggest donors.
To say that Steve Bannon is all dead politically or otherwise is to make a mistake. He’s only mostly dead. He still has the Breitbart platform as well as a dedicated following willing to circle the wagons for him. However, with even his own candidates (again, see “Roy Moore” and “Alabama” for mitigating reference to the term “Bannon’s candidates”) distancing themselves from him, it appears, at least for now, that Steve Bannon is politically impotent.