When Steve Bannon appeared at CPAC in February, the press described it as a "rare public appearance." Shortly before Bannon left his White House job, he gave a "rare interview" to PBS. Then, after he'd lost his job, he gave another "rare interview" to 60 Minutes.
Gosh, if I didn't know better, I'd suspect Bannon isn't the publicity-shy, retiring guy the media thinks he is. He did, after all, give hours of interviews to Joshua Green, who made him the star of a bestselling book about the 2016 campaign, Devil's Bargain.
Now you can barely escape him. It isn't just that he's made the defeat of Luther Strange in the Alabama GOP Senate runoff his life's work. It's that he's making himself the face of the campaign. He headlined a rally for his candidate, Roy Moore, in Alabama last night, and Politico gave him a rave review:
Steve Bannon barreled onstage at a raucous rally inside a barn here to deliver a warning to the national Republican establishment ahead of Tuesday’s special Senate election: I’m just getting started.
In a thundering 20-minute speech Monday night that was partly a rally for insurgent Senate candidate Roy Moore but equally a declaration of war on the Republican Party hierarchy, Bannon made clear that this next act of his political career could make the Republican civil war of recent years look tame....
Bannon headlined the get-out-the-vote rally inside a hay-lined barn alongside Moore ... Brexit leader Nigel Farage and “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson.
But Bannon stole the proverbial show....
Bannon was also on Sean Hannity's show last night, giving, I guess, another "rare interview." On the program, Bannon made his convoluted case for why supporting the guy running against President Trump's candidate is a pro-Trump move:
“I’m here to support Donald J. Trump,” he said... “The hardcore Trump people are not here to defy Donald Trump. We are here to praise him. And I think the best way to do that is to send someone to Washington D.C. -- for Alabama to send someone who is going to have the president’s back.”
He also did a little personal branding:
Bannon ... pointed out early in the interview with Sean Hannity that he was back to wearing the bomber jacket made infamous during the 2016 campaign...
And he took on NFL protesters, claiming they should drop to a knee only to "thank God in heaven Donald J. Trump is president of the United States."
Meanwhile, at Breitbart, the campaign to elect Moore has been the #1 priority -- but it was Bannon's face, not Moore's, on the front page this morning:
What's Bannon's long-term goal? Does he want to be a celebrity pundit/editor, a slob William F. Buckley? Is he looking to become the new Karl Rove, a strategist who's also a media figure?
Or -- and this is pure speculation -- is he starting to think he could someday be a candidate promising white nationalist counterrevolution? We know he said during the 2016 campaign that Trump is an "imperfect vessel" for the movement. I'm sure he thinks he'd be the perfect vessel, if he were a candidate.
So why wouldn't he someday be a candidate? Too many skeletons in his closet? Didn't Donald Trump prove that if you echo the prejudices and rage of angry white males, skeletons in the closet don't matter?
I think it's conceivable that Bannon will run for office someday. Whatever he does, he's going to gravitate toward the limelight. He's enjoying it. And the media is happy to accommodate him.
Originally published at No More Mister Nice Blog