Steve Bannon was on 60 Minutes last night and gave off the distinctive stench of a man who has peaked and, deep down, knows it. You’ve probably already seen the clips on Twitter of Bannon’s jaw throbbing and quivering like a Westworld “Angry Bigoted Companion Bot” on the fritz, and frankly, that’s probably all you need to see. The interview, despite Charlie Rose’s best efforts, added very little to the portrait of yet another mediocre man who got caught up in the mutual coattail-clinging that has defined the Trump train’s careening lurch.
— CAFE (@cafedotcom) September 11, 2017
Bannon ranted and raved, lapsing into Andy Rooney-esque “you know what really grinds my gears” – style remonstrations (“These globalists are everywhere these days, and I don’t understand it!”). He didn’t appear smart or insightful. He was mediocre and petty, like a guy itching to start a fight in a bathroom line that’s longer than is convenient for him. The entire interview was a rehashing of fights he’s still having, fights he’s trying to start, and fights he can’t seem to drop. He called himself a “street fighter” – and while he may mean it in the sense of a scrappy revolutionary, it seems more likely that he’s fighting on the street because he was kicked out of a bar and is angry about his life in ways that he’s not introspective enough to articulate.
During the interview, his boozy addiction to fighting appeared to be his only intellectual lodestar. He referred to “Billy Bush Saturday” – the day after a candidate for national office bragged about handling women like carry-on luggage – as a defining loyalty test. He claimed that the Catholic Church, of which he is a member, “need[s] illegal aliens to fill the churches.” And he boasted that he was “the only guy that came out and tried to defend” President Trump after Charlottesville – a distinction that most people wouldn’t want on their résumé.
Go ahead and forget about this interview. Go ahead and forget about Steve Bannon. He’ll pop up in the news again, inevitably, like a slug creeping out after the rain in his rumpled polo shirt, but don’t give it your time. Treat him as he asks to be treated, like a street fighter: the disheveled guy on the corner with whom you avoid eye contact, because you’ve got better things to do than tangle with old racists. To quote Bannon from last night: he’s “just another guy with an opinion.”