You remember Vladislav Surkov, the avant garde artist who removed meaning, facts and truth from the Russian political discourse.
If not, please read this Vanity Fair primer. It is worth the detour.
The Vanity Fair article argues that there might be a method to Trump's late-night-attacks-through-unhinged-tweets madness. Like Surkov's communication strategy for Putin, these strange outbursts might be designed to change the subject, subvert the agenda and hijack the media narrative.
Recently, within the context of Donnygate, I wondered if there was a deliberate Surkovian strategy in place at the White House, as it looked like running down Fredo Trump's inane adventures helped hide Kushner's Qatar financial links and a rather scary use of American foreign policy to secure building financing.
But I wasn't sure who was behind it, as Trump is too stupid or senile to be able to pull it off by himself. My money was on the Prince of Darkness Steve Bannon and Boy Blunder Kushner.
Now however, it looks like the dark forces behind the Surkov strategy were Javanka as they pushed for the hiring of Anthony Scaramucci or "The Mooch" as he is known. Steve Bannon was not involved.
He is the new White House Communication Director and unlike everyone else (save Steve Bannon) he reports directly to the President, not the Chief of Staff.
Apparently Kushner felt that White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Trump's Chief of Staff Reince Priebus were Republican plants who worked for the party and not the President.
Why do I think The Mooch is there to pull a Surkov for Trump?
First let's remember what pulling a Surkov is:
In practical terms, this means that Surkov removes facts and truth and beliefs from the political discourse and sets the daily agenda by feeding a dizzying array of fake, contradictory and seemingly true narratives through various associations, small parties and news media outlets he controls.Well, this is what Scaramucci did in his first week.
He is also very good at changing the subject: when corruption accusations against Putin got traction, Surkov got him to pass a "gay-propaganda law" and next thing you know, everybody was discussing that.
1) He went on ABC News to cite anonymous sources who claimed that there was no Russian involvement in electoral hacking only to reveal the source was Trump.
2) He seemed unmoved by his own negative Trump quotes from the 2016 campaign. At the time, he had called Trump "another hack politician" and "an inherited money dude from Queens County." And he praised Clinton.
3) He then began deleting those old pro-Clinton tweets. And he acknowledged doing so on Twitter where he endorsed her.
Astonishingly, the Narcissist-in-Chief who demands absolute loyalty sided with him.
4) He told Politico that he was planning to fire assistant Press Secretary Michael Short before telling him. Short resigned when he found out from the media that he was about to be axed.
5) He went on CNN to accuse Reince Priebus as the source of White House leaks. The two men, whose relationship Scaramucci likened to brothers, Abel and Cain, like each other very much, as you can tell from this revealing photo.
You know how that Biblical story ended, right?
6) Finally, to top it all off, he had a very colorful phone conversation with Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker:
“Reince is a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,” Scaramucci said. He channelled Priebus as he spoke: “ ‘Oh, Bill Shine is coming in. Let me leak the fucking thing and see if I can cock-block these people the way I cock-blocked Scaramucci for six months.’ ”As for Steve Bannon, this is what The Mooch had to say:
Scaramucci also told me that, unlike other senior officials, he had no interest in media attention. “I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock,” he said, speaking of Trump’s chief strategist. “I’m not trying to build my own brand off the fucking strength of the President. I’m here to serve the country.”(On that last point, Trevor Noah noted:"I feel like if that were true, Steve Bannon would be a lot more chilled out. Like, I didn’t even know it was possible to drain your own swamp.”)
During the interview Scaramucci predicted that Priebus would soon be fired and it happened two days later.
The next day, The Mooch owned his words and The Donald reportedly loved the whole incident.
While The Mooch was doing with his colorful, contradictory and confusing theatrix, The Donald was busy doing this:
1) He gave a hyper-political and cringe-worthy speech at the annual jamboree of Boy Scouts of America. It was so bad that the Boy Scouts chief had to apologize afterwards.
2) He also held a campaign style rally in Ohio making new promises to his followers.
3) He "landed 3 punches against gay rights"
Without being asked, the Justice Department intervened in a private employment lawsuit on Wednesday, arguing that the ban on sex discrimination in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not protect workers on the basis of their sexual orientation. (...)
The move ended a day that began with a tweet from President Trump announcing a ban on transgender people serving in the military, surprising Pentagon leaders and reversing a year-old Obama administration policy.
Also on Wednesday, Mr. Trump announced that he would nominate Sam Brownback, the governor of Kansas and a vocal opponent of gay rights, to be the nation’s ambassador at large for international religious freedom.4) He cyberbullied his own Attorney General, the Klan sympathizing garden gnome Jeff Sessions.
Scaramucci's contradictory moves are straight out of Surkov play book. So is Trump's gay bashing, something, as I noted above, Putin used many times to change the narrative.
Why do I suspect that these silly and petulant incidents might be an attempt to hijack the agenda, well look at what was happening at the same time. The Senate tried very hard to repeal Obamacare and it failed dramatically.
John McCain came back from brain surgery and cancer treatment to vote in favor of a procedural measure to have the Senate debate the House draft to repeal and replace Obamacare. It passed only with Mike Pence's tie-breaker vote.
Then, in a very cynical act (to collect maximum "maverick" points) he voted against the House draft, effectively killing the whole repeal idea.
This was, as you know, one of Trump's signature campaign promises.
If it wasn't for the dramatic circumstances (brain cancer patient returns to Washington) and the corporate media's endless love affair with St John McCain, we might not have heard about it as The Mooch and The Donald collectively sucked all the oxygen out of the news media.
Still, Scaramucci's expletive-filled rant with Ryan Lizza and Trump's transgender ban tweet received a lot more coverage than the health care bill.
And maybe that was the point.
After all, Trump voters do not care about how he governs, they like him as a reality TV star who kicks the other side in the teeth.
They don't care if he takes away their health care, as long he deports brown people and removes any safety net for black people and makes sure that black lives don't matter.
To them, Trump is making America white again and he does it with great fanfare and fun. And in the process, he makes liberals mad.
What more can you ask for?
And that is why The Mooch is now the Communications Director and he reports directly Boy Blunder's father-in-law.
A poor man's Surkov.
But The Donald does not deserve a better Surkov anyway.
Nor does his constituency.
The Mooch is gone.
The media reports seem to suggest that it was the new Chief of Staff General Kelly who terminated him.
I have a feeling he was used by Boy Blunder to get rid of Priebus.
Something tells me that this is not the last time we see Anthony Scaramucci.