Shacking as it may seem for a tasteful, discerning person such as yours truly, I happen to be a big fan of crap cinema. I’m the kind of guy you used to find at the local Blockbuster, searching the 99-cent rentals for some piece of schlock that would pair perfectly with a couple of friends and a six-pack of Icehouse–an epic evening of entertainment if you happened to be dateless but cool. That’s how I came across such modern horror classics as Jack-O (“It’s Harvest Time!”) and Intruder (it takes place in a supermarket–really), and learned to appreciate the earnestness of directors who somehow manage to get film in the can on a budget that would be the movie equivalent of store brand macaroni and cheese. Sure, the results were laughable–that was the point of watching them, after all–but they were almost always entertaining. That’s because while there are lots of bad movies, rarely do you find an incompetent one–something so slapdash that you know five minutes in that nobody involved in the production knew what the hell they were doing.
Watching the antics of Anthony Scaramucci, I’m starting to feel that way about the Trump administration.
I don’t exactly know what to call it. Moochballs might be a good title, although from the way he talks you’d think he was auditioning for the role Joe Pesci got in GoodFellas. Any way you slice and dice it, though, it seems that the man Donald Trump picked to be his communications director has something of a problem with self expression: he engages in far too much of it. Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker provides an example:
On Wednesday night, I received a phone call from Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director. He wasn’t happy. Earlier in the night, I’d tweeted, citing a “senior White House official,” that Scaramucci was having dinner at the White House with President Trump, the First Lady, Sean Hannity, and the former Fox News executive Bill Shine. It was an interesting group, and raised some questions. Was Trump getting strategic advice from Hannity? Was he considering hiring Shine? But Scaramucci had his own question—for me.
“Who leaked that to you?” he asked. I said I couldn’t give him that information. He responded by threatening to fire the entire White House communications staff…
“They’ll all be fired by me,” [Scaramucci] said. “I fired one guy the other day. I have three to four people I’ll fire tomorrow. I’ll get to the person who leaked that to you. Reince Priebus—if you want to leak something—he’ll be asked to resign very shortly.” The issue, he said, was that he believed Priebus had been worried about the dinner because he hadn’t been invited. “Reince is a f*cking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,” Scaramucci said. He channelled Priebus as he spoke: “ ‘Oh, Bill Shine is coming in. Let me leak the f*cking thing and see if I can c*ck-block these people the way I c*ck-blocked Scaramucci for six months.’ ”
Sounds like somebody is off his Ritalin.
But the Mooch wasn’t done. He also made very clear his feelings about White House chief strategist Steve Bannon–you know, the Brietbart guy who was instrumental in getting Donald Trump elected president:
“I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own c*ck,” he said, speaking of Trump’s chief strategist. “I’m not trying to build my own brand off the f*cking strength of the President. I’m here to serve the country.”
Whatever you say, Mooch–but from here it sure looks like the only c*ck getting sucked belongs to the president, and it isn’t Bannon sucking it.
I wouldn’t mind the vulgarity so much if it actually served a useful purpose. Yes, I get that Scaramucchi is trying to smoke out the White House leakers, something which really needs to be done–but wouldn’t it be far more effective if he just did that behind the scenes, maybe by planting bits of false information with suspected leakers and then seeing what gets out? At the very least, he can deal with the problem without threatening to fire everybody, which would doubtless include loyalists that Trump will need to keep his White House working. And if he does fire everybody, who does he think he’s going to get to replace them? Dead-enders with no place else to go? Because those are the only people who would be crazy enough to take a job with the Mooch as their boss.
I’ve heard that President Trump likes to foment conflict amongst his people, as he believes it increases competitiveness and makes them perform better. To a small extent, this is true–but that kind of tactic also needs to be implemented with a certain amount of finesse. The kind of guy who shoots his wad all over a reporter the way that Scaramucchi did is obviously not capable of that kind of subtlety. He’ll only succeed in running anybody with any ability out of the White House comms shop, after which he’ll staff it with toadies who magnify his own incompetence. In the meanwhile, between a hostile press and a lethargic Congress, Trump will see his agenda–which is already at a crawl–grind to a halt, and America will suffer as a result of it.
You better fix this problem, Mr. President. And fix it fast.