Scaramucci Does the Fandango

Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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61 Responses

  1. Oscar Gordon says:

    Boom! goes the dynamite.Report

  2. Doctor Jay says:

    I rather like your theory, Tod. My read of those interviews was “wow, he’s doing a lot of sucking up to Trump”.Report

  3. Burt Likko says:

    So let me get this straight. I read the article at 1:45. Client meeting at 2:00. I come out from the client meeting at 2:51 and the OP has already been proven right?

    Way to go, @R-Tod!Report

  4. North says:

    Great thoughts my Tod! It’s so delightful to see you about.Report

  5. Damon says:

    God, you could not make this shit up!

    Now, if only we could have an economic collapse, an invasion, or giant motherf***ing asteroid plunge towards earth.

    And then I see this.

    You couldn’t write a screenplay like this EVAR. I really really should have voted for Trump. I’d enjoy all this a tad bit more than I currently do.Report

  6. Richard Hershberger says:

    I have no particular knowledge of this guy. I was not consciously aware of him until a few days ago. But it has been obvious to me for a while that someone with no pretense of governance–good or bad–and willing to go all in on the sycophancy could do well in this administration.

    The saving grace of this administration and Republicans in congress is the incompetence. Their intent is evil, but they are too inept to implement their intent. We just watched Congress spin its wheels for six months trying and failing to pass a health care bill–any health care bill at all–despite this having been their signature issue for the past seven years. In all that time they never gave any thought to the matter of what they would pass, given the opportunity. Furthermore, their other signature issue of tax cuts for rich people was predicated on their gutting health care first and paying for the tax cuts with the savings. This has been their signature issue since the Reagan administration, and yet they screwed it up. I expect that they will manage to lower taxes for rich people some way or the other, but really, now.

    Of course this approach to governance has the downside of putting nuclear weapons in the hands of petulant incompetents. There is non-trivial risk here. In hope that the Pentagon has implemented some highly unofficial procedure to prevent us from nuking Paris in a fit of Trumpian pique. This also relates to my assessment that Trump is unlikely to be removed from office via impeachment, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the 25th Amendment activated.Report

    • Morat20 in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      I just want to point out: Skinny repeal only came close to passing because Ryan promised them the House wouldn’t vote on it. And the bill that passed the House only passed because Ryan assured enough people that the Senate wouldn’t pass that bill.

      Both chambers are kicking the can to each other, and it’s only the promise of “Someone else will make it better, this vote bill won’t become law” that gets them close to (or at) a simple majority!

      That’s how screwed the GOP is on this issue. They have no consensus internally. They’re not even close.

      I suspect tax cuts are going to be worse without that Health Care money to play around with — they’re either going to have to adopt 10 year sunsets, or they’re going to have to look at really popular deductions. I’d put money down on them going with sunsets, because I don’t think they have any workable consensus on a neutral plan that’ll pass reconciliation.Report

      • Michael Cain in reply to Morat20 says:

        Of course, Ryan’s promise was largely worthless. Under House rules, any member can make a motion to concur and have it voted on. Ryan might claim to have his caucus under sufficient control to keep such a motion from passing, but unexpected things can happen.

        Long ago, when I was in some sort of high school thing visiting the state capital in Nebraska, one of the members of the unicameral there was espousing the virtues of a single chamber: “You take every piece of every bill very seriously, because there’s no other chamber to fix your mistakes.”

        I’d also bet on temporary tax cuts.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Morat20 says:

        Morat20: I suspect tax cuts are going to be worse without that Health Care money to play around with — they’re either going to have to adopt 10 year sunsets, or they’re going to have to look at really popular deductions

        Or they’re going to ignore other buget / deficit control rules and pretend they aren’t doing just that.Report

        • Morat20 in reply to Kolohe says:

          They can’t pass it under reconciliation unless it’s neutral over ten years. That’s why they were pushing the healthcare stuff that much — they needed that 800 billion in wiggle room so they could make upper bracket and business cuts permanent.

          They’ll end up sunsetting their cuts, for the same reason Dubya’s did. They can’t find enough spending cuts or deductions to kill without pissing off too many people.Report

          • Kolohe in reply to Morat20 says:

            But what if McConnell and Ryan just Thelma & Louise it and throw out all the budget and reconciliation rules, making everything a simple majority?

            (My understanding, at least with the filibuster, was it paradoxically requires only a simple majority to nuke it – or maybe not a paradox, as that’s why it’s called a nuclear option, simple, straightforward and utterly destructive. Anyway, I don’t know if that applies to other procedural rules.)Report

            • North in reply to Kolohe says:

              There isn’t a 50 vote GOP majority to throw out those rules in the Senate. It’s as simple as that. The Senators may be Republicans but some of they are going to vote to preserve their own power first and foremost and McConnell can only lose 3.Report

          • Michael Cain in reply to Morat20 says:

            No, they can’t pass it under reconciliation if it increases the deficit beyond a ten-year limit (more precisely, it can’t increase the deficit beyond the period specified in the budget resolution, which has been as long as ten years in the past; conceivably the resolution could specify a period longer than ten years). That’s why the Bush tax cuts expired after ten years. Greatly increased the deficit for ten years, which was okay, and then reverted to current law to get rid of the effect in the out years.Report

            • Morat20 in reply to Michael Cain says:

              I think I’m confusing the reconciliation rules and the stance of the Freedom Caucus on the tax cuts. I think they not only want budget neutral, they want it to be revenue neutral (or better yet, less revenue) as a requirement.Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to Morat20 says:

                Understandable. The original intent of the Budget Act was that reconciliation would be used to either reduce the deficit or increase the surplus. (Also to force the President to spend appropriated dollars, which created the dilemma Obama faced at one point*.) But the authors didn’t spell that out. Having been there at the state level, I’m sure that staff pointed out to them at some point that sh*t was screwed up :^)

                * That is, statute sets tax rates that generate $X in revenue, statute requires that $Y be spent, and statute says that even though $Y>$X, no additional borrowing is allowed. All executive actions violate the law in one way or another.Report

  7. Saul Degraw says:

    interesting theory. It looks like you might be right.

    In other news, my side again confirmed my belief that snark is the balm of the powerless and has limited rhetorical value. Their is a meme on the net comparing Saramucci to the Boneititis guy from Futurama. Boneitis guy was a parody of a Wall Street bro from the 80s, complete with Banker’s collar and suspenders.

    How many people really watch Futurama to consider this a wicked burn that would destroy the guy?Report

    • greginak in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      On the other hand, who cares? It’s a frickin joke on the internet. It doesn’t have, or need, to have any more meaning then a joke. All sorts of groups joke within themselves about stuff. Yeah the this will “destroy, annihilate, obliterate, take apart at the sub atomic level” lines are stupid. But that is a BSDI thing and i can’t see how it means anything. If it means anything it’s that humor helps people with stress. That seems pretty non-controversial and a good thing.Report

  8. Mike Schilling says:

    is available to any US citizen who requests it

    So he missed the opportunity to claim that it was requested by an illegal alien?Report

  9. Jaybird says:

    The second point is that you really have to take all “leaked” comments from the White House with a large grain of salt, even if that leak tells you something damaging about Trump, Bannon, Spicer, or whoever. Every leak might well be true; it might also just be a way of “leaking” something entirely fabricated in order to stick a knife in a rival and move up half a notch in the Trump-toadying hierarchy.

    The rumor that I heard was that The Mooch caught Priebus in a Canary Trap.

    If you’re going to leak to the press to get a leg up or get inside the news cycle it’s one thing, if you’re going to leak to the press in such a way that hampers The Don’s ability to defeat his enemies, see them driven before him, and to hear the lamentations of the women it’s quite another.

    The thing to worry about is whether The Mooch will help The Don achieve what is Best In Life to a greater degree than Priebus did.Report

    • Alan Scott in reply to Jaybird says:

      I don’t think he’s need to. Shitting on Preibus to that reporter makes Trump look like a fool for appointing Scaramucci *unless* Priebus is on the way out.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Alan Scott says:

        Well, I wonder if Preibus was one of the White House leakers who was using tactical leaks in service to the goals of The Republican Establishment rather than to What Is Best In Life.

        If he (Preibus) was, then The Mooch proved that he (Moochy) is a team player and Preibus ain’t.

        If he (Preibus) wasn’t, then The Mooch is probably the second most dangerous guy in that building right now.Report

  10. PD Shaw says:

    As someone who has seen Trump as a Jacksonian figure, I’ve been waiting to see if his “Martin Van Buren” emerges. I don’t know much about Scaramucci, but could he be the person who understands Trump’s needs and creates shape and form to an administration adrift?

    (For those unfamiliar with the reference, early in the Jackson administration, there was a social media scandal involving a cabinet member’s inappropriate marriage that echoed accusations made against Jackson’s late wife. Jackson demanded his cabinet show Mrs. Eaton respect and threatened to dual some, but it was only Van Buren who proceeded to make social calls on the young couple. Van Buren provided obsequious attention to Jackson’s sense of honor and loyalty, and was rewarded with the influence to create policy, dismiss most of the cabinet, and initate the spoils system)Report

  11. Fish says:

    Excellent as usual, Tod.Report

  12. DavidTC says:

    Later, in an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union, he alluded to a anonymous expert on Russian intelligence who he said could not name — and then a minute later spilled the beans that that expert was Donald Trump.

    If you’ve actually watched this, it’s a particularly funny situation.

    If I recall correctly, Scaramucci claims something, the guy he is talking to disbelieves it, Scaramucci cites this ‘anonymous expert’, the guy still doesn’t believe it, and Scaramucci is like ‘Oh yeah?! What if I told you the expert was President Trump’.

    Which immediately brings two thoughts to the mind of everyone: a) You sound like you’re lying dude. You sound exactly like you just made up that expert, and then decided to claim it was Trump. Followed shortly by b) Wait, you think attributing statements to President Trump means we’re more likely to believe them? Where have you been?

    And then, of course, most of us didn’t notice the absolute nonsense of c) The guy hired by Donald Trump to push his own policy is claiming that policy is justified because of things Donald Trump wants everyone to know, but not to know it came from him? What sort of logic is that?Report

    • Jaybird in reply to DavidTC says:

      The Trump Whitehouse seems to revel in the surface stuff without having the foundations that allow for the surface stuff to work. They just jump straight to the surface stuff.

      It’s like if you said “I want to build a house” and drove around for a while and concluded that houses have doors and windows and walls and mommies and daddies and kiddos and doggies.

      Heck, while driving around, they saw an open door here or there, perhaps even an open garage door. “We’ll need drywall too!”

      This team isn’t going to be building a “real” house, though. Even if they do have doors and windows and walls and mommies and daddies and kiddos and doggies.Report

      • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird says:

        This does remind me of a very inept Cheney move:

        Leak lies to the press, and then cite those leaks as evidence.

        They just did it totally wrong. Like, wrong in every possible way. Not just admitting it was from Trump, but showing up in public to present the leak.Report

  13. DavidTC says:

    While I agree completely with this post, I think it’s worth mentioning something that didn’t get mentioned here, although it has been mentioned plenty of other places:

    Scaramucci is the guy that Donald Trump wishes he was.

    Scaramucci is so charismatic that he has a very successful history of running what are basically long cons on people, but entirely legal ones that don’t get him in trouble.

    For example, his most recent one was selling ‘funds of hedge funds’, where he allow wealthy but not super-rich people invest in hedge funds, which normally won’t do business with you unless you are very very very rich.

    How is that a con? Well, mostly because hedge funds are cons to start with…they perform slightly under the market average if you consider fees. (The reason that hedge funds even exist at all is that they used to be a tax scam for clients, but that was closed a decade ago.) If you really really know what you are doing, you can perhaps pick a good one, but it’s basically a crap shoot.

    So, all doing a fund of fund…means he gets to skim off another layer of fees, and also means that it’s extremely unlikely to hit the jackpot. Almost anyone who invested with him in his SkyBridge thing, at any point, would have been better off buying index funds. (Barring the few times that hedge funds and market temporarily desynced, which they do in both directions randomly. I mean, I’m sure there were a few investment points where he managed to beat that market.)

    And yet…he kept managing to sell those idiots things.

    Scaramucci is actually the guy that Donald Trump, deep down, believes himself to be, the super-rich guy who wheels and deals with the moderately rich and manages to make large amounts of money from them.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to DavidTC says:

      This is a great point. I’d even probably guess Mooch is a great deal more physically attractive then Trump, and in the specific way Trump may idealize male attractiveness.Report

  14. Michelle says:

    Another disconcerting piece of evidence that lends credencr to your theory–there’s a clip going round Facebook showing The Mooch doing exact imitations of Big Tweet’s hand gestures when he speaks. I somehow doubt that Mooch is doing so subconsciously, which means he spent some amount of time studying Tweet’s mannerisms and practicing them until he got them down pat. Creepy but brilliant.

    The Mooch must also know something about malignant narcissism to know how to play the sychophant so well, massaging Big Tweet’s ego and playing yes man to his insecurities and paranoia. How long this act will keep him safe if he keeps upstaging Tweet is open to debate, but for now his loyal doormat yet staunch defender act is pure gold. And funny as hell. In these dark days, I’ll take a laugh anywhere I can get one.Report

  15. Don Zeko says:

    There will probably never be a post both proven and disproven by subsequent events as dramatically as this one has, and its been up for three days. The Mooch is out.Report

    • Michelle in reply to Don Zeko says:

      I was afraid that he wouldn’t be around long enough for SNL to mock him but I didn’t think he’d be gone quite this fast.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Don Zeko says:

      And right after tweeting this morning that there is no chaos at the WH.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Don Zeko says:

      “Note: The Mooch died on the way back to his home planet”Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Don Zeko says:

      Holy crap.

      Long enough to oust Reince Priebus, then a weekend, then put on the “To Do” list for Monday.

      I’m exhausted and it’s only just past lunchtime.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

        Seems he was ousted by Kelly, which makes this even more incredible.

        ETA: Which means, maybe Trump IS playing 12D-chess.

        He wanted Priebus out but didn’t want his hands dirty. He brought in Mooch who chased out Priebus and dominated headlines for a week. Then he brings in Kelly who chases out Mooch, meaning Trump doesn’t actually have to deal with Mooch. And Trump was largely in the background throughout.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

          Trump can even argue “hey, I was playing golf the whole time!”Report

        • Kolohe in reply to Kazzy says:

          Kudos to the editors, who did a good job hiding that this was a double eviction episode.Report

          • Kazzy in reply to Kolohe says:

            In all seriousness, it wouldn’t totally shock me to learn that this was more or less Trump’s plan/hope. I don’t think he’s the brilliant puppeteer that some still argue he is. But I also would venture to guess this particular form of manipulation is in his toolbox and probably something he has had to use at times. I don’t think it is going to work with real politicians and world leaders, but when it comes to pulling things over on the Mooches of the world, I’m sure Trump is rather skilled.Report

        • Morat20 in reply to Kazzy says:

          It’s never 12D chess. Trump replaced Preibus with Kelly, who said he wouldn’t work with Mooch. So Mooch got kicked to the curb, most likely because he was already stealing Trump’s thunder.

          It’s a comedy of errors, not some masterminded plot. Unless the plot is “Speedrun Watergate and trash everyone involved’s reputation”. So unless Trump’s big reveal is that he’s the new host of Punk’d and this has been an 18 month long marketing campaign, it’s not 12D chess. It’s not clever politics.

          It’s a rudderless, back-biting, circular firesquad mess where people come and go based on whatever person whispered in Trump’s ear last.

          Although we can probably surmise that General > Real Estate Guy in Trump’s mental Rolodex. He does like the generals and the military — remember him wanting some nice tanks on parade for his inauguration?

          I’m waiting for him to try to stick some medal on himself and evolve into his final, 3rd world military dictator, form.Report

        • DavidTC in reply to Kazzy says:

          ETA: Which means, maybe Trump IS playing 12D-chess.

          Trump is not playing 12D chess. Trump does not understand the rules of chess, or that anyone else is playing chess, or how the little horsies move, or literally anything about the game of politics^Wchess at all.

          It is, however, possible, that Trump is playing 12D Balderdash and cleverly got himself bad press by hiring someone really crappy to blow things up so he wouldn’t have to.

          He wanted Priebus out but didn’t want his hands dirty. He brought in Mooch who chased out Priebus and dominated headlines for a week. Then he brings in Kelly who chases out Mooch, meaning Trump doesn’t actually have to deal with Mooch. And Trump was largely in the background throughout.

          Do you think he did that because he didn’t want to have to fire Priebus, or because he didn’t want to be blamed for firing Priebus? Weirdly, there is current precedent for both those:

          He’s openly trying to get Session to quit without firing him, so clearly has problems moving forward in that. (OTOH, there’s a theory he’s just doing that to torture Session, which is possibly the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. I mean, Jeff Sessions getting the AG spot and being allowed to do all the retrograde racist dogwhistle tough-on-crime shit he’s been trying to do all his life, and having to put up with being tormented by public mockery from his boss during it, is such a fitting punishment it is entirely possible that Jeff Sessions died last year and we’re all extras in his own personal hell where he gets exactly what he wants and it’s absolutely horrible. So I can’t complain too much there.)

          Meanwhile, he’s openly trying to kill Obamacare and deflect blame onto the Democrats, another equally stupid attempt at deflection.

          And, on the third hand, he is deeply, deeply, deeply stupid. So it is plausible that he literally decided ‘I will hire the public asshole who operates with no discipline’ and ‘I will hire a military man to impose discipline’ at the same time, and didn’t notice the problem there.

          That third option seems the most plausible, but, remember, under Trump’s Razor, we have to find the stupidest possible reasons for something. It can’t just be ‘No one thought that through’, we have to operate on the assumption they did think it through and did something brain-bleedingly stupid.

          So I’m voting for: Trump was, indeed, attempting to deflect blame for Priebus’ firing onto Scaramucci. This attempted deflection failed so badly that literally no one even noticed that was what he trying to do.

          Huh. Thinking about it, it is entirely possible it failed because, duh, they lost Spicer to give out that message! I mean, it wouldn’t have worked anyway, but they lost the ability to give out their dumbass message of how “President Trump did not want Priebus gone, Scaramucci forced it.” that no one would have believed, but Fox and Friends could have dutifully repeated how everyone understood how it was due to Scaramucci.Report

  16. Brent F says:

    A man managed to publically burn down his entire life in a matter of 10 days, as an obvious consequence of ambition, arrogance and stupidity.Report

    • DavidTC in reply to Brent F says:

      My God, everyone was right…Scaramucci really was the distilled essence of Trump.

      He even managed to to do the whole ‘kicked out of office’ in, like, a tenth the time.Report

  17. Jaybird says:

    Okay, the people running the matrix are just messing with us at this point.

    Here’s the WaPo:

    Anthony Scaramucci erroneously listed as dead in the new Harvard Law alumni directoryReport

    • North in reply to Jaybird says:

      I can’t lie, the whole Mooch thing was perversely entertaining.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to North says:

        How do you even write jokes in this environment?

        By the time that SNL rolls around on Saturday Night, no one will even remember The Mooch.Report

        • North in reply to Jaybird says:

          Yeah I feel for the comedians but the rest of the media establishment are happier than pigs in mud.

          I made two assertions in the run up to 2016: that Trump would never be elected and if any GOP candidate were to be elected Trump would be the least harmful from a Liberal PoV. I was astonishingly wrong about the former but the latter one is holding up tolerably well.

          Though knowing my luck as soon as I hit Post Comment Trump is going to launch a nuke a North Korea.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to North says:

            the rest of the media establishment are happier than pigs in mud.

            They’re mistaken to be happy.

            The media establishment would have had awesome stuff to talk about *DAILY*. Who knows if the new guy will drive even half as many clickthroughs?Report

            • North in reply to Jaybird says:

              Trump generates enough clickthroughs himself to keep them all in mud for his entire term. The Mooch was just the shrimp on the mud cocktail. Sure they don’t get the shrimp but they still get the rest of the cocktail.Report

          • Kimmi in reply to North says:

            Yeah, I kinda pity all the libs that want Trump fired into outer space.
            He’s doing good, honestly.
            He’s doing nothing, really.
            I don’t mind that.
            He’s doing better than Hillary would’ve — and when he’s out, the libs can “roll back” some of his immigration stuff (the only thing he appears to be actually trying at, even if he’s more incompetent than Obama at deporting folks).Report

  18. Brandon Berg says:

    Then, when faced with proof that he was deleting tweets, he shifted his narrative and claimed — bizarrely — that he was deleting them out of a sense of full transparency.

    That did indeed sound bizarre, so I clicked through to the actual tweet, and…that’s not at all what he said. The “full transparency” referred to the acknowledgement that he was deleting old tweets, not the motivation for deleting the tweets. His stated reason for deleting the tweets was, “Past views evolved & shouldn’t be a distraction.”

    Now, you can argue that it’s not really “full transparency” if he only admitted it because someone proved that he was lying when he previously claimed not to be deleting them, but he definitely didn’t say that he was deleting tweets for the sake of transparency.Report