Stephen K. Bannon broke the cardinal rule of office politics: Don’t insult the boss’s relatives. Bannon’s inability to behave professionally and civilly — in other words, his preference for imitating President Trump’s behavior — may spell doom.

Wednesday he was booted from the National Security Council. Rather than go quietly, he issued a gobbledygook pronouncement that sounded like one of Sean Spicer’s word salads. “Susan Rice operationalized the NSC during the last administration. I was put on to ensure that it was de-operationalized,” he said. I have no idea what that means, but the pseudo-military jargon reeked of insecurity and false bravado.

Now, it is open season on Bannon. The Daily Beast goes to town:

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The fighting between Kushner and Bannon has been “nonstop” in recent weeks, according to sources who spoke on condition of anonymity. It’s been an “open secret” that Bannon and Kushner often clash “face-to-face,” according to senior officials.
One official said Bannon has lately complained about Kushner trying to “shiv him and push him out the door” and likened him to a fifth column in the White House.
“[Steve] recently vented to us about Jared being a ‘globalist’ and a ‘cuck’ … He actually said ‘cuck,’ as in “cuckservative,’” the administration official told The Daily Beast. … “Steve thinks Jared is worse than a Democrat, basically,” another official close to Bannon said. “[Steve] has a very specific vision for what he believes, and what he shares [ideologically] with Trump. And he has for a long time now seen [Jared] as a major obstacle to achieving that.”

Bannon’s rivals know just how cringeworthy all that sounds, which is precisely why they leaked all this.

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Bannon is clearly in over his head. Virtually nothing has gone as planned for the former Breitbart head. His affection for European right-wing parties (which are supported by the Kremlin) feeds into the ongoing Russia scandal. Bannon and Stephen Miller’s Muslim ban flopped. Bannon’s plan to take down the “administrative state” (e.g. deregulation, rolling back health care benefits) seems more like a favor to Wall Street and the very rich. Trump’s war with the media, egged on by Bannon, has proved ineffective if not disastrous. A junior NSC staffer, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, whom Bannon insisted be kept on his job over the wishes of the national security adviser, revealed Bannon’s hand in the fiasco involving House Intelligence Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.).

Bannon was never prepared, temperamentally or intellectually, for a senior position in the White House. His poor judgment coupled by his explosive personality and extreme views have hurt the president, and now, himself.

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Trump (and Kushner) got kudos for kicking Bannon out of the NSC. Imagine the ovation they would get if they banished Bannon entirely from the administration. After a miserable start to his presidency, Trump could use a dramatic shift — just as President Bill Clinton benefited when he cut lose his friend since kindergarten Thomas F. “Mack” McLarty and brought in Leon Panetta as chief of staff. If after all this Trump lets Bannon carry on as he has been, Trump will look weak.

Bannon foolishly made internal fights into a personal standoff, Bannon vs. Kushner. In that matchup, bet on Kushner. No contest.

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