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home : columns : columns September 23, 2017

8/8/2017 11:47:00 AM
Arrivederci, Scaramucci

I, for one, am going to miss Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci. If you didn't know, The Mooch was sacked as White House Communications Director after an explosive and "colorful" interview with Ryan Lizza, a writer for The New Yorker.

The Mooch, raised on Long Island, was brought to us by Tufts University, Harvard, Goldman Sachs, and later SkyBridge Capital. He was a fundraiser and supporter for both President Obama and Hillary Clinton, but may have fallen out of favor somewhat when he famously asked Obama when he was "going to stop whacking Wall Street like a piñata." Later, he endorsed Scott Walker, and then Jeb Bush, and told the Fox Business Network that Trump was going to be the "President of the Queen County's Bullies' Association."

Somehow Scaramucci, author of such noted tomes as "Goodbye Gordon Gekko, How to Find Your Fortune Without Losing Your Soul," "Hopping Over The Rabbit Hole" and "The Little Book of Hedge Funds," (I couldn't make this up if I tried) became Trump's main communications man after calling the President a "hack politician" and "anti-American" during the campaign.

What endeared The Mooch to many of us was the absolute sincerity with which he showed up to work, even though most everyone in the world could see that he was exactly, 100 percent, without question, the wrong guy for the job.

Somehow, I have to believe even The Mooch knew this. But then again, in the land of monstrous egos and overwhelming hubris, maybe he was as tone deaf as the president who appointed him.

Scaramucci was so totally wrong for the job, so obviously unprepared in both intellect and temperament, one could only scramble to recover from a sudden onset of apoplexy at the announcement of his elevation.

But The Mooch, for all of his six days of hand-waving bombast and immaculate suits, did give us a gigantic gift we can be thankful for. He gave us, forever, a new term to describe a certain acrobatic feat of auto-fellatio: The Bannon.

What's fabulous about "The Bannon" is how it can be deployed as a description, a directive, or a metaphor. We can also mix it up, as in "The Steve," or "The Steve Bannon."

As something of a traditionalist, however, I think I'm going to stick with just The Bannon, for now, and enjoy a loud laugh every time I think of the actual Steve Bannon knocking about in the West Wing in an ill-fitting suit, cradling a sharpie and a whiteboard, looking precisely as if he just woke up under a bench in the train station.

The Mooch's run as Comms Director was not the shortest one ever. That honor goes to Jack Koehler, nee Wolfgang Koehler, who was born in Dresden, moved to the U.S. after World War II, and changed his name to John. Koehler became a journalist, and ultimately a bureau chief, general manager, and managing director of the Associated Press. He was pals with Ronald Reagan and lasted 11 days as Reagan's Communications Director after it was discovered, or revealed, or leaked, or however those things work, that he had once been a member of the Deutsches Jungvolk, a Nazi youth group.

Koehler, who at least had legitimate bonafides in the world of directing communications, was caught on his hind foot, but tried to recover by saying that the group he belonged to was "the Boy Scouts run by the Nazi party."

Speaking of tone deaf.

It would have been interesting to be in General Kelly's office - remember, in case you missed last week's episode, Chief of Staff Priebus was disappeared after the Sean Spicer immolation and the Mooch elevation, replaced by Ned Stark of Winterfell, I mean General Kelly - when he booted The Mooch.

I would like to have seen how Harvard Law stacked up against Quantico, and whether or not The Mooch took his beating from the White House's newest enforcer with or without whimpers.

As sad as all this is, and it truly is bad for the republic, don't worry about Scaramucci. He will land on both feet, no doubt perfectly astride the rabbit hole he wrote about. He knows people, and doggone it, many of them like him, even if, as Felix Salmon from Reuters described his pre-White House financier activities: "He is putting people into hedge funds that really shouldn't be invested in hedge funds. He has this extremely expensive smile and very good hair, and they trust him. And to the degree that he's accomplishing it, he's hurting America."

So there's that to consider. And at any rate, it's just a fact that political life-expectancy around this White House is short. You may recall that former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn made it 23 days before he was forced to resign for allegedly cavorting with Russians.

But there was something special about Scaramucci. I'm not sure if it was the frightening thought that there may be no adults left in the White House, the inescapable and inevitable air of Mafioso sleaze, or what it was exactly. Maybe it was all of that. But at the very least, the Scaramucci era made for fascinating entertainment.

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