Days of Change

Killing Breitbart, Part 3 | August 21, 2016

Note: This is part 3 in a series on what happened to the Breitbart name and legacy after Andrew Breitbart’s death.

All Hail the New King

2012 was a tough year. The Tea Party had multiple Republican contenders for the nomination, but none really caught fire. Unbeknownst to most people at the time, Tea Party donations never materialized due to IRS stonewalling and vultures starting “victory campaigns” to take donations and give about 5% to an actual candidate. Mitt Romney seemed anointed and locked up the nomination by April. One man who was especially unhappy about that turn of events was Stephen Bannon.

While it is primarily a cat video aggregator, Buzzfeed did manage a story featuring an exchange between Bannon and Ben Howe, a former Breitbart employee and current punching bag of the website.

On May 29, 2012, conservative filmmaker Ben Howe emailed Steve Bannon a video he was planning to debut that day on Breitbart TV. The stylized web ad featured Andrew Breitbart — the site’s piratical founder who had died unexpectedly earlier that year — delivering a speech in which he urged conservatives to rally around the Republican nominee to “fight the progressive left.”

“I will march behind whoever our candidate is, because if we don’t we lose!” Breitbart was shown preaching to an audience of activists.

Bannon, the inheritor of Breitbart’s web empire and appointed keeper of his legacy, hated Howe’s video — and he told him so in a series of heated emails that were recently obtained by BuzzFeed News.

“Couldn’t disagree more,” Bannon wrote. “Romney has gone out of his way to show complete contempt for the tea party…and u r acting like a bootlick.”

“Are we not going to push for an Obama defeat?” Howe asked in response.

“No Ben,” Bannon shot back. “I’m pushing for conservatives to have a fu**ing place at the table … What don’t u get about the running gun battle we have had with the republican establishment over the last 3 months[?}” In a later email he added, “This is about power Ben, and who is going to exert it.”

That certainly puts a different spin on the Bannon-led attacks on Howe for being NeverTrump. Bannon was NeverRomney and Romney actually had a chance to win.

The current Breitbart staff has little connection to four years ago. People like Howe and Dana Loesch, who lasted six months there after Breitbart’s death, were among the first . Compare the photos of Breitbart regulars at a memorial service in this Slate article with the picture of Bannon’s Bulldogs today from Bloomberg. Alex Marlow is the only person in common. Those like Loesch and Ben Shapiro, the former editor-at-large, had public falling outs.

Steve Bannon has stepped down as the head of Breitbart.com to avoid the incredibly obvious appearance of collusion and only project the merely obvious reality of total agreement between the two. He will be the man whispering in Trump’s ear, telling him to be Trump. Or maybe not. Trump almost apologized in a speech Thursday.

Campaign managers have some experience in creating a battle plan that gets their client to victory. Not all of them are good at it, and many of the ones working for Republicans work hard just to make sure they get hired in 2 years. Manafort was already at the bottom of the barrel in the profession. Now, we have a guy who was editing wild animal footage into news video of conservative figures just a decade ago.

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