Bannon wanted it this way

Dan Drezner raises the question: was The Ban incompetence or malevolence?

He starts with saying it was Bannon’s baby, which seems to be generally accepted. Next, The Ban is a disaster. Then he points out that Bannon is definitely not stupid. Agreed…so I wonder what it can be like for him having to baby and cajole the amazingly stupid Trump.

So why did not-stupid Bannon perpetrate a disaster?

The most plausible story to assume in this instance is incompetence. Ordinarily, when the federal government does something stupid, it’s best to assume incompetence rather than malevolence. This is Bannon’s first week in a White House job and, like most other really smart people who lack high-level government experience, there will be a lot of rookie mistakes at the outset. The Trump administration will be different from past administrations on a lot of dimensions, but screwing up in the first few months is not one of them. This is particularly true given the abject lack of government experience among Trump’s White House staff. Maybe this is just a case of smart people doing stupid things because they are inexperienced.

But smart people know when they’re inexperienced, and they know they need to act accordingly, at least to some extent. They don’t barge ahead at 500 miles an hour, dodging a rain of pitchforks and slop buckets. That would go double or triple or more when the experience in question is managing the government of the United States.

He did it out of malice and “Leninist” destructiveness. He did it because he’s a shit.

Drezner quotes Kevin Drum:

In cases like this, the smart money is usually on incompetence, not malice. But this looks more like deliberate malice to me. Bannon wanted turmoil and condemnation. He wanted this executive order to get as much publicity as possible. He wanted the ACLU involved. He thinks this will be a PR win….

[B]oth sides think that maximum exposure is good for them. Liberals think middle America will be appalled at Trump’s callousness. Bannon thinks middle America will be appalled that lefties and the elite media are taking the side of terrorists. After a week of skirmishes, this is finally a hill that both sides are willing to die for. Who’s going to win?

I don’t even particularly think Bannon thought it would be good for them – I think he just thought it would be fun. It’s trolling writ large.

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