What Cain and Abel Tell Us About the War Between Priebus and Scaramucci

Scaramucci’s off-the-cuff biblical reference is full of interpretive possibilities.

Given the widely reported tensions between the two emerging West Wing rivals, most commentators quickly pointed out that Scaramucci’s Old Testament reference looks like a pretty direct threat to his “brother”: After all, in Genesis, Cain kills Abel.

.. But it’s not really a great analogy for him, either. This isn’t a story about crime and punishment, where Abel gets what’s coming to him. It’s a story about entirely unjustified premeditated murder.

.. It’s hard to imagine that Scaramucci wouldn’t similarly be viewed by some in the White House and the Republican Party as a hatchetman if Priebus gets the ax. In getting rid of one enemy, you often make many others.

.. One place where the parallel with the biblical story is pretty apt, though, is in the rationale for Cain’s murder of Abel: jealousy.

.. Scaramucci’s original grievance with Priebus, even before the leaks, was reportedly that Priebus had contrived to keep Scaramucci out of the White House. The root cause of both the biblical story and the drama in the administration is basically the same: Favoritism is fickle.

.. “I’m more of a front-stabbing person.” When Cain kills Abel, he never verbalizes his anger, which is why Abel never sees it coming. Priebus has gotten more warning than Abel ever did—so he might be smart enough not to go out into the field with his brother, and find himself on the wrong end of the knife.

.. Abel, by contrast, is virtually a ghost. His name in Hebrew even means “nothingness.” He never speaks, he never communicates with God, he never makes a choice. He’s there only to die, which he dutifully does. In this media-driven society, lots of people have made the basic reckoning that fame, even if it’s infamy, beats being ignored. Scaramucci is, if nothing else, savvy about the power of the media.

.. If Scaramucci sees himself as Abel, then he could have in mind that Priebus had tried to kill his earlier attempts to join the administration. Even better is the punishment that Cain has to endure: He is not sentenced to death for killing Abel, but is doomed to wander the earth, friendless. That sounds a lot like what Scaramucci might want for Priebus: banished from the Oval Office, stripped of his influence and forced to roam the sets of whatever cable news shows will take him in.

.. The Cain and Abel story is almost always read, with justification, as a statement about the corrupting influence of jealousy on the human heart, and on the power of sin to overtake our intentions.

.. Biblical scholars have also often pointed to this story as a depiction of an early conflict between pastoralists like Abel—that is, shepherds—and agriculturalists like Cain, which is to say, farmers. So too the Scaramucci/Priebus drama is really about something bigger: The conflict between traditional Republican politics and the new Trumpian attitude. It could also represent the clash of styles between Priebus’ aw-shucks Midwesternism and Scaramucci’s New York brashness


Anthony Scaramucci Attacks Reince Priebus as Leaker and Vows to Oust Him

The internal rivalries of the White House spilled out into stark public view on Thursday as President Trump’s new communications director publicly attacked the chief of staff, calling him a “paranoid schizophrenic” leaker and vowing to get him fired.

.. Anthony Scaramucci, who was installed as White House communications director last week over the objections of the chief of staff, Reince Priebus, in the morning called into CNN to say that the two men were at odds and to dare Mr. Priebus to deny being a leaker. By the evening, The New Yorker had posted an interview quoting Mr. Scaramucci using vulgar language to describe Mr. Priebus.

.. Mr. Scaramucci suggested that he believed that Mr. Priebus was leaking information to damage him. “Reince is a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,” he said.

.. In the same telephone call, Mr. Scaramucci disparaged Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s chief strategist, who also warned against hiring him as communications director. “I’m not Steve Bannon. I’m not trying to suck my own cock,” he said. “I’m not trying to build my own brand off the fucking strength of the president. I’m here to serve the country.”

.. Mr. Lizza had posted a message on Twitter on Wednesday night reporting that Mr. Trump and Mr. Scaramucci were having dinner at the White House with Sean Hannity, the Fox News host and a strong supporter of the president, and Bill Shine, a former Fox executive. Mr. Scaramucci called Mr. Lizza unsolicited to demand that he identify his source.

.. When Mr. Lizza would not, Mr. Scaramucci said, “O.K., I’m going to fire every one of them, and then you haven’t protected anybody, so the entire place will be fired over the next two weeks.”

.. But the leak he was complaining about was no leak. Lorraine Woellert, Politico’s reporter on the story, explained that she simply requested the financial disclosure form through normal channels and was provided it by a government agency as required by federal law.
.. “When I put out a tweet and I put Reince’s name in the tweet, they’re all making the assumption that it’s him because journalists know who the leakers are,” he said. “So if Reince wants to explain that he’s not a leaker, let him do that. Let me tell you something about myself. I am a straight shooter and I’ll go right to the heart of the matter.”


And, by the way, please someone find the “hot list” of upcoming distractions to be used any day there’s a real agenda setback. Yesterday’s transgender military tweet kept us all away from watching the health care debate in America sink to new lows. Find and LEAK the outrage list so we can immunize ourselves to these “bright, shiny” issues beforehand, and not take our collective eyes off the cannonball coming straight at all of us. The Trump core base is said to be seeking revenge on the nation for their marginalization, but I for one am not going to be done in by lies, innuendo and profanity, even if it oozes out of the White House or the president’s own mouth.

.. Apparently what Donald Trump thinks saved him from all of his near catastrophes in business was hiring staff who pledged their undying loyalty and never told him the truth. But what that did instead was fuel his reckless behavior, and the only thing that saved him from ruin was the safety net of bankruptcy court. So now he’s repeating the same pattern, but there’s no bankruptcy court at the end of this road, just a Special Counsel.
.. Trump has a new friend in the White House. Someone who will spend any amount of time verbally caressing him, reflecting on Trump’s greatness and whispering sweet conspiracy in his ears.
Scaramucci and Trump are perfect together. Scaramucci will find the proof, gosh darn it, he will that the real and only problem of this Trump administration is the ‘deep state’ leakers. If The Mooch and Trump can round ’em up and punish them severely, then all will be right in Trumpworld.
When not searching for those leakers, Scaramucci will be wandering the White House in search of the government approval he needs for his big business deal.
He stands to make more than 90 million in selling his company when the government signs off. I am sure Trump will be able to smooth the path for The Mooch as long as The Mooch stays on course and hideously praises him every day.
.. The Mooch can navigate his way through the Sunday shows with a type of wit that charms the Trump base. He is combative, quick, witty, but knows absolutely nothing about the type of communication needed to create, trust and security. He will just add to the confusion and misinformation. Ironic that he is the White House Communications Director. Perhaps the title should be White House Spin Doctor. He is just another snake in the swamp right next to Conway and Bannon and Sanders — all MAGA soldiers doing Trump’s bigoted, dysfunctional bidding.
.. Scaramucci is a person in the same mold as Trump, which is why he was hired. He has no experience in government and has no intention to try to make the government look like it is functioning. The fact that he accepted this position, knowing the chaos Trump has created in just seven months, speaks to his naiveté. Just one more person in this alarmingly incompetent administration who has no clue, no professionalism, and no understanding of how government works. I don’t know how we can survive this administration unless Republicans and Democrats unite to stop the madness.