TrumpWorld: Standing for honor and decency since 2015.

This is good politics by Bannon and Miller ahead of the attempted populist purge of GOP incumbents next year but it’s nonsense on stilts. At base it’s no different from Obama whining about the GOP obstructing his agenda by reminding them “I won.” They won too. They’re a coordinate branch, not handmaids to the president. Corker won his election in Tennessee in 2012 by nearly 35 points. Attacking Obama for his poor leadership was considered the height of patriotism on the right a year ago; now Corker’s doing it to Trump and suddenly he’s under some moral imperative to resign despite having 15 months left in his term. At one point Bannon marvels that anyone would dare undermine the commander-in-chief when there are troops in the field. Meanwhile, his former boss spent years accusing Obama of being an illegitimate president while American soldiers were trying to secure Afghanistan. We’re all partisan zombies in the end, I know, but let’s at least *try* to resolve our cognitive dissonance.

Miller’s critique was even lamer:

“And look, if Senator Corker is retiring and he doesn’t want to be in the U.S. Senate and he doesn’t want to support President Trump and doesn’t want to support such basic conservative principles, he should just resign,” Miller told CNN’s “New Day.”

“Let the governor of Tennessee go and appoint a conservative like Marsha Blackburn, the congresswoman who’s running to replace Senator Corker and get somebody in there who’s actually going to support the president.”

Which “basic conservative principles” has Corker whiffed on lately? He steered Trump’s nominee for the State Department, Rex Tillerson, through the confirmation process. He voted for various permutations of repeal-and-replace in the Senate. He objects to the current Republican tax reform plan on conservative grounds, that it’s fiscally irresponsible because it would produce new deficits. Attacking Corker as a phony conservative vis-a-vis Trump is coherent only if you equate conservatism with “whatever Trump wants at a given moment.” Which, it seems, around 75 percent of the GOP now does.

Bannon and Miller understand all of that, though. They’re seizing on Corker not because he’s wildly out of bounds but because he’s a convenient hate object with which to stir up populists about the establishment’s “disloyalty” to Trump. (It’s hard to tell from the clip, in fact, if Hannity is teeing up Bannon’s theatrical rage or Bannon is teeing up Hannity’s.) This is exactly what I meant yesterday when I said that Corker insulting Trump may end up backfiring on his Senate colleagues even though privately I’m sure they’re thrilled to see someone take him to task publicly. They’re the ones who’ll pay the price at the polls as Bannon eggs on populists to retire the other Corkers in the Senate. I’ll bet McConnell’s already spoken to “Liddle Bob” about toning it down and not taking the bait in the future lest he make it even easier for Bannon to get righties excited about the primaries.