Politics & Policy

The Corner

Scaramucci and a Cautionary Tale About Power

Before most Americans even had a chance to learn the correct spelling of his name, Anthony Scaramucci has been discarded. We do not yet know the full story. What we do know is that, as so often happens, the political winds shifted in the White House, and the Mooch was swept away, perhaps never to be heard from again.

His tale is a warning to us all. Scaramucci, a successful financier, was already far wealthier than most of us could ever dream. But he wanted power, influence, and perhaps fame as well. So he tried to latch on to whoever seemed to be moving quickest.

A fundraiser for Barack Obama in 2008, Scaramucci was initially a supporter of Hillary Clinton for 2016. He wrote on Twitter: “I hope she runs [in 2016], she is incredibly competent.” He called Hillary “the real deal,” adding “I like Hillary. Have to go with the best athlete. We need to turn this around.” His use of “we” makes clear what side he was on.

But by the time the primaries had come around, he had soured on the Democrats. Perhaps he thought they would lose. He decided to endorse Scott Walker, for the ten minutes in which Walker was a frontrunner. Next he endorsed Jeb Bush. All the while, he had been loudly badmouthing Trump, his eventual favorite. On Fox News, he called Trump a “hack politician” spouting “anti-American” rhetoric.

But after Bush dropped out, the Mooch latched on to Trump anyway, beginning to fundraise for him. In fact, he did not even bother to delete his old Trump-bashing tweets until the day he was named White House communications director.

As Trump’s new communications man, the Mooch had one priority: Win the president’s favor. Whether that meant embarrassing himself with profanity-laced tirades to reporters or missing the birth of his child to attend the Boy Scouts Jamboree with Trump, Scaramucci was going to be a servant of power. So attached to his new job, the Mooch waited four full days before visiting his ailing newborn son in neonatal intensive care.

But a rise like this, built on nothing but flair, money, and lustful ambition, was never going to be sustainable. Indeed, as Enoch Powell once wrote, “All political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure, because that is the nature of politics and of human affairs.” Accordingly, Scaramucci was unceremoniously dumped by the president before whom he so miserably humbled himself. It turns out that politicians are fickle friends; as soon as a new power player, General Kelly, wanted him gone, the Mooch was kicked to the curb.

No one can deny that Scaramucci made great sacrifices. But for what? That is the question to ask, and not just of the Mooch. What goods would we all lose sight of if proximity to power was dangled before us?

Anthony Scaramucci was willing to pay any price to get his fifteen minutes. But it wasn’t worth it. It wasn’t worth marring his own surprisingly forgettable name.

Elliot Kaufman — Elliot Kaufman is an editorial intern at National Review. He studies political theory and history at Stanford University. His writing has previously appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Stanford ...

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