Timothy Miller “Why We Did It” Review, Part 3:

Part 1 of this Review Here
Part 2 of this Review Here

It’s easy for non-Republican Trump-loathers like this reviewer to tut-tut at all the one-time anti-Trump GOP operatives who recanted and signed up with the MAGA mission once #45 was in the White House. Author Tim Miller draws numerous painful portraits of many of them. Some profiles seem weighed down with score-settling; but others are poignant with the pain of seeing people once thought to be real friends line up to sign in, unfriend, climb various ladders, and cash out, regardless. There were too many of these sketches for my taste, but a book three times as thick wouldn’t hold all the significant stories of integrity and reputation thrown under the non-stop DC buses in those years.  And the process started early.
[Note: These excerpts preserve pungent pundit profanity.]

From Why We Did It:

[After Trump had won some 2016 primaries, Miller was recruited to work for a new Stop Trump Super PAC, “Our Principles.” He was strongly tempted.]

I know that you, dear reader, have come to this book hoping to get insight from a supposed political expert, a grizzled campaign veteran who can rely on a deep reservoir of experience to see which way the political winds are going to blow.

But I swear, hand to God, that even at that late a date, even after Trump had won the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries and dispatched my former boss [Jeb Bush] —son to one president and brother to another—I still didn’t truly believe that this manifest incompetent would be the Republican Party’s nominee. And I sure as shit didn’t think there was any chance he could actually become president.

People were really going to elect the Apprentice guy? C’mon. This bigoted, barmy, bargain-basement Berlusconi could not possibly win. My brain just refused to allow for the possibility. . . .

[As the 2016 campaign heated up, older GOP politicos warned Miller about the increasing dangers of crossing Trump]:

“Given that feedback, my decision came down to this: I thought all the people cautioning me about Trump’s possible victory were batshit, and the outside prospect of Donald Trump as president was unacceptable in every imaginable sense. If those cautioning me were right and he really did have a chance, then it would be even more important for me to get in the arena and try to kick his ass.

And so it began. As GQ wrote, my job was to “basically go on TV and talk shit about Donald Trump. That’s incredible and he’s very good at it.” Indeed it was incredible. Thanks, GQ.”

. . . It was all invigorating . . . for a while. The weight of what was coming and the devastating loss I was going to experience didn’t really start to hit amid all the trash-talking. But eventually reality began to set in. By April [2016] Our Principles PAC (OPP) had crashed and burned, functionally shutting down after Trump won the Indiana primary. But that wasn’t the part that really stung.

Are you ready for this? Despite the fact that the PAC that had hired me had bestowed itself the righteous name “Our Principles,” every senior person involved in the organization went on to work for a pro–Donald Trump PAC called Future 45 during the general election, except me and the executive director, Katie Packer Beeson. Every single person!

What the fuck?!

[The night Trump was nominated, Miller got blind truck and spent the night vomiting in a friend’s darkened basement.

He passed the rest of the campaign loudly prophesying Trump’s defeat to anyone with a microphone: Hillary would beat him, he said, even if she was in jail. On election night]:

I cabbed straight back to the hotel and had what can only be described as a full-on panic attack, during which I took several sleeping pills to try to force my brain to stop reeling. The following morning, I went to church, the only time I had done so for a reason other than pleasing my mother in years, possibly decades.

[But the shocks had only begun: almost all his former friends and colleagues soon sought or took job offers to work in the Trump administration or its satellites.]

I couldn’t believe that literally everyone in my life was going along with this. I was flabbergasted by the unanimity. Despondent over my deteriorating friendships. This was Donald motherfucking Trump! It wasn’t a close call!

I tried to explain to them how crazy it would be to go work for this wretched shit stain affixed to our collective drawers. He contained not a single honorable attribute they would want their child to emulate. He had an empty set of virtues.

Throughout his entire life, at every opportunity, he had screwed the people who worked with him. He had bilked the innocent victims who had signed up for his myriad scams, only to be left bankrupt. And he did it in order to fill the bottomless black hole within him that required boundless validation and indulgence for sustenance. He was constitutionally incapable of shame or self-reflection. . . .

Signing up to work for Trump was asking for certain humiliation and a lifetime of association with all manner of horrors that they could not yet even predict. They would go in trying to make him clean, but he would be the one to make them dirty. . . .

Donald Trump was the snake. Everyone knew he was the snake. He told us he was the snake.

Yet when the snake offered his spoiled fruit, these otherwise intelligent people took from the tree and ate it.

When the phone rang, they picked it up. Why was he getting through to them?

Why wasn’t I?

—- Chapter 7

[A fellow Never Trumper, Ben Howe, wrote about how he had struggled with needing to change how he looked at his political work]:

“’Some people just need a tap on the shoulder to change. Others need a slap in the face. Me? I’ve often needed a piano dropped on my head. The piano fell years ago, but I suppose I’m still crawling out from under the wreckage in some ways. I’m better than I’ve been. And I intend to be better than I am.’”

Miller: When Trump became president, the piano fell on the entire Republican establishment. Some of us crawled out from the wreckage and, in fits and starts, slowly dislodged ourselves from the corrupting game we’d been playing that got us there.

I’m sure many of my critics would argue that I’m still very much playing it, just for a different team. There might be something to that. Politics remains a competition, after all, so there is no path to total purity if you are a participant, only to an awareness of how you can be corrupted by the contest and a willingness to say no if lines are crossed.

And there were many more lines, just waiting. Among those who crossed, was — surprise! Timothy Miller. . . .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.