Stephen Miller (Not the Band)
Until Sunday, I had successfully avoided reading or thinking about Stephen Miller beyond wondering who was yon lean and hungry Cassius next to the other Trump Stephen’s bloated Faust.
Stephen Miller does look hungry. Starved. Starved in life – he doesn’t quite fill out his suit and his tie hangs forlorn – but mostly starved for power. Miller is the quintessential “aide,” the sad little guy behind the scenes who takes all the calls and writes most of the stuff for some blowhard who has managed to bluff or buy his or her way into public office.
Aides are almost all Cassiuses: yearners, dreamers of ugly dreams where they are the ones who get to put people in chains or send them to their deaths. The experience of being an aide is so all-consuming and humiliating … hey, I wrote that!/ hey, that was my idea! / you’d think just once I’d get thanked or someone would buy me a fucking sandwich! … that they can easily fall prey to delusions of grandeur. Which delusions lead to “the gaze,” a from-a-high-place look practiced in the mirror when the boss isn’t around that will replace the lean and hungry look when they’re King. When they have aides.
Stephen Miller has been practicing his imperial gaze (unveiled this Sunday on everything from Face the Nation to This Week with George Used-to-Work-for-the-Clintons) since the age of 22, when he toiled as an aide to Michelle Bachman, speaking of insane incompetents. He honed the look as longtime aide to Jeff Sessions, where he proved himself a fierce opponent of immigration. Funny how those things happen, the arch racist Sessions becomes an arch anti-immigrationist. Or maybe in this case, the tail (Miller) wagged the dog (JBS III). Although it’s doubtful. Jeff Sessions didn’t need any prodding to become one of the Senates’s leading opponents of immigration and assimilation. It just sort of came naturally to him.
There is a danger to any Cassius unveiling his Caesar look too soon. Too young. In too high a context. It can appear laughable. As it did for Stevie Miller on Sunday. His big big words (very very big words) didn’t fit him any better than his suit. And it didn’t help that he kept staring off to one side as if reading his big words off a teleprompter.
Were they all Steve’s words? Or partly his and partly the other Steve’s? All of which were approved in advance by The Donald, who probably asked Miller to perform them for him. Don doesn’t read.
Here’s what I think happened. Trump has been tantruming about both Kellyanne and Sean. They say some of the shit he tells them to say, but not with the conviction required to make everyone obey. Make the courts back off, the legislature back down, disgruntled Hillary supporters stop marching, the press stop spreading lies about how unloved The Donald is. Kellyanne and Sean lacked conviction, possibly, because they’re experienced enough to know that assertions of omnipotent power don’t fly very far in America. Unlike their employer, they know the United States is a country. Not a company.
So Cassius saw his chance. He might have volunteered. More likely he was pushed by an enraged narcissist who can’t take reality for an answer. You go on the shows, Steve, and school Kellyanne and Sean. Who suck and whom nobody will ever obey.
But Stevie, at 30, was unveiled too soon. And the shit that came out of his mouth (unbelievable warmed-over Goebbels shit that provoked ecstatic texts from Orange Julius Caesar) was half-baked, too REVEALING of both a fascist philosophy and the delusional mind behind it. They’ll have to put Steve back in the background soon, maybe forever. Give him “aide” things to do again. Make him eat.
I didn’t think it was possible to find someone in the Trump House Gang I detested more than Steve Bannon, but young Steve is competition. Maybe if he’d been better at reading a teleprompter, I could have summoned some grudging respect for the little putz, but I felt only revulsion. And the imperial gaze still needs a lot of work.