Fascinating. Sort of. Actually, it was just interesting to return to my old world of political oppo and flacking, but from the other side of the aisle. You see, once upon a time, I had similar jobs, though I never rose as high. He makes some nice distinctions, such between a campaign guy (like himself, and, generally, me) and a Hill rat. But that’s not what this book is about, well sort of not. In some ways, it is a sort of anthropological study of a segment of Washington, DC (please note – Washingtonians pay more in tax dollars than they get back and most of the city has nothing to do with politics and government or things related to that world; most of the city works in restaurants, banks, retail shops, construction, etc; also, the last Democratic campaign bar, Stetson’s closed years ago; I’m not sure what the point of that last one is, but there you are).
But, I really could have used fewer sex-related insults. ‘Fluffer’ and ‘Trumpian cum dumpster’ felt a bit too much for me. Also, based on a relatively small sample size, the use of ‘butt hurt’ as a sort of insult, which combines implications of weak masculinity with gay panic humor, seems to be a conservative ‘thing.’ Can’t say I get the appeal.
He had a fun, if reductive and hackneyed list of various kinds of political strivers, from the Messiahs to Little Mixes (people who want to be – his word choice, not mine, though he acknowledges its tackiness – ‘the room where it happened), but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen something similar on Wonkette or the old (fun) Politico.
Miller’s depiction of his slow (?) descent into selling out (?) to the far right also felt rushed. He’s a better flack than he is a writer of long form non-fiction, I’d say.
I did learn one fun tidbit. After Trump had learned that he tested positive for COVID, he called up Chris Christie and asked him to play the role of Biden in debate prep. Unsurprisingly, Christie also contracted COVID and eventually ended up in the ICU, fearing for his life (his eternal soul? not sure). Trump called to make sure Christie wasn’t going to go public and blame him for getting COVID.
Overall? Well, I’m not saying it’s not fun to read Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer get their sad ambitions and wishy-washy nerdiness mocked, but I could also just watch an episode from the first season of the Big Bang Theory.