“How does it feel to be an independent, Schoenstein?”
“How does it feel to be an asshole, Niedermeyer?”
– Animal House.
I usually manage to watch two of the Sunday morning news shows, and try to catch what I missed on the podcast episode of the show.
ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, though, doesn’t have a podcast. I’m glad today that it doesn’t, because what was on yesterday (Sunday, February 12) loses far too much if only heard and not visualized.
Yesterday was the Sunday morning show debut of one Stephen Miller, formerly of Michele Bachmann’s staff (yes, the crazy lady) and of Jeff Session’s Senate staff. Yes, Jeff Sessions, who Politico called one of the “most conservative and nativist members of the U.S. Senate”* and who is now the United States Attorney General.
But I digress. Back to Big Steve’s Sunday morning show debut.
He seemed a little … unhinged zealous on Meet the Press, but Chuck Todd did a reasonably good job of reining him in. “Reasonably”, I say, because there is something deeply wrong with Stephen Miller.
He wasn’t, blessedly, on CNN’s State of the Union. Actually, let me retract that: Had Stephen Miller been on Jake Tapper’s SOTU, Jake might have had Stephen for brunch.
He was on This Week, and the crazy started early.
First, it was painfully obvious that Stephen Miller was reading from a Teleprompter or cue cards. Embarrassingly obvious. That was a little disconcerting, because it meant that he planned the crazy before he even showed up. It was also disconcerting because, even with a prepared script, he kept saying “gonna” instead of “going to”.
Here was one exchange:
STEPHEN MILLER: Well, as you know, we have multiple options and we are considering all of them. We can appeal the emergency stay to the Supreme Court. We can take our case en banc to the 9th Circuit. We can continue the appeal with the panel, or we can return to the district court and have a trial on the merits —
GEORGE: Which are you going to do?
STEPHEN MILLER: Additionally, we could pursue other executive actions. All options are on the table. The point I want to make to you, George, and the point I want to make to your listeners is that we have [angrily] equal branches of government in this country. The judiciary is not supreme. A district judge in Seattle cannot force the President of the United States to change our laws and our Constitution because of their own personal views. The President has the power, under the INA, Section 212(f), 8 U.S.C., 1182(f), to suspend the entry of aliens when it is in the national interest. He has that same power, under his Article 2 powers, to conduct the foreign affairs of our country, and we will do whatever we need to do, consistent with the law, to [arches eyebrow] keep this country safe.
And this was in the first three minutes.
It wasn’t long before I was saying “Holy shit!” to myself. It was either that or “Sieg Heil”.
And all through the 18 minute interview, he kept saying things that were either factually inaccurate or shaded, like this:
GEORGE: Well, that was the guidance put out by the White House counsel, and it wasn’t formally in –
STEPHEN MILLER: It was the guidance put out by the White House counsel, because that was the meaning of the executive order. And that was the same fact that caused the Boston judge to issue the positive ruling that they issued. The reality is that this is not a disagreement about the law and the Constitution. There is no Constitutional right, for a citizen in a foreign country, who has no status in America, to demand entry into our country. Such a right cannot exist, such a right will never exist. This is an ideological disagreement between those who believe we should have borders, and should have controls, and those who believe there should be no borders and no controls. That’s the essence of this debate, and the bottom line is the President’s powers in this area represent the apex of executive authority, and we have multiple tools across multiple fronts to ensure that we are preventing terrorists’ infiltration of our country, and to ensure that those who enter our country share our values and support our people, something that is supported overwhelmingly, by the vast majority of the American public.
First of all, this is not an ideological disagreement, Steve-O. There are millions of people who understand and believe in borders and vetting but don’t necessarily want to turn the United States into the Third Reich. Me, for instance.
And as for the “vast majority” of Americans supporting Trump’s travel ban, Muslim ban, whatever we’re calling the ban now? That depends on who you ask.
Last week, Quinnipiac University released a poll** that shows 38% of all respondents saying the ban kept us more safe, 39% saying it made us less safe, and 21% saying it doesn’t affect our safety. And what about the protests of the same ban all over the country? THAT’s overwhelming, not your statement.
Nothing in those numbers is “overwhelming”, unless you want to turn math into an alternative fact.
And it got better, no worse, no better – at some point, it depends on whether one was watching for entertainment value or …. well, there’s simply no way anyone could be watching to be informed.
And in speaking of the ICE raids, he said:
“….. We are going to follow the laws of the United States, and in following those laws, we will prioritize the removal of people who have criminal records in this country. And if we remove ten criminal aliens [sound of a page being turned, I SWEAR], and if we end up saving, as a result of that, one or two or three or four American lives, then that is something that is MAGNIFICENT, because somewhere across this country today, there is some young child, facing some unknown danger, and that danger will be eliminated because of some enforcement action that we are going to take in the coming days, and that’s something we should celebrate, not criticize.”
I can’t say for sure, but I think it’s possible Steve-O had an orgasm when he reached the crescendo of “MAGNIFICENT” in that prepared statement. If, that is, the teleprompter or cue cards called for it.
Me watching it? I didn’t see fireworks or hear music. I was thinking, Steve? That young child might be saved from your mythical terrorist only to be killed by a gun, which is – speaking from fact-based statistics – more statistically likely to cause danger to that child.
While I was saying another “Hooooooly shit”, it hit me that I sounded like John Belushi in Animal House. And it all made sense.
I looked back at the screen and didn’t see Stephen Miller, crazy-ass Senior Policy Advisor to Donald Trump. I saw dead-eyed Douglas Niedermeyer, loser ROTC officer from Animal House who, according to the movie’s epilogue, was killed by his own men in Vietnam.
That’s who Stephen Miller is – if dead-eyed Niedermeyer had lived beyond Vietnam and his hairline truly receded.
While I internalized that, Steve-O was deep into his insistence that all New Hampshire elections are fraudulent and have been for a generation.
But he saved the best for almost last, saying the most demented thing I’ve seen on any Sunday morning news show, ever:
GEORGE: You have provided absolutely no evidence. The President’s made a statement –
MILLER: [voice raised] The White House has provided enormous evidence with respect to voter fraud, with respect to people being registered in more than one state, dead people voting, non-citizens being registered to vote. George, it is a fact, and YOU will NOT deny it! That there are massive numbers of non-citizens in this country who are registered to vote. That is a scandal! We should stop the presses as a country, we should be aghast at the fact that you have people who have no right to vote in this country registered to vote, canceling out the franchise of lawful citizens of this country. That’s the story we should be talking about, and I am prepared to go on any show, anywhere, any time and repeat it and say the President of the United States is correct ONE HUNDRED PERCENT.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. He’s ready to say it anytime, anywhere, whatever. He just can’t put forth a single shred of evidence that any dead people voted – and that is what he said.
The thing is, you can’t argue with a Niedermeyer. Or a Dean Wormer. They’re both so caught up in their own brand of evil you just have to wait until they make a strategic mistake. Which they will.
(You have to wait, that is, unless you happen to be in their physical proximity, have about a cupful of mashed potatoes and a desire to re-enact a scene from the movie.)
So Stephen Miller made the Sunday morning news show rounds yesterday, making a freak of himself in front of not only George Stephanopoulos but also John Dickerson, Chris Wallace and Chuck Todd. He may not have been quite as deep in the crazy with Chuck Todd, but he was on Face the Nation and Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.
Later, Dean Wormer Donald Trump tweeted congratulations to his senior policy advisor:
Twenty-three days into Trump’s presidency and he’s already had his “Heckuva job, Brownie” moment.
And a word to the wise, Steve-O: Trump loves to play golf. Be careful. You know what was done to Niedermeyer with a golf ball. Then again, Niedermeyer was killed in ‘Nam by his own men. Either way, I’m thinking you won’t come to a good end.