Why We Did It


 A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell

Why We Did It

Tim is a supremely gifted storyteller who writes with brutal honesty and stylish gallows humor about the GOP’s toxic mix of opportunists, joy riders, and grifters who enabled Donald Trump’s rise and guaranteed his enduring grip on the Republican Party. Tim takes a scalpel to the malignant tumor smothering American democracy by dissecting his own friends and onetime colleagues. The most valuable contribution of Tim’s book may be the anthropological examination of just how little separates a ‘normal’ Republican from an activist working to overthrow a free and fair presidential election. — Nicolle Wallace

Tim’s smart and witty takes on the current madness of our political times has been my balm of Gilead. In this book, Tim examines what makes some people abandon their principles to align with the current center of power and what makes others hold fast to their convictions in spite of finding themselves suddenly on the outs. As a former Republican partisan, Tim breaks it all down in precise bombs of truth and keen insight into some of the more awful truths of human nature when it comes to the allure of power. — Jane Lynch

Mea culpa and tell-all, Tim Miller’s Why We Did It reveals why and how a generation of Republican politicos bent the knee to a president so many of them privately feared and despised. — David Frum

From any dark experience springs something hopeful and good. In the Trump years, that bright side has been Tim and his compatriots who took up arms to fight the MAGA scourge. Before this book, I understood why the crazies and kooks went along with Trump, but now I fully grasp why smart, supposedly ‘normal’ Republicans did, too. Tim’s observations are clear-eyed, wise, brutally honest, and darkly hilarious. Everyone should read this book, especially fellow Democrats who want to better understand our political foes. — James Carville

When the history of this era is written, the dominant question will likely be, How did this happen? Tim Miller’s Why We Did It offers a crucial insider’s answer to that question. It’s a must-read report from the belly of the beast detailing how the unimaginable becomes inevitable. Looking back at a career in politics and being horrified at what you were part of is not the most fun exercise in life. Tim examines his role with clear honesty, sadness, and an amusing sense of the absurd. This is a big, important book. Read it. — Stuart Stevens

I've said for decades that there will be one word on my tombstone: "why?" It's been my life, and career(s).

If you don't know why, you can't change it.

Miller's writing is funny as hell, full of language that is far beyond my aged brain and exposure, and it would be easy to get caught up in the flippness.

But he digs. Unmercifully. Into the why. Why did so many well-respected people--politicians, media, administrators, doobees--just watch as it got worse and worse, more and more toxic, more and more abusive--of more and more groups of people, watch their democracy being cannibalized by this walking, talking, bombastic, abusive, unknowing, unaware, uncaring horror?

There are a number of different reasons, and he explores, describes, defines them. The most heart-breaking, and most terrifying one, is the one at the bottom of the heap when he sits down with a friend, towards the end, and walks her through each equivocation. To the foundation.

So, he did this and you let him--why? "well because..."
Yes but, he did this and you let him--why? "well because..."
OK, but then he did this, even worse, and you went along--why?
All the way down to the concrete. No more waffling. No more excuses.
And the answer, at the end, is patently obvious. But clearly the young woman canNOT accept it, acknowledge it.

IMO, a remarkable book. 

Former Republican political operative Tim Miller answers the question no one else has fully grappled with: Why did normal people go along with the worst of Trumpism?

As one of the strategists behind the famous 2012 RNC “autopsy,” Miller conducts his own forensic study on the pungent carcass of the party he used to love, cutting into all the hubris, ambition, idiocy, desperation, and self-deception for everyone to see. In a bracingly honest reflection on both his own past work for the Republican Party and the contortions of his former peers in the GOP establishment, Miller draws a straight line between the actions of the 2000s GOP to the Republican political class's Trumpian takeover, including the horrors of January 6th.

From ruminations on the mental jujitsu that allowed him as a gay man to justify becoming a hitman for homophobes, to astonishingly raw interviews with former colleagues who jumped on the Trump Train, Miller diagrams the flattering and delusional stories GOP operatives tell themselves so they can sleep at night. With a humorous touch he reveals Reince Priebus' neediness, Sean Spicer's desperation, Elise Stefanik and Chris Christie’s raw ambition, and his close friends’ submission to a MAGA psychosis.

Why We Did It is a vital, darkly satirical warning that all the narcissistic justifications that got us to this place still thrive within the Republican party, which means they will continue to make the same mistakes and political calculations that got us here, with disastrous consequences for the nation.

About the Author

TIM MILLER is an MSNBC analyst and writer-at-large at The Bulwark. He was the communications director for Jeb Bush’s 2016 presidential campaign and the spokesman for the Republican National Committee during Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.

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