Posted on December 4, 2019

Saving Stephen Miller

Robert Stacey McCain, The American Spectator, December 3, 2019

Stephen Miller

Senior White House Advisor Stephen Miller. (Credit Image: © Joshua Roberts / Reuters via ZUMA Press)

For most of its history, a wise observer once remarked, the American conservative movement has been an oxymoron: it doesn’t move anywhere and has never conserved anything. The man who made that observation died a few years ago, but not before suffering the common fate of anyone who tells the truth in America. He was denounced as a racist, banished from polite society, and “hate-listed” by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Such is the destructive fate that liberals (and some misguided soi-disant “conservatives”) have in mind for Stephen Miller, the senior adviser to President Trump. If you are a conservative who just stumbled onto this column online, and you are too busy to read past the first paragraph, let me sum it up succinctly: Protecting Miller from this dishonest attack is as vital to the future of the Republican Party as it is to oppose the Democrats’ efforts to impeach our president.

Even his worst enemies will admit that Stephen Miller is a genius. Whatever his IQ might be, it’s almost certainly at least one standard deviation above the average of your typical Republican political strategist. Miller has an uncanny knack for spotting the key stress points in our long-running culture war and finding ways to leverage these conflicts to gain support for Trump’s “Make America Great Again” agenda. It is precisely because he has been so effective that the Left has long sought a way to destroy him, and it is frankly shocking that a former writer for Breitbart News was willing to assist the president’s enemies in this project by leaking hundreds of emails to the SPLC.


It was Stephen Miller’s misfortune to have trusted Katie McHugh, thereby inadvertently exposing himself to the notoriously merciless smear machine that is the Southern Poverty Law Center.


Consider, for example, the case of the late Sam Francis (the “wise observer” cited in my opening paragraph). Sam was a brilliant scholar, former Senate staffer, Heritage Foundation associate, and award-winning editorial writer who, among other accomplishments, wrote a 1981 treatise entitled The Soviet Strategy of Terror that had an enormous influence on the Reagan administration’s Cold War policies.

It was Sam’s misfortune, however, to make too many enemies among the neoconservative wing of the GOP coalition and, when he spoke at a conference hosted by the race-focused publication American Renaissance (about which more later), Sam’s enemies turned him into one of those “unmentionables,” a non-person whose work could not be cited by anyone who aspired to influence within the conservative movement. A cone of silence descended around Sam, with whom I had a few conversations at various D.C.-area events we both covered during the years before his 2005 death. As with so many similar cases (e.g., former National Review columnist John Derbyshire), Sam Francis’s years of valuable contributions to the conservative cause counted for nothing when he was accused of wrongthink on race-related issues and then refused to apologize or to repudiate his friends.


And, as Michael Brendan Dougherty has persuasively argued, Sam Francis’s writing in the 1990s has been amply vindicated by subsequent events. He was verily a prophet, who quite nearly predicted the rise of Trump Nation (except that he never named Trump as the man who would make it happen).


What is Miller guilty of? Reading the 21st-century American equivalent of samizdat, the forbidden underground literature that circulated in Warsaw Pact countries during the Soviet era. Among the items Miller recommended in emails to Katie McHugh were articles from American Renaissance, whose publisher, Jared Taylor, has spent the past 25 years covering racial issues from a perspective diametrically opposed to that of the New York Times, CNN, NBC, ABC, et al. Say what you will of Taylor’s opinions, when it comes to finding facts that contradict the liberal narrative on race, he is without equal. Many years ago, Taylor spent an hour debating racial issues on national television with Phil Donahue and by all accounts annihilated the liberal talk-show host. So if Miller was trying to help McHugh cover these issues at Breitbart in a way that served as a true alternative to the “mainstream” media, it’s not surprising that he would find American Renaissance a useful resource for that purpose.


My source closest to the White House assures me that, despite the vilification campaign against Miller, it’s unlikely he’ll be fired.


Still, it would certainly help if rank-and-file conservatives would speak out in Miller’s defense. Too often in Republican history, liberals have been allowed to exercise a heckler’s veto over GOP personnel, and President Trump deserves praise for standing strong against this SPLC smear against Miller.