Way back when blogging about politics in Utah was a relatively new thing, almost everyone was doing it. At one point there were probably close to 50 people running their own politics blogs including almost all of the writers here at UtahPoliticoHub (myself included). We would occasionally meet face-to-face to break down the toxic barrier of only recognizing a person as words on a screen. Rob Miller was a frequent attendee and put off an immediately likable vibe at each of these events. He was everyone’s friend, fellow Democrat or opposing Republican alike. A few events convinced me that it was merely a veneer, a false front hiding something much uglier and nastier.
The first incident that really shone a light on it was the race for Utah Democratic Party Chair between Jeff “JM” Bell and Wayne Holland. Those who know Jeff know that he’s famous for strong and strongly-worded opinions and a willingness to go to the mat for them. It would be no surprise that he was running as an outsider in that race, challenging a Democratic Party leadership he considered to be ineffective. (History has since proven him largely correct.) Rob was backing Holland and pulled what I now know to be a classic Miller low blow campaign of innuendo and thinly-veiled accusations covered up with plausible deniability for not saying exactly that.
After that race, the divisions between insider and outsider Democrats was pretty obvious. Unshockingly, most of the blogger crew I knew fell into the outsider camp, folks who were frustrated at following the old playbook since it wasn’t getting results. This is where strike two comes in. Misty (now Lucas) Fowler went by the online moniker “saintless.” Fowler explained very beautifully how the name which was bought on a rebellious lark took on later personal meaning after a conversion to Catholicism. Being a backer of Bell, though, earned Miller’s ire and he snarked “no wonder you’re called saintless”, a fairly classless move over the smallest of provocations.
And who can forget his similar false outrage directed at UPH member Holly Richardson? Holly made the mistake that many others did of being taken in by a falsified document about Jim Matheson. Rob’s solution? To put her on full social media blast within half an hour of it going up, hours before when it had been shown to be false. He provided no opportunity to correct it, he just saw a good chance to score cheap political points.
But then there is my own experience with Rob. During the fervor of the ACA debate, he decided to pull the rather classic political move of selecting the most outrageous and least representative member of an opposing group and attempting to portray them as the mainstream. It was all topped off with the quip “Josef Mengele would be so proud”, implying that everyone who was a Republican, conservative, tea party, or insert group here, that wasn’t a “good liberal Democrat” was a literal “I want the state to kill people” Nazi. I’m not much of one to let someone get away with invoking Godwin’s Law, so I chose to call him out on it.
I think you can guess what happened next.
I got a long string of insults and invective mixed with denials that he was implying anyone was a Nazi. Then he decided to go one step further and make a new Facebook post about how someone was trying to break into his computer and asked (while tagging me) “Do you know anything about this?” It was a level of classless pettiness over fake Internet points that was simply flabbergasting. And it was deeply revealing about the kind of character Rob Miller has.
Based on what I’ve seen Rob Miller do, I do not doubt the claims of his accusers for even a moment. I believe he has continually revealed himself to be a man craving power, even in the realm of petty “barely even a second party” politics, and a willingness to destroy whoever might get in his way, no matter how inconsequential they may be. I believe people of this mentality often end up developing a sense of invincible entitlement, that they can have whatever they want by virtue of being them. And I believe that allowing someone of that mindset to run free within the realm of politics is toxic, destructive, and ruinous both to them and the people they chose to use and manipulate.
Rob (and I know you are reading this), you need to find a way to not be that guy anymore. Until that point, you must be kept out of politics for the good of all of us, yourself included.