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Thursday, September 02, 2004

Zell Miller, Bundist

Zell Miller speaks to the faithful

Oh, tonight was interesting.

After another ride through clogged Manhattan streets, I got to the Tank. Within five minutes, James Wolcott walks in and we chat for a few minutes.

He agreed that Cheney is Darth Vader.

It's nice to actually meet people who read you. A little overwhelming, but nice.

Then I actually spoke to Jeralyn Merritt today. She's still nice.

Anyway, I'll go into the socializing and stuff on Friday. But suffice it to say, it wasn't like Boston. Imagine a cool alternative paper, but without the internecine politics of the left and real adults.

But let's talk about Zell Miller.

His speech was as anti-democratic a speech as possible without wearing a brown shirt and carrying a Luger.

It was also a willful denial of reality

Motivated more by partisan politics than by national security, today's Democratic leaders see America as an occupier, not a liberator.

And nothing makes this Marine madder than someone calling American troops occupiers rather than liberators.

Tell that to the one-half of Europe that was freed because Franklin Roosevelt led an army of liberators, not occupiers.

Tell that to the lower half of the Korean Peninsula that is free because Dwight Eisenhower commanded an army of liberators, not occupiers.

Tell that to the half a billion men, women and children who are free today from the Baltics to the Crimea, from Poland to Siberia, because Ronald Reagan rebuilt a military of liberators, not occupiers.

Never in the history of the world has any soldier sacrificed more for the freedom and liberty of total strangers than the American soldier. And, our soldiers don't just give freedom abroad, they preserve it for us here at home.

For it has been said so truthfully that it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press.

It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest.

It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag who gives that protester the freedom to abuse and burn that flag.

No one should dare to even think about being the Commander in Chief of this country if he doesn't believe with all his heart that our soldiers are liberators abroad and defenders of freedom at home.

But don't waste your breath telling that to the leaders of my party today. In their warped way of thinking America is the problem, not the solution.

They don't believe there is any real danger in the world except that which America brings upon itself through our clumsy and misguided foreign policy.

It is not their patriotism - it is their judgment that has been so sorely lacking. They claimed Carter's pacifism would lead to peace.

They were wrong.

They claimed Reagan's defense buildup would lead to war.

They were wrong.

And, no pair has been more wrong, more loudly, more often than the two Senators from Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry.

Together, Kennedy/Kerry have opposed the very weapons system that won the Cold War and that is now winning the War on Terror.

Besides the demagogic lies, there were naked appeals to fascistic power. Like Molly Ivins said about Pat Buchanan's 1992 speech, it sounded better in the original German.

Miller forgot one thing, that it's not the Democrats who think we're an occupier, its the Iraqis who know we're an occupier. The children spit at us, they blow up our Humvees and tanks. We haven't liberated Iraq. We have occupied it and they are willing to die to make sure that we leave. If that isn't an occupation, the word has no meaning.

Miller is a turncoat, and now a liar. He lies about Kerry to please his new masters and like the Swift Boat liars, his world is a fictional one. Kerry was fighting terrorists in the mid-1980's by exposing BCCI while Bush's family was taking loans from them. When the money men from his own party called on him to stop, he refused. Where was Zell Miller then? Nowhere to be found.

No American should deliver a speech like Miller has. It's undemocratic on it's face, and wrong. We're not in debt to soldiers, they reflect the values inherent in our society. They don't guarantee anything, the protect what we value.

When Arabs hear this self-serving drivel, they laugh and then roll their eyes. This kind of braggadocio has failed America. It has killed Americans and left us weaker. It may serve the monied classes of the GOP, but to the Americans in Iraq, it is a cruel lie, a self-serving lie. It will ultimately leave us vunerable and alone. Miller's speech disgraced himself, his office and his new masters with his appeal to raw, naked power.

This convention is the harbinger of failure. Bush isn't gaining much ground from Kerry, and while the press is missing this, this is now Kerry's race to lose. Bush's poll's numbers are frighteningly low. It doesn't surprise me that the press misses the numbers and their meaning. They thought Clinton would be impeached and removed for a blow job. It was never even close. But they all missed it. Just like they're missing the coming Kerry landslide.

By every right, Bush should be over 50 percent. And he's not. He's not even close. And there isn't much room for him to go up. There is a lot of room for him to go down. The economy won't turn around and even if the Saudis increase oil production, the time lag means weeks before local prices to go down.

All this inside baseball stuff about Swift Boats makes for great copy, but Bush's central problem is that his version of reality is at variance than everyone else's. We're not liberating Iraq. We're losing, badly and that will become clear within the next two weeks before we reach 1000 dead. And Iraq is spinning out of control. People not only don't have jobs, when they get jobs, they take a financial step backwards. Bush's solutions, like savings accounts, mean nothing to an American population with an average credit card debt of $7K.

David Brooks hit the key weakness of this convention: no vision of the future. Bush is convinced he can win with a pat hand, but you rarely do in politics.

The whole tone of the convention seems a note off, discordant. While the press is harping on the Swift Boat lies, the fact is that the convention has been about the past. Saying 9/11 isn't going to work as a solution for the future.

Andy Sullivan, my favorite English racist, nails Miller cold

THE MILLER MOMENT: Zell Miller's address will, I think, go down as a critical moment in this campaign, and maybe in the history of the Republican party. I kept thinking of the contrast with the Democrats' keynote speaker, Barack Obama, a post-racial, smiling, expansive young American, speaking about national unity and uplift. Then you see Zell Miller, his face rigid with anger, his eyes blazing with years of frustration as his Dixiecrat vision became slowly eclipsed among the Democrats. Remember who this man is: once a proud supporter of racial segregation, a man who lambasted LBJ for selling his soul to the negroes. His speech tonight was in this vein, a classic Dixiecrat speech, jammed with bald lies, straw men, and hateful rhetoric. As an immigrant to this country and as someone who has been to many Southern states and enjoyed astonishing hospitality and warmth and sophistication, I long dismissed some of the Northern stereotypes about the South. But Miller did his best to revive them. The man's speech was not merely crude; it added whole universes to the word crude.


While the Times says the protests haven't gotten much media attention, they've gotten enough, and enough of the right kind to blunt any fears of Chicago, '68. A lot of credit has to go to both the cops and the protesters. A lot of the arrests were bullshit, but they only cracked a few heads and that, for the NYPD, is a good thing.

I can't say what's thrown the GOP of it's game, but this convention is so off the mark it isn't funny. The hostility to the convention and the delegates is open and vocal. The protesters, not the delegates, are the ones who are being embraced by the city. The protesters are standing with the city, the delegates, the cause of much post-9/11 misery. They aren't speaking our common language. There is no talk to an end of the war in Iraq or the real reconstruction. Or of Afghanistan.

While people see the fearsome GOP machine, I see a convention with weak, dark speeches harking back to a fearful New York, not the optimism and hope which came immediately after 9/11.

If this was to inspire people to vote for the GOP, well.....

posted by Steve @ 1:41:00 AM

1:41:00 AM

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