Zell Miller - a Different Democrat


On the third day of the Republican National Convention, Zell Miller, the Georgia Senator and lifelong Democrat, gave the keynote address. The speech was riveting, a blistering repeal of John Kerry and the modern Democratic Party. The TV pundits did not seem to notice. They were to a one, dismissive, expressing disdain about how "angry" he seemed and that he "never once smiled." Apart from the observation that our chattering elites suffer from an overriding obtuseness, there was, in fact, a great deal to glean from the Senator's speech and even more to be said of the significance of his simply being there at all.

Zell Miller, two-time Democratic Governor of Georgia and now Senator, keynote speaker at the 1992 Democratic National Convention, has been a steadfast Democrat. The transformation that brought him from the stage of the DNC to the floor of the RNC twelve years later was no doubt a difficult one. He began his speech by alluding to the "promises and perils" his family will face, and which leader (Kerry or Bush) he felt had the "vision, the willpower, and the…backbone" to best protect them. "The clear answer," he stated, "has placed me in this hall with you tonight." With this, he began an impassioned account of why, indeed, he had defected from his party and placed himself firmly behind George Bush.

"…While young Americans are dying in the sands of Iraq…," he thundered, "…our nation is being torn apart and made weaker because of the Democrats manic obsession to bring down our Commander in Chief…" "What has happened," he asked, "to the party I have spent my life working in?" "I can remember," he continued, "when Democrats believed that it was the duty of America to fight for freedom over tyranny."

This last statement was, perhaps, the centerpiece of his argument, the operative word, unfortunately, being "was," for there was a time when the Democrats led the nation and the world in the battle against tyranny. Democrat Franklin Roosevelt led the nation into war against the Axis Powers during WWII. Democrat Truman, as Miller mentioned, "…pushed the Red Army out of Iran, and came to the aid of Greece when Communism threatened it, (and) stared down the Soviet blockade of West Berlin by flying in supplies and saving the city…" Democrat John Kennedy confronted the Soviets during the Cuban Missile Crisis. There have been many others, staunch Democrat anti-Communists all (Scoop Jackson, Lyndon Johnson)…

The Democratic Party, in other words, has had a long tradition of defending freedom. That party unfortunately, no longer exists. The modern Democratic Party, forged in the fires of the anti-Vietnam movement, came of age in the 1972 McGovern Presidential campaign, and remains very much besotted by the attitudes and values of that era. Their vision is a bleak one, filled with pessimism and defeat (Carter and "malaise"). They are suspicious of American intentions, assigning sinister motives where none exist (Halliburton, oil, Saudi ties, what have you). The American Military is not a beneficent, liberating force, in their eyes, but a pack of criminals (Kerry's 1971 testimonial). America is racist and imperialist. America is what is wrong with the world not what is right (Michael Moore). They prefer to relegate decisions regarding national security to the UN (a mantra to Democrats). In Miller's own words, Kerry (the embodiment of the anti-war Democrat) "…would use military force only if approved by the UN. (He) would let Paris decide when American needs defending!"

John Kerry's vision of our military is defined in his 1971 testimony before Congress (never repudiated) in which he maligned the nearly 3 million soldiers who served in Vietnam (accusing them of cutting off limbs, raping, pillaging, etc). Current Democrats have presented a similar image of America's soldiers fighting today. They have highlighted the images of Abu Ghraib and overstated harsh conditions at Guantanamo. But no where in the modern Democratic Party will you hear anything about the good Bush and our military have accomplished, about the more than 50 million people our soldiers have liberated, of the progress we have made to spread freedom in that benighted region of the world. In the same way Democrats (lead by Kerry) fought Reagan's efforts to defeat Soviet totalitarianism, so, too, do modern Democrats thwart Bush's efforts to transform the Arab world, the breeding ground for terrorism, and the great bastion of totalitarianism today. The Democratic Party has been on the wrong side of history for nearly four decades.

There are reasonable Democrats. Joe Lieberman and Richard Gephardt for example (both, by the way, rejected early in the Democratic Primaries). Evan Bayh, too, has been a responsible voice in a Party overtaken by hard left extremism. And, of course, there is Zell Miller. In his own words, "…In this hour of danger our President has had the courage to stand up. And this Democrat is proud to stand up with him…"


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