All of Us Are Now on a First-Name Basis with the Senator from Georgia
Michael Novak writes perceptively about Zell Miller's speech, at NRO yesterday:
.... To quibble over whether Zell was right on this or that point, or as fair and balanced as the reporters of the Associated Press, or as evenhanded as Joe Klein, is to miss the point when listening to a Baptist sermon, rendered by a Southern populist who relishes his heritage. He has the obligation of fitting into a literary form, as demanding in its way as a sonnet. His task is to penetrate through the details, fire like a laser straight into the heart, spear the essential sin and betrayal thriving there, and explode the grip of their tentacles. His task is to lead the sinner, with the light of that explosion, to mend his ways.
Zell Miller nailed the political correctness of the little liberal in the heart of all of us (driven into us by the monolithic liberal media of the last generation) ó the political correctness that leads us to be ashamed to speak forthrightly about good and evil, ashamed to face the desperate need to rally to the defense of our country against one of the worst evils to ever threaten it.
The left wing of the Democratic party doesn't like either the war on terror or the war in Iraq, and refuses to see the vividly clear connection between the two. The left wing wants to change the subject to domestic policy, and even that is absurdly characterized by them. The left wing wants to forget its own wartime heroes Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and John Kennedy ó "bear any burden, meet any hardship." ....
For comparison (brackets in original):
To Sen. Zell Miller:
You seem to have forgotten that loyal Democrats elected you as mayor [of Young Harris] and as state senator. Loyal Democrats, including members of my family and me, elected you as state senator, lieutenant governor and governor. It was a loyal Democrat, Lester Maddox, who assigned you to high positions in the state government when you were out of office. It was a loyal Democrat, Roy Barnes, who appointed you as U.S. senator when you were out of office. By your historically unprecedented disloyalty, you have betrayed our trust.
Great Georgia Democrats who served in the past, including Walter George, Richard Russell, Herman Talmadge and Sam Nunn, disagreed strongly with the policies of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and me, but they remained loyal to the party in which they gained their public office. Other Democrats, because of philosophical differences or the race issue, like Bo Callaway and Strom Thurmond, at least had the decency to become Republicans.
Everyone knows that you were chosen to speak at the Republican National Convention because of your being a "Democrat," and it's quite possible that your rabid speech damaged our party and paid the GOP some transient dividends.
Perhaps more troublesome of all is seeing you adopt an established and very effective Republican campaign technique of destroying the character of opponents by wild and false allegations. The Bush campaign's personal attacks on the character of John McCain in South Carolina in 2000 was a vivid example. The claim that war hero Max Cleland was a disloyal American and an ally of Osama bin Laden should have given you pause, but you have joined in this ploy by your bizarre claims that another war hero, John Kerry, would not defend the security of our nation except with spitballs. (This is the same man whom you described previously as "one of this nation's authentic heroes, one of this party's best-known and greatest leaders and a good friend.")
I, myself, served in the Navy from 1942 to 1953, and, as president, greatly strengthened our military forces and protected our nation and its interests in every way. I don't believe this warrants your referring to me as a pacifist.
Zell, I have known you for 42 years and have, in the past, respected you as a trustworthy political leader and a personal friend. But now, there are many of us loyal Democrats who feel uncomfortable in seeing that you have chosen the rich over the poor, unilateral pre-emptive war over a strong nation united with others for peace, lies and obfuscation over the truth, and the political technique of personal character assassination as a way to win elections or to garner a few moments of applause. These are not the characteristics of great Democrats whose legacy you and I have inherited.
Sincerely, and with deepest regrets,
James Taranto looks at Carter vs. Zell at OpinionJournal yesterday (ellipses in original):
Gov. Pot vs. Sen. Kettle
Former Georgia governor Jimmy Carter "is accusing fellow Georgia Democrat Zell Miller of 'unprecedented disloyalty' for the senator's speech at the Republican convention," reports the Associated Press. Josh Marshall has the full text of the Carter letter, in which he praises the segregationist former governor Lester Maddox as "a loyal Democrat." Here's a sample:
Everyone knows that you were chosen to speak at the Republican Convention because of your being a "Democrat," and it's quite possible that your rabid and mean-spirited speech damaged our party and paid the Republicans some transient dividends.
Let's set aside for the moment the question of whether Miller showed "disloyalty" to his party. What he did was hardly unprecedented. In December 2002, Jimmy Carter accepted the Nobel Peace Prize, even though, as The Weekly Standard noted when the award was announced in October, the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee said the award " 'should be interpreted' as a 'kick in the leg' to current President George W. Bush's 'belligerent' foreign policy."
In other words, everyone knows that Carter was chosen to deliver the Nobel Lecture because of his being an American who opposes American foreign policy. To be fair, Carter's Nobel Lecture was pretty tepid, but at this year's Democratic National Convention, he delivered a rabid and mean-spirited speech attacking current U.S. foreign policy. A sample:
After 9/11, America stood proud, wounded but determined and united.... But in just 34 months, we have watched with deep concern as all this goodwill has been squandered by a virtually unbroken series of mistakes and miscalculations. Unilateral acts and demands have isolated the United States from the very nations we need to join us in combating terrorism....
Recent policies have cost our nation its reputation as the world's most admired champion of freedom and justice. What a difference these few months of extremism have made!
The United States has alienated its allies, dismayed its friends, and inadvertently gratified its enemies by proclaiming a confused and disturbing strategy of "preemptive" war. With our allies disunited, the world resenting us, and the Middle East ablaze, we need John Kerry to restore life to the global war against terrorism.
Now, in our view this is all horribly misguided. But citizens in a democracy are free to dissent. Carter and his defenders would no doubt tell us that he spoke as a patriotic American who is troubled by the direction in which his country's leaders have taken it of late. Which of course is exactly what Zell Miller says about the Democratic Party.
So, did Zell Miller betray his party? Well, first things first: Did Jimmy Carter betray his country?
Lane Core Jr. CIW P Thu. 09/09/04 07:52:28 AM
Categorized as Political.