Friday, September 03, 2004

Zell on Earth

tirade alert...

That is what Jon Stewart called the speech from Zell Miller.

I must say that although (as Tom Oliphant of the Boston Globe said) I am not a political virgin, I think Miller was so over the line. It is fine for Dick Cheney to attack John Kerry because that is his job as VP- to allow the President to walk above the mud. In fact, other than his misquote of Kerry (Edwards said "2 Americas" not Kerry, who actually slammed Edwards on the primary trail for the language) he did exactly what most VPs have done throughout the conventions I have watched.

However, Miller, who is retiring this year (obvious if you think about it- there is no way he would act like that if he was returning to the Hill) needs to be put into an Old Cranks Home. Someone should also give him his medication more regularly.

As John McCain said last night, "you would think Kerry shot his dog." In the Tampa Tribune one columnist called him Shakespeare meets Deliverance/ Old Yeller (the rabid old dog that was "put to sleep")/ Gomer Pyle meets Full Metal Jacket/ Elmer Gantry on Speed and Foghorn Leghorn meets "The Passion of the Christ." In fact, this columnist said it was a "paranoid sermon just before they start handing out the Kool-Aid."

All of this 12 years after praising Clinton in the nomination speech. He called Democrats unpatriotic for running a candidate against Bush in a time of war and pointing outBush's flaws. He goes on Hardball and threatens Chris Matthews, challenging him to a duel. He says he is surprised (on CNN) that he came across angry. Is this man delusional or showing early signs of senility?

I would love to hear from my Republican friends (again I am registered Independent and have no loyalties to any party- I like John McCain, Joe Biden, Jeb Bush, Al Sharpton, Rudy G and Wesley Clark, just to name a few) about this speech. I have to say that I do not understand how Christians can affirm what went on Wednesday night. Just like I do not know how we can unconditionally support and never speak ill of Cheney and his use of the English language (unless we are scared of being drawn into his lair).

I feel Miller appealed to people's basest instincts... fear, misdirected anger (how can Republicans be so angry at the direction of the country when they control everything), racism, cynicism, (Miller sells a lot more books with his tirades and staying Democrat- he knows what he is doing- it is despicable) nastiness and the idea that if we say things loud enough, it does not matter if it is not true. I guess if you are a Senator with little record and no one pays attention to you, you need to scream loudly.

I know Miller is a Methodist and sounds like a fire and brimstone Baptist preacher when he speaks. I also know that he quotes OT prophets when he speaks before the Senate and derides the moral depravity of the nation and quotes historical hucksters like David Barton reqgarding the founding of the nation but the lack of civility and pure meanness he has shown lately has little to do with Christian Faith or even Political discourse. It is the rantings of an angry old man who has a score to settle with someone. It is the rantings of a man trying to sell lots of books and get himself on the 700 Club. It is quite disturbing to say the least.

I hope the Republicans learn to follow the words of McCain, to see the Democrats as opponents, not enemies. I hope they do not follow the model of Miller, who sees those he opposes as caricatures who have more in common with Al-Queda than America. Pathetic.

In case you do not believe Miller is settling some score, notice what he said about Kerry a couple of years ago, from his own website. And from the partisan Georgia Democrat site., along with quotes from Miller on the DNC site.


Anonymous said...

For starters, let's just get it out of the way that Miller's anger pales in comparison to the vitriol from the crowd on the left.

While he could have toned it down, I didn't think Zell was as bad as you evidently did. In fact, I thought that, from a rhetorical perspective, it was a good speech. I do think he is indignant and maybe bitter about the fact that his party has left him and now belongs to the far left.

I wish more politicians would at least say what they really think.

g13 said... does go a bit too far at times,
but then again, neither they nor michael moore
were offered aprimo time slot at the dnc,
were they? so..your analogy doesn't really hold an
once of water.

say what you will about kerry. he's not
my favorite pol and i have some differences
with how he is running his campaign (i.e. when
he took the bait by promising that we 'would
win the war on terror' instead of letting
w. hang himself with the rope of contradiction),
but kerry hasn't lowered himself to the dirty,
karl rove level of adversarial politics...yet
hopefully he will continue to take the high

also, when responding to political posts, i
would encourage you to identify yourself. most
people have very little respect for 'anonymous.'

Rick said...

Controversy on my little blog. I am honored. Although it is no where as interesting as a good Yankees/ Red Sox debate, I hope to keep the (very few) comments low on the venom scale (save it for college football/ baseball and other important matters).

As for a few of the comments I would like to respond to...

1) "I wish more politicians would at least say what they really think"- I would agree, but there is a difference between saying what you think and demeaning other persons. For the same reason, I do not listen to Rush L, Sean H or Jeneanne G (sp). It appeals to the worst parts of us, just like pornography (which I think it is in some ways).

Also, how do I know Zell really thinks like that? He has consistently used harse and over the top language in his speeches. Look at what he said about Bush I during the 92 DNC or his praise of Kerry recently. How do I know what to belive about him?

Look at politicians such as John McCain, who say what they think without using Ann Coulterish language. He has been a consistently open politician with his opinions. That is why much of the Right does not like him, even though conserviative Pro-Family groups rate him 100% conservative. People like Bush have shown consistently that they do not speak of what is on their mind!

Do you hold the same respect for Liberal politicans who speak their mind, such as Ted Kennedy, Robert Byrd or Al Sharpton? Didn't everyone slam Sharpton for his attacks on Bush (even thought they were much less angry and funnier).

2) You mention, which has not attacked Bush anywhere as Harsh as Miller. Look at the speech and the websites. What they are doing online presently is use Republicans who are now voting against Bush. I do agree that their rhetoric is somewhat hostile, but they are a 527 and not a Senior Senator from georgia (there is a huge difference between those 2 things).

Plus, why did you not mention the anger that comes from the right, such as Rush, Sean H, Michael Savage, Ann Coulter, SwiftBoat vets for "truth", Club for Growth, Progree for America , etc. (I could go on with the venomous attacks against the left- you need to do your homework). Also, why so much venom when they are in charge?

3) I would disagree that his party left him and now belongs to the far left. This is the same party he praised in 1992. There has been very little change since then. It is headed by the same man he praised 3 years ago. Things have not changed.

I guess things have changed since the times of the Dixiecrats and their segregationist policies. If that is what angers him, so be it.

However, he joined the Seante in 99 as a Democrat, with Clinton in charge. Democrats have not been hijacked.

Also, Republicans have actually been hijacked during the past 12 years much more than Democrats. You do not see McCain coming to the DNC and speaking to them (matter of integrity and character-which I see little of from Miller). If you do not believe me that the Republican Party has been co-opted by extreme conservatism that is not part of its history (I know this because I used to be more consistently aligned with them), please read American Conservative magazine, or Pat Buchanon's new book "Where the Right Went Wrong". This is not the Republican party of Goldwater, Ike, Nixon (who did a few things right) or even Reagan.

4)Some of the rhetoric you enjoy from Miller's speech...
For more than twenty years, on every one of the great issues of freedom and security, John Kerry has been more wrong, more weak and more wobbly than any other national figure."

"As a Senator, he voted to weaken our military. And nothing shows that more sadly and more clearly than his vote this year to deny protective armor for our troops in harms way, far-away."

"I could go on and on and on: Against the Patriot Missile that shot down Saddam Hussein's scud missiles over Israel, Against the Aegis air-defense cruiser, Against the Strategic Defense Initiative, Against the Trident missile, against, against, against.
This is the man who wants to be the Commander in Chief of our U.S. Armed Forces?
U.S. forces armed with what? Spitballs?"

You know for a fact that many of things were the same votes Cheney and other Republicans gave!

"Kerry would let Paris decide when America needs defending. I want Bush to decide."

"They claimed Carter's pacifism would lead to peace."---
Miller actively campaigned for Carter and against Reagan (was he a lier then or now).

I could go on. You should read the speech in context to the facts.

It was rhetorically a good speech, but so were Hitler's speeches and McCarthy's speeches and so are jesse jackson's speeches.

Also-- hey Jeff, less Venom. I know many blog commentors who do not take the time (or notice) to put a name.

But, anonymous- Do I know you? I probably am close friends with you, huh?

Anonymous said...

Al Sharpton? What this not the man who would not apologize for falsely accusing three upstate NY men of rape? Hope this is not too high on the venom scale. I'd give him entertainment points, but his past behavior is pretty reprehensible in my opinion. Iterested in hearing your response- Michael of TN

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify, I was not the anonymous person in the very first comment to your posting
Michael of TN

Steve said...

Zell's a lunatic...take it from a Georgian.

Rick said...

regarding the Reverend Al...

1) I was pointing out that he tells it like he sees it. I cannot speak to some of his past, but I only speak of today's Sharpton. I do not hold Bush's past alcoholism and drug usage against him, or Kerry's marching against Vietnam and smaoking pot. I have seen him talk about it as a mistake in general terms (like Bush's past indescresions). Plus, I think Al was taken by a huckster. He has grown up a lot.

There are great interviews with Al in Rolling Stone and other publications that give insight (about abortion and gay marriage he said, "I may think you are going to hell, but I will stand up for your rights to get there." Although I disagree, I thought it was a brilliant line).

2) One of my favorite Conservative Commentators is Tucker Carlson who is on CNN and PBS. In his book "Politicians, Partisans and Parasites" he gives insight into Al, whom he likes a lot. He compares him to Jesse, whom he has no respect for. He has also been to Africa with Al and has good things to say about him. I respect his opinion and it makes sense to me. Look at Tucker online (at PBS and other places) for his thoughts on Al.

3)His message at the DNC was insightful, funny and partisan w/out anger. He had some brilliant lines (like a good black preacher).

Do not get me wrong. Under no circumstances would I ever vote for the guy, but I have learned to like him in the past few years.

Hope that makes sense.

Anonymous said...

Rick- Thanks for the explanation. I read that Tim Russert had pressed Sharpton about an apology, but he still would not give it. I will admit that Sharpton has had some pretty good lines in the debates,etc. I wonder if he's the new Bob Dole(actually Dole became much funnier after the election). - Michael of TN

Anonymous said...

I am the original anonymous... so sorry for not leaving a name, but geez take it easy. This is Alex in Louisville - you do know me Rick, though not recently. You wanted to hear from conservative friends, so I thought I'd open up that can.

I will stand corrected on part of my earlier comments. It now appears that some of those weapon issues were opposed by Cheaney, and no I'm not sure how to spell his name. One other clarification - you said Hitler and others were rhetorically good too though what they said was trash. When I say Zell was rhetorically good it is not a value judgment on what he said, only how he said it. It did fire people up, no denying that.
And I do like it when politicians say what they think - even Sharpton, McCain, etc.

Now this is not a full retreat. I think the left is just as guilty of invective and negativity as is the right. Doesn't make it proper, but don't try to tell me that the Dems aren't at LEAST as negative. And I guess I just didn't take Zell's speech as being as over-the-top as others did. Maybe that is because I'm ideologically inclined to agree while many of you are ideologically inclined to disagree. Would the same type of speech by Howard Dean get different reactions out of us all? Probably fair to say that's the case.

I hope this won't paint me as a die-hard Republican because I'm not so silly as to think that the Republicans are super-righteous or have all the answers. But I do think that Zell's speech, getting back to the main topic, raised some serious questions about Kerry's record in the Senate and the direction he would take this country, esp regarding the UN.

Rick said...

This is fun. Finally some dialogue on the little old blog. I cannot imagine how it would be if we were talking about something truly important (i.e. the evils of the NY Yankees, the beautiful collapse of the Cubs, the imminent disaster for the UM Hurricanes, etc.).

Alex, I should have pegged you. I was thinking it was a friend in California that is part of a Conservative Latinos group or another friend. I knew it was not some of my friends because of the usage of the word "vitriol" which is a little above their vocabularies.

I have enjoyed the debate lately. I was with a close Seminary friend in Gainesville this past weekend and all we did was debate Bush, Rumsfield, etc.

As Jesse Jackson said, "I am looking for a NO CARB diet this election... no Cheney, Ashcroft, Rumsfield, Bush." See, that is funny.

Regarding debate. No, I do not think the Democrats are on par with the Republicans. First of all, they are no where as gifted at this type of campaigning. Just look over the past few years (Atwater, Rove, etc.). Look at the Senate races 2 years ago in Georgia and North Dakota. They are viscious.

I think Democrats would do it, but they are not as good. The philosophies have something to do with it. Most Democrats by nature are not as sure they are always right as Republicans, so they can be venemous, but cannot organize everything as coherently. Plus, they do not have a set of beliefs they can refer to all the time.

It is the nature of the beast. I do think Bush is banding them together and is a very good thing for that party. In fact, if he wins, I think he will greatly strengthen them. Similar things have happened in the past with Republicans, especially under the leadership of Newt G, whom I think is the harbringer of this entire new wave of hateful language. Newt and the advent of talk radio.

Understand I do not think the Left is correct, I just think the Right plays nastier and harder. It is something to be acknowledged. The Right is the Raiders of the 70s or the Pistons of the late 80s. They believe soemthing strongly. they play dirtier than the other side. And, They WIN. That is why they play dirty.

And they use a Nutso old Georgian to deliver the message. This way they can get the message out and disavow it, like the Swift Boat Vets. Brilliant stratgey, though unethical. But, ethics and politics are not usually bedfellows!

So, the Dems are not as negative. They want to be, but haven't the skill. Look at both conventions. The Dems tried to be too positive and it gave them no jump in the polls.

Also, regarding Dean, he was put on early in the evening so he would not be able to piss too many people off. Different philosophy. Obama was the keynote. He was relentlessly upbeat (too much so probably). Plus, Dean is not as venemous as Miller. He tried but people think he is nuts and he is to young to be as nuts as Miller (plus Miller has the accent which helps).

I never liked Dean. Thought he was too much like Bush, with more anger (stubborn, arrogant, prideful, no wisdom).

As for Miller's speech. Much of it is the same as old emails that have been circulating this year. (Urban Legend page) shows the discrepancies. While much of Kerry's voting record is weak, although the talking points of the Right (Most Liberal Senator) are an exagerration, Senate voting records are a notoriously complex thing, and an unfair way to attack someone, unless in a debate.

If you investigate, you will see that much of Miller's statements were false or votes as part of a pork barrels that should have voted against. Some of the votes were the same as Millers.

Sadly a loud lie is more powerful than a loud truth. Let the real records speak and people will find plenty they do not like about Kerry. Just do it honestly (not you but Miller).