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Unabashed terror

Once again, it’s the politics of fear. This time, it’s Zell Miller talking about how desperately afraid he is.

And like you, I ask: Which leader is it today that has the vision, the willpower and, yes, the backbone to best protect my family?

The clear answer to that question has placed me in this hall with you tonight. For my family is more important than my party.

There is but one man to whom I am willing to entrust their future, and that man’s name is George W. Bush.

And that sounds very noble, at first, if you don’t think about it too hard. It sounds like a man who’s making hard choices. But it doesn’t hold up under scrutiny, really, does it? He’s saying that he will do anything, including turning on the Democratic Party that gave him a Senate seat, in order to keep his family from harm. (Miller was appointed by the Democratic Governor of Georgia to fill a vacant seat; he owes his current seat to his former party rather than to the voters.) He doesn’t care what it takes; he wants his family safe. At any cost. He’s chosen safety over freedom.

And yeah, it sounds noble. Unless, maybe, you think about the families who have paid the price to protect Zell Miller. A thousand Americans dead; 6,500 Americans wounded. So what he’s saying is that he trusts Bush to keep his kids safe, at the cost of sending someone else’s children to Iraq — and he’s too numbed by danger to remember that Iraq was never a threat to his children. That Iraq had no WMD. That Iraq was controlled by sanctions.

This is what fear breeds: men who will do anything, however immoral or unwise, to keep their families safe.


  1. t. rev t. rev

    Weak. Disappointed again.

  2. Lawrence Lawrence

    1. Zell won a special election in Nov. 2000 with 58% of the vote against six candidates for the right to serve the remaining four years of the late Sen. Paul Coverdell’s term. So in fact he does owe his seat to the voters rather than to his (still current) party. He also served two terms as a Georgia state senator and two terms as Governor, so he wasn’t exactly a nobody in Georgia Democratic politics before Coverdell’s death.

    2. The men and women in our Armed Forces aren’t “children,” they’re adults who volunteered to serve in the military, like Zell did, and they overwhelmingly support the cause in which they are now engaged in Iraq.

    3. Iraq was a threat, but there will be no convincing some people.

    4. The Oil-For-Food scandal shows that UN sanctions weren’t working as intended, and they never could protect against the terrorist threat emanating from Iraq.

  3. The day Zell Miller admits he’s not a Democrat is the day he gains his honor back. S’that simple. You don’t catch Jefford saying he’s still a Republican, because that wouldn’t be the honorable thing to do. You don’t catch me saying Jeffords is still a Republican, either.

    And yeah, he had a long history as a Democrat. One who praised John Kerry and ripped apart George Bush the elder. I have no sympathy for this “Oh, I came to Washington and realized the Democrats were terrible people” thing. It’s disingenuous in the extreme. I don’t believe that Zell Miller was a backwoods idiot who’d never heard of Ted Kennedy in 1992, when he proudly keynoted the DNC.

    You know he changed. I know he changed. Heck, I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt when I assume he wasn’t a craven flip-flopper from day one; I believe that he at least had a reason for his sudden change of heart. I just think he was scared shitless and he wanted a President who thinks of the nation as a ten year old.

    That said, you’re right — there was an election and Miller won it.

    Iraq was not a threat. We beat the crap out of Iraq’s armed forces in three months flat. I was dead wrong about our ability to do that, and I’m happy to admit it.

    Al Qaeda was able to carry out operations before we invaded Iraq, and they’re clearly able to carry them out after we invaded Iraq. Ask Russia about that one; it’s shameful to ignore the fact that we’ve failed to pull their teeth.

    And… that’s the crux of it, really. I’m just as aware of the threat of terrorism as you are, but I will not permit myself the luxury of pretending that we can stop it by invading every country that’s a potential threat. That’s why I have such disdain for the politics of fear; Bush is pretending that he can keep us safe and he can’t. He simply cannot. Terrorism is not restricted to state-based entities, as Al Qaeda is demonstrating right now. Invading Iraq doesn’t solve the problem. Invading North Korea wouldn’t solve the problem. Invading Saudi Arabia wouldn’t solve the problem.

    Pretending that this course will solve the problem… that’s what I find reprehensible.

  4. Lawrence Lawrence

    The day Zell Miller admits he’s not a Democrat is the day he gains his honor back. S’that simple.

    Zell has never denied that he’s a conservative, but he was enough of a Democrat for the party to nominate him five times for three different offices. He doesn’t owe anyone an apology for that.

    You don’t catch Jefford saying he’s still a Republican…

    That’s because Jeffords formally left the Republican Party (after winning an election as a Republican) for the sole purpose of giving Democrats control of the Senate.

    I have no sympathy for this “Oh, I came to Washington and realized the Democrats were terrible people” thing. It’s disingenuous in the extreme.

    I don’t see anything disingenuous about his disagreement with his party over the war.

    You know he changed. I know he changed…

    Zell was reluctant to accept the temporary appointment to the Senate after Coverdell’s death, twice refusing Democratic Governor Roy Barnes’ pleas before he agreed to serve, mainly because he was already disenchanted with the hyperpartisanship he saw in the Democratic Party. Zell says it’s his party that has changed in terms of its foreign policy, and that seems about right to me. It’s hard to recognize any shades of Jacksonianism or Wilsonianism in the Democratic Party today.

    I believe that he at least had a reason for his sudden change of heart. I just think he was scared shitless and he wanted a President who thinks of the nation as a ten year old.

    Some might say it’s the Democrats who are being childish, but that’s neither here nor there. Like I said, Zell was always a conservative, and he supported Bush even before Sept. 11 (on tax cuts, for instance), so your guess that his support for Bush is the result of him being “scared shitless” doesn’t seem well-founded.

    Iraq was not a threat.

    Having been over this with you a few times last year I think I know your position on Iraq and the greater War on Terror well enough to say that we aren’t going to find much we agree on, so I’ll just leave it alone.

  5. Some might say it’s the Democrats who are being childish…

    Yes, but it’s not the Democrats who are saying “Bush thinks of the nation as a ten year old” to the press. It’s Andrew Card. Anyhow…

    Zell was a Democrat. He’s not any more. Whether or not he’s changed or the party’s changed, he does not share the values of the Democratic Party. If he wants to switch parties, more power to him — but I don’t have any tolerance for him as long as he’s using his old party affiliation to score political points.

    Think about it this way. What does Zell want the Democratic Party to become? Is it significantly different than the Republicans? Where, in fact, does Zell differ from the Republican Party?

    I don’t think it really counts as “calling for a new direction” if you’re just calling for the Democratic Party to become the same as the Republican Party.

  6. Lawrence Lawrence

    I hadn’t heard the Card quote before, so I looked it up. A poorly chosen metaphor, to be sure, but a little context was added with the next sentence: “I know as a parent I would sacrifice all for my children.” I doubt Bush would have put it that way.

    I know I don’t want a nanny state (or a daddy state?), which to me seems more closely resembling the entitlement programs of the Democratic Party. The Bush Administration is deserving of some criticism on this front, too, I know.

    There are a number of DINOs and RINOs in Congress and Zell’s obviously a DINO. You can be unhappy about that, but the Democratic Party bears a lot of the blame. They knew who he was, yet still chose to run him for the late Republican’s office because they wanted another D in the column and knew he could win the special election. Remember that in 2000, control of the Senate was up for grabs. They decided to go with Zell instead of running a real Democrat. Power over principle, it would seem. What’s disingenuous is blaming Zell for their own mistake.

    If Zell doesn’t agree with Democrats on any issue, why was he a keynote speaker at the ’92 DNC?

  7. Lawrence Lawrence

    Scratch that last question, you’ve said he was a Democrat but not anymore. I guess the question would then be why did they run him in 2000 if he doesn’t agree with Democrats on any issue?

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