...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

September 01, 2004

What A Speech!

i don't quite know what to make of tonight's keynote speech by Zell Miller. Needless to say, as a Republican, i loved it. i was floored. i was amazed at his zeal, his guts and the guts of the RNC who allowed him to let loose like that. If you missed it, you missed one of the great partisan political speeches of all time. I wish i had taped it.

But as an amateur pundit, student and observer of politics, i'm perplexed. The Republican leadership hinted at a new "kick Kerry when he's down" strategy on Monday night. There were some definite moments in Giuliani's speech that we would call "defining the opposition," and the Democrats would call "negative attacks." But Giuliani delivered the blows with his signature humor and good-naturedness.

Tonight however, and i'm trying to be fair here, Senator Miller's tone matched the anger and vehemence i've been hearing from the left ever since Florida. Part of me wants to say "it's about time the Republicans got some balls and started hitting back." In that sense, if the Democrats are upset by what Zell Miller did, they have Michael More to blame. They had it coming. Senator Miller not only kicked Kerry's ass, he bitch-slapped the entire America-hating left.

A prime example:

[N]othing 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.

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.

All i can think to add to that is . . . Fuck yeah!

Another part of me is reminded that it wasn't a Republican who delivered tonight's scathing keynote. Perhaps because no Republican knows how to fight like that. We are wimps when it comes to the political knife fight. Always have been.

The gamble, as i put my pundit hat back on, is that such strong words, however true, will backfire as they are dissected and spun by the Kerry-leaning media tomorrow. Aaron Brown, interviewing Joe Klein after the convention adjourned, seemed to wonder the same thing. Klein responded that he'd never seen two more divergent strategies from the parties in a presidential race. The Democrats deliberately underplayed at their convention, and it seems the Republicans have decided to overplay.

The conventional wisdom (pun intended) has always been to play to the center at the nominating convention. This late in the game, it's not the time to solidify your base. That's why i gasped a bit when Mike Reagan brought up the A word earlier in the night. But of course you'd have to wire his mouth shut to keep Mike Reagan from speaking his mind, God bless him.

i'm scared though, not because i think the middle 20% was watching, i don't. If they had been, i think they would have enjoyed Zell Miller's show. i'm scared because they're going to hear about the speech through the filter of Chris Matthew and Greta Van Susternernen and the rest of the left leaning media "analysts" who just don't get it.

Speaking of Matthew, i caught the entire interview with Zell Miller afterwards, where the senator challenged that blowhard to a duel, literally. i haven't laughed so hard in ages. Miller was well aware of what Matthew had done to Michelle Malkin, and he clearly was not going to fall for that shit. It was awesome.

So getting back to my punditry, i don't know whether it was a wise move by the Republicans to go so negative tonight, even though i loved it. i'm well aware of the difference between preaching to the choir and converting the undecided.

On the other hand, there's something to be said for setting the record straight on such a big stage. And after enduring four years of irrational Bush hatred it feels good to hear someone finally take the gloves off. Maybe such straight talk on a national platform is the perfect way to counter the unholy left-wing alliance of media, academia and Hollywood and their constant stream of bile.

Only time will tell, and the next eight weeks promise to be the most fascinating political stretch run in my lifetime. And after 2000, that's saying a lot.

Update: The lefty spin has begun, and the talking points are too predictable: Zell Miller is evil. Zell miller is crazy. Zell Miller is Pat Buchanan.

Daily Kos:

Why does he look like he's looking for babies to eat? That's Cheney's job.
Wow, I never thought Zell would be able to improve on the original German version of Pat Buchanan's '92 speech, but he did.
Fat Ollie Wills:
The sight of a rambling old man screaming hate while being cheered on by the party of Bush is doing our job for us.
Andie Sullivan:
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.
More: Don't you find it ironic that Andie berates Senator Miller for "bald lies, straw men, and hateful rhetoric," at the same time as he calls Miller a racist? Was Senator Miller a racist when he spoke at the Democratic convention and endorsed Bill Clinton? If so, why didn't the left say anything about it back in '92?

i'd be intersted to know if Andie thinks he's more or less of a racist than Sheets Bird.

Bunch of fucking cry-baby liars.

Posted by annika, Sep. 1, 2004 |
Rubric: annikapunditry


Please explain negative when talking about how you voted in the senate,maybe iam not smart enough to figure this out but somebody explain this.

Posted by: Dex on Sep. 2, 2004

I think that Zell's speech was exactly what the undecided needed to hear. Although he was angry, it was a controlled anger. I think there are many habitual Democrats who don't realize just how strange their party has become, and the only way to tell them is...just to tell them straight out.

Posted by: David Foster on Sep. 2, 2004

The whole Pat Buchanan '92 thing is revisionist history. Bush got a big bounce after that convention. He was hurt because he alienated his base with tax increases. If this Bush loses alienating his base will be the same reason--with amnesty, spending, etc.--but will be attributed to Miller's wonderful speech. I have my take on it at my blog.

Posted by: roach on Sep. 2, 2004

You're half right Roach. Buchanan didn't lose the '92 election for Bush -- Perot did.

Posted by: annika on Sep. 2, 2004

Don't worry so much. The MSM will not be able to spin away the D in front of Miller's name. People can not watch that speech and wonder why Republicans are so angry. They must ask themselves why a Democrat is so angry at his own party.

If it's one thing the frustrating "undecided voters" love it's when someone is big enough to cross party lines for what he believes in. It's almost the entire reason why so many love John McCain.

Posted by: Me on Sep. 2, 2004

The Dems have always been the party of emotional reaction. They need that to stir up the often-opposing inter-factional rivalry of their own constituency. Sometimes its the only thing that unifies them at any given moment.

Hearing Zell last night, I was firstly amazed & impressed. I sat up and hung on every word. Second, on reflection, I think it was completely in the Dem tradition of emotional delivery- even if it wasn't in the typical lockstep of Dem Dogma.

And that is exactly what the Dems fear: The emotion-based division of their base. That's their own turf.

Posted by: urthshu on Sep. 2, 2004

Zell Miller's speech was full of angry rhetoric, empty bluster and nothing else. It has been shown that people are prone to making the worst decisions when theyre angry or emotionally charged. Thank goodness Zell isn't leading the fight against terrorism -- he'll take us all down the toilet.

Bill Clinton summed it up for me when he said "Strength and wisdom are not opposing values."

I guess some of us prefer ideology over genuine analysis and deliberation. Those of us will also prefer Bush over Kerry.

Interestingly enough, with all the talk about terrorism, 9/11 etc in the last couple of days, not a single speaker has uttered the phrase "weapons of mass destruction" or talked about a certain Osama Bin Laden.

Then again, why talk about bin Laden? Hasn't the administration shown the links between 9/11 and Iraq ?! ;-)

Posted by: Aanand Krishnan on Sep. 2, 2004

The hell with the undecided. This is a speech that Republicans needed to hear after two years of left-wing propaganda from the media.

“Remember who this man is: once a proud supporter of racial segregation, a man who lambasted LBJ for selling his soul to the negroes”.

Remember who this man is: Zell Miller is a Democrat and Democrats are flawed people.

Posted by: Jake on Sep. 2, 2004

Actually G.H.W. Bush lost in '92 cause he alienated his base through his failure on the "no new taxes" promise & through his executive order that forbade the import of certain firearms he deemed to be "assault weapons". Those two things in combination caused the support he needed to either stay home or vote third party. It's not that Perot stole his votes; it's more like Bush drove his base (enough of it to matter) away from voting for him. G.W. Bush is treading the same path, albeit he's using slightly different steps. But I digest.

Miller is an old southerner. Nothing can be more terrible & beautiful at the same time than an eloquent southerner who's pissed off. (& if you think Miller did a good job, you should have seen it if a southern woman had been in his position) The theory is that some southerners just cannot bring themselves to join the party that caused Sherman & the rest of those bastards to do what they did to us no matter how much they agree with the party's current platform. I'd assume this applies to Miller to some degree or another.

But being southern, even reconstructed southern, means that the racist card will be played early & often despite any lack of actual merit in the claim.

As for Miller challenging Matthew to a duel, I don't doubt it. Hell, I'd even put money on Miller; them old southerners may be a bit ragged, but they can make up for a lack of youthful energy by sheer cussedness.

Miss Annika, you got to see one of the rare things in politics; a member of the opposing party who is more idealogically grounded in conservative ideas than most people in the GOP. Think Bush agrees with Miller about the repeal of the 17th amendment? Or Miller's healthy respect for the Constitution in general (& the 2nd amendment specifically)? That'd be a resounding "hell no", but Bush will use him as an example of how Bush if a better candidate than Kerry. Miller's very presence should shame Bush into repenting of his quasi-socialist ways, but it won't.

Miller is a conservative. Bush is merely a Republican. Do you see the difference?

(& by no means is Miller perfect, but in certain veyr important areas he represents conservatism better than most in the Republican party.)

Oh, as for Atrios, et al... I wonder how effeminate their excuses would be if Miller took exception to their remarks & called them out? Miller may be up there in years, but I'd lay down good Confederate money on him agin Atrios, Kos, & the rest of those socialized punks even if Miller took them on as a group. (I realize dueling is illegal but I've felt for a while this is a mistake. More duels = less baseless libel & slander. :D )

Posted by: Publicola on Sep. 2, 2004

What a fun speech! Different voters look for different reasons to go to the polls on election day. Oddly, Democratic Zell's speech was designed for a section of the Republican base- to give them a reason to go to the polls and not stay home.

I wonder about the reaction of the Soccer Moms- anyone have thoughts?

Posted by: gcotharn on Sep. 2, 2004

Soccer moms aren't that impoertant to the repubs. Here's why:

Soccer moms aren't going to vote for Bush no matter how left he leans or how much he alienates his base for their sake. It.Just.Won't.Happen.

However there has been a conversion amongst the soccer moms - the term for them is security moms. In essence it's a soccer mom who has realized that the purpose of goverment is national defense as opposed to wealth redistribution. (I speak generally; don't take from this that there's a complete conversion but rather it's a shift in priorities). Those will respond positively to Miller's speech, but then again they were not really part of Kerry's base (anymore) so it's not likely to do anything other than reassure them that abandoning Kerry is best for all concerned.

Now don't misunderstand - I think Bush & the Repubs could be doing much, much more for national security w/o endangering our Rights. In fact showing more respect for our Rights would increase dramatically the amount of security we have here at home. But the newly converted (as in since 2001) security moms aren't typically politically aware enough to see beyond the two party system or push for more than the party line. In other words, they see only two options & will go with the one they seem more confident in to protect their kids instead of exploring the idea that they are the only ones really responsible for their & their family's safety.

So soccer moms really won't be swayed & someone should imprint that in reverse on a clue bat for the repubs to use on themselves. However the security moms are a growing faction coming out of the of soccer moms group & they won't be scared away by a tough stance on national defense.

Posted by: Publicola on Sep. 2, 2004

I'm not sure "soccer moms" is a particularly useful analytical category. Consider:

--soccer mom #1 is an executive at a technology company, raised by parents who were small businesspeople
--soccer mom #2 is a stay-at-home mother, Jewish and with a strong committment to Israel
--soccer mom #3 is a lawyer in private practice
--soccer mom #4 is a screenwriter, raised by parents who were leftist academics

What exactly is the reason for thinking that these people would all vote as part of a bloc? Does the condition of (a)being female, and (b)having kids of a certain age trump the whole range of factors including profession, family background, and religion?

Posted by: David Foster on Sep. 2, 2004

The results are in:

Bush 52, Kerry 41 and Nader 3.

This too will pass, and at the end, it will narrow. But, is it better than the other alternative?

About 60 days out is a serious period. The tendency is to go into a "prevent defense". I have said, for a long time, that a "prevent defense" prevents winning. I hope not.

Spending a hour plus with that genius ("Boy Genius" is what GWB calls him) Karl Rove in New York has convinced me that we will not be cocky or stupid. But things happen. Kerry will shake up his team. I pray that James Carville does not come aboard, because he is the only one they have that is a good as Karl. We will see the softer side of Bush soon, I think.

By the way, "Boy Genius" has another nickname as well, reserved for when things go wrong, it is "Turd Blossom".

I pray I do not hear that particular name again out of GWB's mouth until after January.

Posted by: shelly s. on Sep. 4, 2004

It is my impression that the Bush campaign, having waited this long to start going after Kerry full throttle (up to now they've relied on surrogates), they will not go into a prevent defense mode. Especially now that they have momentum.

Posted by: annika! on Sep. 5, 2004