teisipäev, mai 11, 2004

Miller's Crossing

The DLC daily newsletter smacks down Zell Miller:

One of the stranger pheonomena in contemporary U.S. politics has been the decisive lurch of Sen. Zell Miller -- once the most jaundiced of yellow-dog Democrats, and an outstanding progressive governor of Georgia -- into the orbit, if not yet formally the ranks, of the GOP. We've already published in Blueprint magazine an informed opinion of Miller's recent book and the psychological factors contributing to his recent apostasy from his own party. He's free, of course, to cross the line and leave the Democratic Party whenever he wants. But instead, he's crossed a more fundamental line by pretending that his party has left him, and that he represents other Democrats who feel the same.

In a comment on Sen. John Kerry's appearance at the DLC's National Conversation last week -- posted on the Bush-Cheney '04 website, no less -- Miller claimed that "from statehouses to Congress ... Democrats are running away" from Kerry, and that the Democratic nominee is "at odds with the DLC when he condemns the president for liberating Iraq" (which, of course, Kerry has never done). In a conference call with reporters arranged by the Bush campaign, Miller reiterated his argument that Kerry is "at odds with the DLC in so many ways."

That must be why Kerry drew a series of standing ovations, complete with whistling, stomping and cheering, from the DLC audience in Phoenix -- the kind of ovation Miller himself can only get these days when he's speaking to Republicans. And the 250 Democratic state and local elected officials from 39 states attending the National Conversation sure weren't "running away" from Kerry. The only complaints we heard in Phoenix were from elected officials anxious to see Kerry's campaign up and running in their communities so they can get immediately involved.

The truth is that the Democratic Party is about as united as we've ever seen it, in no small part because of the destructive policies of Zell Miller's candidate, George W. Bush. Having thoroughly and ruthlessly abandoned anything like genuine bipartisanship, Bush and his party are now reduced to pure deception in pretending they have any support, or any reason for support, from Democrats. Miller alone is cooperating in that deception.

It's truly sad to watch this famously independent man become just another transmission belt for RNC talking points and attack lines, and to hear his once-distinctive voice become just another echo of the conservative media machine. His only value to his new Republican friends is that increasingly irrational "D" next to his name on Senate roll calls. But among Democrats, Zell Miller speaks only for himself.


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