Clearly the highlight of the evening was Zell Miller. As they say, that’s a tough act to follow, and while Cheney was good he was also… well, Dick Cheney. He’s not the kind of guy you’d invite to a party, unless it was a war party. He’s a bulldog, but we’re all damn glad he’s our bulldog. There’s something Churchillian in his looks as well as his rhetoric – one could easily imagine him chomping on a cigar in the Cabinet Room planning our next attack against al-Qaeda like Churchill planned the payback for Hitler.
But Zell Miller, whoa momma! They don’t make politicians like that anymore. Conventions are usually boring, scripted events in which nothing happens that might jar people. Zell Miller took that formula, chewed it up, and spit it out. His speech was the kind of fire-and-brimestone American Jacksonianism that the Democrats haven’t had since Scoop Jackson. He’s like Lieberman on testosterone.
Better yet, MSNBC’s instant reaction polling showed that it did reach swing voters and Miller’s fire didn’t turn them off (which was a real possibility). I think Miller’s language about the need to protect family trascending pissant party lines really hit home. Personally, I think Bush is going to have a tough time meeting the rhetorical bar that’s been set for him in the last few nights.
Zell Miller is part of a dying breed, the hawkish Democrat. He followed in the large footsteps of Democratic Cold Warriors like Truman, Kennedy, and Scoop Jackson. Thankfully, he ensured that these strong-defense Democrats got one last hurrah before the Democratic Party completely embraces the anti-war left.
UPDATE: And before I forget, I personally think Zell Miller beat the living snot out of Chris Matthews. Matthews is an atrocious interview with an ego that needed to be taken down more than a few notches. Besides, how many times can you see someone actually challenge a TV talking head to a duel? That kind of thing just doesn’t happen anymore. (Although the thought of a Kill Bill-style duel to the death with swords between Matthews and Michelle Malkin strikes me as the TV event of the year… how about it MSNBC?)
If Zell Miller represented the core of the Democratic Party, I’d probably be voting Democratic this year. Too bad the party embraced the moral nihilism of the 60s counterculture rather than their own hawkish roots.