Wednesday Wrapup

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.

3 thoughts on “Wednesday Wrapup

  1. Today’s nightly news broadcast will speak volumes of the public perception of Miller’s speech. In 2000, early polls showed the public thought Gore won the first debates, but analysts informed them that they were in fact wrong. Bush had won the debate. Suddenly, public opinion followed. Kerry’s nomination speech got at least modest early reviews…but later reviews informed us that it was awful, and public opinion followed. If the headlines tonight compare Zell’s red-face rant to Howard Dean, perception will plunge since swing voters will reconvince themselves that rage is not appealing. Personally, I thought he was monstrously effective, but felt his appeal would most likely not extend beyond the privileged few who are well enough off that their day-to-day concerns don’t extend beyond reliving 9-11. In these troubled times, Miller’s position that “nothing else matters but fighting the terrorists” is ultimately a position that can only be held by the privileged.

    I was disappointed with Cheney’s speech. Personally, I think the guy is very underrated as a speaker because he comes across as a straight-shooter and has an acute comic timing whether he’s telling Joe Lieberman “he and Bush will try to help him see how much money can be made in the private sector” during the 2000 VP debate, or shooting off his “how do you think I got picked?” and “sensitive war” campaign one-liners. His biggest problem last night was that he had precious little original material. Anyone who follows politics or even watches the nightly news has heard the lines Cheney regurgitated throughout his speech. He even repeated the now cliched “we will not seek a permission slip to defend America.” Lines that were once clever are now simply trite. For Cheney to give an his primetime nomination speech with recycled material is not a very good indicator to me. It tells me be prepared for four more years of the same. With more than half of the country believing we’re on the wrong track, I think I would have held out for something new.

  2. AT, the tens of millions of Americans living paycheck to paycheck don’t have the luxury of concurring with Zell and other GOP convention delegates who can claim their only concern in this election is stopping terrorists. The risk of terrorism has the potential of being catastrophic, but the odds of such an event are far less than the odds of losing everything one has due to job loss or medical bills. I wouldn’t expect you to understand since you believe everyone who struggles in this world does so because of laziness, but it would be interesting to poll the lowest two income quintiles to see how much agreement there is with the idea that terrorism is the only issue worth voting over.

  3. What Mark fails to understand is that the terrorist attacks on September 11 drained nearly $2 trillion from the American economy?

    Think terrorism doesn’t effect all of us? Ask someone who worked for the airlines but had to be laid off because of the results of the attacks.

    Ask a hotel worker, an aircraft mechanic, someone who worked in the financial services sector. Terrorism effects every aspect of our economy, which is why we cannot afford another attack.

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