Thursday, September 02, 2004

Zell Miller's Speech

There will be many timid Republicans that will shy away from Zell Miller's speech. Many people are not used to the style with which it was delivered or the passion behind it. He is a stemwinder, a passionate speaker who last night gave voice to 40 years of pent up frustrations by good people in this country who come from generations of Democrats. Men and women who's fathers and mothers and grandparents were loyal to the Democratic Party, men and women who never wanted to leave that party but who watched it drift further and further from the main stream, further and further from their values and further and further from its roots. These people did not leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left them. They are now Republicans because as Zell Miller said, there is no room in the modern Democratic Party for a conservative Democrat. The Democratic Party of our grandparents no longer exists. Few people believe that there grandparents would have supported partial birth abortion, the weakening of the military, the acquiescence of the United States to the United Nations or cowering in the face of an enemy that wants to destroy us. Nor would they agree that the decision of to liberate millions of oppressed people rests not on the morality of the action and national security, but on the ability to form an international consensus.

Zell Miller liberated many people last night as well. He liberated conservative Democrats who have never had the words or the platform to express their anger at what the left wing, post Vietnam War fringe of the Democratic Party, currently led by John Kerry, has done to their party.

Zell Miller's speech will resonate far beyond the South. Americans everywhere, especially in the Midwest, west and upper Midwest will relate to Senator Miller's anger. The Democratic spin is that the Senator's speech was too "hot". For northeast liberals who like John Kerry it probably was. They do not understand the anger; they do not understand the millions of people like Senator Miller. They do not understand or respect the South or its culture or its history or the role it played in making the Democratic Party the force it was before the John Kerrys took control of the party and drove it out of the mainstream. For them the speech was to "hot", the war is too "hot", the threat of terror is too "hot". Anything other than a debate over social welfare programs for "those people" is too "hot". For the many Americans who are conservative Democrats, it was just right.

Senator Miller's speech combined with the Vice President's slow evisceration of John Kerry's record served an overall strategic purpose for the Bush Campaign. It will force John Kerry to talk about the one thing he does not want to talk about, his 20 years in the Senate. Kerry will either have to answer the charges from tonight, opening the door to the debate over his record, or be made to look as though he has no explanation for his many contradictory stances and votes. Either way Kerry loses the debate, which is why his entire campaign has focused on his time in Vietnam. It is why in his acceptance speech at the DNC he spent a whopping 26 seconds on his 20 years in the Senate. It is why he has hidden from the press since August 1 and is spending his time wind surfing in flowered shorts.

Against the backdrop of last night's speeches, President Bush will set the agenda for the next four years. The difference between the two candidates and their visions will be clear.

Never have the stakes been higher, never have the differences in the candidates been sharper and never has the conservative base been more motivated.

For a video of Senator Miller's speech and his appearance on Hardball afterwards go here.

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