The time a Democrat fired up a Republican convention

It may be a long time before we again see political theater like the moment a Democratic senator gave us in 2004, when Sen. Zell Miller gave a stemwinder of a speech to the Republican National Convention in 2004.

He brought down the house when he said it was soldiers, not reporters “who have given us freedom of the press.”

He minced no words, attacking top Democrats.

“No pair has been more wrong, more loudly, more often than the two Senators from Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry,” he declared.
“This is the man who wants to be the commander-in-chief of our U.S. armed forces? U.S. forces armed with what? Spitballs?” he said of John Kerry, the presidential candidate.

“I can identify with someone who has lived that line in ‘Amazing Grace,’ ‘Was blind, but now I see,’ and I like the fact that he’s the same man on Saturday night that he is on Sunday morning,” he said of President Bush. (read full speech)

Appearing on MSNBC during the same convention, Miller challenged Chris Mathews to a duel and explained the meaning of “metaphor.”

So savage — even by today’s standards — was Miller’s attack that even the White House distanced itself from it. Miller and his wife were removed from the list of dignitaries scheduled to sit in the president’s box when Bush gave his acceptance speech a few nights later.

Miller was the talk of the nation and most every late night comedy show.

In the same place — Madison Square Garden — 12 years earlier, Miller said Bush’s father was “a timid man who hears only the voices of caution and the status quo” and a “commander-in-chief [who] talks like Dirty Harry but acts like Barney Fife.”

Miller died this morning at 86. He had Parkinson’s.

  • MrE85

    Didn’t have much respect for Miller when he was alive and his passing does not trouble me.

  • Jeff

    I guess he was a DINO.

    • Jerry

      The last of the Dixiecrats

  • Postal Customer

    That election was a doozy. You’d think the Dems would have learned something about fighting back when attacked, but no, they did not.

    • Ralphy

      The Reps changed the narrative to attack politics and the land of make-believe with Lee Atwater.
      The Dems are still talking policy.

  • emersonpie

    “I did not attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.” – unattributed

    • Rob

      And the horse he rode in on.

    • Ralphy

      3 guesses:
      Mark Twain
      Will Rogers
      Dorothy Parker

  • Rob

    Puts me in mind of a former St. Paul Mayor who had clearly been a Republican in Democratic drag: good old Norm Coleman, who announced his party switch as he ended his last term as mayor in 2002 and started his run for the U.S. Senate.

    • BJ

      I remember Norm Coleman much differently. I think you will find that anti-abortion was about the only none DFL thing in his bag, and the DFL ‘rank and file’ wouldn’t support him for higher office because of it. He got on board with a lot of GOP items but not many of the real right wing ones.

  • Gary F

    Not many anti-abortion, pro 2nd Amendment, fiscally conservative Dems left in the Dem party today. Not sure if this could happen in our current environment. And after the spend like fools spending passed this week, I’m not sure if there are any fiscally conservative Republicans left either.

    Could a Colin Peterson or Mark Pryor do this in 2020?

    • Rob

      Being in favor of sensible gun laws doesn’t make a Democratic member of Congress anti-2nd Amendment. And Republican congresspeople, as a general rule, are only fiscally conservative when there’s a Democrat in the WH. The current situation totally underscores that rule.