What Zell Miller really thinks of John Kerry.

March 1, 2001, Zell Miller on John Kerry

These remarks were made to a smaller gathering of conservative southern Democrat folks in Georgia, so I imagine, Zell is even more direct in his assessment of Kerry than the rather restrained speech he had to give to a national audience yesterday. Here are some excerpts.

My job tonight is an easy one: to present to you one of this nation’s authentic heroes, one of this party’s best-known and greatest leaders – and a good friend.

All said with mocking derision, I’m sure. Miller starts with a blatant hyperbole.

  • In his 16 years in the Senate, John Kerry has fought against government waste and worked hard to bring some accountability to Washington. *

Good…here Miller casts Kerry as a carrer politician who has been in Washington far too long.

Early in his Senate career in 1986, John signed on to the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Deficit Reduction Bill, and he fought for balanced budgets before it was considered politically correct for Democrats to do so.

This is surely a set up for describing Kerry’s flip flopping. He once worked with Republicans…

John has worked to strengthen our military, reform public education, boost the economy and protect the environment. Business Week magazine named him one of the top pro-technology legislators and made him a member of its “Digital Dozen.”

Funny…its like when they mocked Gore for ‘inventing the internet’ in 2000. Plus is makes Kerry into a pointy headed techie type - out of touch with NASCAR dads.

John is a graduate of Yale University and was a gunboat officer in the Navy. He received a Silver Star, Bronze Star and three awards of the Purple Heart for combat duty in Vietnam. He later co-founded the Vietnam Veterans of America.

Once again, Kerry is painted as an Ivy League elitist. Then Miller uses a common rhetorical technique used to set up someone for a scathing attack - he cites a long ago achievement, before making a list of more recent misdeeds. And we now know those medals were complete fabrications…Zell was unaware of this at that time so we need to cut him a break.

He is married to Teresa Heinz and they have two daughters.

I bet he said “Tuh RAY zuh” in a mocking foreign accent to show how un-American this Kerry family is.

As many of you know, I have great affection – some might say an obsession – for my two Labrador retrievers, Gus and Woodrow. It turns out John is a fellow dog lover, too, and he better be. His German Shepherd, Kim, is about to have puppies. And I just want him to know … Gus and Woodrow had nothing to do with that.

The parting shot…an allegation of sexual impropriety in the Kerry household. I would bet that ‘Kim’ doesn’t even know those puppies’ father is.

And who names a German Shepherd “Kim”? That Georgia crowd must have roared with laughter.

Missed the speech but read the RNC transcript. Andrew Sullivan put it quite nicely:

Zell Miller is an attention whore.

I’ve seen more social restraint in two year olds.

I’m confused. Not knowing dick about the South, or Southern Democrat v. Northern Democrat, someone pretend I’m a 2 year old and explain this Zell Miller thing to me. I know, I show my ignorance to you all.


I do hope you’re not serious.

Zell Miller was introducing Kerry as a speaker at a Democratic Party event, back when he gave a shit about party loyalty.

He has since decided that there are things he cares about more.

Now, you may fault him for that decision, and that’s a valid opinion. But don’t call these innocuous remarks of 2001 a true opinion of anything.

Besides, the man has a right to change his mind.

After the Civil War, the Northern Republicans became fixed in the Southern mind as the party of punishing “Reconstruction”, as the Republican party veered wildly from the “bind the wounds” policy of Abraham Lincoln. By manipulating the rules on who could and could not vote, they also sought to ensure that anyone who voted in the South would vote Republican. (I know this seems ridiculous…but where I grew up, in TX, text books were required to refer to the Civil War as the War Between the States…)

Hence, Southerners were lock-step in their loathing of the Republican label. In addition, the South was largely rural-agricultural, and the Democrats were more in line with that.

As time went on, the Democrats became the party most associated with civil rights (not to any laudable extent, but gingerly…) A Southern Democrat then became typified as a Democrat who followed the Party on every point but that. The typical SD was a rabid racist and an unshakeable segregationist, but the liberal Dems went along to get along. And, truth be told, most Northern Dems were committed to civil rights and racial equality at some distant time.

When the Civil Rights Movement caught fire, this became untenable, there was no longer a way to paper over the differences, the era of Lyndon Johnson, for whom the phrase “flawed giant” was tailor-made.

All of this was upended by Nixon’s “Southern strategy” which cunningly played to the white Sourtherners distaste for Dem liberals, and delivered a “solid South” to the Republican party which persists and corrupts to this very day.

Miller’s speech was a barn-burner and the Dems ought to be flogging themselves for not courting this old reprobate to their cause. That said, the interview with CNN folks afterwards went a long way in showing what a senile old fart he really is.

Excellent! We may assume, then, may we not, that you will not present any quote of Sen Kerry’s previous to 2001 as indicative of his current opinions?

So… you’re saying he’s a liar, basically.

There was no courting of Zell Miller. If he doesn’t like the direction the party’s been going, then he should have changed parties. It worked for Jessie Helms and Strom Thurmond.

I stand by my attention whore comments.

He’s becoming a darling of the Republican party. In the next four years, look for him to quietly change his party then run for the White House.

If he doesn’t change parties, I’m curious if he thinks that when he is up for reelection, the Republicans won’t do everything they can to get him out of office.

Nice summary, Luc! Pithy coverage of a lot of stuff. :slight_smile:

Seeing as how he’s retiring at the end of his term this year, I don’t think either of you have anything to worry about.

Sorry, that second quote belongs to hightechburrito.

He’s retiring. That gives him a bit of leeway.

Looks over at GaWd

Did you get any of that?

I’m gonna have to drop this class…

The GOP stance on conservative folk who support Bush and change their stance on important issues: “The man has a right to change his mind!”

The GOP stance on liberal folk who change their stance on important issues: “FLIP-FLOPPER! FLIP-FLOPPER! ALERT THE MEDIA!”

It would be interesting to know what changed his glowing opinion of Kerry.

But what interested me about Zell was when he misunderstood a question from Chris Matthews and said that he wished that duels were still legal. He was mad as a hornet. Chris was laughing and trying to explain that Zell had misunderstood, but he wouldn’t listen. He just screamed, “Get outta my face!”

(Of course, Chris Matthews was down in Herald Square at the time and Zell appeared to be a Madison Square Garden.)

(Addendum: Later Larry Gatlin (singer/songwriter) was being interviewed by Ron Reagan outside before a group of people. He began to quote something (in defense of Zell, I think) and some of the crowd began to boo. Larry turned around and yelled at the crowd to shut up. He said that when they got to be a “big star” they could be interviewed. He added that he agreed with Zell that he wished duels were still allowed. Then he turned back to Ron for his interview and completed his quotation which was about rudeness.

(That is somewhat in the order in which it all happened. I was so aghast at Larry’s behavior that I was in a daze.)

At some point he said that he guessed that he ought to apologize. Instead, he got the little jazz band nearby to play “Summertime.” He sang it so fast (changing tempo as he went along) that there was no way for them to stay in time and still keep up with him. He finished about twenty seconds before they did and what they were playing could no longer be recognized. But it was in the right key.

All of this began as a defense of Zell.)

elucidator, Tennessee is still considered by some to be a battleground state. East Tennessee will go Republican. West Tennessee will probably vote for Kerry. We live in Middle Tennessee – home of the big star, Larry Gatlin. My husband is registering to vote for the first time in his 62 years. He has a low tolerance for incoherence.

GaWd, there are a lot of people who aren’t even aware that the South used to be mostly Democrats. You are ahead of them. There is never shame in asking what you don’t know.

No, I’m not all that serious.

And neither is Zell Miller. He calls Kerry weak and wobbly, yet his official senate website heaps praise on ‘his good friend’.
I’m not sure if Miller is a Democrat…or a Republican, but he is unquestionably quite a politician.

Zell’s just anglin’ for a lucrative retirement career going on the right-wing lecture circuit. People who are desperate enough to bring in Ann Coulter to speak will be giddy at the idea of attending an evening with The Gentle Old Man Who Finally Wised Up In His Twilight Years And Saw The Brilliance Of the Republican Party™. :rolleyes: