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Friday, August 20, 2004

Zell Out

The Republicans have chosen retiring "Democratic" Georgia Senator Zell Miller as their keynote speaker.

Zell Miller was a segregationist when he thought that was fashionable. He was then a pragmatic centrist governor of Georgia in the mold of Bill Clinton in Arkansas when he thought that was fashionable. He was a friend of Clinton when he thought that was fashionable, even going so far as to give Clinton's nominating speech - a very good one - at the 1992 Democratic National Convetion.

And now he's a neo-conservative because he thinks that's fashionable. Talk about your flip flops; going from conservative to moderate southern liberal to hard-right over a political career beats any wavering John Kerry has ever done by a country mile.

(Pointless aside I couldn't fit anywhere else: Apparently Miller (along with Alan Keyes) supports repealing the 17th Amendment, which provides for the direct election of the U.S. Senate, and returning the Senate to a body selected by state legislatures. Other than some marginal short-term gains for the Republican Party, I can't fathom what he thinks the benefits of a return to such a system; if history is any guide, it wouldn't reduce corruption, reduce the extent to which the Senate is a club for the super-wealthy, or do anything but increase the power of state legislators, and it's hard to see how that would accomplish any good given the nature of most state legislatures. Or maybe conservatives just think everything was better in the Gilded Age.)

Apparently that they can't even find a fresh face in their own ranks that they want to present to America, their own version of Illinois Senate hopeful Barack Obama, who served the same function at the Democratic National Convention last month in Boston. Instead they've opted for an old man in the twilight of his career. And they can't dare show their true colors in public, so they have to trot out the most moderate people willing to share a stage with this campaign, and, in addition, a man who, for whatever unimaginable reason, still calls himself a Democrat.

To paraphrase Joan Jett, you don't lose when you lose fake friends.


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