Much is being said in the press and in the blogosphere about Zell Miller’s Speech to the Republican National Convention on Wednesday night last week. I missed the speech and caught only the highlights – I was able to watch the rest last night.
Overall, I thought it was a good speech. Yes, Zell was a bit angry and frustrated and that came out in his speech. But I’d be angry and frustrated too if I thought that my party had abandoned me – and Zell is right about the Democrats having changed over the last twenty years.
A couple of the better portions of his speech:
Never in the history of the world has any soldier sacrificed more for the freedom and liberty of total strangers than the American soldier.
And, our soldiers don’t just give freedom abroad, they preserve it for us here at home.
For it has been said so truthfully that it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest.
It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag, who gives that protester the freedom he abuses to burn that flag.
No one should dare to even think about being the commander in chief of this country if he doesn’t believe with all his heart that our soldiers are liberators abroad and defenders of freedom at home.
But don’t waste your breath telling that to the leaders of my party today. In their warped way of thinking, America is the problem, not the solution. They don’t believe there is any real danger in the world except that which America brings upon itself through our clumsy and misguided foreign policy.
It is not their patriotism, it is their judgment that has been so sorely lacking.
They claimed Carter’s pacifism would lead to peace. They were wrong.
They claimed Reagan’s defense buildup would lead to war. They were wrong.
And no pair has been more wrong, more loudly, more often than the two Senators from Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry.
Of course, many on the left didn’t like Zell Miller’s comments about the role that the American Soldier has played defending our freedoms. Scott Rosenberg over at Salon.com writes this:
I’m sorry, senator, but you couldn’t be more wrong. (And every Republican who applauded you needs a remedial civics class). It is the U.S. constitution that bestows these freedoms. Executives and legislators sometimes try to abridge them. Soldiers, for the most part, protect them. But from the time of the nation’s Founding Fathers on, American leaders, thinkers and citizens have been conscious of the tension between our cherished civil freedoms and the logic of warfare. Waging war demands sacrifice and obedience — and compromises freedom. And so democracies rightly and appropriately go to war reluctantly, and voters demand that their leaders show that there is no alternative to fighting.
Yes, he’s right. These freedoms are guaranteed by the Constitution – but they’re protected by the American Soldier – and others – who have ensured that our Constitution was protected. Senator Miller has a law degree – taught history and poltical science – and served in the military. I’m quite sure that he doesn’t need a remedial civics lesson.
Twenty years of votes can tell you much more about a man than 20 weeks of campaign rhetoric.
Campaign talk tells people who you want them to think you are. How you vote tells people who you really are deep inside.
Senator Kerry has made it clear that he would use military force only if approved by the United Nations.
Kerry would let Paris decide when America needs defending. I want Bush to decide.
For more than 20 years, on every one of the great issues of freedom and security, John Kerry has been more wrong, more weak and more wobbly than any other national figure.
As a war protester, Kerry blamed our military.
As a senator, he voted to weaken our military. And nothing shows that more sadly and more clearly than his vote this year to deny protective armor for our troops in harm’s way, far away.
George W. Bush understands that we need new strategies to meet new threats.
John Kerry wants to refight yesterday’s war. President Bush believes we have to fight today’s war and be ready for tomorrow’s challenges. President Bush is committed to providing the kind of forces it takes to root out terrorists, no matter what spider hole they may hide in or what rock they crawl under.
George W. Bush wants to grab terrorists by the throat and not let them go to get a better grip.
From John Kerry, they get a “yes/no/maybe” bowl of mush that can only encourage our enemies and confuse our friends.
As expected, the left went nuts. Dave Winer wrote the following:
The Zell Miller speech was a wakeup call. That wasn’t an election speech, that was incitement to a lynch mob. Guess who’s the guest of honor? Think about it. Why was the Miller speech so scary? Answer — you’re next. That’s what Miller was saying. After this election we put on the brown shirts.
I guess he’s expecting the SA and the SS to start marching in the streets next – under the banner of the Republican Party.
I’ve always admired Senator Miller – he’s a frequent guest on Imus in the Morning – my morning talk radio show. I’ve found his interviews engaging and humorous – just like his speech.