September 01, 2004

Andrew Sullivan Is Five Octaves Above Middle C

Shriller than Paul Krugman ever was, or ever could be: - Daily Dish: Zell Miller's address... I kept thinking of the contrast with the Democrats' keynote speaker, Barack Obama, a post-racial, smiling, expansive young American, speaking about national unity and uplift.... Zell Miller... face rigid with anger... eyes blazing with years of frustration as his Dixiecrat vision became slowly eclipsed... a man who lambasted LBJ for selling his soul to the negroes... classic Dixiecrat speech, jammed with bald lies, straw men, and hateful rhetoric... Northern stereotypes about the South... Miller did his best to revive them.... if the Democrats win in November, his own family would not be physically safe... dissent... is equivalent to treason... claiming that the Democrats were the enemies of the troops, traitors, quislings and wimps, Miller did exactly what he had the audacity to claim the Democrats were doing: making national security a partisan matter... gob-smackingly vile.... another lie, another cheap, faux-patriotic smear... despicable.... Another lie: "Senator Kerry has made it clear that he would use military force only if approved by the United Nations.... Another lie: "John Kerry wants to re-fight yesterday's war." Kerry didn't want to do that.... Smearing opponents as traitors to their country, as unfit to be commander-in-chief, as agents of foreign powers (France) is now fair game.... I watched a Democrat at a GOP Convention convince me that I could never be a Republican... lying, angry old men like this as their keynote.... Cheney's speech... over-shadowed by the foul rhetoric that went before him, rhetoric he blessed with his opening line.... [A]stonishing to me that neither he not anyone, in invoking the war on terror, has mentioned any developments in Iraq or Afghanistan over the last year.... Real war-leaders explain defeats and set-backs... grapple with reality... the surrealism of the rhetoric... an insult to the American people... not even a nod to reality... the character of our leaders... prefer bromides and denial to a real accounting and real leadership.... Cheney barely mentioned the economy. Almost no one has. They realize it's a liability.... Mary Cheney... "disappeared" from the family tableau.... No openly gay people belong anywhere near that podium...

Posted by DeLong at September 1, 2004 10:37 PM | TrackBack

The only republican mention of the economy was Aaaahhnold's "girlie men" quote.

Posted by: Andrew McManama at September 1, 2004 10:43 PM

Sullivan began to recover sanity somewhere around the time of l'affaire santorum, and his vacation seems to have truly brought him around. He used to be an interesting iconclastic thinker before his brain went on hold on 9/12/01; it would be nice to see that person return....

Posted by: howard at September 1, 2004 10:54 PM

Poor Andrew. He ain't got no party, and nobody cares for him... (Nobody who can get nominated by either party, that is.) I feel for the guy in this respect, and I'm not being sarcastic -- in the current American political system, centrists have no place to go and no hope of ever getting elected to control the country.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw at September 1, 2004 11:36 PM

From Atrios. Post everywhere.

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.

He was once a lieutenant governor but he didn't stay in that office 16 years, like someone else I know. It just took two years before the people of Massachusetts moved him into the United States Senate in 1984.

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

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.

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."

John was re-elected in 1990 and again in 1996 when he defeated popular Republican Governor William Weld in the most closely watched Senate race in the country.

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.

Posted by: ogmb at September 1, 2004 11:40 PM

it would seem that sully now realizes that the real angry vitriolic democrat in this election year isn't howard dean, it's Zell W. Cheney, a true-red southern republican.

Posted by: andy chien at September 1, 2004 11:58 PM

Yeeeees. I like it. Very nice. Pass it on, everybody.



Posted by: Dano at September 2, 2004 12:25 AM

I think we need to be really, really careful to make sure we're not conflating *our* opinion of Zell's speech with the reception that speech is going to get out in Red America, where I suspect it will go over just fine. Just because it doesn't punch *our* buttons doesn't mean it won't punch the buttons of the majority of Americans. Whatever we might *want* to think about how the majority of Americans think, I suspect that for millions --for a majority in many regions --maybe even a majority nationwide-- it'll work exactly the way the Republicans want it to.

I'm surprised by the consensus amongst the liberal blogs that this speech is a disaster --it might be unpopular with *us*, but it'll play, I suspect, quite well in Red America. And I think we need to be extremely careful that we don't confuse what we *want* the reaction to be with what the reaction *really* will be.

Posted by: Jeff at September 2, 2004 12:39 AM

It doesn't matter how it plays in Dixie, what matters is how it plays in the Midwest. And shite like that don't fly in the Midwest except maybe in Indiana.

Posted by: ogmb at September 2, 2004 01:39 AM

Sullivan is going to spend a lot longer in the wilderness than David Brock did if he becomes a Democrat.

Posted by: KevinNYC at September 2, 2004 01:42 AM

" the current American political system, centrists have no place to go and no hope of ever getting elected to control the country." -- Bruce Moomaw

If you're saying that the Dems are too liberal and the Repubs are too "conservative," then I think you're crazy. From my perspective, both parties are so far to the right that we're about to go over the cliff.

Of course, if you're saying that both parties are so "conservative" that even the moderates have no hope of getting elected, then I would agree with your analysis.

Posted by: Cal at September 2, 2004 01:49 AM

zell miller doesn't deserve fairness, but his response to a question on cnn about the 2001 press release was that it was a restatement of the biopic given to him at the time. so if it's an indictment, it's an indictment of press releases. that's an argument anyway.

i'd be interested to know how the speech played on fox news because I can only get msnbc and cnn where it didn't play very well at all. they pretty much tore it to shreds like sullivan did.

it's an intesting fact that cheney repeated some of the same claims but the pundits focused mostly on poor old zel.

Posted by: anon at September 2, 2004 01:52 AM

"was that it was a restatement of the biopic given to him at the time."

So then his speech tonight was a restatement of the biopic given to him by the Rove slime machine. Iow, ZM can't speak for himself.

Posted by: ogmb at September 2, 2004 02:25 AM

"what matters is how it plays in the Midwest. And shite like that don't fly in the Midwest except maybe in Indiana."

. . . and Ohio, and Michigan, and Wisconsin, and Minnesota, etc. It won't play well in the urban areas, but the rural Midwest has no shortage of hate-mongering wackos.

America's all urban vs. rural now.

"If you're saying that the Dems are too liberal and the Repubs are too "conservative," then I think you're crazy."

I can't speak for Bruce, but the Dems aren't liberal OR conservative OR moderate, in my view. The only thing they represent now is damage-control politics.

Implying they have beliefs, liberal or conservative or moderate or whatever, implies they have the spines to stick up for said beliefs.

Posted by: Dragonchild at September 2, 2004 02:44 AM

Sullivan reminds me why I will be sad if Bush wins November 2: it will confirm that the American people will buy into crap like that. That possibility is more depressing than the literal prospect of four more years of W and his cronies.

Posted by: Jim Harris at September 2, 2004 05:07 AM

I simply object to the idea that the Democrats "don't stand for anything" or "there is no place for a moderate to go." The Democrats are a center-left coalition which is in reality divided on very few issues- even on trade and globalization, most D's have a desire to regulate the destruction of market forces. The major debate is one of priority (which issues should be emphasized) and tactics.

The Republicans, on the other hand, are a hard right coalition- their moderates are only window dressing. People like Sullivan are upset because they are center-right. There really is nowhere for people like that to go and be entirely happy. But in the present crisis, I think intellectually honest centrists AND progressives have only one acceptable candidate- John Kerry.

When are people on the left going to realize that you need two wings to fly?

Posted by: publius at September 2, 2004 06:04 AM

Exactly right, Jim Harris! It isn't that Bush et al are who they are and do what they do that's so scary, it's that roughly half the country thinks this is just fine with them that's so scary.

Posted by: Dubblblind at September 2, 2004 06:09 AM

Jeff, I don't know if you're young to remember only a very few years ago, in 1992, twhen the Republican convention was -- not immediately but within a few weeks after the fact -- widely held to be a disaster because of exactly the kind of frothing-at-the-mouth, hate and hysteria rhetoric Miller and to some extent Cheney gave last night.

There's a certain amount of extremism in every region of the country that does respond to such rhetoric, but most people -- and certainly most swing voters -- are extremely uncomfortable with that kind of political tone. They may be delighted to be soft-soaped, as Reagan so skilfully did, or put to sleep, but they do not like confrontative political rhetoric. This will not play well in most parts of the US.

The real and larger question is whether it will get any play at all, or whether the corporate media with its Millionaire Pundit Values will shove it down the memory hole because it doesn't fit their script.

Posted by: Steady Eddie at September 2, 2004 06:23 AM

HEY, did Zell Miller speak last night?

I get the Boston Globe and New York Times at home, and guess what... they don't even mention the KEY NOTE SPEACH by Democrat Senator Zell Miller. This reminds me of the Old Commie-loving British writer George Orwell's famous novel 1984.

Among other things, he said "If we don't report it it didn't happen."

Has anyone else noticed how the evils reportedly committed by Conservatives as portrayed by our academic, artistic and journalistic communities actually acurately describe the standard operating procedures of the Left?

Has anyone else noticed how the world described by outraged lefties looks nothing like the world we actually live in?

Yesterday I asked if Left Liberals are really as stupid as they appear to be. I went on to point out that they are not really stupid but that they just have no idea of what is really happening in the world. Any good-hearted, intelligent Lefty who get's his news from the Globe, the Times and their ilk knows nothing about the very significant substance related by Miller about Kerry last night. If they know anything they "know" that he told a few misleading lies.

DEMOCRATS SIMPLY DON'T HAVE THE DATA ABOUT HOW THE WORLD WORKS. In other posts I've used the analogy that they can't tell the hamburger from the picture of the hamburger on the menue.

The picture of the hamburger (world) they know of is on the menu of the NY Times, Boston Globe, ANCCBSNBCCNN et al.


They believe theory over their lying eyes. In less forgiving earlier societies these Splendid Fools would die early, weeded out of the gene pool by natural selection. Our "more advanced" society has allowed these SFs to live longer and reproduce.

I'm afraid it's too late for them to go away, so we much make sure that the demonstrable fact of their self imposed ignorance becomes an accepted part of our culture.

Text of Zell Miller's Speech at RNC

Wed Sep 1,10:13 PM ET

By The Associated Press

Text of speech by Democratic Sen. Zell Miller

Since I last stood in this spot, a whole new generation of the Miller Family has been born: Four great grandchildren.

Along with all the other members of our close-knit family, they are my and Shirley's most precious possessions...

Posted by: Adrian Spidle at September 2, 2004 06:59 AM

They will shove it down the memory hole. The Republican disaster is so great (I mean the whole four years, not the convention blip) that dealing honestly with it would expose the media to the charge of partisanship. This is what happens when the ruling party tips so far to one side that the ship of state is in danger of foundering.

Posted by: Knut Wicksell at September 2, 2004 07:00 AM

Adrian, you must get the special "piss Adrian Spidle off" edition of the New York Times. My edition of the NYT features a rather prominent -- as in, top left of the front page -- story headlined "Cheney and the G.O.P. Mount Vigorous Assault on Kerry" that has an extended discussion of Zell Miller's speech. Pretty choice for you to be talking about ignorance when you apparently can't even read what's right in front of you.

Posted by: Steve Carr at September 2, 2004 07:13 AM

Adrian, my copy of the NYT also mentions Zell Miller's speech on the front page. The lead photo is of Dick Cheney. Turn the page to the full multiple-page insert on the RNC convention and the first picture you see is of Miller with the caption:

Senator Zell Miller praised President Bush for "his belief that God is not indifferent to America."

I also had surprisingly little trouble finding coverage of Miller in the Boston Globe:


hhmmm. Well I don't know about that, but I'll say this much for them, at least we can read.

Posted by: po at September 2, 2004 07:37 AM

After watching those two speeches last night the choices have never seemed starker. Do you want for more years of war mongering in the name of 9/11 or should we get down to the real business of protecting and making America a better.

The people in that convention hall obviously have not had thier blood lust satiatied, but will they ever. My post 9/11 blood lust was satisfied in Afghanistan, and from the looks of most polling, the majority of Americans have gorged on the blood of Iraq and are now sick of it too.

9/11 was obviously very shitty (an understatement no?), however the time of lashing out uncontrolably has got to end before those few Americans in MSG last night lead us all over the cliff.

Posted by: Philip at September 2, 2004 07:40 AM

NPR has been covering Zell Miller ad nauseam, and played his "spitball" quote twice in the same half hour. I guess they didn't get the memo Adrian seems to think Boston Globe and NYT did.

BTW, Orwell was "Commie-loving"? Huh?

Posted by: Paul Callahan at September 2, 2004 07:41 AM

Andrew Sullivan chose sides a long time ago. He stands right over there with Adrian Spidle, juggling metaphors of Democrats burning in hell (when Rethugs are in a religious hate mode) or Democrats dying off by natural selection (when Rethugs are in secular hate mode).

Andrew Sullivan may not come back to my side. I know where he and Spidle stand and I am watching them. And, I don't deal in metaphors. The flames of Hell and death by natural selection are hard, cold facts ... to which they shall answer in this world.

Fuck the both of them.

Posted by: John Thullen at September 2, 2004 07:47 AM

One who probably topped Sullivan on the shrill-o-meter was Will Saletan in his Slate article. He was absolutely livid and he was totally correct: based on the Miller/Cheney speeches, the election this November is essentially a referendum on maintaining the democracy (votes for Kerry) or turning the nation into a banana republic (votes for Bush).

Here's the link if you want to read it:

Posted by: Mushinronsha at September 2, 2004 08:21 AM

I'd like to see excerpts from Zell Miller's speech on TV, juxtaposed against excerpts from Barack Obama's, every night from now until the first Tuesday in November.

If conservatives believe that Miller's speech will be well-received by people outside of their movement, they would wish for the exact same thing. They might even say "Bring it on". But I'm not holding my breath.

Posted by: son volt at September 2, 2004 08:27 AM

Has Miller been thrown out of the Democratic Party yet? Or are those Senate seats too precious to discard for simple treason?

Posted by: Jon at September 2, 2004 08:46 AM

Zell jumped the shark last night.

How much do you suppose he was paid to sell out on his recent praise for Kerry (i.e. flip-flop) and in what currency?

Posted by: melior at September 2, 2004 09:29 AM

The trouble with Sullivan is that it is difficult to know at what point he is ready to be inducted into the Ancient and Hermetic Order. Can he be trusted to maintain the Secrets of the Temple?

Posted by: praktike at September 2, 2004 10:39 AM

google 'andrew sullivan barking mad'

Posted by: bushwahd at September 2, 2004 11:44 AM

How much do you suppose he was paid to sell out on his recent praise for Kerry (i.e. flip-flop) and in what currency?

NOT A DAMN THING! He has made a fool of himself for 15 minutes of fame and selling some democrat bashinfg books that he couldn't sell as a republican.

He did not bring one dollar to Gerogia, prevent one job lost, or bring any jobs in. We have been harder than most of the US.

Unlike Richard Shelby or Jim Jeffords, this ass clown did it for nothing.

He never was a dfemocrat in Washington, as exhibited by never attending the democrat caucous meeting.

Other than shilling for Bush he did nothing for Gerogia. He coauthored tax cuts with Senator Phil Gramm, but unlike Gramm did not have the nerve or brains to stand for re-election as a republican.

Posted by: me at September 2, 2004 12:11 PM

I miss the old Andrew Sullivan, who would have gushed about how Zell Miller was one of the few who truely understood the importance of our war with Islamofascism. Oh well, at least we still have Hitchens.

Posted by: Kaus Hackula at September 2, 2004 01:15 PM

"Has Miller been thrown out of the Democratic Party yet? Or are those Senate seats too precious to discard for simple treason?"

Try it the other way around. The GOP has a majority in the Senate, which allows them to trot out right-winger Miller and then say, "Gee whiz, HE thinks that Kerry sucks, and HE'S a DEMOCRAT!"

If the Senate splits 50-50 and Kerry takes the White House this November, look for Miller to defect. In any other circumstance, he's valuable to the GOP right where he is.

"9/11 was obviously very shitty (an understatement no?)"

Overstatement, at this point. I was in Boston that day, I was just as worked up as everyone else, I will never forgive or forget, and I've mourned the dead. But I've stayed quiet too long now:

9/11 has been given a thousand times the tears it deserves, and a thousandth of the justice.

Posted by: Dragonchild at September 2, 2004 05:30 PM

Andrew Sullivan... face rigid with anger... keystrokes blazing with years of frustration as his fiscal conservative/social liberal vision became slowly eclipsed...

Induction? I think he's ready for the Ancient and Hermetic Order's cardinalate.

Posted by: Alan K. Henderson at September 2, 2004 09:56 PM