After watching Georgia Democratic Senator Zell Miller’s rant against John Kerry at the Republican National Convention last night, the thought occurred to us “what DO you have to do to get expelled from the Democratic Party?” Miller delivered the sharpest attack on Kerry’s military credentials of anyone at the RNC. He did so in a race, which the polls say, is virtually tied.
Here’s what Miller said,
“Now, while young Americans are dying in the sands of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, our nation is being torn apart and made weaker because of the Democrat’s manic obsession to bring down our Commander-in- Chief.
What has happened to the party I’ve spent my life working in?
I can remember when Democrats believed that it was the duty of America to fight for freedom over tyranny.
It was Democratic President Harry Truman who pushed the Red Army out of Iran, who came to the aid of Greece when Communists threatened to overthrow it, who stared down the Soviet blockade of West Berlin by flying in supplies and saving the city.
Time after time in our history, in the face of great danger, Democrats and Republicans worked together to ensure that freedom would not falter. But not today.
Motivated more by partisan politics than by national security, today’s Democratic leaders see America as an occupier, not a liberator.
And nothing makes this Marine madder than someone calling American troops occupiers rather than liberators.”
Now, in a way, Miller did the anti-war left a service by actually talking about the real imperial legacy of the Democrats. He only forgot to add that Democratic liberal heroes JFK and LBJ were responsible for the war on the Vietnamese people.
That, of course, was not his intention. His sole purpose was to cost Kerry the election by specifically harpooning the carefully constructed image of war hero and itchy trigger-finger commander-in-chief the Democrats created in Boston.
Whether or not Miller gets his wish is up for grabs, but his hopes are clear four more years for Bush.
Predictably, Kerry spokeswoman, Stephanie Cutter, brushed-off Miller’s attack, telling the New York Times,
“If they are going to continue mimicking us, then I guess this means that George Bush is going to get up there Thursday and say, “I’m George Bush, and I’m finally reporting for duty” and then the balloons won’t drop.”
Contrast this collegial quip from the Democratic talking heads to the treatment Democratic Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney got after she criticized Israel’s war on the Palestinian people.
She was driven from office by the Democratic Party national leadership.
Does anyone think Miller will receive the same treatment?
Or how about this.
After six months of slander against Ralph Nader for daring to stand up against the twin parties of war, corporate welfare and the Patriot Act, the Democrats have sharpened their knives.
We won’t hold my breath to see if they cut up Miller.
The lesson is simple, you can attack the Democrats from the right with impunity, but if you break to the left, you will be destroyed.
As Veep Dick Cheney said after Miller’s performance, “I’m sure glad Zell Miller’s on our side.”
The question for the left is, can a party that tolerates a war-monger like Miller be on our side?
Todd Chretien is the Northern California Field Coordinator for the Nader/Camejo campaign and a frequent contributor to the International Socialist Review.
Jessica Muldoon is an activist in the Oakland Education Association and a member of the International Socialist Organization.
They can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org