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September 01, 2004

ZELL MILLER: It's funny that the purest voice of Jacksonian America at this Republican convention -- in fact, at either convention -- comes from a Democrat. There was a time when it wouldn't have been surprising at all.

UPDATE: Here's the text. Zell Miller's obviously been unhappy with the direction of the Democratic Party for a while, and this was his chance to make that unhappiness clear. He took it.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Mara Liasson on Fox: "Who would have thought that the angriest speech of the Republican convention would come from a Democrat." Speaking as someone who was a card-carrying Democrat, and unhappy with the party on that front for a long time, I can understand it.

MORE: Wolf Blitzer asks him why he's angry, and why he's still a Democrat. Miller laughs at being angry, and says "I'll die a Democrat. . . . But there's nobody that welcomes a conservative Democrat in the party anymore."

Democratic spin from Tad Devine: It's the politics of fear. (It must be: he looks afraid.) Jeff Greenfield: How can Kerry be the leader of a strong wartime America when so many Democrats are against the use of force? Devine: We'll defend the nation if attacked, and use force without anyone's approval. This Administration has a record of failure. Then he started talking about Halliburton. Blitzer: What about voting for and against the $87 billion? Devine: More Halliburton. And Dick Cheney wasn't in Vietnam.

STILL MORE: Now Miller's on Hardball. Chris Matthews asks him if Kerry really only wants to defend America with spitballs. Matthews calls him a "conservative Republican." Oops! Miller: I knew you were going to be coming at me with all that stuff. This is a bunch of baloney that doesn't have anything to do with what I said. He's right. I change channels. [LATER: By changing channels, I missed seeing Zell nearly challenge Matthews to a duel, and Matthews backing down, according to several reader emails. Jacksonian America indeed! Reader Daniel Wilkins sends: "Chris M. looked like a dog getting a bath. I've never seen him so humbled."] [LATER STILL: Wizbang has a link to the video.]

MORE STILL: Reader Andrew Morse emails:

John McCain was on NBC immediately following Miller's speech. He said something to the effect that it was wrong for Miller to question Kerry's patriotism, even though Miller explicitly stated that he was not questioning Kerry's patriotism. Brokaw, of course, did not correct him.

Of course not.

FINAL NOTE: Just went back to Hardball and saw Matthews dissing Miller and blogs. Dude, you've got a blog.

The Luntz swing-voter focus group loved Zell Miller's speech. They liked it that he was a Democrat and an ex-Marine talking about national security. And the "spitballs" line did well.

Over at Begging to Differ: "It was political theater, no question. But it was also the opening salvo in what will surely be a substantive attack on Kerry's voting record. . . . Zell Miller was more effective tonight than any Republican could have been. John Kerry will have to answer, if he can."

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