Yes, it's been frustrating watching our former governor and presumed Democratic elder statesman perform an excruciating courtship dance for the president. We shuddered when Zell Miller endorsed tax cuts for Bush's monied friends, shivered when he supported Alaskan oil drilling, fumed when he provided crucial votes to put neo-fascists in charge of the Justice Department and cringed as he coyly flirted with the prospect of switching parties.
But, honestly, nothing prepared us for the bombshell our senior senator dropped in a late-October interview with the arch-conservative Weekly Standard: "This Democrat will vote for President Bush in 2004."
It's even more despicable that Miller arguably made this pronouncement -- and subsequently trashed the entire slate of Democratic presidential hopefuls -- as a scheme to boost sales of his overpriced, shamelessly self-serving new political memoir, A National Party No More.
It's a testament to his cynicism that Miller was happy enough to use that same party's political machinery to get him to the top. This is the guy, for Chrissake, who delivered Bill Clinton's 1992 nominating address -- a speech in which he seemed to presage George W's rise when he said, "We can't all be born rich, handsome and lucky ... and that's why we have a Democratic Party."
Now that he's retiring, he's getting rich by pissing all over the date who brung him.
So, while Democrats merely seethe and bluster over Miller's perfidy, CL has decided to take the offensive. And we do mean offensive.
Zell's final, treacherous zag has earned him eternal infamy as Creative Loafing's Scalawag of the Year for 2003.
So, in our mission to bury the geezer, not to praise him, we've, um, obtained (yeah, "obtained," that's the ticket) certain memoranda that convincingly serve to spotlight the recent villainy of Sen. Zell Miller, ?-Georgia. We're sure you'll be as shocked as we were when you read these documents.*
From: Cletis Yokum
Date: Friday, October 10, 2003 9:11 AM
To: Zell Miller
Subject: Proofreading notes on A National Party No More
As the most junior member of your staff and a recent Young Harris College graduate, I'm honored to have been asked to help fact-check the draft of your new book, A National Party No More. I've always admired the pride you've shown in your mountain upbringing and your devotion to the cause of education.
But I feel it my duty to point out passages in your manuscript that I'm worried could come back to haunt you when it's published. Here follows a short list:
♦ On Page 2, you tell the reader of your strong conscience: "He is on steroids, has a Black Belt and long fingernails, and stomps around inside of me, sometimes in hobnailed boots." I don't know, Senator. Some folks might see that as a little self-aggrandizing. Hell, I like you, but it made me a bit queasy just reading it.
♦ You spend Chapter 7 lamenting how a current disregard for political compromise has brought the effectiveness of our government to "an all-time low." Yet in his strict partisanship and unwillingness to negotiate even the most extreme points of his legislation, President Bush is indisputably the most unilateral-minded, least compromise-friendly president of modern times. You may want to explain this apparent contradiction.
♦ Throughout the book, you rail mightily against the influence that special-interest groups wield with Democratic lawmakers, but only in Chapter 24, and almost in passing, do you concede that Republicans have their own, stealthier special-interest groups. Maybe you should at least mention that the administration's entire energy policy was written by lawyers from Enron and the Southern Co. Or the GOP's love affair with the Christian Coalition and the NRA. And, in the interest of full disclosure, you also might want to point out that you were a paid consultant for Philip Morris before being appointed senator.
♦ In Chapter 22, you criticize Nobel Laureate Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton thusly: "Both have large egos, can be mean-spirited and, when threatened, will not hesitate to turn negative." The pot calling the kettle black, Senator; that's all I'm saying.
♦ The chapter on how you've always felt "like a cheap prostitute" when asking people for campaign donations rings a little hollow coming from someone who's about to retire from a three-decade career as a famously ambitious political insider. Plus, there was your stint as chairman of the state Democratic Party and those eight statewide runs for office. It reminded me of those millionaire NBA stars who get their old college coaches in trouble by "coming clean" about the free cars, money and girls they were given in school. Know what I mean?
♦ You criticize Clinton for his efforts at affirmative action in going out of his way to appoint a cabinet that "looked like America." Just last month, however, you praised Bush's trio of undistinguished judicial nominees by telling the Senate: "Look at these nominees. This is the face of America."
♦ The book denounces lock-step partisanship on the part of the Democrats, but never mentions similar tactics used by Newt Gingrich, Trent Lott, Tom DeLay or their many followers. This comes off as a little naive, and I'm concerned that some people might even think you're being intellectually dishonest.
♦ Finally, you tout your adherence to 12 "Corps Values" you learned as a Marine. The last one is loyalty. I mean, who are we trying to kid?
Anyway, sir, those are my suggestions. I hope you take them in the helpful spirit in which they were intended and I look forward to working closely with you over the next year.
Office of Senator Zell Miller, (D-GA)
From: Zell Miller
Date: Friday, October 10, 2003 11:14 AM
To: Cletis Yokum
Subject: RE: Proofreading notes on A National Party No More
Whenever I grew up in Young Harris, we knew how to straighten out no-count peckerwoods like you. I don't know who hired your uppity ass, but I want your desk cleaned out by noon. And if this ex-Marine sergeant sees you again, you'll catch a boot heel up your cornhole.
Office of Senator Zell Miller (D-GA)
* Neither Cletis Yokum, nor any of these e-mails or memos, is real.
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