More on Mad Zell
by Virginia Postrel • Sep 2, 2004 at 10:21 am
My friend Charles Oliver, an astute observer of all things Georgian, writes:
Has Zell Miller been mad a long time? I'm not so sure. Bill Shipp, who knows Georgia politics about as well as anyone, wrote a column a few months ago where he said that it's impossible that Miller didn't figure out until 2001 that the national Democratic Party was a lot more liberal than he was.
Miller has a huge chip on his shoulder about being a "hillbilly" raised in house without running water, and he's easily offended. Witness his bizarre overreaction to the proposed CBS reality show that would update the Beverly Hillbillies.
Shipp says that once he got to Washington, Miller felt, rightly or wrongly, that his fellow Democrats were looking down their noses at him. And that's where his pique really began.
I talked to a long-time friend of Miller who said that there's something to Shipp's theory, and that the condescension Miller felt from the Washington Democrats was very real.
But he also adds that isn't all there is to it. Miller really does think the Democrats are soft on defense. From what I've seen, he probably thinks the Republicans are soft too.
I think Miller really is representative of the Jacksonian strain in American politics, and I don't regard that as a compliment.
Miller's most Jacksonian moment came after the speech, when he told Chris Matthews he'd like to challenge him to a duel--and he seemed to mean it. He's definitely a throwback, far removed different from the prosperous, satisfied (even smug) Republicans of suburban megachurches.