New York Newsday: Text of Sen. Zell Miller's RNC speech
This speech reminds me how Democrats once were in Illinois: distinguished rivals. They were rivals on some issues, but willing to come together on others. Few things have stayed the same since my childhood. The Democrats need to look at guys like Senator Miller and determine if they're willing to have others him in the party.
Where are the conservative Democrats? Where are the Democrats who aren't afraid to be one of the party's dissenters? Where are the Democrats who are pro-life, pro- Second Amendment, even pro-Israel? Where are the Democrats who understand that some evils cannot be cured by heartfelt wishes and diplomacy, who understand that survival and security are foundations to freedom? Where are the Democrats who are willing to compromise with their Republican counterparts when the situation demands it, to stand firm on their principles and compelling reasons when their counterparts are wrong, and to accede to their counterparts' wishes when they have been proven wrong? Where are the conservative Democrats who would say "stop" when government spending goes beyond its means? Where are they?
Those conservatives cannot have all fled to the Republican party. Zell Miller cannot be the only one raging against a machine that has become a socialist party in the making. He cannot be the only dissenter left in their party. He cannot be the only counterpart to Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, three Republicans who don't always toe the party line on issues like abortion, federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, same-sex marriage, even marijuana use in Schwarzenegger's case. The Dems need balance, and only Zell Miller is making an effort to provide it.
This convention is showing how the Republican party is trying to reach the center from the right. Have there been major speeches at the convention from the likes of Pat Buchanan, Jerry Falwell, or Pat Robertson? No. It's not 1992 any more, and their fiery rhetoric has no cause to be taken seriously. (Alan Keyes is finding this out as he makes one outrageous statement after another. I have a theory about his real purpose here in Illinois, but that'll be for a later post.) Religion plays only one part in the party, and the other groups are finding their voices. The Republicans' tent has a lot more space in it than the tv news will tell you.
Back to Zell Miller for a moment. His desire to not leave the Democratic party is nothing short of amazing considering his blistering critique of John Kerry's defense policy. He is a true believer in his party's ideals, and lambasted the men and women who have stolen his party. Senator Miller is tenacious in this aspect of party-based politics, and he deserves respect for not bolting and abandoning his party during their shift to the left. The Senate will lose a good man once he leaves. I only hope there are others like him left in his party.