MONDAY, JANUARY 5, 2004
THE TEARS OF A CLOWN: It doesnt take Zell Miller long to commence with the heartfelt boo-hooing. In the opening paragraph of his clowning new book, Miller weeps and wails, as if by rote, about the abuse hell endure:
MILLER (page 1): There will be those who ask, What is this about, The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat? I can hear the liberal Washington crowd right now. Gold Medalists in the Sneering Olympics, hissing, In the first place, Millers no Democrat.Poor Zell! The liberals in Washington will sneer at his book! And thats not the only cross he will bear. As he types on, the burdens pile up:
MILLER (continuing directly): On the other hand, there are some die-hard Republicans back in Georgia who will break out their choicest cuss words and swear, Hes no conservative. And you can bet that some old drinking buddies from many years ago will slap their knees and hoot, What conscience?Liberal and conservative are terms of art, but Millers drunken old friends have it right. In fact, Miller is one of the biggest fakers our corrupted public discourse now offers. In Georgia, hes long been known as Zig Zag Zell for his self-serving liberal-to-conservative flips, and Georgia commentators have long derided his dim and dumb corn-pone demagoguery. LEAVE MAMA OUT OF IT, Jim Wooten implored in a 1994 Atlanta Constitution column. Wooten complained about the way Ol Zell kept crying about his impoverished childhood. Zell Miller is a thousand luxury suites removed from [childhood] poverty, the scribe noted. But when it came to gubernatorial po-mouthing, no one was in the league with Ol Zell. Politicians lose it when they start talking about mamas suffering, Wooten complained, noting Millers lifelong habit of boo-hooing behind his mothers torn skirts. Meanwhile, Wooten suggested that the fake, phony Miller had long since stopped caring about Georgias poor. I used to be young, too. Aint now, the scribe wrote. Used to know the young and their problems firsthand. Dont now. Ol Zell was a phony, Wooten seemed to be saying. Or as Millers drunken old friends might have said: To what conscience does this fake man refer?
Miller, of course, was totally wrong in the first of his heartfelt predictions. In fact, Washington liberals have done little sneering about his laughable new book. (Full title: A National Party No More: The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat.) Despite the nasty clowning in which he engages, Miller has received great respect from elite TV hosts from Russert to Borger. Wooten noted Zells fakery long ago, but Washingtons docile press elite is in no mood for such observations. In recent months, Millers clowning has gone unobservedbut his nasty attacks have been given wide currency. Indeed, if its nasty cuss words you want to enjoy, you need to go check out Ol Zell.
While north of Boston in recent weeks, we took great delight in Millers great clowning. Well note some highlights as the week proceedsand well ask, at the end of the week, who could be funding such nonsense.
SPEAKING OF WELL-CHOSEN CUSS WORDS: Ol Zell knows all about nasty cuss words. Whats the most quoted part of his book? Its the passage where he insults those Dem White House hopefuls. As usual, Miller speaks from both sides of his mouth. They are good, smart, and able folks, he begins. But within the same paragraph, he is soon saying this:
MILLER (page 62): Whenever the candidates encounter a Political Action Committee group, they preen and flex their six-pack abs for the Groups like body builders in a Mr. Universe contest. Or, perhaps more appropriately I should compare them to streetwalkers in skimpy halters and hot pants plying their age-old trade for the fat wallets on K street.Later, of course, Ol Zell complains about the shrill rhetoric of those demonized Dem interest groups. But in the current publishing context, Faux Dems like Miller can earn beaucoup dough peddling slimy comments like this. Who is behind the ongoing March of Faux Dems? Well speculate at the end of the week. In the meantime, Miller seems to have an especially vivid idea of what streetwalkers are wearing in Washington. And for a price, hell say odd things about folks who are good, smart and able.
VISIT OUR INCOMPARABLE ARCHIVES: As weve noted, faux Dems are very much on the rise. Tammy Bruce is another clowning examplesee THE DAILY HOWLER, 12/16/03, 12/17/03, 12/18/03 and 12/19/03. By the end of the week, well pose a great question. In whose lab is this species being hatched?
SPIN OF THE YEAR (PART 1): Incomparably, we said it would happen. Back in September, Jonathan Chait wrote a foolish New Republic piece explaining why he hated George Bush (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 9/30/03 and 10/1/03). I hate the way he walks, Chait wroteshoulders flexed, elbows splayed out from his sides like a teenage boy feigning machismo. Chait was pulling no punches this day. I suspect that, if I got to know him personally, I would hate him even more, the scribe wrote. Before we proceed, can we make one small point? Can we note how much the overwrought scribe sounded like a teenage boy feigning machismo?
At any rate, we explained what would happen. We said that Chaits column was going to be cited by every conservative spinner from now until Kingdom Come. Why would they eagerly cite what Chait said? Because the hapless pundit had willingly modeled the RNCs scripted Spin of the Year. For months, pseudo-con hacks had been spreading the spin-point: Those who disagree with Bush are in the grip of irrational hatred. And from that day to this, Chaits column has been cited as an example of whats wrong with our sorrowful discourse. Last week, in the Washington Post, Robert Samuelson cited Chaits hatred of Bush once again. Chait is the poster boy for those who would say that opposition to Bush is just built on strange hatred. He served up a fat, juicy softball last autumn. Spinners keep hitting Chait out of the park.
Those who disagree with Bush are in the grip of irrational hatred. Today, we name it our Spin of the Year. Well examine the way the spin-point is used as the week continues.