View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Friday, June 25, 2004

Miller to Speak for Bush 

Popular retiring Georgia Democratic Senator Zell Miller will speak Wednesday night at the Republican convention in support of President Bush. Miller had pretty much already endorsed Bush, but it's another opportunity to discuss the lurch towards insanity that his party has taken, and it may have some effect on Senate and House races, as well.

Cross-party endorsements aren't unprecedented. Maryland Governor William Schaeffer endorsed Bush 41 for re-election, and Sarah Brady spoke in support of President Clinton. But this is the first time I can remember that a sitting elected official of the opposing party has crossed over to speak at the other party's convention in prime time. If memory serves, Wednesday night is nomination night, and while there won't be any drama, it usually when the party puts up its best speakers. Unless it's Atlanta and it's 1988 and you're Michael Dukakis. Miller's a good speaker, too. Maybe he'll bring his dogs.

Here's what's funny, though:

"I think he has sold his soul for a mess of pottage," [Georgia Democratic Representative Al] Lewis said, a reference to a speech Miller gave 40 years ago in which he argued that President Johnson was abandoning his Southern roots by pushing some civil rights issues. Pottage is defined as a thick soup or stew of vegetables.

The original reference is Biblical, of course, to Esau selling his birthright to Jacob for a "mess of pottage," in the vernacular. It's bad enough that Lewis can't get the price right. The AP reporter thinks that what's important is the recipe for the soup. It's clear he has no idea at all what the allusion is. I can see him reading his notes, looking at the quote, and then reaching for his Webster's because he doesn't know what pottage is. "Lord, what's a cubit?"

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