Well, I’m back from my trip to Berkeley and Oakland. I got to go up into the Berkeley hills Sunday night, and I have some beautiful pictures of the sun setting over Marin County.
While I was in CA one person asked me about Zell Miller. I explained to him that “Zig Zag” Zell has always been a populist politician, changing his politics as the electorate changed theirs. Not long after he accused civil rights politicians from the south as being traitors of the south, he was handing out fliers for Jon Lewis in downtown Atlanta. He would change clothes at conventions to fit in with whatever movement was going to carry it. (Suits for urban buisnessmen, overalls for farmers.) The one thing I was sure of is that there is a method to Zell’s madness. He has always made political choices calculated to benefit him and the Georgia Democratic Party.
Some conservatives have claimed that 9/11 is what caused Zell to become a GOP supporter. Don’t believe it. The event that changed Zell’s Washington politics were the 2002 elections, which were disastrous for the Georgia Democratic Party. The GADEMs were well defeated in the elections, and saw their grip on the state failing. In response to this, Zell has crafted a strategy to convince the overwhelming number of Bush-voting Georgians that it is alright to vote for Georgia Democrats. As Bill Shipp puts it:
Has Zell Miller scammed the Republican Party and helped embattled Southern Democrats hang on to their positions of power?
The answer is yes, if you believe a theory currently making the rounds in state Democratic circles. The idea seems to make sense once you sort out what the senator has said and done over the past several months. While Republicans cheered and egged him on at their national convention, Miller’s firebrand speech made it OK for white Southerners to continue to run and vote as state and local Democrats. Former President Jimmy Carter, once Miller’s mentor and benefactor, helped the Georgia senator pull off what may turn out to be a gigantic con.
No wonder that formerly glum Democrats across rural Georgia are suddenly jubilant and confident again. Miller and Carter have come to their rescue.