The Corner

Giving Them Zell

I don’t think we’ve ever really gotten an adequate explanation from the senator for the startling turn in his politics over the last four years. It would be one thing to leave the Democratic party because it’s left you, and the South, in 1975 or 1985. But to (essentially) leave it in early 2001, years and years and years after McGovern, suggests a little slowness on the uptake.

Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. I think that parts of Miller’s speech are going to be hard for Republicans to defend. I know that Miller explicitly denied he was questioning the Democrats’ patriotism. But he did pretty much say, in the passage about the 1940 election, that the Democrats were hurting the country by running a presidential campaign. And deliberately putting their own party’s interests ahead of the nation. The occupier/liberator distinction he drew was also a stretch. We’ve plainly been both occupiers and liberators, and Democrats have not been especially keen to claim otherwise (even if they do not stress Bush’s accomplishment in liberating Iraq).

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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