My favorite Democrat, part 5

Today’s Journal carries a review of the new book by Georgia Senator Zell Miller, A National Party No More: The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat: “A democrat who dissents.” Among the information I had not previously read is the origin of Miller’s disaffection with his Democratic colleagues in the senate: “At first, Mr. Miller was impressed with Tom Daschle, but his relationship with the entire Democratic leadership changed in the months before the 2002 midterm elections, during the debate over the Department of Homeland Security. Virtually everyone in Congress was in favor of the new department, but the bill creating it was tied up for months as the Democrats insisted that its employees have the same civil-service protections as other federal employees, a top demand of the labor unions. Mr. Miller could not believe that his party would hold up homeland security to please an interest group. Like the Republicans, he believed the president wanted the flexibility to hire, fire and reassign workers.
“‘Have we lost our minds?’ Mr. Miller asked fellow Democrats in a speech five weeks before the election, as the homeland-security bill languished. Failure to give the president flexibility, he said, ‘will haunt the Democratic Party worse than Marley’s ghost haunted Ebenezer Scrooge.’ At a press conference, he brought his finger across his neck and said, ‘We’re slitting our own throats.’ His warnings were unheeded, and, as he predicted, Republicans played the issue up in the final weeks of the campaign. Democratic incumbents lost in Missouri and Georgia, and the party lost control of the Senate.”

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