Zell Miller’s speech was something to behold. What do you call such a speech? Stemwinder, barn burner, electrifying? My son Johnny hasn’t been paying much attention to the convention, he was upstairs doing homework (so he says). Five minutes into Zell’s speech I told him to come down and listen. After all, how often does a sixteen year old boy get a chance to listen to a political speech out of the 1820’s or 1830’s? He listened intently, and then said something like "that was the coolest thing I ever heard." (He is a disadvantaged kid, he hasn’t been to enough of my public speeches!) Miller made clear that the election is about the war, and Kerry’s record should make people doubt that he can handle it. It’s that simple. No ribbon tossing, no questioning of purple hearts, just looking at the record. And this, it turned out really made the Liberals (read media) angry. Joe Klien was apoplectic: the GOP is angry, the tone of the GOP convention has changed into beating up on Kerry as a person, they are distorting; he compared this to the "beningn and positive" Democratic convention. Aaron Brown (with Howard Kurtz’s help) was bemoning the fact that no one listens to one another (read the people don’t listen to us anymore). The media is now angry that they are being ignored, the political conversation used to be civil (because the dumb people used to listen to us, we had a soothing and calming effect) but now with radio talk shows and blogs the national conversation is shrinking. There are too many opinions out there. No one is listening to one another. Democrats watch CNN, and Republicans watch FOX; it didn’t used to be that way, they lament. And so on. Quite revealing, all this. It proves that the liberal media is collapsing, and they are beginning to feel the collapse, although not yet fully comprehend it.
But perhaps the most revealing thing was the tet-a-tet between Chris Matthews and Zell Miller. Matthews was livid and wouldn’t let Zell talk. He accused Zell of putting up straw men, of fighting the last war, of participating in the rhetoric of complete destruction. I saw the whole thing. It was amazing. Zell actually said something like this at one point: "I am very sorry that we are no longer in an age of dueling Chris because I would challenge you." Zell insisted that Matthews let him talk. You asked me here as your guest, let me answer your questions; I shouldn’t have come, etc. And then came the focus group with the Frank Luntz swing voters that Hayward refers to below. That was amazing! Even I was surprised by how the vast majority of "swing voters" liked the speech and thought that Zell was right! And they loved Zell when he listed the weapons systems that Kerry had voted against ending in the spitball remark. The graph reached eighty percent. Even Luntz was surprised. Maybe Gallup is wrong when he says that there are only 2% undecided voters. Maybe there aren’t any. Watch the media’s (read Kerry campaign) reactions to all this. It should be fun.