Zell Miller Explains Feud with Chris Matthews
Former Sen. Zell Miller (D-Ga.) had a beef with Ã¢€œHardballÃ¢€ host Chris Matthews before he ever appeared on the show immediately after his fiery speech at the Republican National Convention last year.
The famously disloyal Democrat reveals in his new book, A Deficit of Decency, that before telling Matthews he wished he could challenge him to a duel, he had long Ã¢€œdetestedÃ¢€ MatthewsÃ¢€™s Ã¢€œknow-it-all attitude and his bullying way of interviewing.Ã¢€ And earlier that evening, MatthewsÃ¢€™s fellow MSNBC pundit Ron Reagan called Miller Ã¢€œkind of weird,Ã¢€ while Matthews himself had referred to Miller as an Ã¢€œold-time seggy,Ã¢€ meaning segregationist Ã¢€” a characterization Miller vehemently disputes.
And one that’s completely unfounded, too, given Miller’s huge support among Georgia’s black voters.
If that speech was successful, it was a failure in one regard: Miller says he attempts to be Ã¢€œconversationalÃ¢€ in television speeches, as if heÃ¢€™s talking to his granddaughter. Ã¢€œBut IÃ¢€™ve never been able to do it,Ã¢€ he writes. Ã¢€œSo Marine recruit Miller marched out onto that stage, stood at attention, and delivered for the drill instructor in my head who bellows, Ã¢€˜Speak up, private, I canÃ¢€™t hear you.Ã¢€™Ã¢€
Conversational, it wasn’t. Indeed, I was quite worried that it would be perceived like Pat Buchanan’s 1992 stemwinder. Fortunately, his stern delivery was mostly taken as a grandfather’s righteous indignation rather than an extremist’s lunancy.