Is Zell a Democrat No More?

As we all know by now, Zell Miller has come out in support of Sonny and Ralph Reed.  Former State Rep. Wyc Orr writes in this AJC opinion piece that the Democratic Party should remove Zell from its rolls since he is – in Orr’s words – “a Democrat no more.”

Equally reminiscent is the same predictable lack of Democratic response. Just as the national Democrats were struck mute by Miller’s tirade at the Republicans’ last national convention, so far Georgia Democrats have yet to meaningfully answer his latest support for Republican candidates.

While Georgia Democrats can’t control the national party, they can at least call the shots in Zell’s own state. Democrats should do what voter registrars routinely do with registered voters who never vote: Purge ol’ Zell from the list of Democrats for nonparticipation.

Do it with the least fanfare possible. No news conferences or posturing pronouncements from party bigwigs. Just send him a letter, thanking him for his prior service, but informing him that he has been dropped from the party rolls due to his nonsupport and inactivity.

How much weight does Miller’s endorsement actually carry?  I’m a big Zell fan, but I’m not going to vote for Sonny or RR simply because of his endorsement.  

This lifelong Georgia Democrat supporting GOP candidates is no longer big news.  The Georgia Democratic Party is probably doing the right thing in ignoring Zell’s recent actions.  Removing Zell from the party would only appease hardline Dems, and would not go over well with many of those moderate voters that both parties so actively seek. 


  1. Skeptical says:

    Zell is not a Democrat. He’s a Dixiecrat. There is a big difference.

    Also, there have been numerous attempts by people who are on the state committee to force a vote to remove Zell, but it is always struck down by Mr. Chairman. When oh when is that state convention??? Buh-bye Bobby!

  2. TheAngryBeaver says:

    Zell endorses both Sonny and Ralph, my question is whether he will endorse former employee Bill Stephens whom he fired way back when good ole Dollar Bill was his communications director.

    Republican, Dixiecrat or Democrat, he’s not an idiot and probably has a pretty good memory about what was laying on his desk in 1992.

  3. rugby_fan says:

    He has broken state party rules to warrant removal from the party but i doubt anyone cares about him except the hardline dems.

  4. ulmont says:

    Without voter registration by party, I’m not sure what Wyc Orr really thinks should be done. I mean, you could kick Zell off of any state Democratic positions he may hold, emeritus or otherwise, but you can’t stop him from calling himself a Democrat.

  5. rugby_fan says:

    Failure of any member of the National Committee to declare affirmatively his or her support for the Democratic Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees within thirty (30) days after the adjournmentof the National Convention shall constitute good and sufficient cause for removal.

    Zell didnt notify

    and there are a couple more.

  6. Eddie T says:

    Zell isn’t a member of the Democratic National Committee. Or any official body of the Democratic Party of Georgia, as far as I’m aware.

    We don’t have party registration in Georgia.

    There’s nothing that makes Zell a Democrat except him saying “I’m a Democrat.”

  7. If the Democratic Party has indeed left him, why shouldn’t they change their names (Socialist Party or whatever)? Why should Zell be forced to disavow his association with the party? He hasn’t changed. The rest of them have.

    I guess they’re trying to reposition the stakes on their “big tent”.

  8. I feel the need to weigh-in on this discussion because I’m the one leading the charge to kick Zell Miller out of the Democratic Party of Georgia (DPG).

    In 2004, before and after it was indicated that Zell Miller would be delivering the keynote address at the Republican National Convention which had the effect of him endorsing George W. Bush for re-election, and publicly campaigning against the presumptive Democratic nominees for President & Vice-President, I drafted a resolution that expelled Zell Miller from the DPG.

    My rationale behind this was that 1st) At the time of his endorsement of George W. Bush, Zell Miller was a member of the Executive Committee for the Democratic Party of Georgia by virtue of him holding the office of U.S. Senator as a Democrat.

    As a member of the DPG Executive Committee, when Zell Miller endorsed George W. Bush in 2004, he violated Article I, section 7 of the DPG Bylaws, which states the following:

    “No Party member shall publicly support another candidate other than the Democratic nominee in a General Election”

    Now that Zell Miller is no longer a U.S. Senator, that bylaws provision no longer applies to him because he’s no longer a member of the DPG.

    However, my resolution also includes a proviso that instructs Zell Miller to refrain from using the word “Democrat” when referring to his political affiliation, because I don’t believe that you can claim to be a Democrat, while campaigning for Republican candidates.

    Here’s the actual language from the resolution:

    “BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Democratic Party of Georgia hereby requests and instructs Zell Miller to cease his use of the word “Democrat” when announcing his political affiliation.”

    I want the world to know that when Zell Miller goes out and campaigns for Republicans, he’s doing it as Zell Miller the individual, and not as Zell Miller the Democrat.

  9. shep1975 says:

    It amazes me that you Democrats don’t know a good thing when you have it. Zell has already endorsed Democrat candidates in this election. The following is a letter I submitted to the AJC in response to the article:

    As an active member of the Republican leadership for more than a decade, I have worked hard to defeat Democrats like Zell Miller. I campaigned against him in 1994 and in 2000 when he was appointed Senator following the death of Paul Coverdell. Even when Zell could have left the Democrat Party and put the Senate in Republican hands (or at least became an independent requiring a split Senate to share power), Zell stayed true to his party and kept Tom Daschle in the post as majority leader.

    It has surprised me that the man I at one point found too liberal for Georgia is now someone I consider to be a bit of a personal hero. It’s not because Zell has lent his voice to a Sonny Perdue ad or endorsed a Republican candidate in a primary, but because Zell marches to the beat of his own (probably Marine Corp) drummer.

    Zell is a Democrat and, the last time I had a chance to speak with him, proud of it. What he is not proud of is the direction his party has taken. If Democrats like former Rep. Orr would listen to what Zell has to say rather than whining about their former leader’s support of various Republicans, then maybe the Democrat Party would return to its roots. I for one would prefer they continue to ignore Zell and run liberal candidates in a conservative, though not necessarily Republican, state like Georgia. As long as Georgia Democrats like Bobby Kahn and Wyc Orr look to John Kerry and Ted Kennedy for their inspiration, then they can continue to wallow in the fact that they are a state-wide party no more.

  10. McCain-Rice\'08 says:

    Wow wasnt the Democratic party supposed to be the big tent that welcomes everyone…guess not anymore.

    Terry McAlliff, as DNC Chair in 2004 said “I wish he would do America a favor and just go ahead an switch parties.” Now, I am a staunch Republican…but if I ever heard Ken Melmahan ask a Liberal Republican (ie: Lincoln Chaffe) to switch parties..I would be infuriated…we have a very diverse party and we have political differences..but evryone should be embraced with welcoming arms.

  11. McCain-Rice\'08 says:

    We’ll weather you agree with him or not, you could learn a thing or 2 from Zell. He hits it on the nail when he says that the Democrats have strayed far to the left from the politics of FDR, JFK, and LBJ.

    And he is absoluteley corretct, the Democrats have not won a presidential election and will not win one unless they can get 1-3 Southern states at least… 1976,1992, and 1996..many southern states voted Democrat…2000, 2004 NO SOUTHERN STATES voted Democrat.

    You all want to kick people like Zell Miller out and let ultra-liberals like Howard Dean run the DNC in to the ground…the DPG is on the endangerd species list in Georgia, and you all have not made any positive attempts to change the direction. You are very lucky to have the Dems that are running for Governor now, but have all but forfeited the Lt. Gov and SOS race…what will you all do in 2010??…I think it is wise to choose Hillary in 2008 as the nominee, but that’s because she’s the best you got…but we have McCain and we will win.

  12. McCain-Rice\'08 says:

    who’s the next on the list to be booted out of the Democratic party…Ben Nelson??

    I hope you all realize there are several Dems in the State Legislature that are very much like Zell Miller..but at the rate you are going they will switch parties like the last 14 you let get away.

  13. BernieT633 says:

    Nothings wrong with the term Dixiecrat- Lester Maddox was one of the most honest and progressive governors in Georgia History

  14. rugby_fan says:

    Anyone who says that Democrats now are more liberal than FDR is an idiot. FDR got us out of the deppresion with socialism.

    Anyone who says that either of the parties is extreme is an idiot. Neither one is extreme, Repubs are just far superior politicians right now.

  15. caroline says:

    How do you propose to get McCain out of the GOP primary with SC being the deciding state?

  16. caroline says:

    Considering Zell’s recent failures in the endorsement area, I wouldn’t consider and endorsement by Zell a positive.

  17. McCain-Rice\'08 says:

    Caroline, McCain came suprisingly close in 2000 to winning South Carolina…and now, he will most likley enjoy the backing of fellow Senator Lindsey Grahm (R- South Carolina).

    Adittionally, South Carolina will not have as much impact in 2008 as it had in past presidential primaries. Because rather than being the 3rd State (following Iowa, and N. Hampshire) to decide, they will be the 4th…New Jersey will be the 3rd. That makes 3 Moderate states leading the primary season, by the time we get to South Carolina…Senator McCain will already have enough momnetum to carry the state.

    Also, he isn’t as out of touch with conservative southerners as many of my fellow Republicans would lead you to believe…sources close to me have said that it’s looking very much like he’ll have a strong showing in the South and is currently working on a Southern team with: Trent Lott, Hailey Barbour, Lindsey Grahm and possibly even Jeb Bush.

    He is a hawk on the budget, and simply will not tollerate pork barrel spending…and that resignates with Southern Republicans like my self.

  18. McCain-Rice\'08 says:

    And he has been extremely supportive of our troops and the War In Iraq…and has been one of the Presidents biggest allies in the past few years..he was a great help on ’04 and he is very electible..although I know 2008 will be close reguarless of current polls…he as of now in certain polls leads Hillary Clinton with over 60%…that’s phenomenal so early on, and with the Republicans under intense scrutiny.

  19. McCain-Rice\'08 says:

    rugby-fan, the programs established by FDR brought our country out of the Depression and into victory after WW2..He was not a socialist by any means, you sound like Governor Talmadge back then.

    furthermore, I know damn well FDR would not support such a partisan attack on a sitting Republican President and would not advocate Democrats to act as an obstructionsist force in Washington. He would urge the Democrats to work on issues that would help as many Americans as possible..ecspecially the middle class: (ie: gas prices, health care, prescription drugs etc.) and on most those issues, I agree with the Democrats seems like certain Republicans are not interested in helping the middle class…and thats where I differ with them.

    And just like FDR had intense disagreements with Joe Kennedy…He would be absolutley furious with Howard Dean, and the Democrats disreguard for Southern voters…so yes my friend, I can very well proove that today’s Democrats are to the left of FDR. Some want to change that (ie: Hillary Clinton, and Evan Bayh) and others don’t, and they are the ones at the wheel (ie: Howard Dean, and Russ Feingold).

  20. caroline says:

    People in SC still believe that his daughter is the product of an affair with a black prostitute. Lindsay Graham endorsed him in 2000 and it didn’t help him in SC. I really don’t see him winning SC any which way simply because of the make up of the SC primary voter-they will not vote for someone who has a mixed race family. IIRC, he lost to Bush by about 25-30 pts in the GOP primary.

    That’s not to say that with SC being 4th, that he couldn’t win the nomination.

    Um, he said before that he wouldn’t win in IA because he is against the ethanol subsidy. Has he changed his position on that one?

    Pork barrel spending? Yes, he may be against it but most southern conservatives like pork barrel spending. SC gets something like $1.50 for every dollar it sends to the federal gov. Remember Strom Thurmond? He was a big porkster. So is Trent Lott. Lindsay Graham, as far as I know, has never voted against a spending bill since being in the Senate. Haley Barbour runs a pork barrel state. Now these may get you some southern votes but I wouldn’t put money down on anything yet. I see George Allen as being more the kind of guy that these people will vote for even though after reading the TNR article on him he makes my skin crawl.

  21. McCain-Rice\'08 says:

    Haley Barbour certainly didnt ask for nearly as much (per person) in federal funding after Katiana as the Lousiana Publi Officials did…he is no porkster. And I am a a southern conservative who is very against pork barrel spending…we really here in the south don’t have many Senators with as much clout as Strom Thurmond did..unless you consider the peripheral southern state of West Virginia who has Robert Byrd…that man is one of the biggest porksters DC has seen.

  22. McCain-Rice\'08 says:

    I have absolutley nothing against George Allen, he is a great guy and a dynamic speaker…but I see McCain as the more electable candidate, I have very minor disagrements with him…but he in my mind is the “ideal”, If Condi would reconsider running for President (very doubtful though), I may just have to switch my name on this site to “Rice-McCain ’08” 🙂

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