"In the eyes of Middle America," Miller wrote of the Democratic Party, "it has become a value-neutral party." That is almost mild compared with what other Democrats are now saying. Even Miller's battering of the party for being too extreme on abortion has gained a measure of acceptance. Howard Dean of all people -- another candidate to lead the DNC -- now says, "I have long believed that we ought to make a home for pro-life Democrats."
It's not just practical politicians who are sounding Zell-like. On national security, Miller worried how Democrats were getting tarred by their association with the most fervent anti-war elements of their party. The editor of the liberal New Republic has argued since the election for a "purge" -- yes, a purge -- of those anti-war zealots. Miller complained in his book about the influence of ham-handed consultants on the party. The liberal Washington Monthly just ran an article excoriating "a clique of Washington consultants who, through their insider ties, continue to get rewarded with business after losing continually." Miller defended gun rights and explained how gun-controllers were out of step with the American public. Liberal New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof recently declared, "Nothing kills Democratic candidates' prospects more than guns."
"What I was telling them was right and correct, if only they had listened to it," says Miller, who recently retired from the Senate. Democrats are essentially saying these days that they want a party in which someone like Zell Miller can feel comfortable. Alas, they used to have one. But, as someone once put it, today's Democrats are a national party no more.