In case Hurricane Ivan keeps your mail from being delivered this week, below is Sen. Miller's letter to the State of Georgia
The Empire State of the South
State of Georgia, US of A
Re: Democrats turn backs on South
Many of my Democratic friends seem more interested in shooting the messenger than in considering the message. So perhaps we need to go back and review the facts:
• In 44 years, no Democrat has won the White House unless he had a platform that could sell in the South.
• In 40 years, no Democrat has won the White House unless he was from the South.
So how do today's national leaders in the Democratic Party respond to these two irrefutable facts? Simple: Run everyone out of the party who is moderate or conservative, and therefore, run the Democratic Party out of the South.
Here are some more facts:
• In 1980, the South (Virginia, Kentucky, Arkansas, Oklahoma and all states below) had 26 U.S. senators — 20 of them were Democrats and just six were Republicans.
• In 1980, the Senate swung toward Republicans, but then back to Democrats in 1986.
• By 1994, the South had 17 Democratic senators and nine Republicans.
• 2004, the South has 17 Republican senators and just nine Democrats.
• In 2005, there's a good possibility that ratio could go to 22 Republicans and just four Democrats.
So the facts are that the Republican and Democratic strength in the U.S. Senate in the South has completely reversed in 10 years. By next year, Democratic senators in the South could be one-fifth their strength in 1980.
At the exact time the South is growing in both population and power, the Democratic presence in the South has dwindled drastically. See why I call it a national party no more?
When John Kennedy won in 1960, the South accounted for about one-fourth of the Electoral College vote. Today, the South accounts for almost one-third of the Electoral College — 31 percent. That gain in the South's vote share is equal to Ohio's share.
And so all at the same time, three things are happening: The South is becoming more powerful; it is trending Republican; and it is absolutely essential to the election of any Democratic presidential candidate. But when I argue that the party must stop driving out moderate and conservative Democrats, I am somehow a traitor? *
This lifelong Democrat can no longer ignore the consequences that the soft defense and weak foreign policy views of the national Democratic Party have on my children and grandchildren. And that was what my speech in New York was all about.
One day, there will be a rebirth of the Democratic Party in the South, a rebirth where there is room for moderates and conservatives and where there is a place for a John Kennedy Democrat who believes in a strong national defense and cutting taxes. Today is not that day.
(End of letter. Actually the above is a guest column taken from the 9-16-04 ajc. The addressee, salutation and closing were added. Below is some commentary about the sentence in bold print marked with an asterisk *)
* "But when I argue that the party must stop driving out moderate and conservative Democrats, I am somehow a traitor?"
Like most Georgians, I have read much and heard much about Georgia's senior senator. And I have read and heard him accused of being a traitor and worse.
But to my recollection -- which is part of a weak memory and thus not very reliable -- I cannot recall reading or hearing Sen. Miller being accused of being a traitor because he is arguing that the Democratic Party must stop driving out moderate and conservative Democrats.