Zell Miller

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Get out of my face

Zell Miller is a segregationist Democrat turned progressive Democrat turned conservative Democrat turned reactionary Republican from Georgia. He backed George Bush for President in 2004.

Miller served in the Georgia State Senate in the early 1960s, then unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 1964 and 1966 on a platform of repealing the Civil Rights Act. He became executive secretary to the newly elected segregationist Governor Lester Maddox in 1967.

Miller was elected Lieutenant Governor of Georgia in 1974 on a platform of abolishing the office. He never suceeded in abolishing the office but did win re-election in 1978, 1982 and 1986.

While Lieutenant Governor, Miller ran unsuccessfully for United States Senator in 1980 as a liberal, losing the Democratic Primary Run-Off to incumbent Senator Herman Talmadge.

Miller ran for Governor in 1990 on a platform of starting a lottery and only serving one term. A former lottery opponent, Miller was attacked as "Zig Zag Zell" for changing this and other positions. He placed first in the Democratic Primary and defeated Andrew Young in the Democratic Primary Run-Off. He then beat Republican Johnny Isakson in the General Election.

Miller pushed through a tax increase in 1991. He was an early backer of Bill Clinton for President in 1992 and delivered a keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention attacking President George Bush.

Miller broke the "one term" pledge and ran for re-election in 1994, narrowly defeating protest candidate Jim Boyd in the Democratic Primary and Republican Guy Millner in the General Election.

Miller's popularity recovered by the end of his term in 1998 after he moved back to the middle.

In 2000, Miller was appointed by Governor Roy Barnes to fill out the remaining term of the Senator Paul Coverdell, who had died in office. He won a special election to confirm the appointment, defeating Republican Mack Mattingly. Miller announced in early 2003 that he would not seek re-election to a full term in 2004.

As a U.S. Senator, Miller suddenly became a conservative and wrote a best selling book trashing the Democratic Party called A National Party No More.

Miller endorsed George W. Bush for re-election as President in 2004 and was a keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention.

Miller has continued with endorsements of right wing Republicans including Ralph Reed for Lieutenant Governor of Georgia in 1996. Reed and most of Miller's other endorsed candidates were defeated in the Republican primary.

Among liberal and progresive Democrats, Miller is considered a traitor and is universally reviled. He will be remembered for a heated exchange he had with the famously aggressive Chris Matthews of MSNBC's Hardball following his speech to the Republican National Convention. In the interview, a belligerent Miller said that he wished he lived in an age where he could challenge Matthews to a duel, and then told him to "get out of my face".

Miller is highly educated, with three degrees, including a doctoral degree, from the University of Georgia. He is a member of the Gridiron Secret Society.

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