And conservatives think Howard Dean has an anger problem?
Zell Miller, as a lot of you already know, did an interview on MSNBC last night with Chris Matthews and apparently approached it like a guy itching to pick a bar fight. You can watch video of the dust-up here or here, or scroll down here to read a transcript.
Here are the three things that set Miller off:
1. A perfectly reasonable question.
2. An analogy Miller couldn't follow -- possibly because of background noise at both ends of the interview, but shouldn't a grown-up have asked for a clarification before blowing his top?
3. An interruption by Matthews -- something that's rude by the standards of everyday conservation but is now such a commonplace of TV political interviewing that taking umbrage at it is like threatening to pick a fight with someone who brushes your shoulder in a crowded subway car at rush hour.
MATTHEWS [responding to a list of weapons systems Miller said Kerry opposed]: Which of those systems was effective in either Afghanistan or Iraq? The M.X. certainly wasn't, thank God, nor was the other
MILLER: Look, this is front and -- wait, this is front and back, and it's two pages. I have got more documentation here than they have got in the New York Public Library and the Library of Congress.
MILLER: I knew you was going to be coming with all of that stuff. And I knew that these people from the Kerry campaign would be coming with all this kind of stuff. That's just baloney.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you, when Democrats come out, as they often do, liberal Democrats, and attack conservatives, and say they want to starve little kids, they want to get rid of education, they want to kill the old people...
MILLER: I am not saying that. Wait a minute.
MATTHEWS: That kind of rhetoric is not educational, is it?
MILLER: Wait a minute. Now, this is your program. And I am a guest on your program.
MATTHEWS: Yes, sir.
MILLER: And so I want to try to be as nice as I possibly can to you. I wish I was over there, where I could get a little closer up into your face.
MILLER: But I don't have to stand here and listen to that kind of stuff. I didn't say anything about not feeding poor kids. What are you doing?
MATTHEWS: If a Republican Senator broke ranks and -- all right, I'm sorry. A Republican Senator broke ranks and came over and spoke for the Democrats, would you respect him?
MILLER: Yes, of course I would.
MILLER: I have seen that happen from time to time. Look, I believe...
MATTHEWS: What does Jim Jeffords say to you?
MILLER: Wait a minute.
MATTHEWS: Jim Jeffords switched parties after getting elected.
MILLER: If you're going to ask a question...
MATTHEWS: Well, it's a tough question. It takes a few words.
MILLER: Get out of my face.
This isn't a gaffe. This is a moral philosophy: There's us and there's human scum.