Until Wednesday night, I was under the impression that Andrew Jackson had died in 1845. But on Wednesday night, he appeared at the podium of the Republican National Convention under the guise of Georgia Sen. and former Gov. Zell Miller. In the accents of the mountain South, with a directness that left his sentiments unmistakable, with a hatred for what he considers betrayal of America, and out of a fierce love of family and country, Miller delivered the keynote for this Republican convention in the same place as he had delivered one of the keynotes for Bill Clinton's convention in New York 12 years before. I watched Miller from the same spot in the hall as I watched him in 1992. Then I stood next to James Carville, who had worked on Miller's 1992 campaign for governor and embraced him in the moments after the speech. This time I stood next to Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who wondered how he would be greeted in the Democratic cloakroom, and New Hampshire Sen. John Sununu. The 1992 speech was real good. The 2004 speech was electrifying. Zell Miller was a United States Marine"no better friend, no worse enemy." You know which side of Zell Miller you want to be on.
First comes family. "Like you," Miller started off, "I ask which leader is it today that has the vision, the willpower, and, yes, the backbone to best protect my family?" Andrew Jackson took part in many duels, mostly because of aspersions on his wife's character. One such adversary aimed away from Jackson who stood unscathed. Calmly, Jackson aimed his gun and shot the man through the heart. David Hackett Fischer in Albion's Seed describes the diaspora of the Scots Irish from the Lowlands and Highlands of Scotland and Ulster in Northern Ireland: These were fighters, proud men and proud women, lusty and loyal, fond of song (think country music), and ever ready to fight to defend their honor. Andrew Jackson was one such. Zell Milleror Andrew Jackson in his imageis another. You do not want him to think you are a threat to his family.