- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 12, 2004

Sen. Zell Miller may be retiring from political life, but his message remains on target. The Georgia Democrat, who famously stepped across the aisle to support President George W. Bush’s re-election, blasted Democrat colleagues anew for their “anti-American” attacks Thursday at a fund-raiser for Hillsdale College.

The fifth annual Churchill Dinner hosted by the Hillsdale, Mich. school at the Mayflower Hotel gathered alums, politicians and well-wishers eager for an earful from the fiery, soon to be ex-senator.

Mr. Miller, who will join the McKenna Long & Aldridge law firm as a policy adviser after he leaves office next month, said the recent elections proved the country has thrown aside the “post-Vietnam era” mind-set.

“While America is not perfect, it has been, still is, and always will be a force for freedom,” Mr. Miller said.

He even repeated the infamous “spitball” line from his incendiary Republican National Convention speech regarding the only kind of weapons, he quipped, some Democrats will allow. Mr. Miller went further, calling opposition to the $87 billion bill for military support early this year “the most gutless and reprehensible vote ever cast in a time of war.”

“They chose politics over the best interests of this country,” he thundered to a rapt audience that included Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Republican Reps.Phil Crane, Tom Tancredoand Gil Gutknecht.

They came to cheer not only Mr. Miller but the fiercely independent Hillsdale College, which takes a “thanks, but no thanks” approach to federal funding, one of only a handful of institutions of higher learning nationwide to do so.

“Its role in private education is sadly unique,” said William J. Brodbeck, chairman of the college’s board of trustees.

Before the program, college President Larry P. Arnn toasted Mr. Miller’s “strong principles” and ability to withstand public scrutiny.

It would be great if his fellow Democrats listened to him, Mr. Arnn said.

— Christian Toto

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