SPITBALLS & 'HARDBALL'
When the political parties try to make compelling TV, too often they succeed to their own regret: Dan Rather getting roughed up at the '68 Democratic convention in Chicago;Ted Kennedy's rambling interview; Richard Nixon's refusal to wear make-up for his debate with John F. Kennedy.
But when they get it right, it puts these so-called "reality TV" shows to shame: Johnson's 1964 "Daisy" ad which scuttled Goldwater's candidacy; Bill Clinton blowing the sax on Arsenio's show; and Senator Sam Ervin and the rest of that colorful cast of characters from the 1973 Watergate hearings.
This past week, the Republicans met in New York City and provided Toobworld with an image that threatened to burn right through the TV screen - Zell Miller, the Democratic senator from Georgia who crossed party lines to deliver the keynote speech.
His firebrand demonization of John Kerry, the Democratic nominee, was scary enough. (I hope parents sent their little ones to bed before he began spewing his zellfire and damnation!) But that didn't seem to be enough for Zell Miller.
No, he had to go on MSNBC's 'Hardball' and not only spar with host Chris Matthews, but then threaten to go over to the studio and challenge him to a duel!
Pistols at dawn!
[Remember that "Got Milk?" commercial which featured an Aaron Burr fanatic whose mouth was full of peanut butter? I bet he got a woody watching the exchange!]
I'll bet there were lots of bigwigs in the Democratic party who wish that more Zellish zealots had been up at that GOP podium. It would have been 1996 all over again when the true face of the Republican Party, the intolerant far-right core of support, ended up scaring more people than an episode of 'The X-Files'.
So, thank you, Zell Miller. You've provided Toobworld with the Screensaver of the Week!