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Encore for Zell Miller

In case you missed it, Sen. Zell Miller — the alleged Democrat from Georgia and GOP-appointed pit bull against Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry — delivered another scathing speech on the Senate floor Wednesday. Miller sought to “correct” Kerry’s defense record, while castigating the dimwitted media for missing the essence of his speech at the Republican Convention. [IMGCAP(1)]

“At the height of the Cold War, at a time when we were playing cards with the devil himself, when our own future, the world’s freedom, and the fate of half a billion souls from Poland to Siberia, from the Baltic to Crimea, were all in the pot, John Kerry said ‘fold them’ to what ultimately turned out to be one of the biggest winning hands ever played for freedom,” Miller said, exuding an air of gentlemanly statesmanship.

Them fightin’ words are a far, far cry from the glowing assessment he gave the Massachusetts Senator during a speech at the Democratic Party of Georgia’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner on March 1, 2001. (The speech, as of Wednesday, was still on Miller’s Web site.)

Back then, Miller described Kerry as “one of the nation’s authentic heroes, one of this party’s best-known and greatest leaders — and a good friend.”

His friend, he said, “has worked to strengthen our military,” was a swift boat officer in the Navy and “received a Silver Star, Bronze Star and three awards of the Purple Heart for combat duty in Vietnam.” He noted that Kerry later co-founded Vietnam Veterans of America.

One Democratic aide who heard Miller’s recent floor speech said, “I guess Zell has just crowned himself the ultimate flip-flopper. He’s with Kerry, he’s against him, oh wait, he’s with him, but only in cyberspace.”

Miller’s office did not return calls.

Punk Invasion. Punk rockers with red and black mohawks, chains and studded collars stormed Capitol Hill on Wednesday to let Republicans know that punkers are “on” to their secret draft plan.

Although the House resoundingly defeated a measure to reinstate the draft, Republicans still can’t shake conspiracy rumors that they’re trying to revive it.

One day after the House voted 402-2 against the draft, the renegade groups Punkvoter and Iraq Veterans Against the War came to the Hill insisting that the vote was a sham and that Republicans are out to draft young, and mostly poor, folks to fight in Iraq.

As the punkers say: Do the math, dude. No exit strategy, no major allies sending troops and no end in sight to the conflict.

Republican leaders say the draft talk is political nonsense perpetuated by Democrats.

Punkvoter’s political director, Scott Goodstein calls it a “poverty draft.” With tens of millions of Americans without health insurance or enough money to go to college, recruitment into service is an attractive option, he says. The way Goodstein sees it, GOP leaders were only trying to kill rumors of the draft to avoid exposing the reality that “Members of Congress’s kids are not fighting this war” while “poor minorities and our nation’s reserve officers” are.

Their closest Congressional ally, Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), gave his punk buddies a tour of the Capitol. Once they finally got their 50 to 60 pounds worth of metal belts, chains, black jack boots and earrings through security, Goodstein says, the Congressman took them to meet House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

The punk rockers were joined by Iraq war veteran Michael Hoffman, the 25-year-old co-founder of Iraq Veterans Against the War, who says he wanted to let Members know “how bad it is on the ground” in Iraq.

His group, which claims to have more than 50 members, is advocating immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops even while Hoffman stands a good chance of going back. He’s on active reserve until 2006 but he says “it’s something I try not to think about.”

Off to Bush Leagues. Robert Traynham, a longtime aide to Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), leaves Capitol Hill today to join the Bush-Cheney campaign. The 30-year-old veteran GOP spokesman is taking a leave of absence from the Senate Republican Conference, which Santorum chairs, until the end of the election. Traynham, one of the most high-profile black aides on Capitol Hill, joins the Bush campaign at a time of heated allegations by Democrats, including Kerry, that Republicans are plotting to suppress black voter turnout on Election Day.

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