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Give ‘Em Hell, Zell: 20 of Zell Miller’s Finest Quotes

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Zell Miller was known for “telling it like it is.” He was not one to mince words, and he was never vague about how he felt on any issue. Whether he was right or wrong, Georgians always knew where he stood. Like a true Southerner, he also had a charming and articulate way with words and was known for turning a memorable phrase every now and then. Here are some of his best:

“You won’t find average Americans on the left or on the right. You’ll find them at Kmart.”

“Silence isn’t golden. It’s yellow.”

“Time after time in our history, in the face of great danger, Democrats and Republicans worked together to ensure that freedom would not falter. But not today.”

“I have respect and affection for my Senate colleagues, but I can’t help but wish that among us there was more getting along than getting even.”

“One of these days, someone smarter and younger and more articulate than I is going to get through to the American people just how really messed up the federal government has become. And when that happens, the American people are going to rise up like that football crowd in Cleveland and run both teams off the field.”

“Where I come from, deeds mean a lot more than words.”

“I wish we lived in the day where you could challenge a person to a duel.”

“Howard Dean knows about as much about the South as a hog knows about Sunday.”

“Twenty years of votes can tell you much more about a man than twenty weeks of campaign rhetoric. Campaign talk tells people who you want them to think you are. How you vote tells people who you really are deep inside.”

“What has happened to the party I’ve spent my life working in?”

“Once upon a time, the most successful Democratic leader of them all, FDR, looked south and said I see one third of a nation ill-housed, ill clad, ill nourished. Today our national Democratic leaders look south and say, I see one third of a nation and it can go to hell.”

“I know what Dan Quayle means when he says it’s best for children to have two parents. You bet it is! And it would be nice for them to have trust funds, too. We can’t all be born rich and handsome and lucky. And that’s why we have a Democratic Party. My family would still be isolated and destitute if we had not had F.D.R.’s Democratic brand of government. I made it because Franklin Delano Roosevelt energized this nation. I made it because Harry Truman fought for working families like mine. I made it because John Kennedy’s rising tide lifted even our tiny boat. I made it because Lyndon Johnson showed America that people who were born poor didn’t have to die poor. And I made it because a man with whom I served in the Georgia Senate, a man named Jimmy Carter, brought honesty and decency and integrity to public service.”

“I’m southern born, and southern bred, and when I die, I’ll be southern dead.”

“When a child has no hope, a nation has no future.”

“I’m just an old man looking after cemeteries.”

“I say bomb the hell out of them. If there’s collateral damage, so be it. They certainly found our civilians to be expendable.”

“[We have] a prolonged and seemingly unending period of a lack of decency. A fish doesn’t know it’s wet. We’re numb and we can’t even feel it.”

“My family is more important than my party.”

“There is a war being fought. I’m not talking about the war in the Middle East, but the war being fought at home, a war for our children’s souls.”

“My mouth ain’t no prayer book.”

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