The Miller speech was the ugliest I’ve ever seen at a convention. It certainly trumped Pat Buchanan’s 1992 “culture war” speech, in which the target was an abstract army of social liberals. This was a direct assault on the character and integrity of the Democratic nominee. And it followed a familiar G.O.P. attack pattern: like the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, Miller wasn’t an official part of the Bush campaign. He claims to be a Democrat, and so, several Republicans told me, he was free to say anything he pleased.
But Miller’s speech wasn’t the most disgraceful part of the G.O.P. show. That honor went to the Purple Heart Band-Aids ridiculing John Kerry’s Vietnam wounds that were distributed by a past associate of Karl Rove’s.