Actually, the “poppin'” is that of the bursting neck-buttons of our liberal pundit-pals over Georgia Democratic Sen. Zell Miller’s tour de force of a rousing, fellow Dem-bashing keynote speech at the Republican convention. What induced the left-of-center apoplexy was, of course, that the speech was a terrific piece of  roar-inducing rhetoric. Of course the liberals are purple with rage.

Here’s Slate’s William Saletan today in haut hauteur:

“[T]here are three ways to make national security a campaign issue. One is to argue the facts of a particular question, as [Dem contender John F.] Kerry has done on Iraq. The second is to sweep aside all factual questions, as [Vice President Dick] Cheney and Miller did tonight, with a categorical charge that the other party is indifferent or hostile to the country’s safety….”


And here’s Andrew Sullivan slamming Miller as a “Dixiecrat”–even though, as Instapundit Glen Reynolds has pointed out, the Dixiecrats were a third-party phenomenon peculiar to the 1948 presidential election, when Zell was too young to vote:

“Then you see Zell Miller, his face rigid with anger, his eyes blazing with years of frustration as his Dixiecrat vision became slowly eclipsed among the Democrats. Remember who this man is: once a proud supporter of racial segregation, a man who lambasted LBJ for selling his soul to the negroes. His speech tonight was in this vein, a classic Dixiecrat speech, jammed with bald lies, straw men, and hateful rhetoric.”

And if you think Andrew’s briefs are in a bunch, Joe Conason over at Salon (warning, unless you’re a Salon subscriber, you have to click through an ad for a dumb-looking movie before you can get to Joe) accuses Miller of the worst crime of all as far as the left is concerned: being a born-again Christian:

“Whatever party registration he may find convenient to profess, ‘Zigzag Zell’ apparently has looked into his own soul and discovered a powerful affinity for the most extreme wing of the religious right in his home state. In the act of abandoning old friends and savaging his political heritage, Miller has been ‘born again.'”

(How fascinating: Andrew says that Zell is being true to his bigoted Southern-Dem heritage, while Joe accuses him of having abandoned it! Shouldn’t our liberal brethren be consistent?)

And here’s liberal blogger Josh Marshall at Talking Points:

“[J]ust on a pure political level it didn’t seem to me like the sort of speech the planners would want in prime time. There’s a lot of rage and anger in that man — and I can’t imagine a viewer coming to that speech with an open and politically-uncommitted mind who wouldn’t wonder where it was from. The tone struck me as a bit ranting and wild, barking and angry, with Miller channeling some mix of Heart of Darkness and Deliverance, which I can’t quite decipher but did not want to be near.”

And finally, here’s an excerpt from Miller’s interview with Hardball host Chris Matthews over my favorite part of the speech–when Zell enumerated the weapons programs that Kerry has voted against as senator, and than asked whether Kerry, as would-be commander-in-chief of the armed forces, planned to arm them “with spitballs”:

“Matthews: Do you believe, Senator, truthfully, that John Kerry wants to defend the country with spitballs? Do you believe that?

“Miller: That was a metaphor, wasn’t it? Do you know what a metaphor is?

“Matthews: Well, what do you mean by a metaphor?”

Chris, Chris, didn’t you take high-school English?

Trouble was, not only did the crowd of delegates love Miller’s speech, but so, according to independent focus-group polling in areas outside the Deep South (as the Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal’s James Taranto reports), did the rest of America. The “spitballs” line went over especially well. As Taranto writes of Miller’s lib-pundit critics:

“Those city folks sure are sophisticated, aren’t they?”

Finally, for some weekend laughs (and a respite from all the Big Media handwringing over how well the GOP convention went) read the American Spectator’s Shawn Macomber’s account of his experience accidentally being arrested and thrown into the holding pen with a bunch of convention protesters:

“Hilariously, some of the protest folks complained about ‘real criminals’ — i.e. those crazy-looking black guys across from us — getting to see the judge before us, and the other inmates returned the scorn.

“‘Hey, you stupids,’ one real criminal called over. ‘You go to jail for nothing? I’m in jail, but at least I made some money getting here. Punk suckers.'”

Thanks, Amy Welborn of the Catholic blog Open Book for the link.