Rob Miller: A New Kind of Democrat for South Carolina
On September 9, 2009 Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) tarnished South Carolina and indeed, the Republican Party, when he shouted, “You lie!” at the President during a joint session of Congress, after the President accurately denied that health care legislation would provide free coverage for illegal immigrants. This was, of course, not only an inaccurate accusation, but a horrific breach of decorum.
Not only was Joe Wilson wrong (HR 3200 specifically bars illegal immigrants from receiving subsidies), but his blatant disrespect for the venue, the office of the President, his own district, and indeed his position immediately caused an uproar throughout the country. Joe Wilson’s outburst was simply un-American. The country, Republicans and Democrats a like, didn’t like it. They wanted Joe to go.
Within hours, Act Blue set up a fund for Joe Wilson’s Democratic opponent, former Marine Rob Miller, and the money poured in — toppling the million-dollar mark.
Money came in from contributors ranging from “Military Vets for Reason and Civility” to “Latinos United Against Joe Wilson”. Perhaps almost any opponent would have satisfied the outraged citizens at this point….
After all, Joe’s raison d’être seems to be apologizing for outrageous things he does and says. Before achieving international infamy as the riotous heckler of the President, there was the incident with the out of wedlock child of Wilson’s previous boss, Strom Thurmond, during which Joe told the child she shouldn’t have smeared Storm by telling the truth. And then there was a McCarthy like incident on C-SPAN during which Joe accused another congressman of hating America, as well as a plagiarism incident where Joe submitted a statement identical to another congressman’s, both of which were suspiciously the verbatim statements of a lobbyist.
Yeah. Joe just needs to go.
Polling data revealed that Miller has a legitimate chance to unseat Wilson, “Joe Wilson leading little-known (but certainly well-funded) Democrat Rob Miller by 15 points, 49%-34%. Yet because Miller is known by just 34% of the district’s voters in the poll — versus 91% for Wilson — Democrats believe he has room to grow.
Perhaps more importantly, 49% of voters say they would vote to re-elect Wilson, versus 42% who say they will vote for someone else — and incumbents usually want to be above 50% to be considered safe…”
The campaign has been hard hitting with jobs being the central issue in the district where unemployment sits at 11.2%. Here is Miller’s hard hitting ad on Joe Wilson and outsourcing:
But those who get to know Rob Miller support him because of who he is, not who he’s running against. Rob Miller is a true patriot, one who believes strongly in serving his country whether in Iraq or Washington DC.
In fact, Miller belies the old adage that familiarity breeds contempt. In his case, the more people get to know him, the more they think Miller is right for South Carolina, and this was evident on the several days I spent with Miller again this year as he met with citizens of the Second District.
He is a unique voice in politics because he’s not a politician. He’s an ex-Marine and decorated Iraq vet, and this fact colors his every move. Miller not only served with heroism and distinction in both Al Fallujah and Mosul — indeed, he was decorated for Valor. He was also awarded the Humanitarian Service Medal for Operation Sheltering Sky in Liberia (among a long list of commendations and awards).
Rob Miller is not only a defender of freedom, but also the embodiment of United States humanitarian efforts worldwide.
Miller is man who is in command, and yet very much “of the people” at the same time. Watching him talk to voters, I had the sense that they were old friends talking about the current challenges facing South Carolina rather than a candidate meeting a potential supporter. Miller is exceptionally unaffected, and has a down home way of talking with, not at, people that puts them immediately at ease. In fact, the one comment I heard repeated from citizens to Miller was, “You don’t act like a politician.”
Seeing that the Second District is comprised of both the well-off and those suffering mightily from unemployment, Miller’s policy stances seems to both represent and look after his district’s values.
To make matters worse for Joe Wilson, Rob Miller isn’t only an American hero, whose life long goal is to serve his country, but he is the quintessential family man. He gives the term “family values” some meaning and heft again. He’s the mix of honor and service to one’s country combined with the family values that define America both left and right.
Even after long, hot, sweltering days in South Carolina, Miller was always respectful, commanding, and even-tempered. As an aside to our female readers, I couldn’t help but notice how respectful he was to his wife (um, cough, the exact opposite of a certain cranky maverick that the GOP nominated for president in 2008). To me, this says a lot about someone’s character; I don’t care how great the platform is; it’s hard to admire a man who treats his wife shoddily.
Miller’s wife, Shane, is an intelligent, warm and genuine person, who runs a Navy supplies shop in Beaufort in addition to sharing responsibility with Miller for their son Ransom, dog and tortoise. Yes, the Millers have a tortoise in their yard, or rather I should say they have a yard for their tortoise – he’s 17 years old, and has the run of the place.
It’s high time we had elected officials who have the courage to stand up to their ideological base in order to do what’s best for the people of their state. Joe Wilson forgot about the people of his state, but he sure spent a lot of time lining his own pockets with taxpayer funds for his car and trips. The same taxpayer funds he didn’t want going to healthcare for the people of his state.
Oh, say it ain’t so, Joe.
Frankly, if the voters in South Carolina get to know Rob Miller and became more familiar with his name and what he stands for, Joe Wilson will have a really tough battle ahead of him, and rightfully so. South Carolina deserves someone like Miller, who will put South Carolinians’ interests first and serve them with honor. Someone they can be proud of.
Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that this fall the voters in his district send Joe You Lie Wilson back home where he can’t embarrass South Carolina anymore. We all deserve to have someone like Miller in the House of Representatives. It’s just good for America.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.