Danny Glover fetes Rep. George Miller

Actor and political activist Danny Glover greeted Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, tonight with a big bear hug as the old friends met in Pleasant Hill for the congressman’s annual birthday/political fund-raiser bash.

“If you’re doing a movie, you have to decide whether you really, really believe in it or if you are going to be pushing ‘S’ ‘H’ ‘I’ ‘T’ uphill,” Glover told the crowd of several hundred at the Pleasant Hill Recreation Center. “With George, I know I am not pushing you-know-what uphill.”

(We’re going to assume that Glover wasn’t talking about his lucrative “Lethal Weapon” movies, either.)

Glover graciously mingled with the guests and posed for pictures before delivering a passionate speech about Miller’s nearly 34-year career in Congress and the pair’s shared activism on issues such as ending apartheid, improving education, advancing civil rights and ending the Iraq War.

“Our public education system is all but collapsed here,” Glover said. “We need someone (like Miller) to talk about making quality education a civil rights issue.”

No, Miller doesn’t need campaign funds for his own race. The man hasn’t had a viable opponent in years.

He’s raising it for Democratic causes, of which he will tell you there many. That includes the election of six more U.S. Democratic Senators and 22 new members of Congress : That’s the number Democrats need to have enough votes to override a presidential veto and “do what we have been unable to do, which is stop the Iraq War,” Miller said.

Surrounded by his grandchildren, Miller, who turns 63 on May 17, took his opportunity at the microphone to recount some of his legislative battles of the past year and half since the Democrats took majority control of Congress.

And yes, since you asked, he likes it. A lot.

“I am finally able to create some action,” Miller told the crowd, a veritable who’s who of Contra Costa Democrats, labor leaders and elected officials including Assemblyman Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, Martinez Councilman Mark Ross and Contra Costa supervisors Susan Bonilla, Federal Glover and John Gioia.

Also in the crowd were at least three Democratic primary candidates for Assembly District 14, currently held by outgoing Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley. (She’s running for state Senate and she was there, too.)

But only one AD14 candidate has Miller’s endorsement: Richmond Councilman Tony Thurmond received the congressman’s nod this week although it didn’t dissuade candidates Nancy Skinner, a director on the East Bay Regional Park District, or physician Phil Polakoff, from working the room.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen