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Chambliss says he won't change his approach

U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss

U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss

ATHENS — U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss doesn't believe the partisan gridlock in the nation's capital is likely to let up soon, but he doesn't plan to let that stop him from continuing to fight for what he thinks is best for the country during his remaining two years in office, he said Monday.

"I think it may surprise some people, particularly my critics, to know that I'm not going to change my principles," the Georgia Republican said. "I'm not going to change my philosophy. I'm going to continue to advocate for what the things that I think are in the best interest of the country, whether it's the fiscal issue or any other issue.

The 69-year-old Chambliss spoke at the University of Georgia, his first public appearance since he announced Friday that he wouldn't seek a re-election next year. He and Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, were on hand to talk about leadership and public service as part of the Terry Leadership Speaker Series, but they shifted their focus a bit in light of Chambliss's recent announcement.

The two are original members of the "Gang of Six," a bipartisan group of senators working to solve the country's debt problems, and their famous congeniality and mutual respect was on full display.

"I've spent more time with him over the last two years than I have with my wife," Chambliss quipped, going on to laud Warner's business sense.

Warner, in turn, said Chambliss is "the epitome of a Southern gentleman, courtly, calm, relaxed," and said the two-term senator and former U.S. representative is "a true example of political courage" for teaming with Democrats in 2010 to tackle the deficit issue even though he drew criticism from some in his own party.

Despite their bipartisan efforts, they failed to come up with a grand compromise on fiscal issues.

Chambliss expressed frustration over partisan gridlock in Washington when he announced he wouldn't seek a third term. And he said Monday he doesn't see that changing in the near future. The tough, partisan debate over budget control and raising the debt ceiling in July and August 2011 "was an ugly process," as was the fight over the fiscal cliff at the end of last year, Chambliss said.

"Y'all send us to Washington to make hard and tough decisions," he said. "They are political in nature because everything in Washington is political, but this is our country, for gosh sakes, and here we were headed off this fiscal cliff that was a very predictable crisis and yet there was not the willingness to find that common ground, and that's not what Saxby Chambliss is all about."

Warner also expressed frustration with the political bickering in Washington. He hasn't made any decisions yet about whether to seek re-election himself, he said. To keep the extreme wings of either party from taking over, people who are willing to work with the other side need to continue to step up, he said. He dismissed worries that that can make politician vulnerable.

"If you're not making a few folks upset, you're not doing your job," Warner said.

As soon as Chambliss announced his decision, chatter began about who would replace him, and the list of potential contenders is long. Chambliss, who said he was never worried about his own re-election prospects, chuckled when asked if he would endorse anyone for the job before saying he wouldn't get involved in the Republican primary.

He did, however, have a word of caution for those who covet his spot: "They need to follow me for a couple of weeks. It is not an easy life."

Comments

NorcrossDot 1 year, 2 months ago

Please note what Chambliss said. "I will continue to do what I think is best". I have repeatedly been told that by his office over the years. The problem with that statement is the fact that he is supposed to do what his constituents want done, not his personal agenda. A full complete RINO. Good Riddance.

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dentaldawg83 1 year, 2 months ago

he sounds like a bitter old man

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FordGalaxy 1 year, 2 months ago

In the John Adams miniseries that was on HBO a few years back, there is a scene where John Adams rebukes a fellow member of Congress who sought to find the will of his constituents. Adams in the series says "No, the people look to us to lead." Whether this is a saying from Adams' personal writings or a directly attributable quote, or just artistic license for the series, the quote reveals something of the political mindset. Some politicians believe it is their destiny to lead (or, to quote Valerie jarrett, to "rule"), while others genuinely seek the will of the people.


Erik Erikson just last night related a story about Chambliss and others sitting around and mocking their constituents. Apparently they failed to realize that the people put them in their positions of power. As such, it is within the ability of the people to take awa that power. Unfortunately, the people are an apathetic and complacent bunch. Just look at the places where the same person gets eleceted time after time. Regardless their job approval, they keep getting in. And then, when a wave of new representatives sweeps in on the back of a smaller-government-groundswell, the high and mighty politicians mock those who want smaller government.


Remember, simply being elected to Congress makes you smarter than everyone else. Doesn't matter if you think that Guam might tip ovre from having too many US military personnel on the island, or if you just make up Constitutional clauses, or if you think there is no restriction on the size/scope/power of the federal government, or if you cannot define sexual assault without making a fool of yourself. The only thing that is going to change the mindset of the Washington elite is to simply remove them all from office and elect new representatives.

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BuzzG 1 year, 2 months ago

"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have". Thomas Jefferson

I wish Saxby had bothered to read Thomas Jefferson. Perhaps we would not be $16.5 trillion in debt if he had.

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