On Wednesday, Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), told Georgia television station WMAZ that he had a problem with the Grover Norquist tax pledge. Chambliss, who votes with his party 91 percent of the time, said: “I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge. If we do it his way, then we’ll continue in debt and I just have a disagreement with him about that.”
Yes, Saxby Chambliss is one Republican politician now willing to raise revenue. Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform shows that Chambliss is one of 39 Republican senators who has signed the pledge. There are 219 House Republicans entering the upcoming 113th Congress in thrall to Norquist
This is almost like one of Sauron’s Ring Wraith’s suddenly deciding he’s not kidnapping any more Hobbits. How do you not do the Dark Lord’s bidding and get re-elected?
Chambliss admits he worries about that. He told WMAZ that he is under no illusions about how Norquist will feel when he comes up for re-election. “But I don’t worry about that because I care too much about my country. I care a lot more about it than I do Grover Norquist,”
Which is not how Norquist hismelf tells it. According to the Washington Post, Norquist’s position is this: Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) are those most likely to challenge his pledge. Norquist says, simply, “like being senators.”
Chambliss is right about the Norquist tax pledge only adding to the debt. He told WMAZ that this is the crux of the matter, the “basis of a ‘fundamental disagreement’ between the two.” But he says, “I’m willing to do the right thing and let the political consequences take care of themselves.”
In 2011, Chambliss was part of the “Gang of Six” and was one of its two leaders, along with Democratic Mark Warner (D-VA). They Gang of Six proposed to cut the increase of the debt but not the existing debt and other Republicans showed their true feelings about debt by criticizing the proposal..Humorously, the Heritage Foundation said it was too vague. And here the GOP ran a presidential candidate on vagueness.
Yeah, no moral relativism there.
And if you’re not already familiar with Saxby Chambliss, don’t get all exciting about the prospect of clapping him on the back with a nod of encouragment.
Yes, we need revenue. We need to break the hold Grover Norquist has on Republican members of Congress.
But would-be rebel Saxby Chambliss has proved himself no saint.
He has shown this on repeated occasions. In 2005 he voted against making money available to combat teen pregnancies through use of education and contraceptives, two “no-no” words for any Republican congressman.
In 2008 he gave Sarah Palin the credit for his runoff victory against Jim Martin, and Chambliss found the opportunity to express his racism. In 2009 he proved Sarah Palin’s confidence not-misplaced when, as our own Sarah reported, he was one of “30 Republican Senators voted against an amendment proposed by Sen. Al Franken that would hold the defense contractors accountable for their employees rapes, the GOP became the pro-rape party.”
In 2010, after a sleazy victory over triple amputee Vietnam Vet Max Cleland, he indulged in some shameless ”all gays must die” gay-bashing. As Sarah Jones wrote on that occasion, “The picture Chambliss’ history tells is an atmosphere of riotous, arrogant, wealthy frat boys laughing at the little people all wrapped in the image of a genteel southern gentleman who loves Jesus but hates social justice.” Just this year, to cap all this off, Chambliss stabbed our veterans in the back by being one of forty Republicans blocking the creation of jobs for those who had served their country.
NARAL Pro-Choice America gave Chambliss a rating of 0% in 2005, and in 2008, and in 2011. In 2006, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) gave him a 100% rating. NRLC shot their wad when they learned Chambliss had won again in 2012.
No, there isn’t much good you can say about Saxby Chambliss. And you would not know any of his backstory from reading CNN.
But he is right about Grover Norquist.
And Grover Norquist is just bristling. He told the Washington Post’s Stephen Moore this week, ‘No one is caving,” Norquist insisted,
“Nothing has changed on the chess board since Barack Obama agreed to extend all the Bush tax cuts two years ago. Exactly the same players. Republicans still control the House and Democrats still control the White House and the Senate.” Then he delivers the clincher: “For 20 years Democrats have tried over and over to trick Republicans into breaking the pledge. It hasn’t happened. This isn’t my first rodeo.”
No lack of hubris there. But it is only fair to say this is not Barack Obama’s first rodeo either, and our president has shown himself to be a shrewd operator.
And then there is the effect of cold-hard, reality. Admittedly not a big factor in Republican thinking lately. But Republicans love to spend money. Democrats refuse to screw veterans so we can send more of them into the meatgrinder of the GOP’s endless war. Democrats refuse to screw the American people so Republicans can assign more lucrative defense contracts to build more missiles and guns to make the meatgrinder possible.
Republicans might just have to start waking up.
And Norquist would do well to reign in the arrogance. We already know he won’t put Americans first, where ideology has pride of place. You never know, Grover: enough Republicans might grow stones to break the gridlock. And it is not, after all, as though Chambliss does not now have access to Super-Pac spending as well.
And then where would you be? When you go all for nothing, you sometimes end up with…nothing.
And wouldn’t that be a sight?