I owe Saxby Chambliss a great deal of gratitude, for it was his actions in the Senate that drove me to become active in the political process. But my appreciation of Senator Chambliss doesn’t go an inch farther than that.
Saxby’s support of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) several years ago prompted me to get involved and launch FireSaxby.com, a web site devoted to highlighting Chambliss’ brand of phony conservatism with hopes of seeing him removed from office.
(The Associated Press interviewed me about the site; you can read that article here.)
Chambliss spent a big pile of money in a race that shouldn’t have been close. He ended up in a runoff election and beat his Democrat opposition to remain in office. That’s certainly not what I was hoping for, but I learned something very interesting about Saxby Chambliss that year.
Nobody likes him.
Sure, there are former campaign volunteers who remember him as a nice guy, and there are people who have known him for a long time that insist Saxby is a nice guy; but the average Georgia voter can’t stand Saxby Chambliss.
I’ve heard the same comments about Saxby as I’ve continued in political activism since then. People will accept him because he’s a Republican, but generally they don’t like him. He’s too liberal, too soft on immigration, too terrible on fiscal issues, too willing to raise taxes. That list goes on.
Not one time has anyone told me that they like Saxby Chambliss and hope he stays in office. I’ve been planning a very active campaign season for 2014. I’ve planned to spend every possible moment of the 2014 election cycle campaigning for Saxby’s opponent.
You can imagine my joy when I heard the news on Friday that Saxby won’t be seeking re-election.
The funny part of it is that he said it was frustration with Washington that made him decide to quit. The debt ceiling debacle, lack of presidential leadership, a legislative gridlock – these are the reasons for Saxby’s exit.
It has nothing to do with the fact that nobody likes him.
It has nothing to do with the fact that Georgians don’t appreciate him talking about raising taxes.
Or about being bipartisan with Democrats when they are dead wrong.
It has nothing to do with him supporting the indefinite detention of American citizens.
It has nothing to do with the big pork spending he loves so dearly.
It has nothing to do with the Senate Conservatives Fund (with Jim DeMint’s exodus from the Senate) now able and willing to target vulnerable Republicans.
It was Saxby’s frustration with Washington.
I guess when the going gets tough, the tough go back home to Moultrie.
Saxby insists he would have won a primary election if he had stayed in the game. Realistically, he’s probably right. He’s got access and influence and could probably buy himself another term in the Senate.
(That’s one of the big problems with the Seventeenth Amendment, by the way.)
He would have had a huge fight on his hands. A few Georgia politicians were already rumored to be mounting a fight against Chambliss. Saxby may have beaten them in a primary, but it would have been close and would have proven the point that there is a growing base of Republicans ready to reject lousy, no good senators like Saxby Chambliss.
But no matter his reason, he’ll be gone soon. His time in Washington can’t end soon enough. Let the celebration begin.
So long, Saxby. Don’t let the door hit you on your way out.