News - Saxby Chambliss, redux
For embodying much that's loathsome about politics
If Georgia voters know what's good for them, after next week's elections Saxby Chambliss will join Bob Barr in the dustbin of Southern conservative politics. So, assuming we won't have ol' Saxby to kick around anymore, we thought we'd get our licks in while we can.
This is not simply a gratuitous, last-minute slap at a candidate whose political views differ from ours. Rather, it's a well-deserved, last-minute slap at a candidate who represents a particularly unsavory form of political parasite: disingenuous about his own positions; strictly partisan in his voting; an adversary to personal liberties; and a dishonorable campaigner.
An example of Chambliss' hypocrisy is the outrageous manner in which he's attacked his opponent, Sen. Max Cleland, as being soft on terrorism and defense — even airing a TV ad that suggestively showed a photo of the disabled Vietnam vet in sequence with shots of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden — despite the fact that Chambliss, who avoided military service, voted against U.S. military intervention to halt the genocide in Kosovo.
On the civil liberties front, Chambliss supported the "Know Your Customer" regulations directing banks to spy on customers, and opposed civil asset forfeiture reform holding law-enforcement officials to stricter standards of proof.
Chambliss' latest affront is blocking an independent investigation into the Sept. 11 attacks, clearly a sop to the Bush administration, which has aggressively backed the campaign of its most faithful lackey.
We also hope it's not out of line for us to point out that many of his fellow Republicans privately describe Chambliss on a personal level as a major-league jerk.
Recognizing Chambliss for what he is is especially important now, at a time when Georgia is considered among the principal battlefields for control of the Senate. Particularly so, following last week's death of Democratic Sen. Paul Wellstone, inarguably one of the most principled and conscientious of politicians. The idea of losing a statesman like Wellstone and sending in a craven, duplicitous opportunist such as Chambliss as a replacement is more than we can bear.
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