FLASHBACK: In the 2002 #GASen election, outgoing Senator Saxby Chambliss (R) distastefully smeared triple amputee veteran and then occupant Max Cleland (D) in an ad by comparing him to Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. Sadly, Chambliss’s smear propelled him to a victory.
Thankfully, this rotten asshole’s leaving office after this year, and better yet, this seat should hopefully go back to the Blue column with a Michelle Nunn win this November as just desserts for this ad in 2002.
On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved six nominees to federal courts in Georgia, clearing the way for the full Senate to vote on these nominees. Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT), however, held back one nominee, the controversial Michael Boggs.[O]ne of the nominees, Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Michael Boggs, a conservative Democrat, hit a roadblock when liberals objected to his record in the state Legislature. Boggs voted to reinstate a version of the Confederate flag as the state flag, opposed same-sex marriage and took positions on abortion that critics say would have limited women’s rights.President Obama made a sort of package deal with Georgia’s Republican senators, Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss, taking Boggs as one of the package in return for getting judges he wanted. But in addition to the opposition to Boggs from numerous civil rights groups, he’s opposed by Georgia Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights icon in his own right. And Boggs did himself no favors with his disingenuous testimony and follow-up answers on the issue of abortion.
The Judiciary Committee decided to move ahead with the other judges, who include Julie Carnes and Jill Pryor to sit on the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, and four District Court nominees. The six are likely to win approval on the Senate floor.
Boggs is expected to be voted on in committee later. Many Democrats are expected to oppose him, but even if he gets a majority, it is unclear whether Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) will bring him up for a floor vote.
So far, the only Democratic committee members to announce their position on Boggs are Al Franken and Dick Durbin. Durbin’s opposition is critical, as a member of leadership. Between him and Reid opposing Boggs, it’s hard to see this nomination coming to the floor without an ugly fight. That fight could be avoided in a couple of ways. First, either Boggs himself or President Obama could withdraw the nomination. That would certainly be the cleanest solution. Or Democrats on the committee could vote against, should Leahy schedule that vote.
We’re covering our bases. If you live in a state with a senator on the Judiciary Committee,please sign and send the petition: Reject Michael Boggs’s nomination to the U.S. District Court in Georgia.
Both Allen West and Tammy Duckworth served in the military; however, West disgraced our nation’s military by behaving in a dishonest manner as he almost got court martialed.
Duckworth, OTOH, is a REAL hero who served to protect our freedoms.
This is eerily reminiscent of how soon-to-be retiring Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss degradingly smeared the then incumbent Max Cleland in an ad back in the 2002 elections.
Of the five candidates at the event, Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), engineer Derrick Grayson and businessman Eugene Yu said they would support impeachment. Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel and attorney Art Gardner did not raise their hands.
Georgia Republican Reps. Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston, as well as businessman David Perdue, who are also running for the Senate seat left open by retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) did not attend the forum.
Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., said the mixture of a trending-purple state and a bloody GOP primary could hinder the party’s ability next year to hold the Georgia Senate seat of his retiring colleague.
“It should be a Republican seat, but there’s a perfect storm that could happen that could make that challenging,” said Isakson when he was asked about the race Wednesday at the annual tax, budget and health care policy seminar hosted by BakerHostetler.
The seat of retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., has so far enticed three members of Congress, a wealthy businessman and a former Georgia secretary of state to vie for the GOP nomination. Meanwhile, Democrats are coalescing around Michelle Nunn, the daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga., and head of the nonprofit Points of Light Foundation.
Earlier this month, CQ Roll Call reported that the Senate race is shaping up to host a test case for Democrats intent on one day making Georgia routinely competitive in statewide races. While Republicans remain especially skeptical that can happen as early as 2014, Georgia still presents Senate Democrats with their best opportunity to pick up a seat so far this cycle.
Isakson maintained that the seat “will probably be Republican,” but the margins of the party’s “overwhelming” victories in the past decade in legislative and congressional races have grown closer over time. He noted that “Georgia was one of the few Southern states that Romney didn’t carry by double digits.”
Even before President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, Republicans were vowing to repeal it. It’s no wonder, because polls showed that the basic elements of the ACA were quite popular, and there was a real danger that it would become more so as people found out that the plan denounced as a “monstrosity” by the National Republican Senatorial Committee would not trample on their liberties so much as help protect their health. Desperate to avoid this, the GOP-controlled House has voted no fewer than thirty-seven times to repeal Obamacare in the three years since it was enacted.
Now letters produced by a Freedom of Information Act request reveal that many of these same anti-Obamacare Republicans have solicited grants from the very program they claim to despise. This is evidence not merely of shameless hypocrisy but of the fact that the ACA bestows tangible benefits that even Congress’s most extreme right-wing ideologues are hard-pressed to deny to their constituents.
As I reported here last September, Congressman Paul Ryan, who as Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012 called for its repeal, sent a letter requesting ACA money for health clinics in his district two years earlier. The Nation has obtained documents revealing that at least twenty other Obamacare-bashing GOP lawmakers have similarly pleaded for ACA funds on behalf of constituents. Among them are Kristi Noem, a Republican lawmaker from South Dakota likely to run for the Senate next year, as well as Ohio Senator Rob Portman, who has been touted as a potential GOP presidential candidate in 2016.
In one of two letters sent by Portman to the Department of Health and Human Services, the senator requested ACA funds to help a federal health center in Cleveland, where the money could help “an additional 8,966 uninsured individuals” to receive ”essential services,” in his words. In Noem’s case, the congresswoman requested ACA funds to construct a community health center in Rapid City to provide primary services to the uninsured. Both Noem and Portman won office in 2010 campaigning vigorously against the law and have since worked to repeal it.
Though notably less transparent, the behavior of these GOP lawmakers parallels that of GOP governors like Arizona’s Jan Brewer, who blast the president’s health reform package while embracing the millions in Medicaid funds that it provides.
The letter writers include GOP rank-and-file Congress members, leaders and committee chairs, all of whom have supported the repeal effort. David Valadao, for example, a freshman representative who campaigned last year on his opposition to Obamacare, requested funds in a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius two years ago for a program to improve “the general health” of the Fresno County area, which he then served as a California assemblyman. Congressman Jeff Denham, a two-term GOP lawmaker who won his seat with support from Tea Party activists, penned a letter recommending the same application for Fresno County. The county Department of Public Health won the grant. Valadao’s and Denham’s offices declined to comment.
The Affordable Care Act authorizes an array of grants to local hospitals, community health clinics and doctor training programs, as well as public health initiatives to improve health and access to care. The billions of dollars in grants are awarded on a competitive basis, and lawmakers on the state and federal levels have sent letters endorsing applicants.
Texas Senator John Cornyn, the Republican whip, wrote to the Centers for Disease Control to recommend a grant for Houston and Harris County. Congressman Michael McCaul, a Republican and the chair of the Homeland Security Committee, wrote a letter praising the same grant request, calling the effort a “crucial initiative to achieve a healthier Houston/Harris County.” Senators Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Mark Kirk of Illinois and Thad Cochran of Mississippi also recommended grant request approval for public health or health clinic funding.
House Republicans and the Senate Republican Policy Committee have trashed the ACA’s Community Transformation grants as an Obamacare “slush fund.” In the letters seeking these grants, however, GOP lawmakers have heaped praise on their potential. Cornyn writes in his letter that the grant would help “improve the health and quality of life of area residents.” Congressman Aaron Schock, a Republican from Illinois, congratulated a local nonprofit for winning a Community Transformation grant, noting that the program will give “people the tools to live healthier and longer lives.”
The National Republican Senatorial Committee warns of Obamacare that “as this awful legislation gets ever closer to going into effect, the negative consequences are only becoming increasingly clear.” But the NRSC’s chair, Jerry Moran, has hailed programs that exist because of it. In August, he attended a ceremony announcing a $4.7 million expansion of the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas. A picture posted on Moran’s official Facebook page shows the senator in a suit with his foot on a shovel to break ground for the health clinic. “That funding—that came from the Affordable Care Act, and he voted no,” says Krista Postai, CEO of the CHC-SEK clinics. She adds that Moran had been supportive of health clinics in the past, and she was disappointed to see him vote against the law that made her clinic expansion possible. Postai noted that her clinics are already improving lives with ACA funding, and that there are thousands of uninsured and disabled people in her community who now receive coverage and preventive care thanks to the law.
Some of the letters obtained by The Nation are from lawmakers who are no longer in office, including Jerry Lewis, Bobby Schilling, Kay Bailey Hutchison and Robert Dold.
The letters of support for ACA grants are a reminder (if one is needed) that some Republican claims against the bill reflect politics rather than policy preferences. GOP Congressman Hal Rogers, who rails against healthcare reform as “socialistic,” wrote a letter asking for an Obamacare health clinic grant almost as soon as the money became available. Federal health centers provide a range of healthcare services regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. The ACA dramatically boosts spending on these centers, by about $11 billion, with the goal of reaching 1.25 million additional patients.
Congressman Bill Cassidy, a Louisiana Republican who has led efforts to repeal healthcare reform, stood next to a 6-foot stack of papers he dubbed the “Obamacare Red Tape Tower of Regulations” at a press conference in May. In October, Cassidy posed for a different type of press event, standing with school administrators in Baton Rouge, scissors in hand, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for three school-based health centers. The ceremony was a celebration of a $500,000 grant authorized by the Affordable Care Act to expand health clinics in area schools.
Before healthcare reform made nearly every federal health program a political football, the Bush administration routinely requested greater funds for federal community health centers with little controversy. But health clinics once supported by the GOP are now on the chopping block. Republicans, led by Congressman Michael Burgess of Texas, have attempted to roll back the ACA’s expanded clinic funding. Also, several of the repeal bills in Congress have targeted the entire law, including funds for health centers and public health initiatives. The fact that they have sought grants for those centers has not stopped Republicans from voting against them. Louisiana’s Cassidy, for instance, voted for Burgess’s bill to shut down funding for clinics.
Whether cutting a ribbon or signing a letter, no Republicans have acknowledged that the health programs they are endorsing are provided by Obamacare.
Some GOP lawmakers have balked at the charges of hypocrisy. “Sen. Chambliss voted against the Affordable Care Act, just as he did the stimulus package. But the bill passed, and if the money is available, we want Georgians to be able to compete fairly with folks from other states for it,” wrote Lauren Claffey, the senator’s press secretary, in an e-mail. Similarly, Senator Isakson’s office e-mailed a statement from the senator claiming: ”I voted against Obamacare and will continue to work to repeal it. However, one of the most important parts of my job as senator is to assist Georgia individuals, businesses and local governments in their dealings with the federal government. Any time one of my constituents has business with the federal government, I try to be as helpful as possible by supporting worthy projects.”
“I’m not gay. So I’m not going to marry one.” - Sen. Saxby Chambliss, on why he continues to oppose gay marriage.
Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) made no secret of his controversial positions on everything from the dangers of science to eliminating the Voters Rights Act in his time as a Tea Party favorite. In preparation for a Senate run, however, Broun has chosen to keep his views to himself — and his potential donors.
Broun is currently the only Republican who has announced a bid to replace Sen. Saxby Chambliss in the Senate upon the latter’s retirement in 2014. In the interest of winning over a state-wide majority of voters, Broun has sought to moderate his positions somewhat, referring to bipartisan efforts in manufacturing jobs in a recent radio interview.
As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has pointed out, however, his new moderate tone has yet to reach the Congressman’s fundraising efforts. AJC’s Jim Galloway highlighted a few choice paragraphs from one of Broun’s fundraising letters to potential funders:
As a Member of the House of Representatives for the last few years, I have fought tooth-and-nail against President Obama’s agenda at every turn.
I was the first Member of Congress to call him a socialist who embraces Marxist-Leninist policies like government control of health care and redistribution of wealth….
On the Senate side, I’m a staunch ally of now retired Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina — and of course, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky….
Broun is likely right that he was the first to call Obama a Marxist back in 2008. In the same interview, he also compared President Obama to Adolf Hitler.
As recently as January, Broun said that President Obama only upholds the “Soviet Constitution.”
Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) filed paperwork Wednesday to run for the seat of retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), the first to jump into the race, National Journal reports.
Broun, who made headlines last year when he called evolution and the big bang theory “lies straight from the pit of Hell,” could be a headache to establishment Republicans who want to make sure the nomination goes to a candidate likely to appeal in a general election, a risk even in a red state like Georgia.
h/t: TPM LiveWire
WASHINGTON — Senator Saxby Chambliss, the Georgia Republican who helped lead efforts to find a bipartisan deficit reduction compromise, announced on Friday that he would retire at the end of 2014, a decision likely to set off a battle on the Republican Party’s right flank for a successor.
Already, organizations backed by the Tea Party were stirring interest in a primary challenge for Mr. Chambliss over his embrace of new revenues as a part of any comprehensive deficit package. Representatives Tom Price and Paul Broun, two Republican doctors and ardent conservatives from Georgia, had expressed interest in a possible challenge.
But without Mr. Chambliss in the picture, the Senate contest in Georgia could shape up to be a battle royale on the right. Other possible candidates could include Herman Cain, a failed presidential candidate, and Karen Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state who ran for governor in 2010 with the backing of Sarah Palin. Ms. Handel lost that contest but went on to a senior position at the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer foundation, where she championed a controversial move to withhold financing for Planned Parenthood cancer screenings.
In a statement, Mr. Chambliss took pains to say he did not fear losing a primary challenge.
“Lest anyone think this decision is about a primary challenge, I have no doubt that had I decided to be a candidate, I would have won re-election,” he said. “In these difficult political times, I am fortunate to have actually broadened my support around the state and the nation due to the stances I have taken. Instead, this is about frustration, both at a lack of leadership from the White House and at the dearth of meaningful action from Congress.”
Democrats insisted they would make a run at his seat.
“Georgia will now offer Democrats one of our best pick-up opportunities of the cycle. There are already several reports of the potential for a divisive primary that will push Republicans to the extreme right. Regardless, there’s no question that the demographics of the state have changed and Democrats are gaining strength. This will be a top priority,” said Guy Cecil, executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
But in a mid-presidential term election, Georgia will present a steep climb for the Democratic Party.
h/t: The New York Times
Source: The New York Times
(CNN) — Conservative activist and CNN contributor Erick Erickson wrote Friday a primary challenge against Sen. Saxby Chambliss won’t be in the offing after all, pointing to the ramifications an intra-party fight would have on his family.
Earlier this week, Erickson floated the idea of challenging Chambliss after the second-term Republican senator said he would consider reneging on a pledge not to raise taxes.
“Were I to run for the Senate, it would be a terribly nasty campaign,” Erickson wrote Friday on his website RedState.com, which is popular with conservatives. “It’d actually be really awesome, but it’d be really nasty. I have a seven year old, a soon to be four year old, and a wife who does not like being anywhere near a stage. I’m not putting my family through that when the best outcome would mean a sizable pay cut and being away from my kids and wife all the time huddled in a pit of vipers often surrounded by too many who viewed me as a useful instrument to their own advancement.”
Erickson, who lives in Macon, Georgia, first discussed the possibility of running in a contest against Chambliss Tuesday evening and said he would discuss it with his family.
“I had been rather dismissive of it, but in the past two days have been approached by several organizations and individuals I greatly respect who have asked me to really consider it,” Erickson, also a CNN political contributor, said Tuesday. “I owe them that and will consider it, but am not prepared to commit to it. I have plenty of time to think about it.”
On CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” Wednesday, Erickson said someone should challenge Chambliss ahead of the 2014 election, even if that challenger isn’t him.
“If it’s not me, I hope someone does it. It’s not until 2014,” he said. “I’ve been very dismissive of calls saying run for this thing. But in the last couple days, I’ve gotten a lot of calls from some prominent folks that are throwing out dollar signs of what they can raise and I think I need to treat them more seriously than I have been.”
Opposition to Chambliss is not new to Erickson, who has targeted his fellow Georgian for compromising on immigration and energy legislation, as well as the farm bill and federal bailouts.
“Conservatives supported him [in 2008] because we knew he was what stood between America and 60 Democrats in the Senate,” Erickson said Tuesday. “But he never learned his lesson and continues to support all the compromises that have gotten us into this mess in the first place.”
In a 900-word indictment of Sen. Saxby Chambliss, RedState editor and CNN contributor Erick Erickson described the Georgia Republican Tuesday as “waffling around like a dog off its leash for the first time.”
The RedState post, which laid out the conservative case in full against Chambliss, read a lot like a campaign manifesto, which maybe it was: Erickson said Tuesday evening on his radio show he’d been approached “by serious people” to consider a primary challenge and is giving it “prayerful consideration.”
An Erickson primary challenge would certainly make for great political theater. He’s won elected office before — he served one term on the Macon City Council — and could complicate Chambliss’s re-election bid. But as a leading conservative blogger, radio talk show host and frequent cable television presence, Erickson’s also got a long trail of writing and video that might not be so helpful in a statewide campaign.