Your morning jolt: Saxby Chambliss searches for a fight over Gitmo, but can’t find one

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss is trying — trying — to jump with both feet into the fight over Gitmo.

Earlier this week, Chambliss introduced legislation to prohibit the Obama administration from bringing Guantanamo detainees into the United States.

(Unless the naval base on the tip of Cuba is already considered the U.S., in which case he’s too late.)

On Thursday, Chambliss held up the Republican end on MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” in a discussion of the issue.

You could hardly call it a debate. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, the Senate Democrat paired with Chambliss, agreed in almost every way. As did Matthews — which shows you that President Obama has much persuading ahead of him.

Here’s a small taste of the exchange:

Matthews: What do you think of—do you think our prisons, our maximum security prisons are not adequate to hold them? And we‘ve got some — you know, we‘ve got a lot of killers in our prisons. We‘ve got murderers. We‘ve got people that murdered again and again in our prisons, really horrible people in those maximum security prisons in this country.

Senator Chambliss, you‘re saying they‘re not good enough to hold these terrorists? They‘re not tough enough to hold them?

Chambliss: No. What I‘m saying is that once you put them on American soil, then all of a sudden, Chris, they become eligible for a lot of rights that American criminals have. And these are combatant detainees. These are not ordinary bank robbers or the nasty folks that they would be associated with at these prisons. These are folks that either have killed or tried to kill Americans.

And we need to make sure that they don‘t have the rights given to those criminals that are placed on American soil, such as the right of habeas corpus. And a certain number of them will probably be successful in a habeas corpus action and could be released in America. And we don‘t need to give the Americans exposure of that nature.

We might have to send Bob Barr back to Congress if we’re to generate any heat. He calls such thoughts “irrational” in his morning post on

The president has made a policy decision to close the detention facility at Guantanamo. Members of Congress ought to have the backbone to vote for or against the president’s plan based on its merits, not hide behind irrational fear that somehow a super-human terrorist will be able to scale the walls of the Supermax prison and wreck havoc on a community in their district.

U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey of Marietta has been busy organizing Republican physicians in Congress. Not too hard, since Georgia has three of the 13.

They intend to become a force in next month’s congressional debate over health care. This from an opening salvo that Gingrey has penned for U.S. News & World Report:

[M]ost individuals don’t really have their own health coverage—they get it from their employers. And if the coverage provided in the government-run plan is cheaper than what employers are paying now, logic suggests that employers will drop their current plans and place their workers in the government plan.

Estimates from independent actuaries at the Lewin Group suggest that well over half of all Americans currently with employer-sponsored health coverage—nearly 120 million individuals—would lose their current coverage due to the creation of a government-run health plan.

While you ponder that, consider these items found while perusing this morning’s

  • Georgia jobless rate is stable for a third straight month.
  • Police union head says he’s sorry about that baseball bat crack.
  • The 11th Circuit said a jury can decide whether a man was harmed by DeKalb County’s alleged policy of dumping the homeless on neighboring counties.
  • Jeans-wearing Jonesboro police chief is fired by mayor.
  • Cobb County property revaluations buck metro trend.
  • Mayoral candidates pursue Atlanta’s gay vote.
  • Georgia 400 toll project may have life yet.
  • Bush: It’s ‘liberating’ to be out of office.
  • Some opinion:

  • Jim Wooten wonders when tattoos took the place of marriage vows.
  • David Robinson says we shouldn’t blame the UAW for Detroit’s problems.
  • From elsewhere in Georgia:

  • ABC: Atlanta remains one to the best cities in America to get a fresh start.
  • And beyond:

  • WSJ: Recession turns malls into ghost towns.
  • WP: Obama administration to steer General Motors toward bankruptcy.
  • NYT: Judith Martin on young and snarky Republican women.
  • For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

    10 comments Add your comment


    May 22nd, 2009
    9:56 am

    I see Saxby is as clueless as usual… or else he doesn’t want the viewing audience to know what he knows.

    Specifically, that the detainees already HAVE rights, whether they’re held on U.S. soil or not. The Supreme Court already ruled on this back when Bush was still in office!

    No matter how loudly some ignorant cowards claim otherwise, we are still a nation of laws. The detainees DO have rights, regardless of where they’re held… so why try to preserve the fai;led fiction of Gitmmo putting them “outside our jurisdiction”?

    The Snark

    May 22nd, 2009
    10:43 am

    Your headline was unintentionally funny. Saxby Chambliss is searching for a fight? According to his Wiki bio, this is what happened the last time he was offered a chance to fight:

    “In the 1960s, during the Vietnam War, Chambliss received five student deferments while attending the University of Georgia and the University of Tennessee College of Law and was also given a medical deferment (1-Y) for bad knees due to a football injury.”

    Zig Zag

    May 22nd, 2009
    10:52 am

    Exactly right, Snark. Sissy Saxby did everything he could to avoid fighting for his country.

    Curly Girly-Man

    May 22nd, 2009
    11:24 am

    That Senator Chickenhawk Chambliss is a flag-wavin’, toe-tappin’ Republican, in his element in any public restroom in the US of A – and the world, for that matter!

    Like most GOPers, I am proud of him and what he stands for.


    May 23rd, 2009
    1:31 am

    What a choice we have. America is loosing jobs to countries who have a less costly and more effective health care system. America is also loosing lives because of underinsured Americans – more lives lost each year than on 911. Yet Republicans seem to make their number one issue torture and the continued errosion of human rights?

    Studies estimate that the number of excess deaths among uninsured adults age 25-64 is in the range of 18,000 a year. This mortality figure is more than the number of deaths from diabetes (17,500) within the same age group. source:

    Republicans claim torture is the answer for people who torture, destroy human rights and lives? It seems that the pot is calling the kettle black.

    Copyleft You Are An Idiot

    May 23rd, 2009
    4:19 pm

    These terrorist have the same rights as their homeland. Not those of a US citizen. Just because
    Ruth marxist Ginsberg says it is so don’t mean it is right. Just as Kennedy and others sometimes
    use Foreign law as a point or law they should then use the law of these MUSLIMS and treat
    them just as their home country would. Thus they should all be hanging any day now!

    Aaron Burr V. Mexico

    May 24th, 2009
    6:32 pm

    I thought Chris Mathews had retired. Did he move when MSNBC shut down?


    May 25th, 2009
    7:14 am

    George Bush sabotaged his own “war on terror”. He tortured prisoners, thus tainting testimony and held them for years without due process.

    Now, Obama is stuck with this. He can’t undo the torture and the denial of basic rights.

    Chambliss has no answers. He spends almost all of his time thinking about is his precious F-22 and illegal immigrants.

    May 25th, 2009
    4:59 pm

    Saxby Chambliss? Fight? I thought Sen. Chickenhawk ran from fights and grabbed deferments!


    May 25th, 2009
    10:50 pm

    saxby? the coward? Thought he was part of the saxby chicken chain. Chambliss (like Isakson) is one of the most loudmouth hypocrites anyone could ever meet. Talks crap & lies like a dog (no negative connotation meant towards canines). Chambliss should be in jail.