Signs that a GOP civil war may be headed Georgia’s way

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., vice-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, arrives for a closed-door oversight hearing of the committee on Capitol Hill in Washington earlier this month, looking into the circumstances surrounding the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. AP/Alex Brandon

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., vice-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, arrives for a closed-door oversight hearing of the committee on Capitol Hill in Washington earlier this month, looking into the circumstances surrounding the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. AP/Alex Brandon

In politics, two years is the equivalent of two eternities. But already, signs are pointing to a Republican civil war headed Georgia’s way, settling into an orbit around the 2014 re-election bid of U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss.

Seven days ago, just as they were about to fire up their turkeys, Chambliss’ assessment of Grover Norquist’s no-tax-increase pledge allowed the state’s more fierce Republicans to cook their birds without an oven.

“I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge,” said Georgia’s senior senator, who has spent the past two years trying to broker a bipartisan deal in Congress to tackle a $16 trillion federal deficit.

Chambliss has spent the past week explaining the difference between increased federal revenue needed to buy down the debt, which he supports, and increased tax rates that he opposes. The senator even let it be known that he and Norquist had a friendly phone chat Monday night.

In the meantime, the names of potential GOP primary opponents to Chambliss have dropped like leaves. U.S. Reps. Tom Price of Roswell and Paul Broun of Athens each have declared that this wasn’t the proper season to discuss such things. But neither congressman ruled out the possibility.

A former aide to Karen Handel, the 2010 Republican candidate for governor, confirmed that she was giving the contest some thought. Erick Erickson, the editor of Redstate.com and an evening talk show host for AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB, is reported to have entered a period of “prayerful consideration” when it comes to his candidacy.

Mark Rountree, the GOP pollster based in Gwinnett County, says a handful of state lawmakers are also interested.

Each one of these potential candidates is in a position to become a critic not just of Chambliss, but of any of the many moves that Republicans must make over the next two years in order to restore their national competitiveness — whether the issue is fiscal responsibility, immigration or abortion.

Chambliss, in fact, is likely to be cast as the personification of those adjustments.

Martha Zoller, the former radio talk show host and congressional candidate, is currently acting as a liaison for Gov. Nathan Deal with tea party organizations across the state. Chambliss has been the primary focus of conversation at her most recent meetings.

“They don’t like what he said about throwing the Grover Norquist pledge out because they support it, by and large,” she said. But it is the final agreement that Republicans and Democrats cut on the deficit, and Chambliss’ proximity to it, that will seal their opinion of the senator.

“They just want to see the deal,” Zoller said.

Ousting an incumbent in a primary, whether Democrat or Republican, is never easy. Chambliss hasn’t committed any of the egregious sins that usually apply, GOP strategist Heath Garrett said. Chambliss hasn’t, for instance, become a permanent resident of Washington like the recently deposed Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind.

Richard Mourdock, who defeated Lugar in that state’s GOP primary, short-circuited his chances for entry into the U.S. Senate by volunteering the opinion that pregnancies resulting from rape were a “gift from God” and shouldn’t be eligible for abortion. In Missouri, Republican Todd Akin similarly saw his Senate ambitions vanish when he wandered into a discussion of “legitimate rape.”

Both men will serve as lessons in the dangers of overly heated rhetoric in 2014, Garrett predicted. “There’s a practicality to some of these movements that may end up helping a Saxby Chambliss even if, short-term, there’s a lot of sound and fury,” he said.

Tom Perdue, Chambliss’ chief political consultant, declared that by the time the campaign begins in earnest, the longer aims of any deficit deal will be apparent, quieting the current rumblings.

“Saxby’s going to do what he thinks is in the best interest of the country. If in the short run it doesn’t look like it’s politically popular or expedient, and people want to jump on that, that’s their right,” Perdue said. “But in the end, most every one of them will be supporting Saxby for re-election.”

One person who could help determine whether Chambliss faces token opposition or a stampede in two years is the governor.

But keep in mind that the Deal crowd is still angry with Chambliss’ chief consultant. Two years ago, after that heated gubernatorial runoff with Handel, Perdue suggested that Deal should step down as the Republican nominee because of his failure to disclose — in a timely manner — his perilous personal financial situation.

Deal will also be up for re-election in 2014, so any support he might offer Chambliss is already likely to be limited. And if a bear of a tea party movement is chasing both men, the governor may well decide that he doesn’t have to outrun the bear. He just needs to outrun Chambliss.

Perdue acknowledged but discounted any tension between himself and the governor’s camp. “Nathan and Saxby have their own good relationship apart from me,” he said.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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53 comments Add your comment

honested

November 28th, 2012
6:07 pm

Great!
Saxby was an ‘accidental Senator’ at best.
Let the kooks evacuate all their campaign cash painting themselves with the ‘I’m Most Conserrrrrrrvative’ nonsense.
I think Georgians have finally reached the point where ‘I’m more of a Statesman’ is more important.
And viola, a nice even bipartisan split for the Georgia Senate seats provides balance.

Kris

November 28th, 2012
6:22 pm

Sax will lie,cheat and say anything to get a vote! Vote the GOP scum out in 2014.

Care for the taxpayers of Georgia

November 28th, 2012
6:23 pm

Its well and good that Saxby cares deeply for the country. But he’d better care even more for Republican small business men and women who are already burdened enough by high taxes. Getting rid of a legal “loophole” as one might put it is raising the taxes for that individual. We need lower taxes to stimulate the economy together with fiscal responsibility related to spending. That is a Republican response to the fiscal cliff–not tax increases of any kind Saxby. Are you listening? Are all of our representatives and senators listening? A Republican revolt will come if not.

Road Scholar

November 28th, 2012
6:23 pm

I’m ordering a few cases of popcorn! This will be interesting…Repubs eating their own!

DJ Sniper

November 28th, 2012
6:35 pm

Hasn’t it already been proven that tax cuts don’t really lead to job growth or stimulation of the economy?

And will somebody please take that sad little man known as Grover Norquist and lock him in a closet somewhere?

Astropig

November 28th, 2012
6:41 pm

“But in the end, most every one of them will be supporting Saxby for re-election.”

This one won’t. he’s not one of us anymore. He’s a creature of Washington now.

I’ll stay home before I’ll vote for this phony again.

Kris

November 28th, 2012
6:44 pm

Cannot wait until I can vote Sax and natie out.

Pat

November 28th, 2012
6:46 pm

I would like to see Karen Handel run for the Senate. She should be our Governor but unfortunately
the “experts” didn’t think she could beat Barnes. He beat himself but had to go through the motions of the election.

It is bad to break a promise, but it is worse to let a promise break you

November 28th, 2012
6:46 pm

The GOP and the TAINTED TEA are GONE WITH THE WIND.

Cherokee

November 28th, 2012
6:50 pm

“Hasn’t it already been proven that tax cuts don’t really lead to job growth or stimulation of the economy?

Of course.

But in the closed loop that supports the righties in this country, it’s still gospel.

USMC

November 28th, 2012
7:10 pm

“Signs that a GOP civil war may be headed Georgia’s way”–JIM GALLOWAY

So Republicans can’t have “diverse” views and/or disagree on issues without it being called a CIVIL WAR. What a joke, Jim Galloway.

JIM GALLOWAY = Intellectually Dishonest Liberal Idiot. sad.

Curious Reader

November 28th, 2012
7:10 pm

Hmmmm…Republican Civil War? Well, the last time Georgia was involved in a Civil War it did not really end to well for its citizens. I wonder who gets to play the role of Sherman?

Kris

November 28th, 2012
7:20 pm

Its time for the South to rise again so get your best bayonets and finest horses ready

hiram

November 28th, 2012
7:20 pm

The vast majority of people who blindly vote for any Republican on the ticket, don’t have a clue as to the consequences. Rove deciphered the number of passionate holy rollers and gun toting rednecks who could be baited to vote against their own interest, and spawn the tea party. The craziest of the crazy emerged to lead the movement, and it cost them the presidential election, and more. But, this doesn’t apply in Georgia, where the tea party currently represents the norm.

Barry in Canton

November 28th, 2012
7:30 pm

We need someone like Price to run against him, I have had enough of Saxby!

Maxine

November 28th, 2012
7:38 pm

I don’t know what all the fuss is about when since the President will raise taxes no matter how congress votes. If they accept his proposal, then the middle class will continue to get the bush tax cuts, if they refuse, Obama will let all the Bush tax cuts expire–that’s what he stated in his press conference today. Is there something I’m missing? The President has also stated he would veto any bill that did not include a tax increase for the top two per cent. It seems as though Obama wants congress to refuse to approve his bill–that way he can let the Bush tax cuts expire on all wage earners and blame it on the Republicans. The people who voted to re-elect Obama are the ones that should be blamed for any tax increase, not Chambliss or any of the other Republicans in the House or Senate.

Out by the Pond

November 28th, 2012
7:53 pm

I voted for Oboma, I voted for a tax increase. We could solve all our dept problems and funding for Social Security and Medicare by simply treating capital gains and other favored income the same as income earned by the sweat of the brow.

You don't say

November 28th, 2012
7:56 pm

USMA = bitter bs’er still whining about his lofty election predictions

:-)

Kris

November 28th, 2012
7:59 pm

Out…I too Voted for President Obama,

Well said!

Buckhead Boy

November 28th, 2012
8:20 pm

Maxine, the people who re-elected the President, myself included, will be more than happy to take responsibility for the Bush tax cuts expiring in the face of Republican intransigence. What you and most other Republicans seem to be missing is that was what this election was about, and we won. What else you are missing is that now only 37% of Americans oppose the President’s position. To paraphrase a wiser Republican than we seem to have around these days, its time for your ilk to recognize that when you’re being run out of town, best grab a baton and pretend you’re leading a parade.

No Longer Republican

November 28th, 2012
8:21 pm

I will not vote for Saxby or any other Republican for my own personal reasons, but at least Saxby is making an effort to work with the Democrats to get something done. Do we really need another obstructionist in the Senate or any where in Washington? I sure was hoping our leaders could be adults and work together before the fiscal cliff hits, but apparently Georgia’s right wing doesn’t care. The Bush tax cuts MUST GO…at least for the top two percent! You can’t fix the deficit situation with spending cuts alone, how hard is that to understand? Enough of the stupidity people…work together to fix this already!

BehindEnemyLines

November 28th, 2012
8:48 pm

If Sellout Sax decides that the government needs to take even more money from the citizenry then he’s part of the problem, not the solution.

hiram

November 28th, 2012
8:56 pm

No Longer Republican
November 28th, 2012
8:21 pm

“…but apparently Georgia’s right wing doesn’t care.”

Right wing is a misnomer – Georgia’s crazy wing is more accurate – Paul Broun proves my point.

retiredds

November 28th, 2012
8:57 pm

It really doesn’t matter whether Saxby gets reelected or a new more conservative candidate wins. GA is a political backwater and will never have any leverage as long as it caters to the Norquiat, Limbaugh, Tea Party crowd. In other words, GA is a non-entity with regard to national politics.

Kris

November 28th, 2012
9:12 pm

No Longer Republican…Would you be interested in signing a pledge not to vote for saxby?

hiram

November 28th, 2012
9:24 pm

retiredds
November 28th, 2012
8:57 pm

“…GA is a non-entity with regard to national politics.”

Thanks to Georgia’s Republican elite, (the Gainesville chicken cartel, Dalton carpet cartel, Saxby’s onion cartel, etc.), those elected at large candidates, (president and US senators), will likely be in play in 2016, and defintely by 2020. Of course, Gerrymandering will perpetuate our clown parade in the House of Reps, infinitely.

The Truth

November 28th, 2012
10:37 pm

Tax increases will never close the deficit as long as the big spenders in the Democrat Party and Obama continue to expand social programs and expand government. Raising taxes on the Top 2%, those earning $250,000 per year, will find the current Federal spending for less than 4 weeks. The call for tax increases has nothing to do with reducing the deficit, it is about confiscation from one group on behalf of another, retribution.

An overwhelming number of those of us who will be impacted are small businesses, such as me. My business has been hammered by Obama regulations including bank regulations which have impacted by borrowing. I face Obamacare regulations which have pushed health insurance premiums up by 35% so that pregnancy, abortion are covered regardless of need, drug rehab included eventhough we are a drug free company. Now I must anticipate increased taxes which will rob me of anywhere from $30 to $50 thousand. Folks, I will be forced to terminate employees, I cannot absorb more Government forced costs. There is only so much water in the bucket, and the bucket is drying up.

I can’t help but be cynical when I read quotes from these Washington career politicians advocating more revenues. Revenues is their new word for taxes. Their revenues are our incomes. What about “cutting something folks”. I’ve had to do it, you’ve had to do it, when is the last time the Federal Government cut anything? Their cut means a program which gets an automatic, Congressionally mandated increase of 8% over its prior year budget instead gets only a 6% increase. Only in Washington can this be considered a cut. Yet, the bunch in charge refuses to pass a budget even though a budget is required by law.

No, we don’t need a tax increase, we need spending reductions. As for revenues, auction off oil leases, approve drilling permits. The Federal Government can realize Billions from royalties alone generated from oil, yet the Obama Admin and Democrats refuses to take this approach. They would prefer to go from squeezing the blood from the turnip to squashing and stomping the turnip in the hopes of one more drop of blood.

Duped Truther

November 28th, 2012
10:54 pm

Hey Truth, get some facts in your right wing propaganda.

If any of your ‘don’t tax me” greedy “patriots” would see the facts of history and economics that the tax code we have so favors the super rich, you’d have spent the whole day and half your savings buying lottery tickets today to get such preferential treatment for yourselves–if you won.

Or you could support what the Democrats and Obama stand for–equity in the tax treatment and growth for America’s economy. If you want such special treatment for the elites, join the Communist Chinese Party–it has platforms like the GOP: for the rich and pampered, but the rich and pampered and rigged for them and their heirs.

jaypat

November 28th, 2012
11:17 pm

I wish there were a voting system, either up or down, on the comments.

RCB

November 28th, 2012
11:19 pm

Truth’s facts are ARE correct. That rop 2% now pays 40% of all federal taxes. How much is enough without cutting spending?

Paul

November 28th, 2012
11:21 pm

If Saxby Chambliss raises taxes then I will not vote for him. It is that simple ! Government needs to be reduced. If you and I have a shortfall then we cut our expenses. The U.S Government should do the same.

Paul

November 28th, 2012
11:23 pm

If Saxby Chambliss raises taxes then he does not get my vote !

billcrowe@comcast.net

November 29th, 2012
5:34 am

It’s hard for me to believe that after such a crushing loss in the recent election, the Republican cult would be seeing to push yet further to the Right in Georgia. But that’s one of the characteristics of a cult: they’ve completely lost touch with reality.

billcrowe@comcast.net

November 29th, 2012
5:35 am

sorry “seeking to push yet further”…

Jim Philips

November 29th, 2012
6:08 am

I want Paul Broun to run. He would make Mourdock and Akin look like geniuses by comparison.

rawmilkdrinker

November 29th, 2012
6:32 am

Good Gawd! Georgia would be better off to ressurect General Sherman and give a him a truckload of matches than to have an idiot the likes of Paul Broun Jr as a US Senator.

Buckhead Boy

November 29th, 2012
6:32 am

RCB, yes, but last year just the top 400 of that top 2% accounted for 50% of the personal wealth in this country and the effective rate of federal income tax that they paid averaged 18%. This year that 400 earned $200 billion, or an average of $500 million apiece, but are again expected to pay about the same effective rate of income tax. And, unlike the normal middle class taxpayer who pays a higher effective rate, only a pittance of the top 400’s earnings are additionally subject to employment or self-employment tax, excise tax, etc. Consequently, I am of the opinion that we could go a long way in establishing tax fairness before having to reduce spending, although I’m hardly opposed to reducing spending on war profiteering, corporate welfare, bloated homeland security and even some social programs.

clem

November 29th, 2012
6:45 am

wanna drive more business out of ga, elect someone like broun, handel, price….ga is becoming the new mississippi, i would say alabama but at least they have a good as money can buy football team, which seems to count for more than it should

Rabbit

November 29th, 2012
6:51 am

A primary fight over Sen. Chambliss conservative bonafides could well open the door to an interesting general election campaign. As an object lesson, the true party faithful might want to look at who will be sitting in Sen. Lugar’s seat come January.

clem

November 29th, 2012
6:55 am

all these folks clamouring about not raising taxes are likely not in top 2%. all the bush/obama tax cuts were unfunded/contribute to deficit/debt. we gotta start somewhere as revenues are out of balance and if ceos and the like compensation has risen exponentially faster than average earners, then let’s start there. jamie dimon, paulson, blankfein, buffett, romney all need to pay more for the bailouts and loopholes they have been given over time. we also need real cuts phased in commensurate with economy.

ChuckieCheese

November 29th, 2012
7:32 am

The Congressional Research Service was contracted by the GOP to independently evaluate the correlation between top tax rates and economic growth prior to the last election (surely the timing was just coincidental). When it was concluded that there is no correlation, the report was quashed in September by the GOP. Ya just can’t even make up stuff any more condemning than that.

WAW

November 29th, 2012
8:12 am

The Party of NO! is about to increase taxes for the American People (whom they claim to speak for even after Nov 6) by failing to act on the Senate Bill (how about an up or down vote) that would freeze the Bush cuts for the first $250,000 for everyone (rich and poor). The NOP (Norquist Owned Party) owns this TAX INCREASE!

PASS THE MIDDLE-CLASS TAX CUTS NOW

“If Congress sends me a clean bill extending the tax cuts on the first $250,000 of every family’s income, I will sign it right away” the President

clem

November 29th, 2012
8:24 am

minor adjustment to marginal tax rate to rich will not have major impact on economy. also, need alternative minumum tax on tax avoiders like romney….also need spending cuts including defense, thinning federal workforce, & raising age on ssn & cap. need to control fees in medicare and medicaid as fee for service is a boondoogle. privatization of health care has led to no better results for the general population compared to many countries. but costs out the wazoo. need to pay for outcomes not cavalier services.

Rabbit

November 29th, 2012
8:36 am

So who’re you going to be, Rep. Boehner, Thelma or Louise?

intowner

November 29th, 2012
8:36 am

If sorry sadsack banker boy Saxby ballsup and does the right thing by saying “No” to a brite ider hatched by a seventh grade, pre-puber boy (aka grover norquist), then i’d be delighted to cross party lines and vote for him in the primary.
Do remember Georgia was the second least red state by % in the last election, right after North Carolina. If Emperor Reed’s plan of bringing the movie industry to Ga continues to be fruitful, more Calif based companies will multiply in Ga bringing more Dem-oriented workers to the state.
Hey hey, bye bye…

Dirty Dawg

November 29th, 2012
9:12 am

You ever wonder why Hollywood has been so all-fired hip on doing movies here? You say it’s ‘Emperor’ Reed…my question is just what can he offer in the way of financial incentives? The State controls the tax base and the State, aka Deal, is the one that’s making it ‘dirt cheap’ to shoot here. Tell us, just how are we making money on this? And how much longer can we go. I mean the old adage of ’so what if we’re losing money on the deal, we’ll make it up in volume’, doesn’t really work you know. Georgia did this back when Carter was Governor…and it turned out that it was just ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’, until Peter figured it out and put a stop to it.

Georgia Voter

November 29th, 2012
9:29 am

What if the democrats vote to help keep Saxby seat.
I know alot of Dem might vote for Saxby.

AnotherSoldier

November 29th, 2012
11:33 am

I think you’ll see a lot of Dems vote in the GOP primary to keep Saxby in place – especially if a RWNJ like Broun is running against him. The Dems don’t have a deep bench now and would likely lose in the General Election, but anyone can see that Saxby is a much better option than Broun.

GaBlue

November 29th, 2012
11:47 am

“They make me sick — ALL of them! Getting us into this mess with their swaggering boast.”

Scarlett O’Hara

[...] In an interview for the Thursday print column, U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ chief strategist, Tom Perdue, told us that he suspects that most of [...]