Didn’t want to be involved in eight years of ‘ugly’ doings, says Saxby Chambliss

ATHENS — U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss said Monday that it was the prospect of eight more years of “ugly” governance — not fear of losing a Republican primary — that fueled last week’s announcement that he would not seek a third term in 2014.

“That’s just not what I want to be involved in for the next two years and six years after that,” Chambliss told reporters after his first public appearance since deciding to retire. Georgia’s senior senator also said he would not involve himself in a GOP primary to pick his successor.

”That list is going to be so long. Folks who are interested in this job — they need to follow me for a couple weeks before they make their decision. It is not an easy life,” he said.

By a coincidence of timing, the long-scheduled event required Chambliss to introduce his partner in the “Gang of Six” negotiations over reducing the nation’s $17 trillion debt — U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia.

Warner had planned a detailed PowerPoint presentation. Instead, the morning event became a celebration of the bipartisan partnership that fueled tea party hostility toward Chambliss in Georgia and guaranteed him a primary challenge next year.

Warner, a former governor of Virginia who himself has not decided whether to seek re-election to the Senate in 2014, lavished praise on Chambliss for the risk he took.

“There was no rational, political upside for a safe, sitting Republican senator from a state like Georgia to be willing to step up with a Democrat and say, ‘We need to go out and tell the truth,’ ” Warner said. “It’s going to be Georgia’s loss, and it’s going to be America’s loss.”

“But that doesn’t mean we don’t have two more years to kick some tail up in Washington,” he added.
Chambliss set a tighter deadline, declaring that a deal to reform the U.S. tax code, increase federal revenue, yet cut spending and entitlements, needs to be passed before the start of the 2014 election season. “We’ve got a window of 11 months here,” Chambliss said.

Chambliss and Warner provided glimpses into the 3-year-old, odd-couple partnership that has seen both men battle their separate political bases and their leadership. “I have spent more time with [Warner] over the last two years than I have with my wife,” Chambliss quipped.

Chambliss credited his Virginia colleague with providing support in the face of bitter opposition among some factions of the GOP. “When you’re a Republican and you have a Democrat come over and say, ‘Hey, things are going to get better’ — that’s what public service is all about,” he said.

Warner, the co-founder of the cellphone company that became known as Nextel, acknowledged that he has been the more boisterous member of the duo. “Saxby and I are two very different people. He’s the epitome of the Southern gentleman — courtly, calm, relaxed. The way he starts each day is, ‘Well, Mark, did you take your Ritalin today?’ ”

Both men expressed frustration that their joint activity has become something seldom seen in Washington. “It shouldn’t be that much of a rarity that a Democrat and a Republican, who have big issues on a lot of other issues, can come together for the good of the country,” said Warner, who told students in the audience that bipartisanship needs to be encouraged from the ground up.

“If you’re a Democrat, go support a Republican who’s willing to [increase] revenue,” Warner said. “If you’re a Republican, go support a Democrat who’s willing to [trim] entitlements.”

The lecture was sponsored by Keith Mason, the former chief of staff of Gov. Zell Miller — who, when he served in the Senate, expressed similar frustrations with Congress. Afterward, a question-and-answer session with reporters was preceded by a series of local officials who praised Chambliss. “Realistic” was the most common adjective.

Chambliss acknowledged the shower of accolades with a thank-you and a wince. “This is not a funeral, now, guys,” he said.

The Georgia senator said that, though freed from any electoral pressure, he would not change his message over the next two years. ”I think it may surprise some people, particularly my critics, to know that I’m not going to change my principles, I’m not going to change my philosophy,” he said. “Now that I’m not running, I’m going to say exactly the same thing on fiscal issues I’ve been saying for 2 1/2 years.”

Chambliss said his decision to retire wasn’t based on any fear of 2014. “The one thing I was totally confident of was my re-election. This was not a two-year decision for me,” he said. “I raised $13 million for the election in 2008. I was going to have to raise more than that this time around. I knew that I’d be able to do it.”

But dissatisfaction began to brew inside him after the 2011 fight over the debt ceiling — which produced the “fiscal cliff” deal that required Congress to come to terms with the debt or face automatic spending cuts and tax increases. One was “ugly,” Chambliss said. The deal to avoid the fiscal cliff, reached only on Jan. 1, was “really ugly.”

“It was not a lot of fun to go through, and I did not think it was the way to govern,” he said. “I can see that the next six months of this year is going to be the same sort of political arena.”

Chambliss, 69, said he had no stomach for enduring that kind of frustration until 2020.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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212 comments Add your comment

Aquagirl

January 28th, 2013
1:04 pm

The slime who ran campaign commercials with Max Cleland and Bin Laden is now upset Washington is “ugly.” Boo-hoo.

There really are no words for this utter waste of carbon.

Voter

January 28th, 2013
1:07 pm

Same name calling. Look in a mirror.

honested

January 28th, 2013
1:17 pm

What a whiner.

I’m sure he was quite aware of the task at hand when he ran for the job.

When do we find out what is really going on (or has nathan promised him a 7 figure job at GPB)?

Dennis

January 28th, 2013
1:17 pm

“…I’m not going to change my principles, I’m not going to change my philosophy. I’m going to continue to advocate for the things that I think are in the best interests of the country, whether it’s the fiscal issue or any other issue.”

All the more reason Georgia needs better representation.

gttim

January 28th, 2013
1:17 pm

Really? Ugly? He ran the nastiest lie filled campaign of the modern era. He slandered a wounded vet for his own ego. What a piece of garbage!

kempa

January 28th, 2013
1:24 pm

17 trillion is debt, not deficit. probably the biggest problem facing our nation and i doubt many citizens know the difference.

Michelle

January 28th, 2013
1:27 pm

Thank Goodness, that is one less idiot in Washington. Holy cow, I really think we need to clean house with all of them, especially the ones that have been there for several years. I think that they have lost touch with reality when they have been there so long. I mean they make more in a day of session then most of us make in 10 years, and the have multi-million, billion homes, everything is handed to their kids and we the tax payers end up paying for it all in the end. They as for raises every year, why? They cannot even cut spending, or balance a check book. I will tell you if we would cut their pay everything the threaten SS or Medicare, or even going over the fiscal cliff, we might have a congress and senate that would work together. Our military is out there protecting our country and they don’t even make a 1/4 of what these folks make. The military earns what congress/senate makes. After all our military gives up their lives for us, and congress/senate gives up what a day of golf every 4 years??? Really, this is not how our founding fathers imagined our government to work…..

Bob

January 28th, 2013
1:32 pm

Why wait? There’s no time like the present and I’m sure Deal can find someone willing to take your spot.

Dog kicker

January 28th, 2013
1:33 pm

Republican party did not want to back him anymore because he was becoming to Liberal. That’s what I hear anyway!

Wally

January 28th, 2013
1:35 pm

Thank you Saxby Chambliss for your service and I might say ” I do Not Blame you for wanting out of that Rat race”.
Thank you also for kicking that wanna be crippled non hero out of public office.You made him cry for 2 years and he fell into a state of depression. Loved every minute of reading that story.

Fresh Food

January 28th, 2013
1:36 pm

Hopefully he will run for president in 2016. I get excited just thinking about it!

Taylor Wooten

January 28th, 2013
1:37 pm

Give us a break. He’s getting out because he knew he would NOT get re-elected. He’s a smooth talker, plays the Southern Gentleman thing to the max. I know South Georgia is much worse off today than when he took office. I bet he’s not….though.

HDB

January 28th, 2013
1:40 pm

Saxby…have you ever thought that you and your ilk were part of the PROBLEM rather than part of the SOLUTION?? From your campaign against Max Cleland to your blindly following Mitch McConnell, you were part of the problem! Now that you can’t solve what you created, you’re going to leave…….

Shows what kind of representation people are willing to elect…………..

Rush

January 28th, 2013
1:40 pm

GOOD RIDDANCE!

This clown did nothing while in the Senate – other than project hate towards democrats and smear others – he is one of the reasons I WILL NEVER VOTE REPUBLICAN AGAIN ON ANY LEVEL.

Robert

January 28th, 2013
1:40 pm

It appears that Saxby like other GOP “old white guys” are leaving the farm before the earth quake. Just look at the list of “old white guys” resigning from office. Saxby still has 2 years left on his term to serve. I guess he will take a job at the Heritage Foundation or the NRA as a highly paid lobbyist.

The people of Georgia should ask him to leave immediately rather than rob the tax payers for no work he will perform over the next 2 years.

Carolyn

January 28th, 2013
1:41 pm

This from the man who ran a SMEAR campaign against Max Cleland. He should know a lot about “ugly” doings as it’s what he did to get in the Senate in the first place.

A case of the pot calling the kettle black.

td

January 28th, 2013
1:42 pm

Saxby can deny it all he wants but he refused to stick to conservative values and as such would have probably been defeated (or would have had to change from a RINO) in a primary.

Carolyn

January 28th, 2013
1:46 pm

I agree with Robert. Have him leave now and get someone in there that will do the work and fight the fights.

Fred

January 28th, 2013
1:47 pm

I would really like to see some of you attempt to run for public office and see what you had to say after that. I guess it is easier to sit back and take pot shots than get out and make a difference. Oh well, better things to do today than argue.

Just Saying..

January 28th, 2013
1:47 pm

Aquagirl@1:04:

Comments as fierce as anything I’ve ever seen from you.

But I agree. Chambliss’ campaign against Max Cleland was vile, beyond redemption or forgiveness.

Jim Peterson

January 28th, 2013
1:49 pm

He knew he was going to get knocked off in the primary in Ga. We don’t need any compromising Republicans from Ga!

Gene Hollon

January 28th, 2013
1:50 pm

I lived in Cordele several years and follow news in the Cordele Dispatch and the Atlanta Journal. It is politicians like Saxby Chambliss that have caused me to form my own party . The N_A_V_D_I- party ( Never Another Vote for a Democrat or Incumbent.)They are all to blame for the condition we find the nation in today. Let’s clean house.

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

January 28th, 2013
1:53 pm

Had Chambliss brought Bush and Cheney to justice for their 9/11 treason, or even just tried, he’d have a good name.

Unfortunately he didn’t, and does not.

gordonguy1969

January 28th, 2013
1:57 pm

The worst part of this is that he can’t even be truthful at the end. Very few people actually believe he’s getting out because of “all the ugliness.” Senator, be honest, part of that ugliness was your doing. Compromise on this, compromise on that, say one thing, do another, that’s the way it’s been since you were elected. Once you reached the Senate you lost any political spine you may have ever had. Thanks for getting out now, hope you enjoy that huge pension that you’ll get, at our expense. If you had any scruples at all, you would renounce that pension, along with the free healthcare you’ll be receiving. You try to make it like the rest of the populace. Now THAT would be a legacy you could live on.

Oh, and Robert, that list of “old white guys” includes Tom Harkin now. Sword cuts both ways, you know.

gordonguy1969

January 28th, 2013
1:57 pm

The worst part of this is that he can’t even be truthful at the end. Very few people actually believe he’s getting out because of “all the ugliness.” Senator, be honest, part of that ugliness was your doing. Compromise on this, compromise on that, say one thing, do another, that’s the way it’s been since you were elected. Once you reached the Senate you lost any political spine you may have ever had. Thanks for getting out now, hope you enjoy that huge pension that you’ll get, at our expense. If you had any scruples at all, you would renounce that pension, along with the free healthcare you’ll be receiving. You try to make it like the rest of the populace. Now THAT would be a legacy you could live on.

Oh, and Robert, that list of “old white guys” includes Tom Harkin now. Sword cuts both ways, you know.

racer

January 28th, 2013
2:01 pm

Out with the old clown in with the new

Buzz Belle

January 28th, 2013
2:02 pm

Wally 1:35 pm

I’m curious, where were you during Vietnam?

You not only insulted Max Cleland, you insulted every single soldier whoever engaged in war. Do you think we mothers who have gone through ours sons and daughters going to war are only worried about the grenade from the enemy? Just this past week we have heard word of a comrade who was laid to rest. He was early on in the Iraq war, medical test are showing his body obtained substantial risk from “stirring the poo” as the soldiers would say, having to use jet oil as the starter. You. should. be. ashamed! You. disgust. me!

captguitarman

January 28th, 2013
2:02 pm

Re: Chambliss’ stepping down. You can see it now can’t you?

Wanted: Candidate to run in Pub/Con primary for Senate seat to be vacated by RINO and traitor, Saxby Chamliss. Requirements: Candidate must be a not too bright, right wing nut, who is poorly informed about all levels of life, governance, laws, and politics.

The highest and most extreme views on moral and family and business issues are a must, but not necessarily required in the candidate’s personal habits and practcies.

Excepting RINO’s like Chambliss, there is no requirement to be a Republican — IF you are a Libertarian or a member of the Tea Party or any other right wing nut organzation. Just as long as you are able to inflame the true Republican base by spouting the party’s new bed rock principles:

No new taxes forever, at any time for anything, no matter what the reason, regardless of any negative impact on the economy or the government’s ability to function, on anything. Note: if new taxes are totally unavoidable (in order to get federal funds that we desperately need — but that we say publicly we never want to get — candidate must be adept at re-naming or re-classifying the taxes, or palming off their responsibility to other governmental entities, so as not to create the impression that the no new taxes standard is being violated in any way. Don’t worry. People are stupid. That fools them every time.

No compromise with the Dem/Libs at any time, on any issue, for any thing – ever, never ever never (to quote a popular song) regardless of the need or necessity to come to resolution on critical issues, such as a possible economic collapse or breach of national security, or any thing else. A just say no “principled statesman” who knows what a pair of blinders looks like and how to wear them 24/7 is a critical attribute for the job.

Bonus attributes: Being confused about the meaning of rape and that true rape does not lead to pregnancy. Not knowing that provisions regarding the separation of powers or that Congress cannot establish or respect religions is in the Constitution.

The candidate must be a total and complete ideologue and political demagogue, absolutely confident that he or she and the right wing is always right, all of the time, about any and every issue, and must be intransigent and stubborn at every level of the political process. Think: It’s my way or the high way. As Barry Goldwater once said, “he would rather be right than President,” and that must be your most sacred guiding principle and solemn vow.

Yes, the Dem/Libs may take over Saxby’s Senate seat in an unbelievable political windfall if you, or someone like you gets the nomination. But just as our political brethren and sisteren in Delaware, Missouri, Indiana, and Nevada, locked in Republican senate seats (such as the one Saxby Chambliss now occupies) in these critical times is not so bad, just as long as you know that you were right.

hjhkjh

January 28th, 2013
2:03 pm

Regardless of Saxby’s behavior in his first senatorial campaign, I find it disgusting how the TEA Party and members of the GOP who are beholden to that special interest group turn on their own, like Saxby, when they reach across the aisle to work on solving the nation’s problems. This isn’t about issues or philosophy this is about a special interest group taking the government hostage.

A-Ville Ranger

January 28th, 2013
2:04 pm

Who would have guessed Chambliss had any intigrity judging by the fact he ran the slimiest campaign in all history to get to The senate. Here’s hoping something good comes out of the next 2 years leading into the mid-terms.

J Throckmorton Malcontent

January 28th, 2013
2:04 pm

The GOP platform has been nothing but nihilism since at least the time of George The Lesser. At first the conservotainment misinformation corps was pointed at “liberals”. When liberalism was effectively brought to a halt, it was directed at “libruls” (ie, everyone right of say, Newt Gingrich). When centrism was effectively brought to a halt, it was brought to bear on RINOs (ie, anyone with an R who had a different opinion than the 27% who thought George the Lesser was a good president). All this constant barraging of everyone involved in government–even when they won, goodness what sore winners y’all were–, and the constant disparaging of anyone at all who might be in government for any hint of public service, has made Joe & Jane Electorate doubtful of their own government and anyone who might run for office, no matter how conservative they might be. The GOP is suffering from an overdose of negativity, and might disappear from sheer grinchiness just like the Cheshire Cat, leaving nothing behind but the grimace.

Captain

January 28th, 2013
2:08 pm

Please people, can you get over the poor Max Cleland smokescreen. Max wasn’t wounded in combat, he wasn’t a war hero. Max was a Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Barbara Boxer Democrat whose voting record agreed with the Extreme Left over 90% of the time. Max may have grown up in Georgia, but he did not represent the values of Georgia people. The fact is Max voted along Party lines too often including against the bill for which the Osama ad was generated.

I’m not Saxby fan any longer either. It seems in Washington too often Republicans are called on to “compromise”, which is simply a term for giving in to the Democrats. Where was “compromise” when Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi were ramming Obamacare down our throats after having crafted it behind closed doors and refusing to allow anyone to read it? If “compromise” was so important where was it at that time?

The Democrat Party has been hijacked by the extreme Radical Left which defies and abhors the Constitution, intends to Socialize and redistribute wealth, piece by piece, day by day. When a Democrat Senator can indulge in prostitution with 15 and 16 yr old girls without a mear whisper from his party, when an impeached Federal Judge can have a position on powerful committees in the US House, when an entire Party can lie and deceive a nation over Benghazi, commit perjury to pass Obamacare, that is a clear indicator of “the ends justify the means”, Sol Alinsky politics for radicals.

George

January 28th, 2013
2:09 pm

Stop crying like a dam baby and go you have had your day get the hell on.

mike

January 28th, 2013
2:16 pm

Boy, the Republican piranhas come out to devour one of their own, because he tried to reach middle ground with the Democrats. I thought that was how governing worked.
I’m not a Democrat, but at least they don’t let the crazies control the party.
If you far right ideologues don’t come to your senses, prepare for this party to get left in the dust.

While the financial ideals of the Republicans are good, the rest of what the party stands for is outdated.
The Republicans really need a leader to rally behind, or they’ll suffer through a couple more of election cycles.
The only hope for the Republicans is Chris Christie; unafraid to call out either side when necessary.

Bye bye Tootsie goodbye

January 28th, 2013
2:19 pm

Saxby, don’t let the door hit you where the Lord split you!

boober

January 28th, 2013
2:21 pm

Chambless was a friend to those in high places. He could care less about everybody else. See his actions during Savannah Sugar Refinery hearings as an example.

Just Saying..

January 28th, 2013
2:21 pm

Wally@ 1:35: Thank you also for kicking that wanna be crippled non hero out of public office.You made him cry for 2 years and he fell into a state of depression. Loved every minute of reading that story.

Wally- Which branch of the US Armed Forces did you serve in?
I don’t remember seeing you in Vietnam. I do remember every friend who didn’t come back with me.
So let me be perfectly clear to you: Go to hell.

Chuck

January 28th, 2013
2:21 pm

I guess this sub-human buffoon has forgotten how he slandered a disabled veteran to win this seat in a manner that was purely disgraceful. Karma, Saxby. Look it up.
And, Captain, how quickly we forget the line of Repugnican’s–led by Senator David Vitter–who have repeatedly been busted for fondling pledges, soliciting male prostitutes in men’s rooms, and calling teh D.C. madam from the Senate floor (Vitter’s exploits just never get old).
Stop being a divisive tool.

Scrivener

January 28th, 2013
2:21 pm

Captain, well stated. It’s hilarious to see all this poutrage about Max Clelland. You summed it up nicely.

RGB

January 28th, 2013
2:23 pm

Everyone lamenting Mad Max’s loss to Shameless years ago should insist that Max enter the race and product the 30 point margin that you all believe he would produce.

Go for it Max.

(And well said Captain @ 2:08)

ANGRY AS HELL

January 28th, 2013
2:25 pm

I think it’s wonderful that Saxby is leaving, not because he’s a RINO, because he’s not. I think it’s wonderful because now we can see the end of the so-called Republican Party as it has evolved over the last 10 to 15 years. I’m so glad that today’s Republican party is composed mostly of those who’d rather watch the USA collapse than violate their oath to Grover Norquist. I think it’s wonderful that the Tea Bag contingent of the Grand Old Party will help its destruction. By the year 2016, Georgia and many other red states, will be blue again, and the Grand Old Party will have made itself irrelevant and powerless. The GOP thinks it can regain all the ground it’s lost with minorities and the working class and still be a party composed or supported by a lot of rich and fat old white men. Look quickly, folks, because soon it will be a political party no more.

Scrivener

January 28th, 2013
2:28 pm

Oh, and Chuck says “Stop being a divisive tool,” to a previous poster and in the same breath calls other people “Repubnicans.” I think we can all see who the divisive tool really is. It’s amusing that so many of you hold Clelland up as a hero-veteran when many on your side would spit on a soldier and call them a baby-killer if you had half a chance. Don’t believe it? Just look at Huffington Post or Moveon.org once in a while. The hate of the military is palpable.

@EIDSONB

January 28th, 2013
2:28 pm

Buh Bye RINO…

Just Saying..

January 28th, 2013
2:31 pm

Captain: “Please people, can you get over the poor Max Cleland smokescreen. Max wasn’t wounded in combat, he wasn’t a war hero.”

Captain: No doubt you believe you’re in the right political party.
Please let us know how many in your Party share your views on amputee war veterans.

Mike S

January 28th, 2013
2:32 pm

Well, if the comments on this blog are any indication, no wonder he would want to get out. What happened to civilized society? The vileness and rudeness of these comments actually makes me cringe with despair. I am neither for, nor against Saxby Chambliss; I am am for our country, but it seems too few of us put that first anymore.

K STREET

January 28th, 2013
2:35 pm

WAAH, waah, waah. Next up: K streeet job to fund his family for centuries to come. He is so arrogant and Full of BS.

Synonymous

January 28th, 2013
2:36 pm

SAXBY: DO NOT RESIGN BEFORE YOUR SEAT CAN BE CONTESTED AS AN ‘OPEN’ SEAT.

I’m not interested in letting Nathan Deal place one of his cronies in the seat – who then gets to run as an incumbent in 2014.

MD

January 28th, 2013
2:36 pm

I hope a Democrat takes his place. Then the Republicans won’t have to worry about a compromising RINO….

nodrog

January 28th, 2013
2:40 pm

ME ME ME ME ,,,i i i i …what about… us us us us,,,you self centered slime bag. why wait for two more years. Just tee it up and.leave quick and take the rest of the herd with you.

will

January 28th, 2013
2:46 pm

Get over it. Max Cleland got what he deserved. He played that “wheelchair” tune to the hilt. He was a liberal in Washington and a conservative in Georgia. Saxby ran a tough campaign and Georgia was all the better for it. I am glad now to see Saxby go now as well. It is time.