Free Markets, Free People

Saxby Chambliss: Poster boy for what’s wrong in DC

Here is a good example of what is wrong with politics today – this time from the right:

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) on Saturday defended his decision to break with conservative activist Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge, telling constituents he would not be “dictated to by anybody in Washington.”

“I think that you sent me to Washington to think for myself. And I want to vote the way you want me to vote,” Chambliss said to a group of local constituents at a Cobb County Republican party event, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I don’t want to be dictated to by anybody in Washington, as to how I’m going to vote on anything.”

You see, Chambliss doesn’t seem to get the basic point: he made a pledge.  HE made a pledge.  Not someone else – him.  He didn’t have his arm twisted behind his back when he made the pledge.  He did so voluntarily.  The dirty little secret, however, is he didn’t make the pledge out of principle, he made the pledge because it was politically helpful and expedient to do so at the time.

Now he wants to back out of his pledge.  It is no longer expedient or helpful politically.   He, like our President, is trying to blame the predicament he finds himself in – i.e. breaking a voluntary pledge – on someone else.  It’s their fault he’s in this predicament.  And by gosh he won’t “be dictated to by anybody”.

Well he hasn’t been dictated to by anyone.  Again,  he voluntarily took a pledge back when it was politically helpful and popular to do so.  Now he wants to bail on it.  I don’t know about you, but when I pledge something, I give my unbreakable word I’ll do what I pledge to do.  I don’t enter into them lightly.  And I do everything in my power to live up to the pledge.

It’s about honor.

But apparently that’s a concept that is passe in today’s political world.

Go ahead Mr. Chambliss.  Break your pledge.  But remember what happened when a certain president bailed on his no new taxes pledge?

I can only hope I’ll be part of the lesson teaching when your time for re-election comes.  Then, by Georgia, you’ll be “dictated too” by the people of this state.  And you’ll be looking for new work.


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41 Responses to Saxby Chambliss: Poster boy for what’s wrong in DC

  • Dead. Right. On.

    I am willing to bet he reads this …

    … Mr. Chambliss?

    You are a common whore and the world has more than enough prostitutes.

  • To make a pledge at one point in time means to always stand behind it—you can never change your mind?

  • When reached for comment regarding her husband’s flexible relationship with pledges, Julianne Chambliss said she was not terribly surprised.

  • He also made a pledge to his constituents. Which do you think should be more important Bruce? Like it or not, the world is changing under our feet. People who think like we do are a dying breed. It sucks, but you may as well get used to it.

    • The pledge is to his constituents, Grover Norquist just administered it.
      Some people must think that when you swear an oath in court that you promise the bailiff to tell the truth, rather then the court.

  • McQ-
    It’s an interesting subject – this particular political context aside, what’s your threshhold for you personally breaking a pledge? For my own, that’s one reason I NEVER make any pledges or vows (with the exception of my soon to be marriage ones, and those will be scrupulously kept)

    • If I make a promise to someone it remains a promise (or a pledge) until they break their side of the agreement.  And, I’m like you, very rarely do I enter into pledges because they contain an implicit promise to always – note the word – always keep it.  I took a pledge to defend the US when I went into the Army.  I’ve never broken that.  Don’t ever intend too, even though the service term under which it was given is over.

      • Given the vagaries, loopholes and shenanigans in the tax code, which were there when he took the pledge, do you think Chambliss would have been better served NOT to make such a pledge?  My personal opinion is THAT wasn’t something he should have pledged too.  To me, that is the kind of grandstanding pledge that cheapens the concept, and leaves one in exactly the position Chambliss now claims to find himself.
        But I wouldn’t blame Georgia voters for holding him to it, even if I am of the opinion that we should let the Obami have more rope to make sure this lesson in national stupid is as hard as it should be.

        • If you can’t keep a pledge, don’t make it. No one made him do that and he’s paid to think things through before he makes a decision. He made the decision to pledge “no new taxes”. Grover Norquist didn’t make him – he did it all by his little self. Now he wants to back out.

          I understand the point, looker, but I’m tired of politicians to whom a pledge is just so much hot air. If no one else will, I plan on holding them accountable. And the good news is this is one politician I have an opportunity to do that with.

      • Got it. I guess I’m more cynical though because any pol making a pledge I just automatically discount any possibility of them keeping it. Sad right? We absolutely have the worst political class since prior to the Civil War. Unfortunately I’m also convinced we have the worst citizenry class since that time as well. At least nobody’s been beaten with a cane in the Senate yet

        • We’re a long way away from the day when calling someone a liar or otherwise questioning their honor would result in their representatives contacting you to settle the matter in a setting outside the city limits.

        • We do, shark, worst ever. I’m beginning a one-man accountability project. If no one will hold them accountable for their promises, I will. It may not be much, but it’s a start.

      • ” I took a pledge to defend the US when I went into the Army.  I’ve never broken that.  Don’t ever intend too, even though the service term under which it was given is over.”
        It’s as good a way to live as any, and better than most. I haven’t seen any reason to change, either.

        • And it’s guys like you, and McQ, and friends of mine, that give me faith we might be able to salvage this after some smoke and flame.

  • I think Looker has a good point here.

    Right now the GOP needs to be real smart on how it handles this (losta luck, huh?). The goal has to be to hand the hot potato over to Obama. It is all about the set up for the blame game that follows–a game that favors the lying Democrats and their supporting media whores.

    The pledge might be best forgotten in order to win the fight. But most likely the Republicans who end up breaking the pledge are only interested in their own political survival, and have little in terms of a plan to beat the Democrats.

    • To bad. Make a pledge and either live with it or don’t make it. If they choose to break it, I plan on holding them accountable. Maybe the next time a politician won’t be so glib when he throws off a promise.

  • I believe both parties will let us go off the “Fiscal Cliff”. On the other side Republicans will be able to vote to lower taxes on everyone except the top earners and say that they never broke their pledge not to vote for tax increases!

  • I’d like to see Gohmert’s argument gain some traction.  A flat 15%.

    But THAT won’t happen, it’s too simple and would make it harder to use to game the system to send rewards in the right directions.

  • I look at it this way. 

    Obama plans to allow the automatic cuts to take effect and blame the republicans for not co-operating.  He knows they can get spending back to pre-cut levels in mere months and with an allocation more to his liking. 

    I don’t think it matters if Chambliss plans to break his pledge.  He won’t be given the chance.  In the meantime we should be making coin out of Chambliss’ act to highlight Obama’s unwillingness to meet compromise with compromise.  Worry about Chambliss come primary/election time. 

    • The elephant in the other side of the “fiscal cliff” is that some folks will come to understand that, even with the increased taxes on the other 98%, the still will be a huge deficit.
      I won’t make any assumptions that anybody will fugue out that Obama misled them during the campaign.  That would be too much to ask.

      • Well, maybe its a way to send the message.
        The people who voted for Obama aren’t just people who are looking for a handout.  They are people with no common sense.  I mean how many people do you know that are so personally fiscally irresponsible with their finances they live paycheck to paycheck.  My department was called into a meeting and told one pay period our checks would be about 8 days late.  At least 20% of the room when white and many of these guys were almost in tears.  8 days on one check and these guys were going to be ruined.  How may more are 2-3 pay periods from ruin?
        Basically they don’t give a crap we are wildly overspending.  The don’t see a problem.  So they like Obama handing out the candy.  Not for necessarily for themselves directly, but for feeling good about themselves seeing others helped (because they don’t see any potential consequences save one).  But, they don’t want their taxes to go up.  So they kept the Republicans in the House.
        As long as the Republicans fall on their sword and refuse to increase taxes, these people will keep giving the majority of Power to Democrats.  The sooner that high spending means increased taxes, the sooner the will start to pull away from the Democrats and their candy dish.

  • After sifting through all the double talk and lawyerly obfuscation we seem to have regressed to a pre-Bush political scene (thank God). Democrats want to increase spending and raise taxes, Republicans want to do the opposite. Pretty simple, really. Why some of the Republican political ‘experts’ want to complicate it is beyond me.

  • A representative owes the People not only his industry, but his judgment, and he betrays them if he sacrifices it to their opinion. — Edmund Burke (1729 – 1797)

    • That could apply to kings and dictators.

      • Quite so! The point being that as we villify politicians, we must remember that they are ELECTED by our “friends and neighbors” as well as by US!
        If the dominante culture is one of moochers and parasites, that will be reflected by our REPRESENTATIVES. Read Mark Steyns recent column about Americans wanting goodies without paying for them.

        • Saxby Chambliss was elected in GA. Part of why he was elected was the pledge. He now wants out of it. I hope to help him out of his job as well … along with my “friends and neighbors”. GA is definitely not NY when it comes to the attitude toward taxes. The voters in this state just turned down a large tax by referendum recently. So, yeah, understand your point, but I also understand that if Chambliss caves, he’s going to face some stiff voter resistance. And, if as others are claiming, his job is to represent his constituents, his constituents spoke pretty loudly in the referenced referendum.

    • Representatives are supposed to be wise enough to tell us what we want is bad for us.   Otherwise we might as well move on to an actual Democracy.

  • He can feel free to break his promise. He thought it a useful signal to his voters but now not so much.
    But come next election, he may find voters suddenly not trusting his word.
    IMHO, if someone broke the Norquist pledge for the following it would be acceptable:
    1) A deal where spending is actually cut in the here and now.
    2) As part of entitlement reform that was deep and meaningful.
    3) As part of a negotiating ploy or a tax that would offer substantial economic merit, i.e. propose a 50% tax on the winnings of trial lawyers, removing the tax free status of muni bonds, taxing officials who leave their cabinet level post for a sinecure ala Instapundit, etc.

  • It is this pledge that has taken away from the political
    discourse in this country. This is a pledge of good intentions but bad policy.
    To say that we cannot have tax reform that raises revenue is absurd. We as
    conservatives need to be honest with ourselves and face the facts. As of 2011,
    24% of GDP was spent in government spending and only 15% was collected in
    government revenue. This is out of balance. We cannot solely cut or tax our way
    out of this problem. We should not raise tax rates for anyone but we need to
    take a serious look at deductions and subsidies without expecting it being
    revenue neutral. Yes the Democrats must give in on real entitlement reform that
    leaves the programs there for those that need them and have paid into them but
    make them smart, efficient, solvent, and affordable in the long term, and they
    must give in on spending cuts that will be written into law for the upcoming
    year- not just promise us an imaginary conversation in the future that never actually
    happens. However we as conservatives must be specific about the deductions,
    subsidies, and loopholes we are willing to get rid of.  As soon as we are specific and lay out a clear
    and viable plan to the American people, we will be able to paint the Democrats
    as the unrealistic obstructionists they are (which is unfortunately how we are
    looking right now with the middle class tax cuts.) We as conservatives must
    give the Republican leadership the room to lead and come up with smart policy.
    If you disagree with something a politician says or does, explain why it is bad
    policy. Don’t stand behind a meaning less pledge, stand behind your core
    convictions and this country.