Some reaction to Chambliss’ victory.

December 3, 2008 10:53 am

by Buzz Brockway · 23 comments

American Thinker:

But electoral momentum helps too — there is no substitute for winning. Twelve months before the 1994 Republican landslide, Republicans were winning (and Democrats were losing) special Senate elections, special House elections, off-year gubernatorial elections, and mayoral contests. The aura of electoral invincibility which Clinton created vanished in less than a year. It all began in a Georgia runoff election a few weeks after the presidential election.

There is no good way for the Left to play this vote. Saxby Chambliss is a solid conservative with a 95% rating by the American Conservative Union. Jim Martin is a Leftist Democrat. Maybe the big Georgia victory is a small step towards conservatism. It prevents a filibuster-proof Senate, and it is a clear signal to Barack Obama that his “mandate” is more a repudiation of Bush than an endorsement of some vague socialism.

Power Line:

Democrats would also have taken special relish in Chambliss’s defeat. Democrats still harbor their special brand of bitterness over Chambliss’s defeat of Max Cleland in 2002. Kathryn Lopez addresses it in a good column that reminds us what it’s all about. The AP speaks for the Democrats:

Chambliss came to the Senate in 2002 after defeating Democratic Sen. Max Cleland in a campaign that infuriated Democrats. Chambliss ran a TV ad that questioned Cleland’s commitment to national security and flashed a photo of Osama bin Laden. Cleland is a triple amputee wounded in the Vietnam War.

Outside the Democratic Party, I believe this chain of propositions is subsumed under the rubric of non sequitur. Conservatives, Republicans and fans of logic can at the least breathe a sigh of relief over the outcome in Georgia yesterday.

spilt December 3, 2008 at 11:10 am

The quote from American Thinker really reflects how distant the ears of conservatives are from the ground. The idea that Obama won primarily because voters wanted to repudiate Bush is wishful thinking. The large majority who voted for Obama did so because he ran a better campaign and communicated to the populace in a more effective and appealing manner.

I hope the Republican party will transform itself. Doing so will benefit us all. But if they remain fixated on the idea that Obama is a fluke and that most Americans desire a return to old-fashioned, streamlined conservative ideology, well, then the wilderness will grow around them.

GOPeach December 3, 2008 at 12:06 pm

Saxby needs to kiss the face of God on this victory. He was given mercy by the Good Lord who resides in the hearts of people ( including me). I overheard a comment last night that was spoken by a very wise lady at Saxby’s victory party -” We should not just fight to win – we need to win to fight.”

As for the wilderness – I do not think the GOP is in the wilderness – I think the GOP WAS is TIME OUT – like a bad child who did something stupid. Now – that they have come to their senses – they will get some good sense and LEAD this STATE!

Bucky Plyler December 3, 2008 at 12:07 pm

True conservatism certainly doesn’t define Chambliss or the Rep. party-in many ways it has already transformed itself into something it should not be.

However, the majority of voters in Georgian are conservative. This run off clearly shows that fact. When faced with the choices we were given, we voted as conservative as we could.

I think the national Rep. party should take note of Georgia. If anything they should transform back to the basics.

Jmac December 3, 2008 at 12:20 pm

There is no good way for the Left to play this vote. Saxby Chambliss is a solid conservative with a 95% rating by the American Conservative Union. Jim Martin is a Leftist Democrat. Maybe the big Georgia victory is a small step towards conservatism.

This is insanity. I won’t argue for or against Obama’s win being a repudiation of Bush because, well, obviously it was to a very large extent … though that wasn’t the only reason he won (far from it). But to suggest that a Republican winning a runoff election in Georgia is a ‘small step towards conservatism’ is crazy.

Georgia is deep red state. It has two Republican senators. The majority of our representatives are Republican. Republicans control both houses of the state legislature. We have a Republican governor, lt. governor, secretary of state and secretary of education.

Watching a Republican win a statewide race in Georgia suggests the same about the ideological mood of the country that a Democrat winning in Massachusetts would.

The bigger fact is that Chambliss even got into a runoff against such a ‘Leftist’ Democrat who pulled down 47 percent of the vote on Election Day and 41-plus percent in the runoff. That’s outperforming a well-known former Democratic official who ran for governor a few years back.

If anything, given changing demographics, I’d be nervous about the coming years.

bowersville December 3, 2008 at 12:29 pm

“If they (GOP) remain fixated….that most Americans desire to return to old fashioned…conservative ideology…” That’s exactly where the GOP should move.

Evidence: The defeat of Prop 8 in California. The massacre of the National GOP in the House and Senate over the last two election cycles.

Granted, Obama ran a brilliant campaign, bur where did conservative principals fail McCain, nowhere, McCain’s big thing over the years has been to compromise conservatism by throwing conservatives under the bus. The same with GWB.

It wasn’t Palin that came up with McCain/Kennedy, it wasn’t Palin who came up with McCain/Feingold, it wasn’t Palin soliciting, it was Foley. It wasn’t Palin rushing back to DC to muster the GOP into voting for the Bailout. It wasn’t Palin reaching across the isle for bi-partisan manure handouts. It wasn’t Palin that authored and voted for the largest deficit spending bills in history.

So, maybe the GOP needs to take a long gaze into the mirror. I’m with Plyer on thuis one, Saxby won because there was no where else to go.

jsm December 3, 2008 at 12:29 pm

Jmac, the fact that Chambliss went from a general election lead of around 2% to a runoff win by nearly 20% says something about trends here, which may or may not be correctly extrapolated to the greater population.

The national democrats had nothing and nobody who could energize the democrat vote.

Jmac December 3, 2008 at 12:46 pm

I don’t disagree (well, completely disagree) jsm.

The trend, however, I would argue stems from Republicans successfully framing this campaign as a last ditch effort to keep Democrats from gaining ‘total control’ in Washington. That was an effective political strategy that kicked up base turnout to levels that rival the 2006 General Election. As a result, there was more enthusiasm for the GOP base to return to the polls, while Democrats were content (it seems) in taking back the presidency and gaining seats in both houses of Congress (and turnout that was substantially depressed compared to Election Day).

You toss in more high-profile visits from GOP surrogates, and it was just more inticing for the Republicans to vote.

I’d also assume that some of the voters who voted for Martin as a protest against Chambliss returned to the fold in the runoff (due to the threat of 60 votes in the U.S. Senate).

JAC1975 December 3, 2008 at 12:49 pm

Or perhaps Saxby’s big win is indicative of the fact that the GOP has become a highly regional, SOUTHERN party.

jkga December 3, 2008 at 12:50 pm

I think that both the Chambliss win and Prop 8 are not evidence of a swing towards conservatism, but of voters’ centrism. Voters have traditionally preferred legislative and executive power to be divided between the parties; here, that consideration was brought to the forefront because it was so very clear how this run-off would affect the balance of power. As far as Prop 8 is concerned, as much as I oppose it and am saddened by its passage, I still have to admit that same-sex marriage is a very new concept for most voters and it is not surprising that it’s encountering some resistance. I don’t think the passage of Prop 8 marks an impulse to turn back the clock on society’s acceptance of homosexuality, just maybe to pause for a little while.

John Konop December 3, 2008 at 1:02 pm

Please help me understand how Saxby is a “solid conservative”?

ugadog December 3, 2008 at 1:09 pm

Thanks for the laugh!

Buzz Brockway December 3, 2008 at 1:13 pm

John,

As referenced by the American Thinker, Saxby has a lifetime rating of 95 by the American Conservative Union(see here). He’s a 95% Conservative, which all in all is pretty good.

People were mad at Saxby because of several high profile wanderings from the Conservative farm.

Tyler December 3, 2008 at 1:23 pm

I wonder what his rating will be once they add in his bailout votes…
I’m sorry but that’s just Socialism. Let’s see if Saxby learns from being forced into a runoff. He better get Conservative, but I’m not going to hold my breath!

Doug Deal December 3, 2008 at 1:47 pm

Buzz,

Those ratings are generally pretty useless, since they only focus on the vote and not the reason behind the vote. Plus, just because they call themselves conservative does not mean they are conservative in a way that agrees with my definition of the word.

If I was in Congress, I would pretty much vote against any measure by the government that increases the size and scope of the Federal government, yet I would get dinged by these so called “conservative” groups because I would not vote to increase the size of government in a way favored by them.

Looking through their choice of votes, I do not see any in regard to farm subsidies or the behind the scenes influence a Senator uses to add pork to a bill to reward political allies.

John Konop December 3, 2008 at 2:18 pm

Buzz Brockway

In all due respect how can Saxby have a high rating and voted for the following;

Highway bill

Farm bill

Energy Bill

No Child Left Behind

Drug Prescription bill

I would go further but that alone should wake you up!

Please help me understand?

IndyInjun December 3, 2008 at 2:22 pm

Buzz cannot explain, for in his mind, HE (Buzz) is a “conservative.”

He isn’t.

He is a REPUBLICAN.

There is a chasm as wide as the Grand Canyon between the two, now.

spilt December 3, 2008 at 3:08 pm

To Bowersville –

If Palin is the conservatives’ answer, then you’re going to be licking your chops for longer than I had thought. If anti-science, anti-gays is your thing, then slid her in. The American public are rightly moving away from this dogma. Religious institutions simply do not hold the authority they once did. People are learning to think for themselves.

John Konop December 3, 2008 at 3:45 pm

Erick and the band at REDSTATE are pushing for Palin 12 ticket. All talking points , gut level politics and no solutions, a joy for Erick and the gang!

Chambliss: Palin ‘allowed us to peak’

From Politico

Fresh off his runoff victory Tuesday night, Georgia Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss credited Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin with firing up his base.

“I can’t overstate the impact she had down here,” Chambliss said during an interview Wednesday morning on Fox News.

“When she walks in a room, folks just explode,” he added. “And they really did pack the house everywhere we went. She’s a dynamic lady, a great administrator, and I think she’s got a great future in the Republican Party.”

Chambliss said that after watching her campaign on his behalf at several events Monday, he does not see her star status diminishing within the party.

The Republican also thanked John McCain and the other big name Republicans that came to Georgia, but said Palin made the biggest impact.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1208/16162.html

chrisishardcore December 3, 2008 at 5:06 pm

Pretty sure Saxby did a lot better with early voters than he did with day of election voters.

Here’s a timeline for those of you that have a hard time putting that one together:
Early vote: Saxby does really well.
Early voting ends, Sarah Palin visits.
Day of election: Saxby still does well, but not as good as the early vote.

So, if Sarah Palin is such an awesome energizer of the vote, how do you explain how well he did with early voters compared to those who waited until Sarah Palin checked in?

cheapseats December 3, 2008 at 6:08 pm

Funny stuff!

Now that you got your boy elected, you can go back to hating him and hoping he loses in 6 very long years. Ummm…ok. At least I didn’t have to change my opinion so, I don’t have any work to do. ;)

Does anybody really think that Palin influenced any undecided votes? Really? She drew huge crowds of the “true believers” and whipped them into a froth. Did it change a single vote? My guess is “nope”.

Icarus December 3, 2008 at 9:16 pm

“She drew huge crowds of the “true believers” and whipped them into a froth.”

Then she did her job.

Runoff elections aren’t about changing people’s minds/votes. They are about getting your people whipped into a froth so they will go back and vote.

IndyInjun December 3, 2008 at 10:37 pm

When people are whipped into a froth, they do mindless things.

That is the “beauty” of politics?

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