A Farewell From and To Sen. Chambliss

From the floor of the U.S. Senate today, retiring U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss gave a farewell speech to his fellow Senators, both past and present. He also thanked the Senate staffers, the citizens of Georgia, and those that have served in the U.S. Military. He took time to recognize his family, including his wife of almost 48 years, Julianne.

Chambliss served in the U.S. House from 1995 to 2003 and has been serving in the U.S. Senate since 2003. He is the Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the former Chairman and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, and a member of both the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration.

Sen. Johnny Isakson also gave a 2 minute farewell to his friend Saxby Chambliss. They have been friends since their time together at UGA in the early 1960’s. They have served together in Congress since 1999 and have been in the Senate together since 2005.

The text of and video link to Isakson’s farewell to Chambliss can be found after the break.

Video Link

Sen. Johnny Isakson:

“Mr. President, I rise to pay tribute to my friend, Saxby Chambliss.

I will have to admit to you this is a speech I never wanted to make. I never wanted to make it because we’ve had a wonderful relationship in this body for the last 10 years. We’ve done everything together.

He’s had my back, I’ve had his back; he’s a great friend and I’ll miss him.

But I’m not a selfish guy. He married one of the finest women I’ve ever known, Julianne, who is one of the best friends my wife has. I know he’s leaving us and I’ll miss the crutch I’ve used. She is getting her Saxby back and she and her family and those grandkids he loves so much. That’s exactly what Saxby wants to do.

Georgia has had some great senators. Richard Russell, really the master of the senate; Zell Miller, the former governor of Georgia, a friend of mine and mentor to our state; and Sam Nunn, one of the finest in national defense and foreign policy our state ever offered.

Saxby will be the fourth on the Mount Rushmore of Georgia senators who served Georgia with distinction and with class.

I want to tell Saxby this personally. For ten years we’ve done a joint press conferences. We’ve messed up twice and, when I messed up, he covered my back, and when he messed up, I covered his. In fact, in 2008 when he almost lost a race and got into a runoff, in December in Georgia I rode a bus for 21 straight days introducing him three times a day and eating barbecue every day for dinner and lunch. That’s a price to pay only friendship will bring out of anybody.

But he’s a dear friend and I love him very much and I love his family very much. I could talk all day but I wanted to open up and close by saying, Saxby, I love you, the state’s going to love having you back. The country will miss you but my grandchildren are safer, my state is better and our relationship has never been stronger.

May God bless you and your family in every endeavor you take and may god bless the United States of America.”


  1. FranInAtlanta says:

    Two fine men.
    I voted for Johnny in all of the primaries he lost to Moneybags and, finally, he was my representative, then Senator.
    Chambliss was a surprise, but what a welcome one. I knew the guy we had had to go (one of the first Southern Democrats to go national) and hope Chambliss would be a worthy replacement and he was. The breadth of his support was shown when Herschel came back to Georgia and campaigned for him.
    Am hoping Perdue will be equally worthy and that his business knowledge will bring a reality to the Senate that is strongly needed.
    And, if we could have three Senators, I would vote for Kingston for the third slot.

  2. gcp says:

    I have posted my criticisms of Chambliss many times so I won’t list them again but its good to see him leave. Hopefully Perdue will be an improvement.

  3. Andrew C. Pope says:

    Hey, any of y’all remember that time that Saxby tried to insinuate that Max Cleland, the guy who didn’t doge the draft and actually fought in Vietnam, was a terrorist sympathizer dedicated to aiding and abetting Osama Bin Laden? Still the most vile and disgusting campaign ad I’ve ever seen.

    • androidguybill says:

      I will match your Cleland ad with the Ferguson flyer and similar in Georgia and North Carolina attempting to increase black turnout by either scaring or enraging them.

      The point: both sides do it, so neither side should claim moral superiority when it comes to outlandish attacks and scare tactics. The only difference is that Democrats and the left have the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN etc. to make their “war on women” (and other divisive, fearmongering tactics) seem reasonable, mainstream, justified and based in truth. With that on your side, the next time any Democratic campaign tactic or rhetoric gets denounced as extremist, offensive, beyond the pale etc. will be the first. Even an ad run by Wendy Davis that made her opponent’s physical disability a campaign issue:
      1) it did not become anywhere near the national scandal that mere remarks by George Allen, Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell etc. did
      2) what little criticism the ad received was mainly because the ad failed politically, not because it was offensive and cruel. So had the ad actually worked, Davis would have been praised as “courageous”, “risk-taking”, “hard-hitting”, “take no prisoners” for the ad

      If Democrats ever want to win an election against someone other than John McCain and Mitt Romney – or win elections in places other than the northeast, far west and the (economically and socially crumbling) upper midwest, they need to recognize that they have their extremists too. Had Cleland remained the center-left moderate that he was for decades in Georgia instead of veering far left once he got to Washington, he could have retained that Senate seat for life. Or he would have been a no-brainer as a presidential running mate. But instead, even after BARELY WINNING his Senate seat in the first place, the guy decides to vote like Barbara Boxer. That is the real reason why he lost, which is why your side would rather focus on the bin Laden ad rather than admit that sometimes being too far to the left actually does cost you at the ballot box.

      • FranInAtlanta says:

        Thanks for reminding everyone why Cleland lost (at least my vote). And, if I remember correctly, his manhood was questioned because he was more afraid of displeasing Ted Kennedy than displeasing the people of Georgia.

      • gcp says:

        If Cleland “voted like Barbara Boxer” who did Chambliss vote like? I argue that big issues like part D, farm bills and budget deficits Cleland would have voted like Chambliss; and just maybe Cleland would have questioned defense spending and some of our overseas military activity.

      • MattMD says:

        Cleland wasn’t that far left, I don’t know what you are mis-remembering.

        If you think he voted like an “extremist” or often voted with Boxer, well, you’re probably a nut.

        It was a disgusting ad so you probably should just go ahead and concede that point without bringing up Ferguson. It was as Rovian as anything I’ve ever seen and even McCain spoke out against it.

  4. Dave Bearse says:

    Not seeing much love, at least as of this comment. Chambliss no doubt had been feeling a lack of that sentiment since any semblance of actually trying to govern fell out of GOP favor a few years ago.

    • androidguybill says:

      You have to acknowledge the dynamic going on.
      1. George W. Bush was a complete, total and utter failure – and at times in historic terms – in domestic policy, foreign policy and political strategy as well as being very corrupt (in terms of using the office to advance the financial interests of his friends and contributors). He also completely lacked the qualifications and temperament for the office, being actually worse than the stereotypical legacy who does just enough to get by on his family name, wealth and connections.

      2. Movement conservatives fully acknowledge the mess that Bush made, but cannot blame it on Bush himself because that would mean admitting that a Republican is capable of being just as bad and corrupt as their caricature of Democrats. Now you would think that the GOP could simply state that Bush was simply a bad leader. The problem – and this is going to sound ridiculous but it is true – the affirmative action rhetoric. It basically boxes them into the position that pretty much all successful whites are qualified super achievers who earned their success via hard work and extreme competence – and even had to overcome the barriers and hardships of racial quotas and political correctness along the way – while the ONLY deserving successful blacks (in fields other than entertainment and athletics) that aren’t affirmative action or other racial politics beneficiaries stealing opportunity from more deserving whites are conservatives. Thus, white leadership failure comes only via their affiliation with liberal politics, or due to being saddled with high taxes and onerous government regulations, not poor individual decisions or moral shortcomings, as the affirmative action debate precludes them from admitting that there has ever in the history of the world been such a thing as an unqualified white person.

      3. So therefore being unable to acknowledge that they simply got a mulligan in George W. Bush – a bad leader with terrible ideas and who surrounded himself with similar types (i.e. George Rumsfeld and his claims that a smaller, more efficient technocratic military force would be able to completely secure Iraq in as few as several days and definitely not more than 6 months”) they had to come up with another explanation: Bush’s failures – the few of them that they are willing to admit – were due to his adopting liberal positions and cooperating with Democrats! Solution? Elect politicians that have no liberal positions and will not cooperate with Democrats! Which, of course, is ridiculous. Ronald Reagan adopted plenty of positions associated with the left and did plenty of compromising with Tip O’Neill (not just the blue dog, yellow dog and Reagan Democrats). It worked because Reagan was simply a good leader who surrounded himself with good people. But – again – because of the affirmative action debate the movement GOP can’t admit that Bush was less qualified and capable than Reagan because – well, Bush is a white male who went to Saint Albans, Harvard, Yale and worked in corporate America. So it HAD to be because Bush was far more liberal than Reagan.

      And that explains the climate that we are in today. Because these guys can’t simply stand up and publicly admit that Bush was a disaster (even though they acknowledge it privately … no GOP candidate in 2008 or 2012 sought his endorsement, Bush was not even allowed to attend the GOP convention in 2012, and the next GOPer to ask Bush to publicly appear with and campaign for them or quote Bush in their stump speeches will be the first … they would rather campaign with the guys from Duck Dynasty than a two term president, so despite being still very much young enough to play a real leadership role in this country and abroad like Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton have, Bush is reduced to painting pictures of cats) guys like Chambliss have to pay the price.

      But hey, these guys already lost the 2012 election because they peddled the line that “affirmative action lending quotas” caused the 2007 financial crisis instead of derivatives trading, accounting and other financial scandals, and the repeal of Glass Steagall (It is funny … a Community Reinvestment Act passed in 1977 caused the financial crisis 30 years later while the Glass Steagall repeal in 1999 followed by a decade of very predictable risky and criminal behavior HAD ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH IT) and as a result nominated the very type of guy that Glass Steagall was intended to inhibit in Mitt Romney. So compared to that, throwing overboard a low profile senator with little seniority and from a red state (meaning that he would certainly be replaced by another GOPer) was a much smaller price to pay than admitting that it is possible for a GOP president to be the equivalent of how the GOP views an urban Democratic black mayor.

  5. Jon Lester says:

    Well, I do appreciate the relative quietness and grace with which he concludes his service. I think I said enough before about how he’s served, and to say more now would be kind of moot, anyway, as the next Senate really won’t be any better, a truth that is beyond any individual member.

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