Chambliss, Kingston Offer Wisdom

The 114th Congress convenes on Tuesday, meaning Georgia’s newbies will encounter new challenges. The New York Times asked several outgoing members of Congress what wisdom they wish to share with the incoming class. The resounding nugget: Partisanship is easy, governing is hard.

Outgoing U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss recalled an experience from the mid-90s when Republicans took control of the House.

“We were all ultra right-wingers, but we figured out right quick that when you are in the majority, you have to govern,” he said of the 1994 class of House Republicans. “If you are going to govern in this country you are not going to govern on the far right or the far left. You’ve got to figure out a way to somehow get pretty close to the middle, otherwise you are going to do what we did — that is shut the government down. And we paid a heavy price for it. And you saw that again just a year ago.

“We need to find the best solution that is not a political solution and that requires hard and tough votes to be made,” Mr. Chambliss said. “And nobody around here has been willing to make hard and tough votes the last four years.”

Congressman Kingston urged the newcomers to break out of the partisan cycle and focus on doing what is best for America.

If lawmakers are to break out of the partisan cycle, Mr. Kingston said, they need to avoid being inundated by their constituents in an increasingly digital world where members of Congress find themselves under immediate pressure as events unfold.

“If new members allow their base to control their behavior up here they are going to be miserable,” said Mr. Kingston, who has seen the rising influence of Tea Party activists on Republican lawmakers. “While the voters might be yelling and screaming at you to do something, that’s not your job.

“You have to look at all the information and then make the best determination as to what’s going to be best for America,” he said. “Sometimes you have to have disagreements with your own party along the way, and that is O.K.”

Senator-elect Perdue and Congressmen-elect Carter, Loudermilk and Hice have some rather large shoes to fill. It appears Georgia’s outgoing leaders hope this new crop of leaders will avoid partisanship. I guess we’ll see Tuesday.


  1. seenbetrdayz says:

    “You’ve got to figure out a way to somehow get pretty close to the middle, otherwise you are going to do what we did — that is shut the government down. And we paid a heavy price for it. And you saw that again just a year ago.”

    What “heavy price?” Being rewarded with a majority a year later? Voters must have been so p/o’d about the ‘shutdown’ (which was not even 10% of government, in terms of it’s impact on average citizens, unless you just really wanted to go to a national park at the time) that they booted every Republican they could find . . . into office.

    • seenbetrdayz says:

      And won.

      I really have to question whether the Tea Party hurts the GOP as much as the democrats think (or maybe I should say, wish) they do.

      Of course, if you want to argue whether or not Perdue or Loudermilk actually believe any of the stuff they said to get elected, well, that remains to be seen. The GOP is plagued with people who will say anything to get elected and then do the opposite once they get into office.

      • John Konop says:

        This is mainly a product of gerrymandering…..Districts on both sides are set up to be reflective of thier base, not a geographic and or representation of the people….A congressman 90 percent of the time on both sides must feed the red meat to the base to get elected. Statewide office you need to win primary controlled by base….Obviuosly both sides say things they do not believe to get out of the primary on the macro…..In Georgia with the demographic trends it will force the GOP to tone down in the future if they want to win….The Tea Party could be very relavent if they help form solutions around key issues like infastructure, healthcare, immigration …..If they box the GOP into a non governing positions than it will hurt the party in the future.

        • Bobloblaw says:

          Perdue didn’t win base on gerrymandering and the GOP got 53% of the national popular vote for the House. So stop the gerrymandering nonsense. Gerrymandering has existed since the 1700s.

          And oh yeah, Common Core is a giant loser. I’m sure you’ll be a Jeb booster in 2016.

          • John Konop says:


            …Perdue didn’t win base on gerrymandering…..

            I never said he did, I was referring to congress……obviously you cannot gerrymander a statewide office….YES congressional districts are in gerrymandered districts 90 % of the time. I would debate education with you…but you are more concerned with the politics not ever fixing anything…I get it, it is how you get paid…. Keep spinning away…

              • John Konop says:

                Nice talking point…..stir up base, ask for money, careless about any meaningful policy and cash check, am I missing anything from your day to day MO?

  2. FranInAtlanta says:

    My take is that, while the Tea Party is noisy, they are not in the majority of the Republican Party in Georgia. Also, if you compare Kingston’s votes in the last year in the House to Perdue’s campaign, my take is that Perdue exhibited less Tea Party. That said, I eventually decided that Kingston saw more Tea Party than was there (and that he was not as much Tea Party and one would have deduced from his votes) and would have stood a better chance voting with Price on some issues.

    • Dave Bearse says:

      I don’t think the Tea Party is in the GOP majority either, but the Tea Party effectively dictate GaGOP policy, even if their candidates are winning few primaries, and establishment GOP are feckless to do anything about it.

    • seenbetrdayz says:

      The tea party might not be a majority of Republicans who are still active within the party. But, there’s something there that motivates people who have been politically dormant to come back out to the polls after years of having not-voted for the GOP due to disillusionment.

      The GOP has been hemorrhaging voters due to the big-government actions of people like Chambliss. Perhaps the Tea Party is needed to get those folks who still believe in limited government to come back onto the playing field. I know that doesn’t jive with the narrative established by the liberal pundits, but please keep in mind that they form the narrative to prevent the GOP from regaining strength.

      ‘Tea Party is a bunch of crazies. The Tea Party is hurting the GOP. Blah blah.’

      Then when candidates run on the Tea Party issues and win, well, someone must have been lying. Maybe it’s time for the GOP to stop taking their cues from the left. In the words of Admiral Ackbar, “It’s a trap!”

  3. barrycdog says:

    Chambliss a quote, “ultra right-winger”? Was that before or after he voted for the bail outs. He did not vote for the 1.1 Trillion Omnibus.

  4. jiminga says:

    Run to the right (or left), govern from the middle. Nothing new there. The real question is how the new majority will deal with Obama, who ran from the middle and governs from the left. The Chinese were right about living in interesting times.

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