Georgia: Chambliss v. Martin
Over the past 48 hours, I’ve been wrestling with myself over which way to go in the runoff for the Georgia Senate race. In case you don’t know. The Libertarian Party candidate, Allen Buckley, was the difference in the race. He may make an endorsement in the race, but it’s unclear which way he’ll go.
Essentially, this is a runoff between two big government candidates. One has consistently lied about his record while claiming to be a small government conservative. The other is a progressive who has a decent stance on civil liberties issues.
In 2006, the Cato Institute published a study about the libertarian vote (when I use the word libertarian, it is in reference to the philosophy, not the party unless otherwise noted). There has been a constant debate as to where libertarians should go. The Republican Party almost held a monopoly on libertarian-minded voters:
Libertarians preferred George W. Bush over Al Gore by 72 to 20 percent, but Bush’s margin dropped in 2004 to 59-38 over John Kerry. Congressional voting showed a similar swing from 2002 to 2004.
The swing in congressional voting is significant. In 2002, libertarian voters went from 70 to 23 percent in favor of Republicans to 53 to 44 percent, still in favor of Republicans. No statistics are available for 2006.
A Rasmussen poll shows that libertarians were braking for Barack Obama in 2008, 53 to 38 percent over John McCain.
The reasons for such a revolt are very clear. Republicans, under George W. Bush, have become the party of big government. That’s not to say Democrats aren’t for big government, they are. Republicans just tell you one thing and do another. No one is perfect and I expect some compromises to be made from time to time, but the Republican Party has done a complete about-face. The GOP of the last eight years is not the party of less government and free markets.
And that brings me to Sen. Saxby Chambliss. The man is a fiscal fraud. Sure, he claims to be a conservative. He never has defined what it means. Looking at his record, one can only assume that being a social authoritarian is the sole requirement for the label.
Chambliss displayed his contempt for fiscal conservatism during his first year in the Senate by voting for, adding almost $9 trillion to the unfunded liabilities of Medicare. Chambliss wouldn’t have been enough to swing the vote either way, but he could have gone on record against entitlements.
Additionally, Chambliss has voted for everyone of George W. Bush’s budgets. He has had a mixed record on trade, because he always votes for farm subsidies. In fact, he note only has voted for all three farm bills during his time in Congress, he lead the charge to override Bush’s veto of the bloated bill this year. Chambliss even claimed that the veto would hurt Sen. John McCain’s bid for the White House. McCain voted against it and voted against the veto override.
The farm bill is stuffed with pork and subsidies that only cost Americans more money, not only through tax dollars, but at the grocery store. It stifles competition as Congress picks the winners and losers.
Spending under George W. Bush has skyrocketed, as noted by Stephen Slivinski, by 33% in the first four years. After the first six years, he nearly matched Lyndon B. Johnson and Gerald Ford. Bush doesn’t not have the record of a fiscal conservative.
Of course, Chambliss is complicit. His actions of will cause massive tax increases for Georgians down the road. Entitlement spending will consume the budget in 30 years. That and debt service alone will eclipse the current level of spending as a percentage of GDP, which is around 21%.
Chambliss seems to believe that the only things that defines fiscal conservatism is tax cuts. Wrong, Sen. Chambliss. You have to cut spending too. What good is a tax cut, when you aren’t cutting spending. You’re only putting off the tax increases on our kids and grandkids.
Then you look at his record on privacy and Iraq. I understand that Republicans aren’t too concerned with the Fourth Amendment. Chambliss voted for the PATRIOT Act while a member of the House in 2001 and then voted for its renewal in 2006.
The Fourth Amendment says:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The “sneak-and-peek” provisions of the PATRIOT Act are enough to make it unconstitutional and a federal judge ruled against parts of the law as such.
I have no problem admitting that I supported the invasion of Iraq. At first I had some issues with it, but by March of 2003, I was supportive. It took me a couple years to realize what a mistake it was. I can understand arguments against an immediate withdrawal. I disagree with them, but I understand them. As of now, 4,192 American soldiers have lost their lives. Thousands of Iraqi civilians have lost their lives. It’s time to bring our troops home.
This isn’t the entire case against Chambliss, but it is a summary of it. I’m not even getting on the issues with the bailout, his social authoritarianism or votes to write discrimination into the Constitution because that alone would take up another several hundred words.
Jim Martin on other hand would be just as a bad on economics issues as Saxby Chambliss, and possibly much worse. While I am not a supporter of the FairTax, the DSCC ran a dishonest ad against the proposal. It gave Martin an opportunity to show his independence by disowning the ad, but he chose to defend it, so I don’t necessarily trust him to break away from his party. If the votes were needed…where would he go? I’m not saying Chambliss is willing to break away either. He voted 92% of the time with the position of the Bush Administration.
I also don’t know that much about Jim Martin. There are too many issues that he has either been silent on or has a position completely contrary to mine.
One thing that concerned me was seeing Barack Obama praise Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm for her “great knowledge and great interest” on economic issues. Really? Michigan had the worst economy in the United States during a time when the rest of the country was doing relatively well, even if the causes of the economic expansion were a bubble. Unemployment in the state has been over 6% since November 2001 and is now at 8.7%, the highest in the nation.
Martin has a much better stance on civil liberties issues. He opposed the war in Iraq, but has not taken a strong stance on bringing the troops home.
I cannot vote to send Jim Martin, who identifies himself as a “proud progressive,” to the Senate to vote for the economic agenda of Barack Obama and Jennifer Granholm. I am wary of giving Democrats too much power because they will do just as Republicans did.
As far as I see it, voting for Chambliss or Martin aren’t options for me, though I’ll listen to arguments otherwise. I’ve been debating this with myself for the last 48 hours. Initially I was supporting Martin. I wrote it on my personal blog twice, but after thinking about the race, I am leaning towards skipping it on my ballot right now. If it were a House seat, elected to a two year term, it would be different. I was wrong to just react out of emotion without considering the long-term consequences.
I’ll still vote in the runoff due to other races on the ballot. If anyone has thoughts on this race, please share them.