Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Sen. Saxby Chambliss' Struggle with Dishonesty

Yesterday (6-26), while a bipartisan majority of Senators expressed support for the Employee Free Choice Act, most Republican Senators voted to filibuster the bill, preventing the end of debate and bringing the vote to the floor for an "up or down" vote. A large bipartisan majority in the House passed the bill in March.

Many Republican Senators have been caught lying about why they oppose the bill. Some like Sens. Orrin Hatch (UT), Lamar Alexander (TN), Norman Coleman (MN), Saxby Chambliss (GA) blatantly misstated what the bill would do. The bill would give workers the choice on how to select a union in their workplace: either through a secret ballot or a majority sign-up known as "card check." If a majority of workers vote for a union, then the employer must recognize it and begin negotiating with workers on pay, benefits, and work conditions.

But these four Senators lied and said they oppose the bill because it does away with "secret ballots." But it doesn't. So either they haven't actually read a bill they have pronounced an opinion on and voted on, or they are being dishonest. Which is it?

Chambliss went further. He added that he opposes the bill because it is supported by the Communist Party USA. But let's assume for a moment, God forbid, that the Communist Party USA never existed. Would Chambliss have supported the bill? Nope. Again Chambliss is simply being dishonest.

The Communist Party opposes racism. So does this mean Chambliss is coming out as a staunch advocate of white supremacy. Well, maybe not staunch. The Communist Party supports voting rights; so does Chambliss believe that only propertied white men should be able to vote?

Chambliss should stop using the views of other groups as an excuse to avoid doing his job right: that is, reading a bill before he gives an opinion on it and relaying this information accurately to the voters of his state. He should stop blaming others for his own views.

Why doesn't Chambliss have the backbone to tell Georgia voters that his campaigns are financed by big business lobbyists with the National Association of Manufacturers and the Chamber of Commerce, and that is why he opposes laws that would help working families in Georgia improve their standard of living? Georgia voters have to ask why Chambliss took more than $190,000 from lobbyists between 2001 and 2006. And of the $12 million he has taken from organizations, PACs, lobbyists, and individuals over this time period, about 90% has come from big business. What did that money buy them?

But should Chambliss' dishonesty really surprise Georgia voters? This is the guy who, after avoiding service in Vietnam, ran against disabled Vietnam war veteran Sen. Max Cleland in 2002 and accused him being a traitor.

Can Georgia working families afford to have such a dishonest person, who has been bought and sold many times over to the highest bidder, representing them in the Senate?

--Joel Wendland

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