Chambliss fights for corporations
By Jay Bookman
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Jim Martin and Sen. Saxby Chambliss may be former fraternity brothers at the University of Georgia, but they look, act, think and speak in very different ways. The two candidates in the Dec. 2 Senate runoff offer Georgia voters a stark choice.
Martin, the Democrat, has been a fighter for the little guy throughout his life, and he’s proved effective in that role. He served his country in the U.S. Army in Vietnam and as a state legislator, lawyer and head of the state Department of Human Resources. Throughout his public life he has been known as a workhorse not a showhorse, someone whose first concern was getting the job done well rather than trying to get the credit.
In fact, Martin was so well-respected for his competence and ability to work across party lines that when Gov. Sonny Perdue became the state’s first Republican governor in a century, he asked Martin to remain as head of the state Department of Human Services.
In his six years in the U.S. Senate, Chambliss has set a very different course. He fought against stricter immigration policies not out of a sense of compassion, but because easy immigration and lax enforcement served the interests of industry. When he fought against reform of farm subsidies that cost taxpayers billions, it wasn’t out of concern for the small family farmer. The reforms championed by President Bush but opposed by Chambliss would have cut payments only to huge corporate farms.
Time and again, on issue after issue, Chambliss has taken the side of the powerful and influential over those of the taxpayer and general citizen. His performance this year at a Senate hearing, in which he took the side of corporate management by browbeating a safety whistle-blower at a Savannah sugar mill, has become the stuff of legend. (A few months earlier, an explosion at the plant had killed 14 workers.)
General elections are of course won by the candidate who gets the most votes, and the same is true of runoff elections. But in a runoff, the intensity of a candidate’s support also matters. The winner is generally the person who gets supporters excited enough, or angry enough, to go out and vote a second time. And this year, there’s a little added motivation. Conceivably, a victory by Martin could give Democrats 60 seats in the Senate, enough to give the party outright control of that body....(Click for remainder).
By Spencer S. Hsu
The Washington Post
President-elect Barack Obama's pending selection of Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano (D) as secretary of homeland security was greeted yesterday as a sign that the new Democratic administration will fundamentally change the tone of the nation's post-Sept. 11 approach to domestic security.
Immigrant advocates, business groups and civil libertarians said that the choice of a two-term governor from a Republican-friendly border state could lead to a reversal of policies that they contend unduly punish illegal immigrants, commerce and Americans' privacy. Agency observers on the right and the left say that her selection appears to reflect a calculation that she could do so without appearing weak on terrorism.
In fact, immigration opponents and counterterrorism analysts praised Napolitano. They said, however, that they think the former federal prosecutor would continue much of the Bush administration's enforcement-first policies, including border security enhancements and promoting national standards for identification cards.
In both promising to restore "balance" to what Democrats say has been a one-sided security debate and seeming to straddle wide political divisions, Napolitano is much like Obama, both Republican and Democratic observers said....(Click for remainder).