Thursday, March 20, 2008

That sound you heard was a collective sigh of relief.

Jim Martin, the Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor in 2006, is running to become the Democratic nominee for Senate. He would be a nominee, and a Senator, of whom every Georgian could be proud.

His announcement, from Political Insider:

"Today, on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War, it's clear that the current administration is on the wrong track. We need a Senator in Washington who answers to Georgians and not to George Bush and Dick Cheney 92 percent of the time," Martin said in a press release e-mailed at noon.

"Senator Chambliss's uncritical advocacy of the Iraq war has been matched only by his disregard for the soldiers fighting it and their families. I believe we should respect our troops by using them more effectively and taking better care of them when they come home," Martin said.

Chambliss owes his current job to his willingness to follow Bush. Bush and his cronies led him to attack Max Cleland in the most abominable way, and attack him Chambliss did, with great cheer; at the time, it was a shock, but now, I understand that it must have been a great relief to surrender responsibility for his own troublesome conscience to Karl Rove.

With Bush's term at an end, I've wondered what Senators like Saxby will do without his guidance. Here, I think his reversal on immigration policy is instructive: first, he followed the Chamber of Commerce; then, when their policy proved unpopular, he followed the anti-immigrant right. Saxby isn't so much a Senator as he is a weather vane.

From what I've seen, that cannot be said of Jim Martin. Compare Saxby's contortions on immigration to Jim's stand on health care:

MARTIN: I remember the back brace, the wheelchair, and the isolation of having polio. I also remember the love of my family, our church, and all the people who helped me recover. I was blessed to get my health back, but I never forgot what it feels like to need a little help.

I'm Jim Martin. As Lieutenant Governor, I'll put my Georgia health plan in place to bring down health care costs for seniors, children, and families - because I know the difference a little help can make.

This, to me, speaks to fundamental values - values that Saxby, at best, doesn't share, and at worst, doesn't have.