Chattanooga Free Press Endorses Jim Martin

In Georgia, Martin for Senate
Chattanooga Free Press
October 24, 2008

This year, Georgians are confronted by a host of formidable issues. The economy has been beaten down by flawed tax and regulatory policies that have created massive deficits. There is real fear about jobs, flagging schools, health care, crumbling infrastructure and a costly war seemingly without end. Georgia’s next U.S. senator will have to deal with those problems — and more — as he works to rebuild faith in a government that seems to have failed the public it serves.

Georgia voters must choose between incumbent Saxby Chambliss, a Republican who is inextricably tied to the flawed policies of the Bush administration, and Jim Martin, a Democrat who is a straightforward champion of the average American who works hard to earn a living and support a family. The choice is clear-cut. We endorse Mr. Martin.

Mr. Chambliss, a wily and smooth-talking politician, happily rubber-stamped President Bush’s agenda that favored big business and rewarded the very wealthy at the expense of the vast majority of Americans for almost all of his first term. Only recently, when the Bush train came off the rails and the public’s approval of the president and his polices reached all-time lows, did Mr. Chambliss change his tune.

Now he lamely argues that he didn’t support Mr. Bush all of the time. Voters shouldn’t fall for that dodge. An objective measure of the Chambliss record shows that he consistently put partisan politics ahead of the interests of most Georgians. His current platform, though artfully disguised, promises more of the same. It’s time for him to leave office.

Mr. Martin, by contrast, pledges to put the interests of the people first. It’s not an idle promise. He’s spent more than three decades in public service and has earned an enviable reputation as a man who serves the people. He’s well known for his integrity and for his willingness to work across party lines. Indeed, he served as commissioner of his state’s Department of Human Resources under both Gov. Roy Barnes, a Democrat, and Gov. Sonny Perdue, a Republican.

Mr. Martin has a broad understanding of what Georgia and the nation need now. He is a centrist who knows that much of America’s economic, political, social and physical infrastructure are in disrepair, but he’s realist enough to know there are no quick fixes. His views on the economy, taxes, war, health care, education, foreign policy and energy are comprehensive, equitable and meet the needs of the bulk of Americans rather than the few.

Mr. Chambliss is hard-pressed to counter Mr. Martin’s platform and refuses to debate the issues. He’s turned to demagoguery instead. His ads excoriate Mr. Martin but offer little proof to back up the charges. It’s a familiar pattern. Mr. Chambliss used the same vile tactic against Max Cleland six years ago on the way to victory.

Voters should spurn such a slimy practice this time around. Mr. Martin is a far more creditable candidate. He will work hard and will stand up for what is right rather than serve as a rubber stamp for a president or a party. Mr. Martin’s commitment to ordinary people, his understanding of the proper role of a public servant and his thoughtful approach to government will serve Georgians well. We urge his election.