published Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Sen. Alexander’s unusual leadership decision

In Washington, where power is the name of the game, it is rare to see a lawmaker willingly cede influence. But that is what Tennessee Republican U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander has done in announcing that he will step down in January from his position as Senate Republican Conference chairman.

Alexander, a former governor of Tennessee and a former U.S. secretary of education, said he wants to focus on legislation. He said that in his position as Republican Conference chairman, he has to spend nearly half his time on things such as news media strategy and political goals.

“A lot of my job is political messaging, and we have 47 political messengers in the Republican Conference,” he said. “So they can do that.”

Once he is out of the leadership post, he said, he can focus his time in the Senate more directly on job creation and other vital matters. He said that stepping down from the chairmanship, which he has held for about four years, “will liberate me to work for results on the issues I care the most about.”

He said those issues include, among others:

• Getting a handle on excessive federal regulations.

• Dealing with out-of-control spending on health care and other parts of the budget.

• Maintaining the United States’ position as the world’s largest economy.

What makes Alexander’s decision to step down from his leadership position even more remarkable is the fact that had he stayed in that job, he may well have succeeded Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl as minority whip — the second-most powerful position for a Republican in the Senate. It simply isn’t typical of politicians not to take power when it is available.

Speaking on the floor of the Senate, fellow Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker praised Alexander for his willingness to do what he thinks best, even if it means surrendering a powerful chairmanship in Congress.

“I thank you for having the courage to step down from a position that many Republican senators would love to have,” Corker said.

Despite his pending resignation as conference chairman, Alexander made it clear that he will seek re-election to a third term in the Senate in 2014.

And, he said in a news release, “I intend to be more, not less, in the thick of resolving serious issues.”

Corker told reporters that Alexander’s decision to leave the leadership post was understandable.

“You can easily find yourself in this place adhering to groupthink, and typically groupthink is not what solves many of the major issues that our country has to deal with,” Corker said, adding that once Alexander is no longer in a leadership position in the Senate, he will be able to “express himself more fully.”

Alexander, now 71, has served capably in elected office in both Tennessee and Washington. We have every confidence that he will continue to serve well in the Senate, for the benefit of Tennessee and the United States as a whole.

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librul said...

What reasonable person would want to be a front man for insanity?

September 23, 2011 at 7:50 a.m.
acerigger said...

It's hard to maintain the image of an "Elder Statesman" in an insane asylum,so, good for you Sen. Alexander! Could there be more of them(Republicans) who are not yet past the point of an ability to be embarrassed by some of their colleagues?

September 23, 2011 at 8:23 a.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

It is good to see Alexander making an effort to separate himself from the "political machine". His history certainly suggests that he is a big government Republican. Now we can see if he has more responsible natural tendencies or if he will just have more time to dream up "big ideas" like his "Manhattan Project" for energy. Note that there is no pledge to work to eliminate Obamacare. I don't remember ever hearing language like that from Alexander. He has a lot of work to do before he can shed his RINO reputation.

September 23, 2011 at 9:21 a.m.
EaTn said...

Better a RINO than a RCBTP (Republican Controlled By Tea Party).

September 23, 2011 at 3:33 p.m.
Plato said...

Read the comments by BigRidgePatriot and you will see why Alexander resigned. He isn't conservative enough for the Tea Party Radicals who pressured him aside.

Shame on Lamar for trying to work with the other side to get things done - doesn't he know that's political suicide in Washington for a Republicans now?

September 23, 2011 at 3:39 p.m.
EaTn said...

Any Senator 71 yrs old with 3 yrs left on his term should follow his conscience and work to better his country, rather than cowling down to a bunch of dim wit dirt baggers.

September 23, 2011 at 4:13 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

Nice. The Tea Party is the only hope for this country. If you leftists get your way the US will soon be in worse shape than Greece. All of Western civilization is close to being destroyed by your Socialist pipe dreams.

September 23, 2011 at 9:26 p.m.
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