Alexander to step down from Senate GOP chairman post after four-year run

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at 12:13pm

Sen. Lamar Alexander announced Tuesday he will resign his Republican leadership position in January, promising to be “more, not less aggressive on major issues."

In a speech on the Senate floor, Alexander, who is 71, also noted that he plans to run for a third, six-year term in 2014.

Alexander has been Republican Conference Chairman, the Senate’s third-ranking Republican, for nearly four years. His term ends in January.

“Stepping down will liberate me to work for results on the issues I care the most about,” Alexander said. “That means stopping runaway regulations and spending. But it also means setting priorities – confronting the timidity that allows runaway health care spending to squeeze out research, scholarships, highways and other government functions that make it easier and cheaper to create jobs. I want to do more to make the Senate a more effective institution so that it can deal better with serious issues.

“For four years my leadership job has been to help others succeed, to find a Republican consensus and to suggest a message. There are different ways to offer leadership. After nine years in the Senate, this is how I believe I can now make my greatest contribution.”

Alexander suggested his decision will let him work toward finding consensus with Democrats in the Senate.

"The United States Senate requires 60 votes to achieve a result on serious issues and 60-vote results simply cannot be found among only Republicans, or only Democrats," he said.

Here is the full text of Alexander’s remarks:

“Next January, following the annual retreat of Republican senators, I will step down after four years as Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference. At that time, my colleagues will have elected me three times and I will have completed the equivalent of two two-year terms.

“Stepping down from leadership will liberate me to spend more time working to achieve results on the issues I care the most about.

“That means stopping runaway regulations and spending. But it also means setting priorities—confronting the timidity that allows runaway health care spending to squeeze out research, scholarships, roads and other government functions that make it cheaper and easier to create jobs. I want to do more to make the Senate a more effective institution so that it can deal better with serious issues.”

“For four years my job on the Republican leadership team has been to help the Leader and individual senators succeed, to look for consensus within the Republican caucus, and to suggest our message. There are different ways to offer leadership within the Senate. After nine years here, this is how I believe I can now make my greatest contribution. For the same reasons, I do not plan to seek a leadership position in the next Congress. But I do intend to be more, not less, in the thick of resolving serious issues. And I plan to run for re-election in 2014.

“These are serious times. Every American’s job is on the line. The United States produces 23 percent the world’s wealth although we are just 5 percent of the world’s people. People in the rest of the world are figuring out that their brains are no different than ours and they are using their brainpower to create the kind of standard of living that we have.

“Some experts predict that within a decade, for the first time since the 1870s, the United States will not be the world’s largest economy. They say China will be. My goal is to keep the U.S. the world’s strongest economy.

“There are two other matters relevant to my decision that I want to address today.

“First, I said to Tennesseans when I first ran for the Senate that I would serve with conservative principles and an independent attitude. I will continue to serve in that same way. I am a very Republican Republican. I grew up and live in a congressional district that hasn’t sent a Democrat to Congress since Abraham Lincoln was President. My great-great grandfather once was asked his politics and he answered, ‘I fought for the union and I vote like I shot.’

“I have been the statewide nominee of Tennessee Republicans five times. Three times my Republican Senate colleagues have elected me Conference chairman. If I can pass a 100 percent Republican legislative solution I will.  The United States Senate requires 60 votes to achieve a result on serious issues and 60-vote results simply cannot be found among only Republicans, or only Democrats.

“Second, stepping down from leadership will allow me to be more, not less, aggressive on major issues. I look forward to this. The Senate was designed to be the forum for confronting the most difficult issues producing the biggest disagreements. I don’t buy for one minute the notion that such policy disagreements produce an unhealthy lack of civility. Those who believe that debates today are more fractious than before have no sense of American history. They have forgotten what Adams and Jefferson said of one another; that Vice President Burr killed former Secretary of the Treasury Hamilton; that on the streets of Washington, Congressman Sam Houston caned an Ohio Congressman who had opposed President Jackson’s Indian Policy; that a South Carolina congressman nearly beat to death Senator Charles Sumner; and that Senator Henry Cabot Lodge often said he hated President Woodrow Wilson. What of the venomous debates before and during the Civil War, the Army-McCarthy hearings, the Watergate era, and the Vietnam War?

“The main difference between now and then is that now, because of so much media, everyone instantly hears or sees differences of opinion. But if you will notice carefully, most of the people you hear shouting at one another on television and radio and the internet have never been elected to anything at all. It would help to produce better results if we senators knew one another better across party lines. But to suggest that we should be more timid in debating the issues is to ignore American history and the purpose of the Senate. In fact, senators do our jobs with excessive civility.

“I have enjoyed these four years in the Republican Senate leadership, and I thank my colleagues for that privilege. I now look forward to spending more of my time working with all senators to achieve results on the serious issues that will determine the standard of living and security for our next generation.”

 

21 Comments on this post:

By: brrrrk on 9/20/11 at 12:21

He might as well step down.... he's pretty much a cardboard cut-out as it is.

By: Liason06 on 9/20/11 at 1:50

He's been so proud of his non-existent leadership role. At least we'll no longer have to see him all smiles and giddy cozied up to Mitch McConnell.

By: yogiman on 9/20/11 at 4:42

He's only stepping down in his "leadership" role. We're not being fortunate enough for him to step down as a Senator.

Lamar wrote me (when I wrote asking him and Corker why they questioned John McCain about his legal eligibility but did not question Barack Obama) explaining "he" was "investigated" and found to be "eligible". He did not write "legally" eligible.

When I responded asking where they had gotten their information, I never received an answer. Guess he didn't think those of us who put him in office needed to know. After all, he's only representing us.

Or did we elect him to just represent himself and his "fellow congressmen"?

By: Liason06 on 9/20/11 at 5:33

yogiman, he didn't respond because it was a stupid question to begin with.

By: yogiman on 9/20/11 at 10:42

Only for people of your ignorance, Liason06.

Tell me, what do you actually know about the man calling himself Barack Obama?

By: pswindle on 9/20/11 at 11:19

Lamar was pushed out of his leadership roll because he was too moderate in his politics according to the TV tonight. They wanted more of a Tea Party crazy in that position.

By: boyer barner on 9/21/11 at 12:09

Lamar was not pushed out. He has no back-bone.

A man with back-bone will not be pushed out.

Lamar has done nothing but tote the line for years and years.

So, he simply backed out.

By: bfra on 9/21/11 at 3:13

By: Liason06 on 9/20/11 at 5:33

yogiman, he didn't respond because it was a stupid question to begin with.
========================================
Liason06 - Best to ignore "a one track mind comment"!

By: bfra on 9/21/11 at 3:30

brrrrk - Cardboard cut-out, is the best description I have heard of Alexander.

By: govskeptic on 9/21/11 at 7:00

Lamar stated he would represent a "Conservative and Independent" thought.
He has delivered on the Independent thought (his own personal agenda) but
the man does not have a conservative thought in his head. The real reason he
is stepping down is because of the work involved in the upcoming year in that
position which is to help get more Republican Senators elected in 2012.
Lamar is smart, but lazy (politics all his life), too interested in taking care financially
of his and a few select friends/supporters, and would have to help a few
candidates his liberal mind has no interest in. He has fooled the voters of
this state for many-many years and continues to do so. "Re-election at age
74-75 in 2014". This remark is to scare off Primary opponent and to encourage
continued fund raising over the next 2 -1/2 yrs. Time for Howard Baker coattails
to be forgotten!

By: Kosh III on 9/21/11 at 7:57

yogi said
"After all, he's only representing us. "

I thought you were smarter than that. He represents his corporate owners and the plutcrat class of which he is a part. He does not give a frak about you or me or anyone that doesn't have money and power.

By: Kosh III on 9/21/11 at 7:58

ooops
plutocrat

By: T-BONE on 9/21/11 at 8:58

LAMAR "The WEALTHY"...Must take the time off to count his MILLIONS and find houses to buy for his offspring! In the United States, wealth is highly concentrated in a relatively few hands.
$$$$$$$$ucker$$$$$$$

By: yogiman on 9/21/11 at 9:03

Sorry I wasn't more explicit in my comment, Kosh III. When I stated representing "us". I meant everyone in our state, also including everyone in the corporate industries. This is, except the stockholders whom don't live in our state.

I'm sorry for the error. I'll try to do better so you can understand.

By: Kosh III on 9/21/11 at 11:21

Yogi, you miss my point.
He does NOT represent "us", not me, not you, not anyone but his corporate masters.

By: yogiman on 9/21/11 at 1:10

Sorry, Kosh III,

I only have half a brain left.

By: Loner on 9/22/11 at 7:14

Sounds like Alzheimer's may be setting in...not enough impairment yet to actually step down...Lamar is still planning to run for six more years, at age 74, in 2014? Yeah, that sounds like Alzheimer's...he's lost touch with reality.

Sounds like a election-stealing set up...here's the deal: Lamar runs in 2014, wins, then resigns so that the TP can name his replacement, cutting the voters right out of the process. Undemocratic to the core...that's today's TP infused GOP....and Lamar is the perfect dupe for the scam...by 2014, he'll need help to tie his shoes?

When was the last time Lamar worked for a living? The guy is a professional political parasite....too greedy and too arrogant to know when to step down.

By: yogiman on 9/22/11 at 8:10

Lamar is one who will back the President of this nation, whomever that person is. He'll back any one in the White House, even a usurper.

He voted for the appointments of the two inferior Supreme Court judges nominated by Barry Soetoro (under the name Barack Obama) whom had made anti-American statements and said they would use foreign laws to make their decisions.

By: T-BONE on 9/22/11 at 8:39

President Richard Nixon's executive assistant Lamar "the draft dogger" helped Nixson with his "secret plan" the end the war! (lol) "Dilly Dally" is now a very wealthy Republican! Next time you see him, ask him how many houses do you own and how many have you bought for you family?

By: yogiman on 9/22/11 at 9:10

He came from a wealthy family, T-BONE , and went to expensive schools. But yes, he has obviously gained much more money through his political regime because he sure as hell hasn't done any work.

By: yogiman on 9/22/11 at 9:12

'scuse me, I forgot about him walking across our state (just wondering, though, how many miles at a time before taking a "break").