It's no secret that Republican Saxby Chambliss of Georgia is not considered one of the deepest thinkers in the United States Senate. He doesn't do a hell of a lot legislatively and, after all, he only got there by the swift-boating of highly-decorated Vietnam Veteran Max Cleland, whose Senate seat Chambliss took in 2002 by running television ads depicting Cleland with Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.
And since coming to the Senate, his tenure has been most notable to the extent that, even in a Congress characterized by Republicans who serve solely as rubber stamps for George W. Bush, he's among the most compliant even by that lot's sorry standards.
So it's no surprise that Chambliss went to the Senate floor this week to argue against Virginia Democrat Jim Webb's bill to mandate more time at home for Iraq combat troops before Bush could sent them right back into battle. What is amazing is the sheer stupidity of what he said.
"It is an unwise and harmful effort to limit the ability of the President and his military leaders and handicap their use of personnel and resources available to them," said Chambliss, in arguing for sending troops back to Iraq with insufficient rest and medical care.
Now, that's just spin and not the really dumb thing -- though one could wonder how anyone could at this point rant about how we should let a proven incompetent like Bush manage a game of Monopoly, much less the U.S. military after the mess he's made of things.But have a look at what Chambliss said about how troops in World War II were deployed for much longer and how he tried to use that as a stick with which to beat Webb for being "out of step with history" in his efforts to keep military men and women home longer with their families:
"Senator Webb's amendment would preclude deployment of certain active and reserve forces based on the number of days they have spent at home. Keep in mind these restrictions would apply to the Nation's most experienced and capable troops during a time of war when we face an unpredictable and highly adaptive enemy.
"Keep in mind that during World War II and other wars of this country, service members participating in those wars deployed for 3 and 4 years with little or no break. With this in mind the current proposal by Senator Webb seems out of step with history and what it has taken to win the wars of this country. I can think of no way in which the Webb amendment will help our Nation succeed in Iraq."
Leave it to a Republican desperate to bail out Bush, to compare World War II and the gravity of that global conflict with Bush's war of choice about absolutely nothing.
And here's the real kicker: Chambliss cynically uses the work ethic of America's troops as a bizarre frame of reference for how Democrats really aren't supporting the troops by taking them out of the Iraqi civil war so they can spend more time with their families.
"Public approval ratings for the President and for Congress may be at all time lows, but the admiration of the American people for our military only gets higher. Why? Well, one reason is they take their responsibilities seriously and they train, prepare, and plan to win," he said. "And we should let them win -- not legislate a recipe for failure which the amendment clearly does."
I'm sure that the average soldier would have a real hard time with that "recipe for failure" when he or she is getting to sleep late with a spouse on Sunday morning or attend their child's Little League game this summer instead of being stuck in the middle of a firefight in Fallujah.
And I know you're wondering, given that both Webb and his bill's cosponsor, Republican Chuck Hagel, are Vietnam combat Veterans, about the military record of a blood-and-guts guy like good old Saxby.
You guessed it -- he didn't do time in the military. He got a student deferment so he could attend law school and was subsequently given a medical deferment because of a bad knee.
But now, that's really no surprise, is it?
You can read more from Bob at BobGeiger.com.