Written with Greg Giroux
In Tennessee, where Sen. Lamar Alexander is nearing the end of his second term, Republican primary challengers are ready to make a case of the senator’s compromises with Democrats.
State Rep. Joe Carr, taking on “a Goliath” who enjoys the support of the state’s Republican establishment, is trying to paint Alexander as a liberal. Alexander has sided with Democrats in Senate passage of an immigration overhaul and taken other stances that offer Tea Party activists a scent of the senator’s vulnerability from the right.
“The bottom line is this: If Lamar Alexander is voting for Barack Hussein Obama 62 percent of the time, he is voting against Tennesseans,” Carr has said.
Alexander offered his own thoughts on the art of compromise today, in an open letter to Tennesseans in, where else, The Tennessean.
“Last week, some well-meaning Tennesseans wrote a letter suggesting that I `retire with dignity’ from the United States Senate because of a record of `compromise and bipartisanship, two traits for which you have become famous,” Alexander wrote.
“Well, I learned to count in Maryville City Schools,” he wrote. “So I know that if you only have 45 votes and you need 60 senators to get something important done like balancing the budget and fixing the debt, then you have to work with other people — that is, IF you really care about solving the problem, IF you really want to get a result, instead of just making a speech.”