Was Lamar Alexander Too “Bipartisan” To Be a Republican Leader?


The political world was shocked today with the news that Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander has chosen to step down from Republican leadership as of January. The southern senator, who currently is the third ranking Republican in senate after Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Whip John Kyl , was expected to be angling for the Whip role himself in 2013 when Kyl retires.

Alexander said in a statement, “Stepping down from leadership will liberate me to spend more time working for results on the issues I care most about. I want to do more to make the Senate a more effective institution so that it can deal better with serious issues. There are different ways to provide leadership within the Senate. After nine years here, this is how I believe I can now make my greatest contribution. For these same reasons I do not plan to seek a leadership position in the next Congress.

But could it have been this drive for “consensus” that may have pressured Alexander into stepping down? Does he even fit in a new Republican party that insists on “my way or the highway” legislation? Politico notes, “[H]is affable nature and calls for bipartisanship also could prove to be a liability at a time when Republican politics has shifted markedly to the right, with tea party activists demanding that their party adhere to strict conservative orthodoxy that has inspired a new breed of fire-breathing lawmakers on Capitol Hill.”

In fact, his step back from Republican power could be a true sign that the party is even more intent on assuring that there is no compromise in the ranks. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, lamented the loss of Alexander, saying, “I don’t know all the reasons for his doing this, but I want the record to be spread with the fact that I have found Lamar Alexander to be one of the most thoughtful people I’ve ever served with in the Senate. He’s a unique person in this body, he accomplishes a great deal, and gets credit for not a lot.”

Alexander will still continue in the senate and will still run for reelection.


Photo credit: United States Congress via Wikimedia Commons


Charles Temm JR
Charles Temm JR6 years ago

Again, funny how if one disagrees with and acts contrary to the stated principles of the REPUB party-its just so wrong that that many there dislike the guy. Happens all the time and just a couple of years ago Dems cheered when a Repub Senator jumped ship to them because they wouldn't support him.

Dems have also jumped ship in many state positions the last few years as they realize THEIR party isn't what they believe in anymore. Where are the Care2 members saying its just horrible their party is driving such people out?

Short answer of course is the majority of Care2 members are Dems and anyone that bucks/embarrasses THEIR party is just wrong. Simple partisanship.

Alexander is facing a very strong primary race. He has angered and disappointed many supporters by being a Dem lite on many issues. Just like how the Blue Dog Dems have been decimated (to be replaced by Repubs), the ranks of Dem lite Repubs have been thinned even in New England-their last stronghold. He is just facing the same public that many other politicians not in tune with their districts are facing. Unless you are in a hard liberal district, Dems are nervous and Alexander too is in a district increasingly angry over government big spending that he has supported for years.

We are simply seeing the elimination of the moderates in both parties. It happens and it sure eliminates any case for misunderstandings on stances. There is a lot of this going on now in the Dem party too and ever so st

Dianne Robertson
Dianne Robertson6 years ago

Lamar Alexander isn't CRAZY ENOUGH to lead the Republicans.I'm pleased that he is stepping asside.Hopefully the rest will race past him and run like lemmings into the sea!

Jonathan Y.
Jonathan Y6 years ago

They're proscribing everyone who is reasonable. It's certainly not the party of T.R. or Eisenhower anymore, and Lincoln not even close.

Laurie D.
Laurie D6 years ago

So does that make him a Repulicrat? Maybe that's what we need...

Linda T.
Linda T6 years ago

No there is not a bi-partisain bone in Lamar Alexanders body.

Jamie Clemons
Jamie Clemons6 years ago

Maybe the republican party will short circuit like the democrat party has under the leadership of Obama.

dale a.
dale a6 years ago

He supports scientific research funding... and if that is not bad enough for the righties, in 1999 "referring to the Republican Party"... "his bitter belief that the party's nominating process is being short-circuited by big money and big media became his consuming preoccupation". I am quoting wiki, quoting The New York Times.
I would have to say these two things are Tea Party killers, I am surprised they have not made him step down from his senate seat. It's a good thing he has worked to get religion and state closer together, over his years in office; they love that. Well we all know that the righties, the tea party'rs all want religion and state to be one and the same because then they would be free to impose everything they wanted onto everyone...and life would be soo much better for us all then, and we all would be set free, as long as no one challenged, or spoke out against them, why it would be a perfect world, and everyone "could" say so.

Rob Keenan
Rob Keenan6 years ago

Sen.Alexander has an American Conservative Union rating of 79.9 %. Yet that's too "Liberal"for today's GOP.That's why Tea Party candidate is planning to primary Boehner for being a "Socialist."

Peter B.
Peter B6 years ago

thanks for info

Molly F.
Molly S6 years ago

I guess there's no place for anyone in the Republian party who is no a tea party yahoo who wants to return to the idealized 1950s version of white America.