Editorial, 4.30

Georgia will still have Sen. Johnny Isakson in the U.S. Senate after 2014, but it will have lost one of the august body's most sure-footed voices of reason with the retirement of Sen. Saxby Chambliss. Hopefully, the man or woman who replaces him in the 2014 election will possess the same reasoning ability and common sense as Sens. Chambliss and Isakson.

Just this past week, the two Republicans commented on the absurdity of the decision of the Federal Aviation Administration to furlough air traffic controllers. The action was taken in response to sequestration - just another word for the inability of Congress in general and the president of the United States to handle the nation's affairs in a mature, responsible and effective manner.

The Federal Aviation Administration could have furloughed clerks and other members of what has become another growing federal bureaucracy. It could have done that, but it didn't. Clerks would not have been missed by the public.

Traffic controllers, on the other hand, the men and women who are responsible for the safety of thousands of Americans in the air every day, have been missed. Flights have been backed up at all of the nation's major airports.

The Federal Aviation Administration is gambling with lives just to prove a point. At the same time, they are toying with an economy and a nation's faith in an industry that is already fragile by causing the delay of between 3,000 and 6,000 flights a day.

Sens. Chambliss and Isakson joined others and demanded the director get all traffic controllers back on the job immediately and harshly criticized Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Michael Huerta for jeopardizing the safety of so many adults and children.

We need better leaders at the controls of our federal agencies and more statesmen like Sens. Chambliss and Isakson watching them.