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Griffitts stands in for Duncan at Farragut GOP meeting

While the conservative messenger wasn’t U.S. Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr., the message was representative of his viewpoint as told to Concord-Farragut Republican Club last Thursday.

Bob Griffitts, Duncan’s chief of staff, filled in for the Second District congressman — delayed by a late flight out of Cincinnati, Ohio — as featured speaker and focused primarily on health care reform, Cap and Trade legislation and “Cash for Clunkers” re-evaluations Aug. 13 in Estelita’s restaurant.

About the current health care reform debate, Griffitts said Duncan’s office has received “thousands of calls and e-mails on that issue” and “I would say about 90 percent are opposed to it,” adding that according to a recent poll, “across the country 53 percent are against it.”

Pointing out President Barack Obama’s favorable job rating had dropped to 47 percent according to one poll, Griffitts added how Democrats are trying to pass a government option health care reform bill “as fast as they can before people can react.”

But Griffitts said the Democratic majorities in both Congress and Senate make it “a struggle up there now, we just don’t have the votes ... there’s not that many ‘Blue Dog’ [moderate] Demo-crats.

“It’s costly, rationed care, the quality of care is not going to be as good.”

However, Griffitts said “people are starting to get the attention” of moderate Democrats that would help stop the health care bill. Moreover, “It’s hard to tell what all’s going to be in the final bill.”

Griffitts said Cap and Trad legislation, an energy bill that forces companies to sharply reduce pollution emissions, “Is a bad bill anytime.” But the bill recently passed in Congress by a 219-212 vote.

“It will result in hundreds and thousands of dollars in utility bill increases if this bill is passed [in Senate and becomes law],” Griffitts said, adding up to 80 Democratic Congressmen would have voted against the Cap and Trade Bill “on their own, but pressure from the Democratic leadership” sealed their vote.

About federal dollars spent to aid the “Cash for Clunkers” program in attempt to stimulate U.S. automakers sales, Griffitts said Duncan originally voted against the bill.

However, Griffitts added, “We’re hearing from the automobile dealers that it is having some effect with their business.” So Duncan voted to extend federal dollars toward “Cash for Clunkers.”

But Griffitts emphasized, “It’s money that had been taken from the Stimulus [Package] money and had already been appropriated,” and not a result of additional tax dollars being used.

But Diane Jablonski, former Knox County Board of Education representative, raised a question.

“On the surface this Cash for Clunkers looks like it’s probably a good deal,” she said. “But isn’t it just what we did in the mortgage company [crisis]?

“I mean, you’re taking people that currently do not have an automobile payment every month,” she added. “Now they’re going to take their car that’s at least servicible, trade that in and it’s going to go in the junk heap.

“And then they are taking on a car note. You tell me six months from now how many of those cars are going to be repossessed?”

Various club members and others on hand expressed concerns including Homeland Security “being at risk,” the U.S. Census in 2010 “being hijacked by the White House” and “out-of-control” entitlement programs wasting money.

Griffitts warned as a result of Democratic leadership, the United States is facing “big government, big debt and soon-to-be big taxes.”

He added that economic forecasts, based on current Democratic spending trends, would balloon the deficit “approaching 13 trillion. ... The deficit projected this year is 1.8 trillion.”

However, in part because of the Democratic mistakes he characterized, Griffitts said “things are looking good for our party in the 2010 elections.”


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