VOL. 125 | NO. 161 | Thursday, August 19, 2010
Blackburn Hears Conservative Concerns at Town Hall
By Bill Dries
U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn heard a lot this week in Bartlett about conservative hopes for a Republican majority in both houses of Congress with the Nov. 2 congressional midterm elections.
Some in the lunch-hour crowd of more than 100 at the Bartlett Performing Arts & Conference Center expressed concern that if Republicans become the majority in one or both chambers, they will become more moderate.
“Are you going to act like you belong there?” asked Tim Nichols of Bartlett. “If we do take the house back, I don’t want to see civility.”
Another attendee said he feared the coming election is a choice between “socialist party A and socialist party B.”
Blackburn said the key to Republican conduct, should the GOP win a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, is in the Republican conference of House leaders where priorities of a GOP majority would be determined. She said the priority of the conference will be to repeal national health care reform.
Blackburn faces opposition from Democrat Greg Rabidoux of Clarksville in the Nov. 2 general election.
Rabidoux has said Blackburn has “gone out of her way to align herself with the tea party.”
“I think there’s a gap between what the average person wants and needs to hear and the sexy story, so to speak, in the media about the tea party,” Rabidoux told The Daily News before the August primaries.
Blackburn said a constituent recently described her as “being tea party before tea party was cool.”
The Bartlett audience reflected concerns of the tea party movement and other conservative concerns.
Another man at the meeting veered from concerns about illegal immigration.
“I’m not convinced that we don’t have an illegal immigrant in the Oval Office,” he said in a remark that drew applause from most in the room.
Don Waters of Cordova said he didn’t want to see a mosque built near ground zero in Manhattan, or anywhere else for that matter.
“I don’t think we should have one built anywhere because they are all Muslims,” he said. “Muslims all stand together when they come down to who they are going to fight for. … I don’t think that needs to be built where it’s proposed to be built or built anywhere. We’ve got enough of them already.”
Blackburn didn’t touch the remark about where President Barack Obama was born.
She talked of her proposal to allow local law enforcement officers to “apprehend and hold” and require deportation of illegal aliens arrested for other crimes.
“My legislation is targeted specifically at the criminal alien population that is in this country,” she said.
And Blackburn said Obama’s recent remarks supporting the right to build the mosque, but not necessarily near ground zero, showed the administration is “out of touch” with the American public.
“Placing that mosque at ground zero is basically stepping on the pain of a lot of the 9/11 families,” she said.
Blackburn acknowledged that some of the comments at the meeting reflected a fear and uncertainty that is about a sudden shift in government policies at a time of economic peril.
“It is a very good thing that people are showing up and they are talking. … That uncertainty causes people to be fearful,” she said after the session. “It is about having a path that is going to be a path to productivity for this country that people know is going to be generating economic growth. They know that what is being done now is not generating job growth. It has made the issues worse.”