Newton County voters were the only ones to choose a Democrat over U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Lawrenceville) in November's election, but you couldn't tell that at Tuesday's town hall.
The majority of the crowd appeared to want Woodall to embrace conservatism, take hard stands and forego compromise. One woman said she took exception to compromise, following an opening speech by Woodall in which he said the conservatives in Congress need to learn when to accept what they can get, instead of always holding out for their full wish list.
Woodall said the Democrats are good at the art of compromise, which allows them to develop and carry out strategies over the long haul. Later in the town hall, a man asked why the Republicans are such poor long-term planners. Woodall revisited his earlier point saying Republicans want all or nothing, while the Democratic party has been willing to take small steps toward its goal of a "social world order."
He expressed disappointment at the six-year stint when the GOP controlled both houses of Congress and the presidency, government by nationalizing education, the largest program created since Medicare.
For a party that is about reducing government to enhance freedom, that struck Woodall as a step backward, noting that the Bush administration also lacked oversight and compromise. He asked voters to judge him on how many laws he repeals and not how many he passes.
The continuing resolution which funded the government for the remainder of the current fiscal year was questioned by some in the audience who said it really only cut $311 million, not the $38.5 billion it promised. Woodall promised the crowd that the budget did cut that much and asked them to trust him, because if they already thought he was lying that would be debilitating to his effectiveness.
Former state Sen. John Douglas expressed a desire to see drilling allowed in the Arctic and elsewhere in the country, and Woodall agreed saying, "We have let the ‘greens' take over this debate."
He said the issues of oil supply was one of national security, not an environmental one. If the country declares carbon a pollutant, then there the economy will head in the wrong direction and not be able to turn back, Woodall said.
He touched on twin peaks of Social Security and Medicare, saying that Social Security was actually fine and not in crisis, but that ballooning medical costs were the real risk. Those costs are rising so greatly because the government is footing the bill, he said.
Returning to the budget, Woodall said he would potentially vote to raise the debt limit, because he believes there is no way around it. He said that if the government voted not to raise the limit, then all programs would have to be cut besides Medicare, Social Security and a few others. Either that or the government would have to double income taxes to pay for everything.
Woodall said he is working on a bill that will allow the government to choose to fund certain programs only, but because that's currently not allowed, either all programs have to be funded or none at all.
Regarding making serious cuts to the budget, Woodall said he believed that the American people would stand for one shut down of government, but one shut down only. As a result, he felt the continuing resolution was not the time for the party to put its foot down, but rather that battle should be saved for either the upcoming fiscal year 2012 budget or possibly the debt ceiling discussion.