COVINGTON - Republican officials from the local, state and national levels said now more than ever, party members must get out and vote, and painted a bleak picture if Democrats take over Congress and the White House at a political rally for U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss Tuesday on the Covington Square.
Chambliss was most passionate about Rep. Barney Frank's, D-Mass., recent call to slash 25 percent of the military budget to get the deficit under control.
"As long as I'm a member of the United States Senate, that's going to happen over my dead body," Chambliss said.
"I commit to you that as long as I am a Senator we are never, ever going to be second best when it comes to the strength of our military," he added.
The crowd gathered around the Square island cheered and clapped at those remarks and booed at the mention of Frank's name.
Chambliss acknowledged the financial crisis has a global impact, but said he's confident the country will pull through with the current bailout plan.
"Small business people we've seen say, 'Keep doing what you're doing and we'll get through this,'" he said.
"Once we pull out of this, the economy of Newton County, the economy of Georgia and the economy of the United States is going to be stronger than ever," he said.
Chambliss said there are three main issues that most concern Georgians: "Gas prices, gas prices, gas prices."
"We are too dependent on the importation of foreign oil in this country, and it's important we move down the road to becoming energy independent," he said.
That means drilling for oil domestically and exploring nuclear power, geothermal, wind and solar energy, he said.
Traveling with Chambliss on his bus tour around the state was Rick Goddard, Republican candidate for the 8th Congressional District, and Congressman John Linder.
Both warned that a socialist society isn't far off if Barack Obama is elected president and Democrats control Congress.
"You and I will never vote for socialism in America, but we are being drug in that direction every day by people who want to change the character of this country," Goddard said.
"There's something wrong with that mindset and it scares me to death," he said. "It is the American work ethic that makes America so great and is the common core of the values of our Constitution."
Linder said Democrats are close to a filibuster-proof Senate, where "nothing stops anything."
"Saxby is one senator that can stand in the door and stop that," he said.
"We don't need someone to come in and share our wealth around. ... Let us give it away, not the government," he added.
Linder and Chambliss have been partners on sponsoring FairTax legislation in the House and Senate. Linder accused Democrats of spending $3 million on ads "trashing" the FairTax, which would replace federal income tax with a national sales tax.
Linder said the tax will protect and ensure funding of Social Security and Medicare, result in decreased interest rates, increase wages and the Gross Domestic Product.
Opponents say the FairTax will decrease the tax burden on high income earners and increase the burden on the middle class, be difficult to collect, lead to pervasive tax evasion and raise less revenue than the current tax system, leading to an increased budget deficit.
Crystal Tatum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.