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For Tim Griffin

And for responsible politics by The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | October 26, 2010 at 4:55 a.m.

— IS JOYCE ELLIOTT running for Congress in the Second District or is she just running against Tim Griffin? Does it say anything about her own qualifications, or her lack of same, that she seems to spend most of her time talking about her opponent? An unsuspecting voter visiting her campaign’s official website might ask the same questions. Here’s an item listed in the site’s “news” category,originally reported by an outfit called the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, and repeated on Joyce Elliot’s website like the juicy bit of gossip it is:

“In the 2004 presidential election, Mr. Griffin was the research director of the RNC where he may have spearheaded Republican vote caging efforts, a legally questionable direct mail campaign to disenfranchise poor, minority and military voters.”

Wow. We especially love that “may,” as in may have beat his wife or may have two heads, and yes, may have spearheaded whatever Vote Caging Efforts are. Yeah, he may have once said, “Hook ’Em Horns,” too, or given your tomatoes the dark blight. He’d deny it, of course, but fat lot of good that’d do him. Joyce Elliott’s rumor mill would just keep carrying the charge on her website, responsibility be damned.

Just to be responsible ourselves, let’s note that Tim Griffin has denied doing anything illegal in this matter he “may have spearheaded”-but that didn’t stop CREW from naming him one of the most crooked candidates of the year, or keep Joyce Elliott from blithely repeating the charge. As a permanent item on her website.

You see, to Joyce Elliott, that’s all she’s doing: just repeating a charge. For in her ethically confused world, a politician running for an office (or at least for one she wants) is guilty until he can prove himself innocent. Or as she once said, apparently sincerely, after being caught repeating CREW’s smear: “What is said about politicians is fair game, and if it’s not true and you can disprove it, then you disprove it.”

So it’s up to Tim Griffin to prove that he did not spearhead a campaign to disenfranchise voters. Including military voters. Those who know Major Tim Griffin of the U.S. Army Reserves-another name and title he sometimes uses-might be surprised to hear that. Although by now nothing Joyce Elliott says in this campaign would surprise.

If you do visit Joyce Elliott’s website, you’ll also notice that, in the Press Section, her folks offer a lot of stories about the campaign, but most of them are about Tim Griffin, not Joyce Elliott. He’s clearly the candidate in this race; she’s just there to sling mud.

TIM GRIFFIN actually seems to be running for a congressional seat in the Second District of Arkansas. On his website, there’s only a rare mention of his opponent. While she seems obsessed with him, he tends to ignore her. Of course, that may just go with leading in the polls. A candidate with a comfortable lead can talk about his attributes and qualifications, instead of trying to tear up his opponent all the time. Whatever the reason for his sportsmanlike campaign, good for Tim Griffin. These days it’s good to hear what a candidate is for rather than how bad his opponent is.

This whole campaign has been a test of character, and Tim Griffin is the candidate who’s passing it. At least so far. (You never assume anything in politics.) To quote one observer we know well: “It’s always revealing, if regularly dismaying, to see how low a candidate will stoop to inflame the voters, and how much of her own personal dignity she’s willing to sacrifice in order to tar her opponent. In that sense, every election is a test of character. And at this point, Ms. Elliott is failing the test. It would be nice to see her improve her performance, starting with a sincere apology. That would be one way to clear the air and raise thelevel of public discourse.”-Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, September 22, 2010. LEST WE FORGET, the two candidates in this campaign are trying to replace Vic Snyder, aka Saint Vic. The current holder of the Second Congressional seat got that reputation fairly. He’s just so darned nice. Many of us often disagreed with Dr./Counselor/Congressman Snyder, but the man was never disagreeable when he himself was running for office. If he and David Pryor-the Alphonse and Gaston of Arkansas politics-ever got into a debate about which one was the most well-mannered, both would probably defer to the other. They would probably insist. We can’t remember either ever calling an opponent a crook. Let alone repeating such a canard day after day as a part of his campaign. Both shared a sense of restraint. What a comedown it would be to replace Vic Snyder with a candidate who’s shown so little of it.

Tim Griffin might not be able to come up to Saint Vic’s standards right away, if ever, but he could probably learn to. He certainly has the qualifications. He’s an experienced lawyer who’d be serving a new client-the people of Central Arkansas. And we’d like to think folks around here place a high value on simple decency, and not much on name-calling.

Major Griffin is a veteran of the Iraqi war. He’s a former U.S. attorney, and served in the Bush White House.Which some folks on the port side of politics hold against him. But it means that, even before this campaign, he’d learned that politics ain’t beanbag, to quote Mr. Dooley. So the level of his opponent’s campaign should come as no surprise to him. If he wins, he’s bound to encounter a lot of low blows in Washington, too, where things can get mighty nasty from time to time.

As for the issues, or maybe The Issue, Tim Griffin knows that tax relief-for all-would spur the economy. So folks can safely assume his would be one more vote to extend the Bush tax cuts that are to expire at midnight, December 31, 2010. Which isn’t far away. While a Democratic Congress still dithers. Mr. Griffin is also foursquare against the death tax and for reforming the tax code in general. Be still, our beating hearts and shrinking wallets.

Mr. Griffin is also against the card check bill that would make it easier for unions to dictate to workers. Something tells us he also thinks that voting by secret ballot when it comes to organizing a workplace is something to hold onto, not sacrifice to union bosses.

There’s more: Tim Griffin is also (1) pro-life, (2) pro-free trade, (3) wants to secure the border, and (4) is against the cap-and-trade bill that would further hobble the American economy. That sounds a lot like what most Arkansans want, too.

He’s also never been a tool of the teachers’ unions that have put holding onto their power above giving every child a chance at a decent education. (Recommended viewing: Waiting for Superman, which was playing the other night at Little Rock’s Rave theater.) Meanwhile, Ms. Joyce has long preserved her union power ahead of educating kids in the Little Rock School District.

If the voters of Central Arkansas want to be represented by a congressperson who represents the whole glob of gliberal catch phrases, Joyce Elliott is their woman. But if they’d prefer the candidate who offers hope and change in this contest, they’ll go with Tim Griffin.

Let’s not assume that, because he’s ahead in the polls, Tim Griffin will win going away. Let’s make sure he does. By voting for Tim Griffin for Congress in the Second Congressional District of Arkansas.

At least he’s running for the job. Not just against his opponent. Which is more than can be said for the alternative in this race.

Editorial, Pages 14 on 10/26/2010

Print Headline: EDITORIALS For Tim Griffin

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