WSLS in Roanoke, Virginia held a 30-minute debate between Republican challenger State Sen. Robert Hurt and Democratic incumbent Rep. Tom Perriello during their 6 o'clock news that left many folks scratching their heads and wondering whether anyone really got to know the two candidates.
One thing’s for sure — Hurt was uncomfortable with the tone and pace, and Perriello was nothing short of aggressive and direct. For most of the debate, Perriello commanded, but was not poised or assertive — just plain ol’ aggressive.
Congressman Perriello let down seniors dreadfully over the past two years when he voted to gut Medicare by nearly a half-trillion dollars in favor of the budget-busting ObamaCare. He even unabashedly proclaimed that he disagreed with the dean of Virginia’s Democratic delegation in Congress, 9th District Congressman Rick Boucher, who said that healthcare went too far against seniors, which is why Boucher voted against it. But even more so than that, Perriello has no problems looking 5th District voters in the face and saying, “You’re wrong, I’m right. I know better than you.” In over 22 town halls, the people resoundingly begged Perriello not to vote for ObamaCare, yet he still did. If there is any more indication that a representative doesn’t represent his district, we’d like to hear about it.
Regarding the rest of the debate, Perriello time and again tried to paint himself as someone who would break with his party and was somehow an independent. However, the record clearly shows otherwise. 93% of the time, Perriello votes with the Democratic leadership. And, on the issues that truly matter to voters in the 5th, such as health care, a comprehensive energy policy, and creating jobs, Perriello voted with Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi, sending the country careening towards a $13.5 trillion national debt and a nearly double-digit national unemployment rate – nearly 15% in the 5th District alone.
In just two years, Perriello has voted for the initiatives that have raised the debt faster than at any other time in our nation’s history. Whereas for the past 10 years in the Virginia legislature, Robert Hurt, in a cool and calm manner (just like in this debate), has fought for 5th District voters and balanced budgets time and time again, so much so that state revenues are now growing at over a 4% rate.
Instead of just playing lip service to independence, Hurt has demonstrated that he can make the tough choices, and will take a measured and comprehensive approach to cutting spending and representing the true values of 5th District voters.
All in all, the scorecard of the debate is a tie. But if one understands that you never win a debate, but only look not to lose one, then Perriello came out a bit bruised by his own aggressive style — one that flew in the face of the calm, moderating independent he has so assiduously maintained over the last few months.
Shaun Kenney and J.R. Hoeft wrote this post at BearingDrift.com