Here’s what a major mid-term correction looks like:
On March 16, when confronted by members of the Jefferson Area Tea Party, Rep. Tom Perriello, D-Va., made a startling confession:
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned up here (in Washington) and I didn’t really need to come up here to learn it, is the only way to get Congress to balance the budget is to give them no choice, and the only way to keep them out of the cookie jar is to give them no choice, which is why – whether it’s balanced budget acts or pay as you go legislation or any of that – is the only thing. If you don’t tie our hands, we will keep stealing”
Incumbents running for reelection are expected to posture, inflate their accomplishments and embellish the truth. But the Yale-educated Democrat’s attempt to placate angry Tea Partiers by telling them that “If you don’t tie our hands, we will keep stealing” is shockingly, even brutally honest.
Perriello unwittingly gives voters in the Fifth District the most compelling reason to throw him – and the rest of his fellow Democrats, who have been in charge of Congress since 2006 – out of office in November.
The embattled freshman is so desperate to distance himself from the Obama administration’s handling of the economy that he even called for the resignation of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner in an August 30 interview on Charlottesville radio station WINA AM.
Four days earlier, a panicky Perriello told Tea Partiers that he would be “more than happy to put out a public statement…on record” calling for the dismissal of Geithner. He also wants White House economic advisor Lawrence Summers to step down as well.
The worm has clearly turned. Perriello – who rode into office on President Obama’s triumphant coattails – is now one of the most endangered Democrats in the country. A SurveyUSA poll has him running 26 points behind Republican state Sen. Rob Hurt, thanks to his liberal voting record – and his mouth.
Perriello voted against the bank bailout (TARP), but he’s been House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s loyal foot soldier ever since. He voted for the stimulus, for cap and trade, and for Obamacare, backing the House leadership 90 percent of the time. All that party loyalty is now backfiring on him big time.
“One Term Tom,” as scornful Tea Partiers call him, banned signs in his town hall meetings until the Rutherford Institute threatened to sue him for violating constituents’ free speech rights. He then tried to get credit for reversing himself. “This is like the arsonist wanting credit for putting out a fire that he started,” one disgusted Charlottesville voter pointed out.
It’s also another sign of an incumbent – and a party – in full rout mode.