Robert Hurt’s campaign is taking on an air of desperation, flailing about without any real direction or coherence.
I first noticed this at the debate last Thursday in Danville. Hurt seemed angry and frustrated all evening. He was unable to answer a single question about what he would actually do if he were elected to Congress, indicating instead on three issues crucial to voters here:
— He would not fund rail transportation for the Fifth District,
— He did not think there was a role for the federal government in education, and
— Beyond trimming congressional salaries has no idea what he would cut to balance the budget (except saying that the 70% of the budget covering defense and entitlements is off limits).
Rather that provide answers to the citizens of our district, Hurt seems to think it is enough to attack Tom as an alleged tool of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and President Obama.
The charge is not only false, it is laughably false. Tom is a Democrat, so of course he agrees much of the time with his party and President. But Tom is also consistently recognized as one of the most independent members of Congress as well, based on his voting record. Agree or disagree with Tom’s positions, to suggest that he is in anyone’s pocket is simply a lie.
(more on the flip)
This may be red meat for Hurt’s most Conservative partisans, but these baseless attacks do nothing for letting the thousands of voters in the district looking to our elected officials for leadership what he will do to help them and their families.
That Hurt takes this campaign tack, however, should surprise no one. He really has no choice, because the fact is that he has nothing to offer.
Indeed, the only “positive” actions Hurt has said in these debates he is ready to take are repealing health care reform, including the provisions protecting people from being thrown off their insurance just because they get sick, or allowing insurance companies to deny children insurance because of a pre-existing condition.
Is that we elect Congressman to do on our behalf?
Jobs? The fact is that Robert Hurt is a major beneficiary of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and regardless of whether the Chamber is spending foreign dollars on this campaign or not, it is beyond doubt that the Chamber supports outsourcing, which is good for the large multi-national corporations that comprise its membership.
Is it any wonder, then, that Robert Hurt signed a pledge that promises no increases in any taxes, a pledge commonly understood to require opposition to closing the outsourcing loophole in the current tax code – a key objective of the Chamber of Commerce.
So, why is Hurt so frustrated and mad? I can’t say for sure – I don’t know the man, but I do have a theory.
As I said last week, I suspect he feels this race slipping away from him. I think Hurt thought the anti-Democratic tide in the electorate would be all he needed to win this election, but what he has found instead is that voters are not just angry and fearful, they want thoughtful solutions and decisive leadership to address their anger and fear.
And as the campaign in rolling on, it is clear to all that voters are concluding that Tom Perriello gives them both of these things.
And it is also clear that Robert Hurt gives them neither.