( – promoted by lowkell)
Well, we finally got to see Robert Hurt debate Tom Perriello, and we now understand why Mr. Hurt did his best to duck these debates.
Mr. Hurt was, in a word, shockingly inept and uninformed. Yes, he parroted Right Wing talking points well enough in his attacks, but he was clearly unable to carry on any kind of sustained conversation about any of the issues on the table tonight.
The bottom line after that debate: politics and ideology aside, Mr. Hurt’s biggest problem is that he is obviously not up to the task or representing this district in the U.S. Congress.
(BTW, Kudos to the WSLS anchor — I think his name is Jay Warren – who I thought did an admirable job of asking both candidates direct questions and pressing for answers in the context of a debate that was far too short.)
(more on the jump)
The most illuminating, and hilarious, moment came when Mr. Hurt forcefully insisted we must repeal health care reform, only to admit moments later that he has never read the health care reform bill, and even argue that his being informed on the contents of the bill was completely unnecessary to his position.
The rest of the debate was more of the same. Mr. Hurt was unable to name a single federal program he would cut to help balance the budget. Similarly, Mr. Hurt looked ridiculous trying to explain how he could oppose earmarks while backing earmarks for 10 years while in Richmond. In fact, Hurt seemed to treat actually thinking and answering questions to be an intrusion, and the only time he seemed to become animated was when he was able to access a GOP-approved talking point and throw an insult Perriello’s way.
Don’t take my word for it. Consider the assessment of the debate by Conservative blogger Shaun Kenney: The best he could come up with is that the debate was a tie. When Conservatives score a debate a tie, you know that means their guy got clobbered.
Or consider Shaun’s assessment of Hurt’s admission that he had never read the health care bill.
Favorite moment of the debate? When Perriello asked Hurt if he had read the ObamaCare bill. Hurt stuttered no, but all I could think about is whether or not Perriello read the bill before he voted on it! (answer: probably not)
Please. It comes across even in the dry prose on my computer screen that Shaun doesn’t believe the crap he is pushing here. Anyone watching the debate knows that Perriello has not only read that bill, but that he has thought deeply about the health care issues facing the Fifth District, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the United States of America, and came to a thoughtful decision on the bill, whether you agree or disagree with his conclusion.
Shaun tries to put the best face on Hurt that he can, and I applaud and appreciate his efforts, but in stretching so far in trying to do so he really shows just how weak a candidate Hurt is.
As for Perriello, the best criticism the Right Wing seemed able to muster is that Perriello was too aggressive. That argument doesn’t even merit a response.
In fact, throughout the debate Perriello seemed in detailed command of the issues and the implications of the policies on which he was voting.
My favorite Perriello line from the debate:
We don’t need politicians who think solutions fit on a bumper sticker. We need leaders and fighters to make the tough decisions to get us where we need to go.
Was Perriello perfect? No. I thought he copped out on DADT. I thought he was too willing to accept the fiction that we would need to balance the budget on the back of Social Security.
I don’t agree with Perriello on every issue. But I am confident that on every matter that comes before him, whether I think he is right or wrong, Mr. Perriello’s has thought seriously about the issue and come to a considered decision that he willing and able to defend intelligently.