The Sad Saga Of Tom Perriello, A Confused And Dishonest Man, Lost In A Political Nightmare He's Spiritually Unprepared To Navigate
This morning I got an e-mail from Tom Perriello's re-election campaign. Blue America endorsed him in 2008 after he assured us-- several times, in writing and on tape-- that, if elected, we could count on him to be a pro-choice congressman. He was elected, and one week ago he voted for the horrific Stupak-Pitts anti-choice amendment to the health care bill. I wrote him a letter; he didn't respond. Instead I got this from his campaign finance director:
Tom's political opponents have sunk to a shocking new low.
Yesterday they announced they will actually burn Congressman Perriello in effigy. This clear departure from the bounds of decent political discourse is beyond the pale.
The skyrocketing cost of health care is bankrupting our families, our small businesses and our government. Last Saturday, Tom Perriello voted to take common sense steps to curtail the rising cost of health care, because fixing the broken system is too important to delay any longer. We knew the opposition would be vocal, but we never thought it would come to this.
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Congressman Perriello has never shied away from discussion with anyone-- whether they agree or disagree-- who wants to be a partner in finding solutions to the problems we face. He has even met with his foes repeatedly to listen to their concerns. Yesterday our opponents made it clear that they have little interest in problem solving. Don't let the underhanded attacks and inflammatory rhetoric distract from our fight for affordable health care.
The attacks are coming fast and furious. The low tactics and false arguments used by opponents to health care reform only reinforce the reasons most people in the 5th District are supporting Tom Perriello for his vote.
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...Together, we can speak the truth and bring about the change we so desperately need.
Speak the truth? I'd never believe another word that Tom Perriello uttered. When he first solicited an endorsement from Blue America, we were very wary because it had been pointed out that he opposed women's right to Choice. He insisted his position had been misrepresented. He kept calling and calling and then visited my house. On February 27, 2008, Tom did a guest post here at DWT and he addressed concerns about Choice head-on:
Confusion ...[about] my position on abortion may stem either from my public association with Catholicism as co-founder of the progressive Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good or from being badly misquoted in a New York Times article following the 2004 election. I firmly believe that abortion should not be criminalized, nor can we allow any action that seeks to coerce women by reducing access to care or making the process less safe.
The emphasis is mine. But that is exactly what Stupak-Pitts does, and quite intentionally, as Perriello well knows.
Perriello is in a very tough district, and he beat one the House's most notoriously corrupt incumbents 158,810-158,083, one of the closest congressional races in a decade. Mark Warner's coattails certainly helped drag him into office-- not to mention the tremendous support he had from grassroots and netroots activists taken in by his ability to portray himself as a progressive on key issues. He's turned out to be another political coward with a wretched 39.22 ProgressivePunch score on substantive issues, nestled comfortably between arch-reactionaries Brad Ellsworth and Health Shuler. In fact, many of the worst and most extreme Blue Dogs in the Congress have better voting records than Perriello: Heath Shuler (NC), Chris Carney (PA), Harry Mitchell (AZ), Dan Boren (OK), Gene Taylor (MS), Collin Peterson (MN), Jim Mashall (GA) and even John Barrow (GA). When Perriello gets burned in effigy by the teabaggers he tried to please by throwing women under the bus, he'll have to look elsewhere for sympathy and support.