Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Perriello Wins Over Morning Joe, Answers Critics

Ok, I sympathize with the fact that the Virginia GOP lost Virgil Goode's seat last November, and that was supposed to be a relatively safe one. They never saw it coming - and heck neither did a lot of the Dems. Maybe we hoped, but we knew that seat was a long shot. Especially since Tom Perriello was not exactly campaigning as a conservative Blue Dog.

And you could perhaps even forgive the Virginia Republican Party for thinking that maybe this guy is a one hit wonder - he won on Obama's incredible coattails in a year when Bush fatigue was palpable. So, it would stand to reason that Perriello, in the very conservative 5th CD, is now one of the most vulnerable members of the freshman class in Congress. There is a target on his back, and Republicans are salivating at the chance to grab that seat back in 2010, which they hope will be a more normal year.

Except, they may have over played their hand too early with their baseless and dishonest attacks. Perriello handles himself so well in this interview with Morning Joe Scarborough, himself no liberal, that Virginia's GOP may need to re-evaluate whether they actually want to be in a pissing match with this guy. Watch the video below and tell me if you agree with me that possibly they ought to search for a more vulnerable freshman to take out.

At the very least, the GOPers are going to have to come up with different tactics. Perhaps running a credible candidate and coming up with fresh new ideas to challenge Perriello would work. After all, lying about him certainly isn't doing the trick.


Anonymous said...

Great point, great post. I totally agree. If the GOP wants to target Tom Perriello in on the campaign trail in 2010, let them: it'll take them $5 in negative ads to counter every $1 we spend to magnify his message, and 100 paid phone calls to make up for each extra volunteer shift he recruits because of the honest, authentic way of communicating progressive values that we saw in this clip.

I say, bring 'em on.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

It also doesn't hurt that Perriello is not ignoring his constituents. He spends a lot of time in his district, touching base with voters, listening to their concerns, and communicating with them.

That attention to his home area will probably do the most to keep him in office.

In the long run, good constituent service and paying attention to your district will do more to ensure success than becoming a national figure, and Tom has that base covered too.

DanielK said...

Tom is definitely a threat to the National GOP, first winning in a district that Obama lost (If I remember correctly) and the fact that may people, to include some Republicans are referring to him as a future superstar. His interview on Morning Joe was a prime example of his potential. But I have a theory....

We know that the national GOP is going to make this one of their targeted races but I believe it is not because they want to work their way back to a majority but rather to get this guy out of the limelight. There aren't that many first time congressmen or women (Off the top of my head) who are doing as much as Tom is right now. They last thing they need is for him to solidify his star power prior to the end of his first time. I think they'll do anything they can to get rid of him, not because of the numbers but more to get this potential threat to the GOP out of the picture.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

I think you are on to something here, DanielK. But Tom Perriello represents a larger threat to them nationally, not just in Virginia. And it's not just because he is charismatic and has star power.

He also is a progressive person of faith. The GOP has spent many years and lots of money to frame the Democrats as the party of secular atheists - as out of touch East Coast liberals who don't respect ordinary peoples' religion or ordinary peoples' values.

Tom gives lie to that claim.

He is so obviously a person of faith, whose values were formed by his Catholic religion, that he destroys the GOP message manipulators whole frame.

If a Democrat can speak in the language of faith and values to describe progressive values, it gives us a moral power that Republicans have tried to strip from us. And it also gives voters who want to vote both their pocketbooks and their morals a reason to reject the GOP's very narrow interpetation of faith-based politics.

There is another religious language, taken from the Prophetic Tradition of the Bible, and Tom understands it and is fluent in its use.

Anonymous said...

Karen i feel you are going to be in for a real let down on Perriello's next election. Obama did alot more for him than i think the Democrats are willing to admit but maybe im wrong. Perriello could keep some really close ties to Obama and that will help him again.

Drew said...

Karen, as usual, great post and great follow-up comments! Love your spot-on faith analysis!

This is the second time in about two or three weeks that MSNBC had Tom on. Both times there were Republican operatives (current or former, this time Joe Scarborough) who left the segments really, deeply, and genuinely impressed with his ability to communicate his principles and convictions.

I don't think we, Democrats, are the ones in denial about Obama's effects on the election. Republicans love to claim that Obama carried Tom across the finish line, thereby insinuating that Perriello is toast next year. But, as DanielK correctly pointed out, Perriello outpaced Obama in the district as a whole and in grand majority of the individual municipalities. There were many, many Perriello-McCain voters this past cycle. The Presidential race, by nature of the gravity of the election, always brings out more supporters than the average cycle. While the Obama campaign was brilliant within district, the Perriello built a top-notch grassroots campaign to identifying supporters and get them to the polls. I, personally, think it is the GOP that overestimates Obama's effects on this election.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Drew, first of all, thank you.

Next, I agree with you that Republicans are overestimating the Obama coattails in the 5th CD. Thank you for pointing out that Perriello ran better than Obama did in that region.

In addtion, I have noticed that Tom pays a lot of attention to his district. If he continues to provide good constituent service and keeps building his relationship with voters in the 5th CD, I think he will hold his seat in 2010.

If he can balance the national attention he is garnering with his local obligations so that he doesn't lose touch with his district, which I think he is already doing very well, he will indeed remain a rising star for our party.

And I repeat, the fact that he so obviously is a person whose faith is deeply held and guides his decisions is precisely why Republicans are targeting him so viciously. The last thing they want is to see Democrats who embrace religious values because that begins to cut into their last remaining base.

Anonymous said...

I like how Perriello was able to explain his hopes and concerns about this complex piece of legislation (the details of which I'm sure no congressman has yet to fully digest) without clinging to talking points and while reminding us that it is our obligation and our best interest to attach a more accurate price on our harmful spending habits.

I'm glad that we have another Virginia Democrat who, like Mark Warner, prefers to assess issues on a pragmatic, business-oriented scale. Neither of them is particularly charismatic, but I have no doubt that they are earnest in what they do.