On Wednesday, Senator Robert Hurt finally stepped up to debate the important issues in this year's election. Unfortunately, he appeared only with his Democrat opponent Tom Perriello. Independent conservative Jeff Clark was purposefully excluded from the debates because of Senator Hurt's opposition. There are several inconvenient truths about Hurt's weaselly attempts to shut down Clark's campaign.
First, it is in direct contrast to Hurt's refusal in the primaries to consider one-on-one debates with his Republican opponent Laurence Verga. Back then, Senator Hurt said, "Ignoring all the other candidates as Mr. Verga has done in this request is nothing more than a political stunt and is frankly insulting to the fine contributions each of the other candidates have brought to this campaign."
Senator Hurt is flip-flopping on the importance of debates including all candidates. Hypocrite Hurt.
Second, this is nothing more than a political stunt from his handlers that goes against what Senator Hurt originally said when asked about debating Jeff Clark. On the campaign trail, Senator Hurt said he would debate Clark. Then his handlers realized they didn't want this to happenand forced Hurt to go back on his word.
Senator Hurt is flip-flopping on what he said and going back on his word. We call that lying where I'm from.
Third, excluding a third party candidate from the debates goes against the precedent set by former Congressman Virgil Goode, who always pushed to include all candidates in the debates. Goode always understood that it's better to foster democracy and a discussion of ideas than try to score political points by excluding a rival from the debates. Hurt claims he wants to listen to his constituents, but unfortunately he doesn't want them listening to all of the candidates.
Senator Hurt is undermining one of the basic principles of our democracy, that every citizen has a right to be heard and all candidates should be respected as equals.
Fourth, this stance had resulted in Senator Hurt turning down invitations from seniors and veterans. Some of the oldest and most respected debates in the 5th District will now be between Clark and Perriello because Senator Hurt is too afraid to include Clark.
Senator Hurt is cutting and running from our seniors and veterans, putting politics ahead of public service.
Despite these shenanigans, some are pushing for Clark to pull out of the race, instead of pushing for Hurt to accept Clark in the debates. It only goes to show how much of a fraud many of these so-called Tea Party activists are that they care more about silencing a true conservative than standing up to an elite member of the establishment.
I firmly believe that Clark should not pull out of the campaign. To do so, unconditionally, would hand Senator Hurt exactly what he wants: a silenced opposition on the right. Furthermore, pulling out now would end the ongoing lawsuit by the Rutherford Institute against this two party duopoly. I support this lawsuit moving forward and hence call on Clark to stay in the fight.
Right now, so-called Tea Party activists are calling on Clark to pull out of the race because they fear that he may act as a spoiler to Senator Hurt. This is fundamentally undemocratic and elitist. Imagine the snobbery of insulting a candidate's supporters for being too dumb to make the decision for themselves if they want to support Clark, and potentially diminish support for Senator Hurt, or if they want to hold their nose and vote for Senator Hurt anyway. In an election we trust the voters to make the right decision. Why are Clark's supporters being questioned for their inteligence. It is their right to weigh the pro's and con's of voting for Clark, voting for Hurt, or hell even voting for Perriello. Or writing in someone. Or not voting at all. Individual choice is at the core of our democracy.
Clark has every right to stay in the race. His supporters have every right to vote for whomever they wish. I see a constant stream of Hurtards complaining that Perriello's campaign is just negative attacks on Hurt. But then they turn around and try to bully Clark and his supporters by focusing entirely on negatives about Perriello. Maybe Hurtards should spend more time selling their candidate to Clark and his supporters? You attract more flies with honey than vinegar.