In his first year in Congress, Perriello has worked on behalf of veterans, green energy jobs and, like Goode, he has helped to steer federal dollars to Fifth District projects. He has voted against President Barack Obama on some issues and supported gun rights and worked against federal funding for abortion. But he has also voted for the federal stimulus, cap and trade and a health care bill.
His opponents are stumbling over one another to get rid of him. They may succeed. We shifted our longtime support from Goode to Perriello two years ago because it became clear that Goode, for whatever reason, no longer believed he could be effective in Washington. Perriello had no such qualms about “working a double shift” for the Fifth District. He has done that — and more — over the past year.
Perhaps most telling is what the first man to enter the race against him had to say:
The Register-Bee picked up on something much of the media either can't see or refuses to see--whether you agree with him or not, Tom Perriello is working his butt off for his constituents. He has the courage to state what he believes and stand by it, even if he takes flak for it. And as the article notes, he goes out of his way to listen to people who disagree with him. People respect that, and it resonates well across the district.
“Tom Perriello is a man of principle,” said Bradley Rees, a Bedford County FairTax advocate, blogger, radio host and possible independent congressional candidate. “He will come out and state his principles on any given agenda item and you can expect him to vote that way … I admire his principles. I admire his stance on what he believes. I just happen to not believe the same thing.”
That’s some of the fairest criticism of Perriello we’ve heard over the past year. Ironically, Perriello is as frustrated with Washington as some of his most strident opponents.
“I have several major disappointments,” Perriello said of the past year. “I think the Democratic Party screwed up a lot in Washington, but it was very clear the Republicans were directed not to work with us in any way. I understand it’s a nasty place; it’s a political place. I’ve got thick skin. But when your country’s on the verge of depression, that’s not the time to say ‘Let’s tee up in 2010.’ It’s time to come together.”
The hypocrisy and vitriolic anger of these times doesn’t change the fact that Washington was spending too much money before Perriello’s party won control of Congress, and problems like health care and energy independence were ignored for years.
None of that will matter to those who have already made up their minds, so Perriello’s political future will rely on turning out his political supporters — not an easy task in a midterm election.
But this is a man who has already surpassed expectations. If any Democrat can win in 2010, it’s Perriello.
All through the 2008 campaign, people told me there's no way Tom could win; he was toast before he even started. The same people are now calling him "one-term-Tom." We'll see. The right underestimates Tom at their own peril.