In tonight’s debate between Congressman Perriello and Robert Hurt, I’m surprised at how badly Hurt came off.
Although I don’t think I’ve ever met Hurt (I just can’t remember), we have a bunch of friends in common, and I know him to be a nice guy. He’s no dope. But with his performance this evening, one wouldn’t know that. Here I’d been giving him the benefit of the doubt that his refusal to debate was because of the involvement of a conservative third-party candidate and the usual sturm und drang that goes into arranging a candidate debate. Apparently, it’s because he’s totally unprepared.
Host Jay Warren asked no surprising questions. If Hurt’s staff was going to prep him for just a half dozen topics, those covered surely would have been among them. But Hurt could muster no meaningful responses, nearly all of which were somewhere between weak and just plain wrong. The fact that he couldn’t name a single federal program that he’d cut was pretty amazing. Hurt’s campaign, like those of many Republicans this year, has been based substantially on cutting spending. The man’s running for office on the promise to do that. But he can’t name anything that he’d actually cut? Nothing? That’s a shell of a candidate right there.
Maybe I gave Hurt too much credit. Or maybe, like post-2000 and pre-2008 John McCain, he’ll have to lose this election to regain the credibility that he’s losing now.