Tom Perriello

Our Favorite People

Welcome to TNR’s 2011 list issue. Earlier this week we named the most over-covered stories, DC’s most over-rated thinkers, and the most powerful, least famous people in Washington. Today’s installment: TNR’s Favorite People in DC. RICHARD CIZIK As the National Association of Evangelicals’ chief lobbyist in D.C. for ten years, Richard Cizik pushed evangelical-supported legislation. That is, until he was ousted in 2008 for his increasingly progressive opinions—he told NPR that his views were “shifting” on gay marriage and implied that he had voted for Barack Obama.

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The Party of New

WASHINGTON—From Ohio, Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy describes "the worry, the anguish and sometimes despair" among her constituents and urges President Obama to spend more time with people who don't make "six-figure incomes." From Pennsylvania, Rep. Joe Sestak says Americans are angry at a government that failed to guard them against economic catastrophe. And from Virginia, Rep.

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Early indications that Democrats seem to be holding their own in a lot of close races should not be misunderstood as in indication that the Donkey Party is having a good night; far from it. It just doesn't look like the vast tsunami a lot of Republicans—and for that matter, the final Gallup Poll—have been pointing towards. And there is definitely bad news for Democrats.

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Atlas Slugged

DANVILLE, Va.—Rep. Tom Perriello is this election's test case of whether casting tough votes is better than ducking them, and whether a progressive who fashions an intelligent populism can survive in deeply conservative territory. On the face of it, Perriello should be the year's most vulnerable Democratic incumbent. In 2008, he won his sprawling, largely rural district—it stretches from academic Charlottesville down to this gritty former industrial stronghold on the North Carolina border—by all of 727 votes out of a total of some 317,000.

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Steve Lombardo at pollster.com surveys the good political news for Republicans. There's a lot of it: We are in one of the longest sustained periods of voter dissatisfaction in modern history. Except for a few weeks in the spring of 2009, perceptions of the direction of the country have been strongly "wrong track" since the invasion of Iraq in 2003. That is seven years. The only comparable period is 1973-1983. This helps explain why we are in the middle of a third successive "change" election. Moreover, trust in government to do what is right is at an all-time low.

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The conventional wisdom about the politics of climate-change legislation is that cap-and-trade is grossly, horribly unpopular and that Democrats in conservative districts ought to be blanching with terror over getting behind it. What's more (says the c.w.), those conservative Dems who did vote for the Waxman-Markey bill in the House probably signed their own political death warrants. But is this really true?

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Back in June, during the House debate over climate legislation, three Democratic swing votes—Reps. Kathy Dahlkemper, Chris Carney, and Tom Perriello—all received letters that appeared to be from local organizations opposing the bill. Perriello got multiple letters from the local NAACP in Virginia, urging him to vote no. Dahlkemper and Carney both got letters from local senior citizens’ centers in Pennsylvania, all of which professed deep concerns about the bill’s effect on their electricity bills.

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