Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

December 11, 2009

AN UNREASONABLE REQUEST.... Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.) has received plenty of, let's call it, "feedback" from his far-right constituents in his conservative-leaning district. Despite being a top target next year, Perriello has refused to give up on what he believes is right, and voted with his party on health care and cap and trade.

His sensible voting record has generated plenty of ire for Perriello, but a right-wing legal group believes the freshman congressman hasn't been accommodating enough to those who disagree with him.

The Rutherford Institute, which was founded by conservative constitutional lawyer John W. Whitehead, penned a letter to the freshman Perriello citing the concerns of a local tea party group and the University of Virginia College Republicans that the location of his Charlottesville office interferes with their right to protest there.

"Unfortunately, it is your choice of office location that has hindered the ability of citizens to effectively communicate concerning issues of the utmost importance to you, Congress and the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia," wrote Whitehead.

"The First Amendment clearly guarantees individuals the right to speak out publicly and address their government representatives on the important issues of the day," Whitehead added.

Here's the situation: Perriello has a district office, which is near several private businesses. The offices share a parking lot, which Teabaggers and other right-wing activists want to use to scream at their congressman. But since the private businesses around Perriello's office actually want to use their parking lot for employees, customers, and clients, would-be protestors aren't able to host events there.

And so, the Rutherford Institute is asking Perriello to move his district office in order to make it easier for people to scream at him.

Somehow, I doubt the congressman will go along with the request.

By the way, if the Rutherford Institute sounds familiar, it's best known as the group that represented Paula Jones in her suit against President Clinton.

Steve Benen 2:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (28)

Bookmark and Share

Hear my voice! Hear my voice! Nazi Nazi Nazi!

Posted by: Uli Kunkel on December 11, 2009 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

I'd ask which part of "peaceably" they don't understand, but that would be stupid.

Posted by: Paul on December 11, 2009 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

On the evidence of his letter, I'd guess John W. Whitehead is a very bad lawyer.

Posted by: K on December 11, 2009 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if there are any Republican members' offices similarly situated: that is, in private office complexes where capitalist businesses operate. If so, would this apply the same? Would the reps. move their offices to public property so they could be accessible to Leftist/Socialistic demonstrators? Or where "Speech-Free Zones" could be set up?

Posted by: st john on December 11, 2009 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Reminds me of the Bill Cosby bit where he talks about his Dad's version of discipline, something like "son, got me something to beat you with".

Posted by: Paranoid Floyd on December 11, 2009 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Edit: "get" not got. Hmmm...coffee, not rum.

Posted by: Paranoid Floyd on December 11, 2009 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

We want to make your life so miserable that you won't be able to

do anything without our freely ASSembled DEMONstrators

protesting every little eensy-teensy itty bit of what you stand for.

We're teabaggers and it's time for you to taste some of our medicine. (sic)

Check out the crazy stuff outside Sidwell friends school (where Obama's kids go)

Me thinketh they protesteth too much.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on December 11, 2009 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Perriello has stated that he's staying. His lease doesn't run out until 2011.

Good choice for your office location, Congressman Perriello.

Posted by: majii on December 11, 2009 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like the Rutherford Institute believes in "bloody-nose" democracy and other oxymorons! I do wonder, though, what Paula Jones is up to these days! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on December 11, 2009 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

What's really, really sad is, Tom Perriello is doing a hell of a good job. He has conducted several town hall meetings on different issues and managed to keep them civil and thoughtful. He has made himself remarkably accessible. And he's doing the work — and voting the way — that he was asked to do by the electorate.

No wonder the Republicans can't stand him.

Posted by: chrenson on December 11, 2009 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

So Whitehead is proposing that he will personally pay for the move he wants the congressman to make, right? He's not trying to insist that taxpayer money be wasted to break the current lease and move Rutherford's office somewhere else, right?

Oh, who am I kidding. The wingnuts always think other people's money should fund their personal obsessions.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on December 11, 2009 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Apparently these yutzes believe that the First Amendment not only protects them from opposing opinion but mandates they be permitted to make spectacles of themselves.

Someone should check to see what version of the Constitution they are using because I don't think it's the one which actually governs this country.

Posted by: karen marie on December 11, 2009 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

I dunno. Can't they just scream and yell at him from across the street? That's usually enough for your average run-of-the-mill kook. What's specially about these kooks?

Posted by: leo on December 11, 2009 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

I think he should put this into legislation. Have tax payer funded district offices on public property, supported by a tea tax.

Posted by: John Wallach on December 11, 2009 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

As the morons which part of "Go bugger yourself" do they not understand.

Further proof that the only "good Republicans" are pushing up daisies.

Posted by: TCinLA on December 11, 2009 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

Is there some reason why they can't actually go into the district office to make their opinions known? I mean, aside from the problem of fitting the TV cameras inside so that it becomes a media event having little to do with actually communicating with their Representative?

Posted by: biggerbox on December 11, 2009 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

For folks that are so paranoid about gov't telling them what to do and having too much influence on their lives, the teabaggers certainly are big on trying to boss people around with demands that they follow the path of the teabagger without deviation.

Posted by: burro on December 11, 2009 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

This falls under that famed Constitutional amendment, "The right of the People to alter their elected representative's parking space shall remain uncontested."

I'm impressed. For breath-taking sense of entitlement, this is the best yet.

Posted by: Balakirev on December 11, 2009 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

My congresswoman, like most congresscritters representing Chicago, has her district office in a storefront with no parking. Any group protesting in front of it would be blocking the sidewalk, and the other pedestrians would take 'em down before the cops ever showed up.

Obviously Schakowsky and everyone else from dense city locales chose their filthy urban districts just to thwart patriotic teabaggers. Otherwise, they'd be representing rural districts full of real Americans, like our founding fathers did.

Posted by: shortstop on December 11, 2009 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Rutherford Institute: "Help, help, I'm being repressed! Come see the violence inherent in the system!"

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on December 11, 2009 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sure Perriello's staff can identify an empty lot surrounded by a chain link fence, within a couple of miles of his office, that might be designated an official protest zone. I mean, if the Rutherford group didn't object to such arrangements in the last administration, they should be good with that, right?

Posted by: RSA on December 11, 2009 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

People laughed at the, umm, NSDAP (does that get me out of Godwin?) too. When you laugh at this crew, it had better be an uneasy laugh. This ever-swelling crescendo of (at least potentially) violent insanity could foreshadow real danger if the economy stays in the dumpster for very much longer.

Posted by: Steve LaBonne on December 11, 2009 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

Watch: Sabato will encourage them to sue, to force Perriello to move the office. Because "politics is a good thing."

(Is he still selling that stupid uvapac T-shirt these days?)

Posted by: ajw93 on December 11, 2009 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

If these people had the sense God gave to a teabag, they'd simply rent one of those businesses, since it would include parking privileges. The question then might be "how many teabaggers can you fit in the space allocated to 3-4 cars?" but, still... It'd have to be more than would be allowed on a busy sidewalk. And these people want to be in charge of my money? Jezus, Maria, i wszyscy swieci!

Posted by: exlibra on December 11, 2009 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK
People laughed at the, umm, NSDAP (does that get me out of Godwin?) too. When you laugh at this crew, it had better be an uneasy laugh. This ever-swelling crescendo of (at least potentially) violent insanity could foreshadow real danger if the economy stays in the dumpster for very much longer.

There will be blood, no matter what happens to the economy. A major network is an irresponsible propaganda arm, overtly pushing lies about the world. Their most popular broadcaster preaches hysterical sermons every night about the literal end of civilization, and the illegitimacy of our government. A very large number of people believe a number of untrue things: our black black black president is a muslim terrorist who is trying to take our guns away (while being black, continuously), global warming is a hoax, government medical care will kill old people, deficits are the most important economic fact that one can discuss. The press, which used to be a semi-responsible fourth arm of government, is now desperately concerned about their own literal survival as a business, so they are only too happy to fill the airways with lies, interviews with Palin, discussions of UFO boys and party crashers and how widely Tiger's wood has been handled, anything to keep those eyeballs focused.

Nothing and no one stands across the bridge, yelling "Stop!" There is no responsible Republican in America who has any voice in the party, so this feedback loop will continue until it creates violence. The tea-baggers are primarily listening to themselves, to their rage and their fear.

So yes, people will die because of right-wing activity, and it will happen within the next year. And then Obama will be blamed for it. We will survive, we're a tough country. But it will continue to suck.

Posted by: Rathskeller on December 11, 2009 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

@low-tech cyclist

Shorter Rutherford Institute: "Help, help, I'm being repressed! Come see the violence inherent in the system!"
"Bloody peasant!"

"Oh, what a giveaway -- that's what I'm on about! You saw him repressing me, didn't you?"

Posted by: navamske on December 11, 2009 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

I would like to say compare the rhetoric of the platform with the reality of politics. The status quo is that there is no federal funding of abortion. Period. That means no federal funding of abortions through Medicaid, which does far more to deny access to abortions for poor women than any restrictions on the exchange. What has Obama done to change this? Nothing. If Tom Perriello's Confused and Dishonest, what does that make Obama? A failure....

valentines day gift ideas

Posted by: lokenkristianna on December 12, 2009 at 1:35 AM | PERMALINK

The Rutherford Institute has also backed "democracy-is-a-heresy" R.J. Rushdooney's extremist christianist Chalcedon Foundation and the Intelligent Design Creationism movement.

Posted by: mark on December 12, 2009 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK



Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM

buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly