Jeff Clark should leave this race. He has said from the beginning that Robert Hurt was his target. Whatever the vendetta is that he carries for Hurt is shared by some I suppose, but with the fact that our economy is in critical danger, our constitution is being ignored, our liberties are being systematically removed, the very future of our Republic hangs in the balance, and any hope for our children to grow up in a nation that even resembles the America that has been so great for so long being in doubt, we do not have the luxury of entertaining the egos of such detractors as Mr. Clark. He is NOT the Tea Party candidate, although there are those on the fringe who want to make some sort of suicidal statement, nor is he representative of the majority of the Tea Party patriots in VA5.
As we approach the 60 day mark before VA5 voters head to the polls, Tom Perreillo has one wish – now, and for as long as he’s serving in Congress. His wish must be that conservatives will remain distracted and fractured, that we stay focused on a conservative purity test and continue to fuss and fight among ourselves. Because so long as this trend persists Tom keeps his office, and we can certainly count on him to support the destructive big-government big spending and BIG TAXING liberal agenda – then return to the district and convince the more gullible he is independent in his thinking and voting. When, in fact, he votes with Pelosi and Obama and ALL the destructive big-government legislation. He receives all the praises from the most extreme leftists.
This brings me to Jeff Clark, who I am unclear on whose dreams and wishes he is trying to fulfill. There has been much in the media over the last few days about Jeff Clark’s personal financial situation. I will certainly not judge the man on that alone. Those of us who have lost jobs and had major life issues will certainly be able to attest to the reality of financial challenges, and find some sympathy. But, that only goes so far.
Jeff Clark and others have launched an attack of innuendo and misdirection against me personally, the Tea Party, and against the Hurt campaign. The reasonable person might say, “well this is just politics as usual,” and that would certainly be a reasonable assumption. But, this election season the reasonable rules of politics (if they ever existed at all) have been suspended in many ways. Individual voters seem more interested and engaged and more people are waking up to the fact that this nation is headed down a path toward disaster if things are not stopped and turned around very quickly. All this drives the intensity level much higher than usual.
Let me first set the record straight as to the so-called “clandestine” meeting that Jeff Clark and I had at the Hibachi Grill on Ward’s Road in Lynchburg, and a little background leading up to it. Some months ago I received a phone call from a friend of mine who is a political junky, and a Tea Party activist outside VA5. In this conversation he told me that we should be careful because our “Tea Party candidate” had some real financial baggage and it was not going to look good for the Tea Party when that all came out. I informed him that there was NO Tea Party candidate, that we had not endorsed anyone. He then pointed out that the media was making every attempt to make “Jeff Clark, member of the Danville Tea Party” appear to be the “Tea Party” candidate. His point was very accurate. He did not give me all the detail that came out in the paper, but enough to give me concerns. Then I asked another conservative activist to verify the information I was given, and a week or so later it was confirmed through a search of PUBLIC RECORDS. I expressed my concerns to a couple of people I trusted and respected and sat on the information until I received a call from Jeff Clark on another matter. We set up a lunch appointment.
During our lunch meeting we discussed several things. Jeff Clark wanted me to support his efforts to be involved in the televised debates, he informed me how he believed that he could pick up 15-25% of the vote in the election (delusional thinking), that his candidacy was really making a statement, that he was willing to put up with two more years of Tom Perriello (and apparently a Democrat majority in the House) than to have to deal with an entrenched Robert Hurt. Up until this meeting I thought that Jeff Clark had a political future, and I told him what I had been told about the information on his financial misfortunes that has since made it into the press along with much more that I was unaware of.
I told him that since he had thrown his name in the congressional hat that all this stuff was going to come out at some point. I also gave him my word that I would keep his information confidential, and I have stood by that obligation. I did suggest that he consider running for some other office, or take on more of a leadership role in his local Tea Party. Let me say that I would certainly withdraw that recommendation now.
Many weeks later the information did come out, as any casual observer of politics or reasonable person knew it would, and much more as well. So, now they [Clark and allies] use this inevitable release to spew lies and absurd assumptions.
In defending his candidacy and attempting to deflect the public disclosure of his finances to the press in Mr. Clark has attempted to discredit me, the chairman of the Lynchburg Tea Party, and the Hurt Campaign. Who does this benefit? As anyone who has kept up with VA5 politics over the last several months can attest, I have been very critical of the GOP, and Robert Hurt. Now, it appears that Mr. Clark and some of my personal detractors are attempting to paint me as an “agent” of the Hurt campaign. This is intended to make the Tea Party look like a subsidiary of the GOP, and/or the GOP being run by the Tea Party. If successful, this would in turn activate the anti-Tea Party crowd on both sides of the aisle, and refocus and invigorate some of the deflated leftists. If Clark can do this then the Democrats get a double-play of sorts.
Let’s look at this. Robert Hurt Campaign is running a very safe, make no waves, campaign. At least up until now. The Tea Party crowd wants someone to go after the leftists with passion and energy. That’s just not happening, the Hurt folks are playing this very safe. Any release of this sort of information would be tied to them in the minds of the ordinary voter, because “on the surface” it would appear that the Hurt campaign is engaging in “politics of personal destruction.” Well, they are playing things way too safe for that. So, who would benefit from a release of such damaging information on such a sympathetic character as Mr. Clark? Tom Perriello? The information coming out in the Charlottesville paper – certainly not known for supporting conservative candidates. This should make the reasonable person ask the reasonable question.
The reasonable person would ask, “why, and who does this benefit?” The beneficiary of this is, of course, Tom Perriello. The distraction caused by the media coverage of this benefits who? Hmmm . . . Tom Perriello. To single out, marginalize, and discredit any leader of your opposition is a strategy right out of the pages of Saul Alinksy, and Saul is loved and adored by who? The leftist running the government just now, and they are supported by who? Tom Perriello!
Jeff Clark’s motivation remains somewhat enigmatic. He is either a modern day Don Quixote, a misguided delusional lunatic, or he is directly allied with the Democrats attempting to pose as a faux “Tea Party” candidate as has been exposed in some other districts around the nation. Keep in mind our district has been identified as one of the most important races in the nation for the leftist democrats. Whether a Perriello plant, or a misguided delusional lunatic, the effect is still the same. His very presence in this race, and the distraction caused benefits the leftist liberal Tom Perriello.
I knew something about Jeff Clark’s financial issues and now I’m being accused of spreading rumors. Anytime you go through a bankruptcy and other such things then they are PUBLIC RECORD. If the media was actually interested they could do the same thing a couple of regular guys did and discover some bits of information. Maybe I should have broken my word and gone to the press, but I didn’t and I can’t claim credit for something I didn’t do. After his announcement that he would drop out of the race if the “informant” would step forward, I actually received several phone calls from people volunteering to do just that. I needed the laugh. I also told them they should not step up and claim credit for something they didn’t do.
To those who see Clark’s positions as principled, let’s remember what Ronald Reagan said concerning such things: “I’d rather get 80% of what I want, than go driving right off the cliff with my flags flying high, and get 0% of what I want.” Jeff Clark brings us 0% of what we want. Reasonable questions remain as to his allegiances, viability, motivation, and now, to his very character. Our goal must remain removing Tom Perriello, and removing the Democrat majority from the House. But that will not happen so long as the one person who stands a chance of beating Perriello, Robert Hurt, is forced to fight a two-front campaign.
We have primaries for a reason, and certainly in VA5 we had one heck of a primary. It’s over now. If Clark wanted to prevent Hurt from getting the nomination, he should have thrown his hat into the ring in the context of the primary. Or encouraged other candidates to unite around a single opponent against Hurt in the primary. Running as an Independent now after the primary is over, all the while acknowledging that it helps Perriello, is very short-sighted. And, should make the reasonable person wonder.
With such questionable motives and his long and often stated intentions to simply sabotage the Hurt campaign, I will make every effort to ignore him, and I urge others attempt to do the same. Although, I’m sure, like the distracting buzz of a fly around your picnic table that might be difficult to do.
If Perriello wins, and the Democrats keep the House by just one seat, everyone will know who to blame.
Chairman, Lynchburg Tea Party