So, we pull into this Hardees in Danville at about 6:30, followed by the guys from Roll Call and the Japanese television crew. Tom is there to meet with a group of local steelworkers, and they're waiting inside for him.
The Hurt protesters beat us there. The four of them are grouped outside, holding up handmade signs saying things like, "I need a job."
After Tom went inside, they stood for a few minutes with their signs facing the window. Ignored, they gave up and left (although the Hurt tracker stayed on).
Now, this incident was both hilarious and sad at the same time.
The hilarious part was that this was obviously a group of well-educated young people. One wore a Hampden-Sydney sweatshirt. At least two were actually employed by the Hurt campaign, so in reality, they had jobs. They all have good lives filled with much opportunity in front of them, and I say good for them.
To make this scene even more surreal, these young people drove expensive cars -- an Audi and top-line Honda Accord.
So, the irony that these people came out to protest for jobs with displays of wealth was, on the one hand, funny.
On the other, it was also insulting to the people in this district who are truly hurting, who have seen their jobs outsourced because of the very policies and corporate tax breaks that Robert Hurt advocates.
These folks do not have the same opportunities ahead of them that the Hurt trackers seem to take for granted. They are worried about their homes and about their children, and they face uncertain futures.
The difference between the Hurt protesters and Tom could not be clearer. Outside the Hardees, the Hurt people engaged in a poorly planned, logically inconsistent protest that, more than anything, was an insult to the very people Hurt says he wants to represent. What's worse, after five minutes, they just gave up.
Meanwhile, Tom was in the Hardees, carrying on a serious conversation about serious issues -- healthcare, the deficit, the economy -- with American working men and women.
While Tom is putting in 24 straight hours of hard work to meet and speak with voters, Robert Hurt sends out a few staffers to protest and disrupt, and call it quits.
If this is not all a metaphor for the choice facing the voters of the Fifth District, I don't know what is.
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