And then there's the attack on his most loyal of constituencies, the coal miners of Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise Counties - through cap-and-trade - which Boucher still champions against all reason.
A possible explanation for Boucher still being competitive? He is a Washington politician, with all the meanness and nastiness that that implies:
Trick or Treat Time for DemocratsIn how many races around the country this year have we seen Democrats exposed for having conjured "tea party" candidates who turned out to be nothing more than shills intended to siphon off votes from Republican challengers? In Michigan. In Nevada. In Florida. In New Jersey. Probably lots more.
By Robert Stacy McCain, American Spectator
Abingdon, Va. -- Rick Boucher voted for the "Job-Killing Cap & Trade Energy Tax," says a voter guide distributed in Virginia's 9th District and that may well be the obituary on the Democrat's 28-year career in Congress.
Southwest Virginia is coal country and, according to an estimate by the National Association of Manufacturers, the Waxman-Markey bill for which Boucher voted -- formally known as the American Clean Energy and Security Act -- would eliminate 56,000 jobs in Virginia. The unemployment rate in many counties in Boucher's district has been above 10 percent for months, and it is hard to see why anyone concerned about this region's economy would vote for the man who voted for legislation so inimical to their own interests.
Improbable as it may seem, however, VA-9 is still a rated a "toss-up." For months, polls showed Boucher with a double-digit lead over Republican challenger Morgan Griffith. It was not until this week, in the wake of a televised debate on a Lynchburg station, that a poll by Survey USA showed Griffith pulling ahead by a single point, 47 to 46 percent.
That Boucher could get 46 percent of the vote here -- indeed, the incumbent may actually win re-election Tuesday -- demonstrates the power of Democrat party attack ads, which have been pouring into airwaves and mailboxes in the 9th District, as in so many other key congressional districts nationwide.
Boucher's basic attack is that his Republican opponent doesn't live in the district. One oversized mailing features a giant headline: "Meet Morgan Griffith. Not From Here. Not For Us." Another mailing declares: "It's a Long Way From Morgan Griffith's Home… to Ours."
Actually, while Griffith lives in the adjoining 6th District, the Republican can literally throw a stone from his home in Salem into the 9th District, which contains many of his constituents in the Virginia House of Delegates. Nevertheless, Boucher and his Democratic Party allies have enough cash to hammer the GOP challenger with TV ads that tell voters he's a outsider. Griffith "supported taking money away from our schools," and "blocked electricity rate reform," says the Boucher TV ad that concludes, "Morgan Griffith: He's not from here… and it shows."
Yet the Democrats have other tricks up their sleeves this year. In many close races, third-party "independent" candidates appear to be running primarily as spoilers against Republicans, hoping to drain off enough anti-incumbent votes to enable Democrats to survive by narrow margins.
Here in Virginia's 9th District, businessman Jeremiah Heaton is on the ballot as an independent candidate. As Virginia conservative blogger Jerry Fuhrman notes, Heaton doesn't seem to be running against the incumbent Boucher, but instead "has chosen to devote his every energy to attacking the Republican in this race." With Boucher and Griffith in a dead heat, votes for Heaton might be enough to keep the Democrat from paying the price for supporting Obama's agenda in a district where the president is deeply unpopular.
Adam Tolbert is chairman of the GOP in Smyth County, where the unemployment rate is currently 11.8 percent. He compares the Democrat's campaign to the horror-movie marathons that cable movie networks run at Halloween. "The last week has been nothing but Rick Boucher's dirty tricks," Tolbert said Thursday night at Griffith's campaign office in Abingdon.
With four days left until Election Day, the Griffith campaign is gearing up a series of get-out-the-vote rallies across the district. Griffith is running hard. But it looks like Boucher is running scared. [link] [emphasis mine]
Including, perhaps, right here in Southwest Virginia.
Is Jeremiah Heaton a "Democrat dirty trick"? One can't help but wonder. A look at Heaton's positions on the issues of the day suggests that he is - on the surface at least - a Tea Partier's dream. His conservative take on such things as the size and role of government, to cap-and-trade, to aid to foreign governments, Heaton's perspectives are ... Morgan Griffith's policy positions. And they are the antithesis of those held by our liberal Democrat congressman.
Yet Heaton deems it proper to relentlessly attack the conservative in this race and give the liberal - who one would think is everything that Heaton rejects - a complete pass. Every day. Throughout this election season.
The only reasonable explanation one could derive from all this is that Jeremiah Heaton has some goal in this race that has nothing to do with winning or championing those causes that he professes to support. It keeps coming back to the point that Robert Stacy McCain makes above - Democrats and the tricks up their sleeves.
See "The Money Isn't The Point." After having done so, tell me you don't ... smell a rat.
Bottom line: If the extreme liberal Rick Boucher wins on Tuesday, he will have the professed conservative Jeremiah Heaton to thank.
And you can bet Boucher will take that opportunity next time he stops by Heaton's general store in Damascus to be entertained by Heaton's hired band, one member of which is ... Mrs. Rick Boucher.