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Photo of David Perdue standing outside, alone
Republican Senate hopeful David Perdue
Despite a few hiccups, wealthy businessman David Perdue's been riding high in the polls for some time. Thanks to his free-spending ways (Perdue used to be CEO of the discount chain Dollar General), Perdue has dominated the airwaves in Georgia's Republican Senate primary and staked himself to a small but consistent—if not growing—lead over the last couple of months. The only real fight has been between the two potential runners-up, Rep. Jack Kingston and former Secretary of State Karen Handel, who are both vying for the second slot in order to make the July 22 runoff alongside Perdue.

But with less than a week to go before Election Day, it seems that Perdue just experienced a massive outbreak of sanity—the kind of sanity that, among Republican voters, could easily cost a candidate running in a GOP primary. In a recent meeting with the editorial board of the Macon Telegraph, flagged by ThinkProgress, Perdue appeared to go stark raving sane:

"Is it better to try to get out of the ditch by curbing the growth of spending or increasing revenue?" an editorial board member asked.

"Both," Perdue replied emphatically.

"And that's a euphemism for some kind of tax increase, of course," the interviewer noted.

Perdue laughed and explained, "Well here's the reality: If you go into a business, and I keep coming back to my background, it's how I know how to relate is to refer back to it—I was never able to turn around a company just by cutting spending. You had to figure out a way to get revenue growing. And what I just said, there are five people in the U.S. Senate who understand what I just said. You know revenue is not something they think about."

It's interesting to see that the dodgy government-as-business analogy, which so often is deployed to service a conservative agenda, is here being used to buttress a liberal priority, and by a Republican, no less. Of course, Perdue's wrong by an order of magnitude about how many senators understand the need for increased revenues—Democrats grasp this perfectly well—but this certainly isn't the first time he's displayed more than a touch of arrogance when it comes to his supposed business acumen.

Was it also arrogance that drove Perdue to speak such heresies against conservative dogma? Ronald Reagan's famous 11th commandment for Republicans has long since been usurped by a new doctrine: "Thou shalt never raise taxes." Perdue's not a seasoned politician (indeed, he's never run for office before), so maybe he just cracked out of turn. Or maybe he figures none of his opponents have the resources to use this against him. But Kingston, at least, still has plenty of money, and there's also that runoff to worry about.

So either one of two things is likely to happen: Perdue will have to half-apologize and claim he didn't mean what he said, or he'll stand by his statements and pay the price. Door number three, of course, is that he sticks with his pro-tax hiking stance and wins anyway. But in today's Republican Party, is that really the outcome you want to bet on?

1:28 PM PT: And indeed, Handel's already pounced, saying that "'raising revenue' is code for raising taxes." It's not even code—it's a synonym!

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Wed May 14, 2014 at 09:34 AM PDT.

Also republished by Kos Georgia and Daily Kos.

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