EDITORIAL: Oh really, Mr. Perry?
From getting cut off and dismissed on live TV to helping shut down the government over what even he admitted was lost cause, Scott Perry is no stranger to cringe-worthy performances.
Now comes another — this one enough to make us pine for the Goodling or Platts eras.
During those 40 years, we at least knew what our representatives stood for, and they were willing to defend those positions with some coherence and diplomacy.
When a journalist with CQ Roll Call caught up with Perry this week and asked if he was a member of the secretive, far-right House Freedom Caucus, the sophomore Republican from Dillsburg offered a sophomoric response.
Perry didn't have to answer the question, he said, because the reporter wasn't one of his constituents in the 4th District.
"If they ask me, I'll tell 'em. Are you my constituent?" he told the reporter. "... Well, you call my constituents and I'll be happy to tell them where I stand. Happy. More than happy."
The invitation-only House Freedom Caucus formed in February to push the GOP agenda further to the right. There are said to be about 40 members, but that's only an estimate because the group refuses to release its roster.
In its short existence, the group has been blamed for high-profile intra-party Republican fights such as those over Department of Homeland Security funding and a package of trade deals.
More recently, the caucus provided traction to the so-called First Amendment Defense Act, which, in light of the Supreme Court's legalization of gay marriage, is supposed to protect the rights of religious organizations opposed to same-sex unions.
Frankly, we can understand why some members would want to keep their involvement hush-hush, especially if it wouldn't sit well with the folks back home.
Still, we had a reporter — a constituent, mind you — call Perry to finally answer the "Is he or isn't he?" question.
Turns out, he is.
We didn't get it from our congressman, though. Perry didn't return a phone call. His spokesman Bob Reilly, however, issued this statement ... via email:
"I can confirm that Congressman Perry is a member of the House Freedom Caucus," he wrote, adding a web link to the caucus' mission statement.
When asked if Perry would be available for comment, Reilly said in a subsequent email that Perry has a very tight schedule because the House is in session this week.
We'd like to know more about this caucus, Perry's involvement, why he chose to get involved, what he hopes to accomplish, why he thinks its agenda is good for the people who elected him ... it's a long list.
Unfortunately, he doesn't think it's any of our business.
Asked by the Roll Call reporter about the secrecy surrounding the House Freedom Caucus, Perry actually said, "It's nobody's business but our own."
Wrong, congressman. We — 700,000 residents of Adams, York, Cumberland and Dauphin counties — sent you to Washington to do our business.
And we all deserve to know exactly how that's coming along.