Monday, August 17, 2009

Patrick Murphy has no Time for a Health Care Town Hall but "Netroots Nation" Conference Not a Problem

For those who have been following my posts here here and here, on Patrick Murphy (PA 8) you might recall the editorial in "The Intelligencer" that issued a none-too-subtle call for Murphy to schedule a large forum in order to address constituents' concerns on health care reform. Murphy has not scheduled that forum and repeated calls to his office have proven less than fruitful. Hey, Murphy is a busy guy.

This weekend, however, he managed to make time to appear at the far-left-leaning conference in Pittsburgh "Netroots Nation." He was interviewed there on whether he has received "death threats" from crazed Republicans. Here is the interview:

At :28 he has the audacity to say he lets people talk about their concerns one-on-one or in a larger setting. Was that the larger setting where only some were invited by robocall? Who has met with him one-on-one? Evidently clearing the air over confusion related to the bill is a priority, who knew? Presumably he thought he was going to find loads of Bucks County constituents, who are by and large moderate to right-leaning, at the leftist conference in Pittsburgh? Get the man a compass.

It should be noted The Intelligencer had a front page article today discussing the challenge the GOP might face trying to unseat Murphy:
Perhaps even Republicans feel that way. Earlier this month the National Republican Campaign Committee released a target list of 70 Dem-held House districts they hope to put into play next year. The list includes six in Pennsylvania, but the 8th is not among them.

"You noticed that," said Neil Samuels, deputy chairman of the Bucks County Democratic Committee. "It's an acceptance of the reality that he's doing a terrific job and won the last election by 50,000 votes. That's a significant margin."

No, I don't think so Mr. Samuels, though I have to wonder what the NRCC could be thinking sending Congressman Murphy the all's clear sign to continue to vote with Speaker Pelosi almost exclusively. As the article notes, his voting record speaks volumes:
Though he often refers to himself as a "fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrat," Murphy has voted for all government bailouts, under both President George Bush and Obama, the $778 billion stimulus package and Obama's $3.5 trillion budget. He has also broken from the Blue Dogs in favor of a government run health care option. And he was one of 22 Blue Dogs (there are 52) to vote for the Cap and Trade bill that threatens to impose costs on American households and businesses.

According to, Murphy votes with his party 96 percent of the time and "most often votes with" Schwartz. He "least often votes with" fellow Blue Dog Gene Taylor, according to the site, which tracks congressional votes.

Murphy has been tied to Murtha's tainted association with Kuchera Industries and been forced to donate tainted campaign funds in the midst of the federal probe of Kuchera and PMA. Evidently Murphy and Schwartz share more in common than their voting record as both were among those to donate tainted campaign funds. I don't know that Schwartz has declared Murtha her role model as Murphy has.

While the article notes The Cook Political Report characterizes the 8th as "solid D," Murphy unseated a Republican, Mike Fitzpatrick, in 2006. The seat was held by a Republican since 1993 before Murphy took office in 2006. Murphy however, ran when the tide was clearly turning against Republicans and he was able to raise $2.6 million in finance contributions as an unknown. Murphy is quite the fundraiser; he spent $4 million to defeat Tom Manion, the father of slain Iraq war hero Travis Manion in 2008. Murphy has already raised $838,752 for the 2010 election cycle. The NRCC is promising a challenger:
"It is laughable that Murphy continues to say he is 'committed to fiscal responsibility' when he voted for the massive debt that will burden future generations and has yet to produce jobs," said Lindsay of the NRCC. "Murphy will face a strong and credible challenge next year, and he will need every last cent of his campaign cash to defend his record of voting with Nancy Pelosi over 96 percent of the time."
I am glad they are at aware at the NRCC of Murphy's obvious vulnerabilities despite having left him off the "most targeted" list. It's time for the NRCC to name a viable candidate to take full advantage of Murphy's vulnerability and allow ample time for fund raising. Those who share this concern might consider sending a reminder to the NRCC here or when they call looking for donations.

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