Hey Murphy… it’s time for a debate

One of the political races that I’m watching is New York’s 20th Congressional District.  In the interest of full disclosure, I do not live in the district.  A few months ago I volunteered for Patrick Ziegler’s campaign for the Republican nomination.  That nomination went to Chris Gibson, and I firmly believe that Gibson is the best candidate for the job.

Gibson is running against incumbent Scott Murphy.  Murphy officially kicked-off his campaign a few days ago.  At the same time, Gibson welcomed Murphy to the race and challenged him to a series of debates.

I’m hearing through the grapevine, but I have not been able to officially confirm, that Murphy may be too busy to debate, even during the August “Summer District Work Period.” At the same time, I have not seen any significant indication that Murphy has agreed to any debates.  (Please correct me if I’m wrong.)  I sure hope that’s not true.  An informed constituency is vital to the future success of our Republic.

I am fairly confident that I understand Gibson’s views.  But I’d sure like to hear more about him and his positions.  I’m sure his potential constituents want the same.

At the same time, I have to say that Murphy baffles me.  He is painting himself as a fiscally conservative Democrat.  I’m not convinced that his voting record proves that.  (Just a slight understatement.)  He initially voted against the health care reform bill in November 2009.  However, in the midst of intense political pressure, Murphy voted for the bill a few months later.  Around the same time, I wrote a five page paper about Murphy for my grad school “Group Communications & Leadership” class.  I worked hard to take an unbiased perspective on Murphy’s leadership capability.  The paper concluded as follows:

Is Murphy a leader in the manner described by Kouzes and Posner? [authors of a book used in the class]  Clearly, he demonstrates many of the traits, and there are many more positive examples not included within this paper.  If that does not qualify him as a leader, it certainly shows that he has the potential…  However, the perception of inconsistency and indecisiveness during the health care debates begs further question.  It is impossible to determine with complete certainty whether Murphy caved to political pressure and polls, or whether he stuck to the principles that he described… For those taking Murphy at his word, he is a leader.  Doubt exists for those with a more jaded view of the political process…  Only Murphy truly knows that answer.

During the health care debates last year, I will credit Scott Murphy with stepping up to the plate.  He faced his supporters and critics in a number of town hall meetings and other public settings.  Certainly, more so than the -ahem- representative from my district:  Paul Tonko.  (I can only recall one town hall meeting hosted by Tonko… but that’s another story.)  Murphy needs to clarify his views and his inconsistencies to his constituency.

Time to man-up Murphy!  Schedule the debates.

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