Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Murphy the Centrist

For the most part, I view visits from representatives and senators with a certain pessimism.

In general, their handlers have them on such a tight schedule that press access is limited and question-and-answer periods are short and topic-driven.

Not that I blame them -- when you represent a district like New York's 23rd, you generally have a lot of ground to cover in a short period of time.

But that was not the case when New York's 20th Congressional District Representative Scott Murphy rolled into the Tri-Lakes region Tuesday.

He made two appearances; one in Lake Placid, and another in Keene. The LP event was certainly topic-driven, but Murphy spoke eloquently about broadband access in the North Country, likening it to rural electrification in the early 1900s:

"It is an incredibly important issue, that is, connectivity and broadband internet access here in the Adirondack Park – all over the country really," Murphy said.

"The way I see it, it’s very much akin to rural electrification when you look back 80 years ago," he added. "We had electricity come on line 120, 125 years ago and it started to spread to our cities. But they weren’t building the poles and running the wires out to our smaller communities and to the more remote locations up in the mountains and rural areas. And the government made a decision: we’re going to have to subsidize this. But it was important enough and powerful enough a tool that we needed it for our rural communities to continue to thrive and survive."

Later in the day, my colleague Jon Alexander attended a "Congress on your Corner" event in Keene. There, Murphy took even more time to speak with constituents on a whole range of issues, including state issues like the APA and the budget mess.

Most interesting, though, were the comments he made regarding America's deeply divided political state:

"We were fighting about the budget and the Democrats didn’t want to put together a budget that showed us getting to a balanced budget over time – some of us that are more centrist did – and we were arguing back and forth with leadership and going round and round," he said.

"I went to a friend of mine on the Republican side of the aisle – a very senior member – and I said ‘Hey, I think there’s a group of centrist Democrats that if we could team together with Republicans, we could put together a path to get our budget house in order and we could get it passed if the Democratic leadership doesn’t want to.’ And he said to me, ‘Oh, we’re watching you guys squirm on this issue. We’re going to be in charge of the budget next year. We don’t want to help you out."

He even commented on America's corporate media -- firing shots at both Fox News and MSNBC:

"They almost tell different versions of the same story. They tell it to ideologues on either side that are in information cocoons, who only talk to people that think like them and they miss out," he said. "I think this is so important, talking to people in the small towns that I represent so they can hear from me and make their mind up and not just get their information from MSNBC and Fox News based on what political party they belong to."

Politics aside, it's nice to see a politician speak his mind on a range of issues with an apparent disregard for what those on the left or right might think.

I also interviewed Murphy for about 20 minutes Tuesday evening. That program will air on WNBZ's North Country Today at a later date -- I'll keep you posted.


  1. How nice of you to play right into Congressman Murphy's re-election game plan. Sell himself as a 'centrist' in order to get reelected in a moderate to conservative leaning District with a Republican enrollment advantage. But here's where the problem is: He campaigns moderate and sounds moderate but he is owned by the unions and when the chips are on the line, he votes the way they want him to. SEIU gave him roughly $550,000 in his first campaign and will likely meet or exceed that amount this time. They stock his campaign and non-campaign appearances with sign-waving union flacks in an effort to make him appear more popular than he is. So, while Mr. Murphy is intelligent and attractive, we know where his allegiance is. He talks a good game about supporting small business, and then supports "card-check" legislation which is among the worst anti- small business pieces of legislation to come to Congress. Why would a former businessperson support such an anti-business piece of legislation? Would he want it for his own business? Find me one business owner who will tell you they want it. Scott Murphy supported it because the Unions want him to, period. He is losing small business support because he has shown his desire to do the bidding of union interests when called upon, such as with the Health Care bill. Plain and simple, Scott Murphy campaigns like a centrist and governs like a liberal. What do you believe - the words or the actions?

  2. Anonymous Nailed It! Take Health Care Reform, we are looking at a proposed 18% increase in family coverage and a 22% increase in single coverage for our small business employees, largely a result of the Health Care Reform Bill according to our Insurance Company.

  3. Do you really believe your Insurance Company is raising your rates because of the Health Care Reform bill? Ha ha ha.

  4. Oh, and if you are not in the top 1% of earners and planning to vote Republican, you are proof of P. T. Barnum's observation: There is a sucker born every minute.

  5. Pack your bags Murph, you're being fired in November.