This weekend, the PA Democratic Party endorsed Patrick Murphy as the candidate to run against Mike Fitzpatrick in the fall election for the 8th district U.S. House seat in Bucks County, Pa. And of course, the Bucks County Courier Times objected to the fact that a candidate had been endorsed before an actual primary vote had taken place, decrying the influence of money in the political process over all else.
They’re right, to a degree; I remember that I was a little miffed in ’04 that, by the time the PA Democratic Primary rolled around in May, the choices for president basically were John Kerry, John Kerry, and John Kerry (I thought he was the right candidate, and I still believe that, though he was done in primarily by the own internal chaos of his campaign, for which he has only himself to blame).
However, none of this should detract from Patrick Murphy’s credentials and understanding of what needs to be done on our behalf and his desire to get to work and do it. And political parties are recognizing the financial reality of campaigning absent of 100 percent public financing, which should be mandated by law.
But of course, before we get to the general campaign, we have to put that obnoxious blowhard Andy Warren out to pasture once and for all (with Ginny Schrader in tow). I know I said I’d take it easy on him awhile back – I must have been suffering an adverse antibiotic reaction or something.
I say this because the Courier Times published the following Guest Opinion from Warren last Friday, no doubt timed to try and influence (unsuccessfully, luckily) last weekend’s candidate endorsement.
Note: What appears below also was printed in the Intelligencer – it was practically the same writeup in both places.
Various false statements have found their way into the press and the political debate about this congressional race, attempting to equate my party switch with Patrick Murphy's record. I must set the record straight.“False statements” implies something factually incorrect as opposed to merely an opinion Warren doesn’t like, but I guess that’s “splitting hairs” a bit.
The Intelligencer chastised me for calling Patrick Murphy an "opportunist." The exchange with the reporter occurred when it was revealed that on Election Day 2004, Mr. Murphy told "Roll Call Magazine" that he would decide where to move based on the election outcomes in the 8th and the 13th Congressional Districts. The reporter asked me: "Would you say that picking a congressional district based upon the outcome of the previous election could be described as opportunistic." I answered-and would still answer-"YES."See, here’s the deal (and I realize, since Andy Warren doesn’t play nice with anyone, he really wouldn’t understand this); If Allyson Schwartz had lost her campaign against Melissa Brown for the 13th district U.S. House seat from PA a couple of years ago, then Patrick Murphy likely would have considered a run for that seat against a Republican incumbent, since Murphy lived in Northeast Philadelphia for a time also. However, since Schwartz won, Murphy wisely chose not to run a tough Democratic primary campaign and try to weaken a Democratic incumbent, instead wisely choosing to run in the 8th against a Republican. This is called Politics 101.
(By the way, speaking of Schwartz, I had to laugh at a story in the Courier Times yesterday. Though Mike Fitzpatrick got only a 61 percent approval rating on environmental issues from a “conservative environmental group,” the paper still praised him, with Fitzpatrick complaining that he’s judged for voting on environmental issues included in so-called “omnibus” bills – these are the types of bills that, for example, may have to do with an appropriation for military supplies for our people in Iraq, but some politician will throw in some “rider” at the end of the bill having to do with banning birth control funding for third world countries because abstinence education isn’t included. What does that have to do with funding for our troops? Good question. Who’s responsible for this nonsense? The political party that controls either the House or the Senate (in this case, the House) that allowed this to happen. Which political party, then, is responsible? Next question...
…and by the way, Schwartz’s approval rating on this issue, mentioned at the bottom of the story, was 94 percent. Here is a link to both approval ratings.)
Update: Here is more on Fitzpatrick's environmental con job.
I believe that banking on one of two Democrats to lose a general election before deciding where to claim residency is absolutely opportunistic.A lot of people have been “played” by Bushco, and at least Murphy is honest enough to admit that he was one of them. Once.
Patrick Murphy has also said that he has been a "lifelong Democrat" who "grew up in the District." Both statements are false. He lived in Philadelphia in the 3rd Congressional District and moved away long before that neighborhood's recent inclusion in the 8th Congressional District. He only moved to Bucks County last year to run for Congress and he registered Democrat for the first time in his life a matter of months before I did. He was registered "No Party" in Lebanon County for twelve years from 1992-2004, with a less than 25% voting record, and he admits voting for George W. Bush in 2000. "Opportunistic" is perhaps a kind word with that history.
On May 16th, the Democratic voters in Bucks County will select its standard bearer to face off against a very formidable, home-grown, repeatedly successfully elected county office holder with an 83% voting record. A candidate with ZERO previous elected governmental experience, a 6-month permanent county residency, and a less than 33% voting record! (by that time) will not carry the day. Past records DO matter.Oh, please. Warren did serve as a Bucks County commissioner, which, for my money, is a ceremonial job with barely any public visibility at all. He spent the majority of his career with Penndot antagonizing, in equal measure, residents of Newtown, Lower Makefield, and especially Montgomery County with his idiotic remarks as road construction projects were developed and commenced in those areas. The fact that this guy pulled down six figures for doing this is a testimony to “the Peter principle” gone insane and stench of patronage reeking from Harrisburg.
As to my party change, I joined the Democratic Party last year after years of agonizing about the Republican Party's tilt to the far right.As Above Average Jane has noted so well in this post, you joined because you were passed over for a desired appointment within the Republican party.
In my 30+ years of political involvement, I have always been socially progressive and fiscally responsible-consistently supporting, for example, a woman's right to choose. I have never supported George W. Bush, instead voting for Al Gore and John Kerry. I think the Iraq war is the wrong war, at the wrong time, for the wrong reasons, and I support John Murtha's withdrawal proposal. I oppose our spiraling national debt, built on tax breaks for the rich and boondoggles for cronies. I am concerned about global warming and I support signing the Kyoto Treaty. I favor a fair, classless health care system and Social Security reform. Obviously, my views are not those of the Republican Party and I no longer fit there.I’m actually “on board” with a lot of that, though if he thinks Social Security needs the type of “reform” we heard discussed from Dubya and the Repugs, then he honestly should go back to his old party as soon as possible.
Back last spring, I was quoted in the press as saying, "When one's philosophy is so out of step with the organization, one either sits silently by, hypocritically, or one does something about it. It was time to move on. So I did.”How very Karl Rove-ian of Warren to attempt to make this defect of changing political parties a strength instead of a weakness. As the Courier Times noted so well last week, this is easily more opportunistic than anything Patrick Murphy has ever done. And for Warren to mention his name with James Michener in the same sentence is laughably pompous; it’s also silly to align himself with Peter Kostmayer, someone who I think was a good public servant who ended up, rightly or wrongly, as the poster boy for the liberal elitism so genuinely despised in these parts (though, to be honest, I didn’t live in Bucks County when Kostmayer served here, so I can’t speak authoritatively on him).
This is the philosophic decision of a person with a conscience, not cynical jockeying for political advantage. I did not leave the Republican Party so I "could run for Congress as a Democrat." This is a major distinction between me and my opponent.
Thankfully, in America, party affiliation is not a one-and-done lifetime sentence. A strength, not a weakness, of our two party system is that one has the opportunity to leave ones party and join another that is more in line with his or her political views.
Many other Bucks County Republicans have taken this step, including Congressional candidates James Michener and Ginny Schrader, and U.S. Congressman Peter Kostmayer. In fact, I may be part of a growing national trend as socially progressive, fiscally responsible Republicans make the switch. I am proud to stand with the Democrats on issues of importance to us.
I can bring years of experience and commitment to Congress and I can bring like-minded Independents and Republicans with me. In a district that has 30,000 more Republicans than Democrats, I ask that you look to the facts and give me your endorsement.That’s an interesting exercise in speculative mathematics. Of course, you would think that the vast majority of those 30,000 Republicans will recognize Warren for the hothead that he is, especially after the RNC gets done pushing Warren’s buttons and watching him go off with one dumb remark after another, and then decide to go with Fitzpatrick, the “devil they know.”
Now, to read a well-reasoned opinion from someone truly in touch with what is going on in Bucks County, I now present this letter sent from Patrick Murphy in response.
Dear Fellow Democrat:The only statement I disagree with in Patrick’s otherwise fine letter pertains to his speculation that Andy Warren would actually have been elected to the U.S. House. Even Harry Fawkes, the Bucks County Republican Party, and the vast majority of 8th district Republican voters aren’t that dumb.
There is a name for people who attack Democrats based on half-truths and misinformation during a heated election.
We call them Republicans.
For the past week, Andy Warren has tried to distort my record rather than confront his own. He has spread lies and distortions in a last-ditch effort to change the outcome of tomorrow's endorsement meeting. It's exactly the kind of thing we would ! expect from Mike Fitzpatrick-not from somebody who hopes to represent our party, our district, and our country.
You see, Andy Warren and Mike Fitzpatrick are peas in a pod.
When Andy Warren and Mike Fitzpatrick were Republican County Commissioners together, they voted together 100% of the time. That's right, 100% of the time. Had Harry Fawkes uttered Andy Warren's name instead of Mike Fitzpatrick's in 2004, we would be endorsing a candidate to run against Andy tomorrow. Now, with his Republican career stymied, blocked, and over, he seeks to resurrect it by cloaking himself in our party's flag.
I have learned by watching men and women of real commitment, a real sense of duty, and a real sense of courage, what it takes to stand behind your values and your country. Those who seek to lead this country and to represent the people of the 8 th Congressional District should have some sense of that same commitment.
When I was younger, I didn't vote as often as I should have-but I came back from Iraq with my eyes opened; I have not missed an election since I got back to Pennsylvania, and I never will miss one again.
I am running for Congress to represent all of the citizens of the 8th Congressional District-because we need a change in direction in Washington.
Of course, I saw with my own eyes the mismanagement of the war in Iraq, but more importantly, when I came home and started talking to people, I realized how bad things are at home.
We need to fix the health care crisis in this country, including the disaster they call Medicare Part D.
We need to fully fund education to ensure that America remains competitive as the world economy becomes more globalized.
We need to wean ourselves from foreign oil and invest in alternative energy sources.
We need to protect our environment, including an improvement in Bucks County's air quality, a flood mitigation plan to help protect us from damage when the Delaware River floods, and we need a plan to preserve open space.
These are the issues you should expect your congressional candidates to address. These are the issues that your next Representative in Washington will face. These are the issues that Democrats care about. These are the issue that I care about.
As a child, I spent my summers fishing in Tyler State Park. I played hockey in Bristol, and I began college at Bucks County Community College. And when I returned from the military, I chose to make my home in Bristol.
Tomorrow's endorsement meeting is about choosing the best Democrat to take on Mike Fitzpatrick in November, and it is important that we do endorse a candidate. If we fail to do so, our Democratic candidate will emerge from the primary without the momentum and money that is necessary to defeat Mike Fitzpatrick.
I have appreciated the support given by so many of you over the past several months. I look forward to representing the Democratic Party in this election, but more importantly, I look forward to representing you and our families in Congress.
Patrick J. Murphy
Finally, I should point out that, while I was at the nearby McCaffrey’s supermarket, I met a very nice lady who was trying to get signatures on a petition to get Warren’s name on the primary ballot. I assume that Warren has enough signatures by now, but in case he doesn’t, failing to sign the petition is a good way to put an end to his nonsense once and for all.
Update 3/8: Here's some great background information on the 8th district (the sentence "The only thing that separates Murphy from this seat is money" is a crucial fact that ties back to the first paragraph in this post).