The Editorial Board endorsement of Andy Warren in the Democratic primary for the 8th district U.S. Congressional election against incumbent Repug Mike Fitzpatrick that appeared in this morning’s Bucks County Courier Times was one of the most disingenuous examples of literary tap dancing that I have ever read in my life (I would link to it, but it you can find it online at their horrendous site, you're a better person than I am).
But ultimately, it mainly boils down to one word:
The fact that Andy Warren has lived his entire life in Bucks County and Patrick hasn't would seem to trump everything else to the paper’s august editorial board. However, I think there’s more than that going on here, and I’ll try to explain.
What was immediately apparent to me was that the endorsement completely ignores any information posted online between the two candidates (from Above Average Jane, individuals who probably don’t want a plug at this time, myriad other sites tied to MyDD and The Daily Kos, and your humble narrator as well, among others). That by itself doesn’t make me want to take the paper’s endorsement and toss it into the ashcan, which I will do after I publish this post; after all, it’s possible they could have discovered some of this stuff – the many, many incidents of petulant behavior by Warren, as well as his use of Jane Faust to challenge the signatures on Patrick’s petition to run when, in fact, Faust had been convicted on a similar previous charge herself, but more importantly, moments during the campaign where Patrick has shone as someone who would truly fight for us in Washington – independently by doing a bare minimum of legwork.
No, what really gets me is that it is obvious that the paper wants to see a fall contest for Fitzpatrick’s seat between Warren and the incumbent probably because it would represent a choice between a Repug and a Repug-lite, which of course would be just peachy for the majority of the paper’s readership.
The editorial cites only three differences between Warren and Murphy: one, national health care, where Warren wants to see a government-backed system like Canada’s and Murphy wants to see a state/private partnership (the latter shows more creativity and ultimately makes more sense and the former would make it easy for the Repugs to labels Warren as “a tax-and-spend liberal who wants to hurt small business”); two, Warren wants to see immediate withdrawal of all troops from Iraq (though desirable, that’s less practical than Murphy’s phased withdrawal and redeployment position, and really, this issue isn’t a “show stopper” anyway since Bush is pulling the troops out as I write this); three, Warren wants to Impeach Bush Now and Murphy wants an investigation first (as much as I’d like to see Dubya clearing underbrush back at his Crawford ranch AT THIS MOMENT as a private citizen, I have to admit that Murphy’s position, again, makes more sense – what’s more, on the “Radio Times” program a few weeks ago where Patrick was interviewed, Warren said impeachment is “a hearing,” which means that Warren doesn’t even know that impeachment is a trial – that’s why the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presides over it!)
And let’s have a reality check here, OK? We’re talking about an endorsement from The Bucks County Courier Times, a newspaper so conservative that it actually publishes Dr. Earl Tilford, that fine Christian man who thinks we’re going to be attacked by Venezuela. Could a paper like that ACTUALLY BE SERIOUS about endorsing a candidate that wants to impeach Bush?
Also, I’m tired of this perception that has been getting manufactured lately in the Courier Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer and probably elsewhere that Andy Warren has such wide-ranging, diverse government experience working with different individuals and both major parties that makes him eminently qualified to serve in the U.S. Congress.
I have a word for that, but since I’m trying to cut back on swearing and name-calling here, I’ll point out that the word starts with a “b,” ends with a “t,” and represents something that can be found in a barnyard.
When Andy Warren served with Mike Fitzpatrick as a Bucks County Commissioner, they both had the same voting record. And when Warren served in state government, it was in a role as a PR flak who gave statements to newspapers about road construction and traffic delays (and he couldn’t even do THAT job properly without putting his foot in his mouth over and over again).
To me, this does not constitute the background of someone who is fit to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, regardless of political affiliation.
I also thought it was both a creative and devious tactic in the editorial to mention that Warren’s stated refusal to take PAC money was a strength (I agree with Murphy in his assessment that that’s pandering; as much as I despise the influence of political action committees, I have to admit they’re a necessary evil – though Chuck Pennacchio’s refusal to take PAC money as well is noble, the fact of the matter is that if he HAD done so, his campaign would have been properly funded to the point where he would have left “Sideshow Bob” Casey, Jr. in the dust by now). I say “creative and devious” because the mention sets up an indirect linkage to the DeLay/Abramoff scandal, which isn’t deserved in a writeup about Democratic candidates since no money from Abramoff went to any Democratic candidates, incumbent politicians or party organizations (also, if you’re going to bring that up, you really should mention the fact that Fitzpatrick took money from DeLay also).
I stated above how the refusal to take PAC money has hand strung Chuck Pennacchio, though again, it is truly admirable that he is sticking to his principles on that. If by some cosmic horror Warren actually were to win the primary on Tuesday (trust me, though: all of the reliable numbers I see and hear about say that that will not happen), there would be NO WAY that Warren could stick to a commitment like that; Fitzpatrick already has a huge fundraising edge, and Warren (or any other Democratic candidate) quite simply would not be able to compete for votes.
The endorsement provides what, to me, are imaginary character attributes for Warren, saying that he is “direct and honest” (and Patrick isn’t?). Also, the endorsement points out that “Congress is a collaborative body.” How very true. That is all the more reason to believe that Warren, in his consummate egomania, would immediately self-destruct the moment he didn’t get his way and thus alienate fellow party members and Republican colleagues alike (though I’m sure he’s well on his way to doing that on the Democratic side by his campaign’s smears of Patrick’s military service).
And regarding Patrick’s service for our country, the endorsement mentions that Patrick is “an Iraq veteran” but gives him NO CREDIT AT ALL for serving our country other than that, as well as an acknowledgment of his courage and leadership skills. I had noticed that whenever a news article, column or editorial was published in the Courier Times that was either written by Patrick or related to him in any way, his face as shown in the photo wearing his military uniform appeared in such a way that you saw only the face but not the uniform. I know the paper edits for column and page space, but after reading this endorsement for Warren, I’m beginning to wonder if that was really an accident or not.
Finally, I should point out that the timing of this endorsement couldn’t be more favorable to the Warren campaign. Coming the weekend before the election, the paper assured that there will be no time for a response from anyone.
So congratulate yourselves, Courier Times editorial staff. You’ve done all that you can to ensure the most favorable matchup for your boy Mikey Fitzpatrick in November. However, since this district is trending Democratic and the Republicans are doing all they can to run away from “President 29 Percent Mandate” (yep...Dubya’s in the ‘20s now: par-tee!) with varying degrees of success, I have a feeling the joke will be on you when the votes are tallied after the election.