Two letters appeared in the Bucks County Courier Times today concerning Mike Fizpatrick; here is the first one...
Congressional candidate Mike Fitzpatrick supports privatizing Social Security, and handing over our retirement money to Wall Street bankers to squander. Imagine where seniors would be today if we had followed the advice of George W. Bush and Fitzpatrick before the financial collapse and allowed our Social Security benefits to be gambled on the stock market.And here is the second...
Could we really expect anything less from a candidate who accepted $743,000 in campaign contributions from Wall Street firms, and refused to get tough on them when he was a member of the congressional committee with responsibility overseeing the financial industry?
Fitzpatrick will continue to favor his fat cat Wall Street friends if we elect him to Congress this November.
I have been surprised at how the elections are playing out locally. Having been as familiar as perhaps anybody in the 8th Congressional District with Michael Fitzpatrick's work during his term as our representative, I feel it is essential to re-examine those two years.Yep, typical spoiled brat antics from Mikey, all right...
I do so from the vantage of my former position as director of PA Action, a statewide, pro-middle-class organization with a Bucks headquarters and an almost-exclusively Bucks staff. I can attest - from having been in his congressional offices more than weekly at times - that his period in office was characterized by continual position shifts that were out of touch with his constituents' stances.
Fitzpatrick's political inconsistency is like nothing I have seen in working around politicians of all stripes over the past 20 years. (Note: As a nonpartisan organization, my group went on to challenge his successor, Patrick Murphy, to the extent that a senior New York Times reporter stated on that paper's most read page that we "grilled him.")
Fitzpatrick more than once switched votes at the last minute. He called it proof that he was "independent." Disgruntled Republican and Democratic citizens called it something else. People complained to my group that his pro-Democratic voting only took place when Republicans had a comfortable majority on a bill.
Such shifting reached beyond the district, as well. I recall repeatedly telling Fitzpatrick about local concern over his not opposing President Bush on Social Security privatization. One day, right before the election and with an important out-of-district reporter there, he suddenly touted a new Social Security position. It was not very relevant, since Congress would not vote until after the election, anyway. But he proceeded to tell the reporter to write it down, literally banging on her pad.
This inconsistency fit generally with how Fitzpatrick neglected to vote his constituents' interests. Constituent interactions are a central way for representatives to get the information needed to do just that. Time and again, sitting with Fitzpatrick, people would hear strong affirmation of their legislative hopes. Time and again, Fitzpatrick's votes would dash those hopes.Update 10/21/10: I'll allow an opposing point of view on this here.
My organization once facilitated a visit by a hundred older residents to Fitzpatrick's Oxford Valley Mall office. I had communicated numerous times over the course of weeks with his district director to confirm that Fitzpatrick would be there to hear their Medicare concerns. We even chose to bring the group during so-called public office hours.
However, upon our arrival, early on a Saturday, our representative was nowhere to be found. So this swell of senior citizens stood for over an hour at an elevator bank next to the office. The district director, Fitzpatrick's senior constituent representative, finally acknowledged that Fitzpatrick was in the district. Fitzpatrick's home was nearby, unlike those of the constituents, some of whom hailed from the farthest points of Upper Bucks. We firmly requested he be called, but in vain. Unsurprisingly, his Medicare stance remained unpopular locally.
These and other issues point to one conclusion: Fitzpatrick is not an appropriate "representative" for us at this crucial time. I have never written something of this nature, and I am not with his opponent's campaign. I have nothing against Fitzpatrick; personally, I like him, and his family as well.
But strong political qualities, like the intellectual conviction that was always apparent in former Sen. Rick Santorum's presence, were not to be seen during Fitzpatrick's congressional term. Such qualities take many years to develop and cannot be grown overnight upon deciding to try to reclaim a former position.
Leadership is about clarity. Even when Fitzpatrick opened his re-election campaign by attacking Murphy in his obligatory post-primary congratulations letter (the day after the primary), one could see this same pattern of inconstancy, which led to the loss of a longtime Republican seat.
Fitzpatrick the candidate may be campaigning as an outsider, but it is essential that people, regardless of party, remember exactly how he treated the office when he was a complete insider.
This Guest Opinion tells us what we have to look forward to under a Republican congress (as if we didn't already know)...
As a senior citizen, I am very alarmed over the prospect that a Republican Congress will attempt to reduce the deficit and fund tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and large corporations on the backs of senior citizens.Also, here is one letter in support of Patrick Murphy (shockingly, a lot of good stuff in the Courier Times today, though they somehow thought that Murphy's fundraising edge was actually a front-page story - go figure)...
Lest you think I exaggerate, consider the "Roadmap for America's Future Act," proposed by Republican Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Forbes Magazine describes it as follows: "He is not quite saying, "Stop Social Security!" but he is getting dangerously close to the thought." Forbes continues, "His [Ryan's] "Roadmap for America's Future" both as a policy paper and proposed bill, calls for reducing the federal deficit and debt in decades to come by partly privatizing and trimming Social Security and Medicare, freezing most government programs and instituting a simplified, optional two-tier tax system that would cut taxes for the rich."
Congressman Ryan proposes to privatize Medicare by replacing it with a voucher (with an average initial voucher value for 65-year-olds of $5,900 in 2010 dollars)." Try to imagine, what private health insurance would cost a person 65 or older who might have pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, heart problems or cancer, even if they could find an insurer who would accept them, which is highly doubtful once a Republican Congress rescinds President Obama's health reform legislation.
Congressman Ryan is not someone outside the mainstream of Republican thought. He is a ranking member of the House "Budget Committee" which will play a leading role in how to deal with the deficit and as ranking member will be Chairman of the Committee if the Republicans have a majority in the next Congress. Congressman Ryan is also on the powerful "Ways and Means Committee" and on its "Subcommittee on Health" which will shape the future of Medicare.
Congressman Ryan's "Roadmap for America's Future Act" has been praised by John Boehner, who will be the speaker of the House upon a Republican victory in November and Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich, two of the leading Republican candidates for president in 2012. The "Roadmap for America's Future Act" has also been endorsed by Republican senatorial candidates Rand Paul and Joe Miller - darlings of the tea party.
Social Security and Medicare are not only under attack by national tea party candidates. Marsha Blackburn, Congresswoman from Tennessee's 7th Congressional District and a vocal advocate of privatizing Social Security, was campaigning here for Republican congressional candidate Mike Fitzpatrick, who has veered hard to the right to court tea party supporters. Statewide, when Pat Toomey was in Congress, he was one of the most aggressive supporters of President Bush's plan to privatize Social Security and as president of the ultra right wing "Club for Growth" he lobbied for tax cuts for large corporations and the wealthiest Americans and simultaneously for the elimination of entitlement programs - policies identical to those contained in Ryan's "Roadmap for America's Future Act."
Nobel Prize winning economist and Princeton professor, Paul Krugman, has referred to Ryan as a "flim flam man" and his Roadmap as a "fraud." Krugman indicates that according to the nonpartisan "Tax Policy Center," Ryan's "Roadmap" would not reduce the deficit at all because any saving would be offset by the reduction in revenues caused by the proposed tax cuts - this in comparison to Ryan's claim that his plan would halve the deficit by 2020.
Regarding the "roadmap" Krugman states that "all it would do is cut benefits for the middle class while slashing taxes on the rich" Further, Ryan's proposal would do little to address the current economic downturn, which resulted from a demand side recession caused by lack of consumption. A demand side recession and its aftermath can only be addressed by increasing consumption and this means creating good paying jobs. Tax cuts for the wealthy do little in this regard.
So when you enter the voting both on No. 2 remember the word of the poet, John Donne, and "asked not for whom the bell tolls ..."
In your Oct. 4 article about the Murphy-Fitzpatrick debate, the reporter wrote that Congressman Murphy's reference to the Iraq war as the "$3 trillion war" was an example of the Murphy campaign's continual overstatement of this point. In conducting his own fact check, he referenced a Reuters' report that stated by the end of 2009, the combined cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars topped $1 trillion.And here is another letter in support of Murphy...
A closer look at this issue indicates that Murphy's $3 trillion figure is correct. The reporter's Reuters' figure only includes direct congressional appropriations to conduct the Iraq war, so far approximately $750 billion. Unfortunately, the ultimate cost of the Iraqi war will be far higher.
A comprehensive look at the total cost of the war is contained in the 2008 book by Linda Bilmes and Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz entitled The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict. They point out what is not included in the cost estimates such as Reuters. Though there are no longer combat brigades in Iraq, we will continue to have a significant military presence there for quite awhile. The cost of future military operations in Iraq is estimated at $520 billion over the next decade.
Advertisement Current and future health care and disability costs for returning veterans, including the 32,000 who were seriously wounded, are estimated at $590 billion over the lifetime of our Iraq-war veterans. Restoring the military's equipment, vehicles, etc. to their pre-war strength will add an additional $280 billion. Paying interest on the money borrowed by the federal government to fight the Iraq war is estimated at $615 billion over the next 10 years.
When other factors are added to the $2.75 trillion in costs listed above, the figure reaches $3 trillion dollars. Murphy was right.
Lower Makefield, PA
What is the makeup of a "great American?" The title seems to be thrown around by mainstream media like loose change. Coming from a family of predominantly military veterans, service was more an obligation, than a choice. Even with that, we never referred to one another as "great Americans," nor do we now. Maybe it is humility. Maybe the term has more sanctity to us.To help Congressman Murphy, click here.
Serving one's country, paying one's taxes, providing for one's family and helping the less fortunate would, more than likely, warrant the title "good American." One who has gained much from the land of opportunity and, therefore, feels compelled to give back - it seems only fair.
Advertisement I watch and listen to programs hosted by mainstream news commentators, who never served in the armed forces and whose agendas tend to exclude the interests of us "good Americans." Concurring calls pour in and the title "great American" is bestowed upon the caller from the show's host.
Someone who has captured my attention is Patrick Murphy. His Airborne service in a combat zone is admirable. His social, economic, and political positions are sound. However, what makes Patrick Murphy a great American is his aspirations to represent the interests of the "good Americans" like my family.
Update 10/17/10: Uh, Meteor Blades at Daily Kos - before you start playing "taps" for Patrick Murphy here, maybe you ought to look at this first (unbelievable - I'd expect this from the wingnuts, but from a "liberal"?).
Update 10/18/10: More fun with Mikey from here...
Republican congressional candidate Mike Fitzpatrick actually said "the science of global warming has changed." No. The only part of that equation that has changed is the former congressman.And I think this is a timely reminder.
He was once someone who might have been considered a moderate. That is certainly not true anymore. And it doesn't stop with denying global climate change. He rails against deficits, yet he supported two off-budget wars and tax cuts for millionaires. And he continues to support tax breaks on incomes of couples earning over $250,000 (it only significantly diverges from the Democratic plan for incomes over $500,000). He favors incurring $700 billion of additional national debt to benefit the top 2 percent of income even though he decries deficits.
We thought we knew Mike. He's been appointed to or running for office for the last 20 years in Bucks County. He has changed. He once seemed to listen to Bucks County workers, but in 2004 he began supporting unfair free trade policies that continue to allow jobs to be outsourced to other countries. We need those jobs here in the USA.
I doubt that he or any in his party will be able to work in a bipartisan fashion to fund the infrastructure improvements we so badly need to put people back to work. That may have been possible years ago. But, alas, too much of the Republican Party has ceded the middle ground to court the radical right. Mike and his new friends will obstruct any executive branch proposal, even those they like!
You may disagree with Democrat Patrick Murphy on some issues (I do). But when he gives his word, you can trust it. And he has worked tirelessly and consistently for Bucks County veterans, seniors, children, those who experience discrimination and the disabled.
Congressman Murphy has been a solid rock and he deserves my vote Nov. 2nd.