Norwich Bulletin: Murphy represents ideals of state’s Democratic coreJuly 30 2012
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In the Democratic U.S. Senate primary, we endorse the candidacy of U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy, D-5th District.
The three-term House member is clearly the favorite among party leaders, activists and various organizations with strong Democratic ties, a reflection, we believe, that suggests he is the more popular candidate.
Normally, popularity wouldn’t be that important of a factor in our deliberations in endorsing a candidacy, but this contest is more about personality than it is issues.
In terms of taxes, health care, jobs, gun control and foreign policy, there is little distinction between Murphy’s position and that of his Democratic rival, former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz. They agree upon far more than they disagree.
Strong arguments can be made that both are hard-working, dedicated public servants with impressive records of serving the needs of their constituents.
But given that, we lean more in Murphy’s favor.
While a member of the General Assembly, he was a leader in advancing the state’s stem cell research. In Congress, he has been an outspoken advocate of Buy American initiatives, education, the environment and human rights.
Our one major criticism is his vote earlier this year against raising the debt ceiling. Murphy explained he was not convinced the so-called Super Committee could be successful in finding the significant spending cuts that compromise demanded, and he was confident a better deal was still possible even at that eleventh hour in the political stalemate.
Although he was ultimately correct in his assessment of the Super Committee’s ability, we disagree with that vote and the potential risk of default that it could have caused.
Despite that, we find Murphy’s approach to governing an improvement to the partisan divide now in the U.S. Senate. His positions on issues stem from thoughtful deliberations and an independence in doing what’s right and not what is always politically correct. He’s not opposed to considering opposing points of view or to compromise when a better idea is put forth.
In her effort to create a wedge issue to distinguish herself as a “fighter for the middle class,” Bysiewicz has sharply criticized what she contends is Murphy’s “too cozy” relationship with Wall Street executives, citing as evidence the hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions.
Her argument, however, rings hollow and self-serving because she, too, has accepted contributions from the financial sector. Although insisting she will not accept PAC money, she has shown no aversion to accepting individual contributions from those in the same financial industry of which she is so critical.
We’ve already expressed our disappointment in her win-at-all-cost campaign regarding the controversy over the TV ad she refused to pull despite acknowledging that some of the claims made in it were factually incorrect.
Bysiewicz has sought to portray herself as the “more progressive” candidate, but we see no advantage because Murphy’s legislative record is one of strong support of core Democratic principles. But far more appealing to us is his willingness to move to the center to win broader support on issues important to him.
We believe that his more centrist view is a better reflection of how the majority of Connecticut’s registered Democrats feel, thus making him the better choice as the Democratic nominee.