Dear Congressman (and what a pleasure it is to address you as such),
In your diary thanking the members of this site for their help with this race, I posted a comment quite belatedly (as I had been traveling that day) that led devtob, who was the main promoter of your campaign on this site, to say it should be turned into a diary.
I decided to turn it into one. I hope that this reaches you. I look forward also to the comments of others here.
If, as you said on your diary, your staff did keep you apprised of what was happening on DKos, Rep. Murphy, then you probably know who I am. I am thrilled to see you going to DC and was surprised -- although in retrospect I can't imagine why -- to see this gracious acknowledgment of our efforts here. It makes the time I put in making calls and whipping people to take an interest in the race -- before the results were rolling in and it was too late to make a difference -- that much more worthwhile.
Ironically, I didn't see this until twelve hours after you posted because I was traveling from Orange County to New York for a job interview; I'm sorry I missed the earlier fun. So, now I have a few things to ask of you and to tell you. (Don't worry, it's nothing bad.)
First, if you do truly understand the role that the netroots played in this victory -- and while I'm not sure remote phonebanking turned out to be decisive, my guess is that it was worth maybe half your victory margin at least -- please spread that word to your colleagues. Few of them understand what is happening here on the netroots, which is the development of something like the Democratic version of the Hudson Institute combined with the Democratic version of Fox News (only much more fair, eveb if not balanced) combined with the Democratic version of the Moral Majority in its heyday.
That last role is what helped you -- and between volunteers encouraged and promoted through this site and contributors, probably was decisive (although your hard work and great skills made the most difference) -- and what professional politicians don't yet understand. They think we're just a piggy bank. We're not mostly, and often not even, that. But if we're something less, we're also something more.
We are, if we play our cards right, the party's Rapid Deployment Force. We have the opportunity to build a political force that can swoop into special elections like this -- and competitive elections at other times -- and tip the balance, putting appropriate volunteer force right where it will make the most difference.
You, now, have lived what we can do. We didn't do it wonderfully here, but we did it reasonably well. Please do what you can to help the party facilitate our doing it better.
One other thing: reading through this comments section, you'll find a diversity of opinion on your joining the Blue Dog Caucus and even on whether, given your stated intention to do so, we should have supported you at all.
I took the "pro-Murphy" position in those debates -- but I understand and value the other side. I hope that you will come to do so as well.
Most of us, I think, appreciate that you may have to do some things we don't like in order to win a district that is more conservative than most of us. (Some don't accept that; they help keep the rest of us honest, making it hard for us to compromise too easily.)
I think most of us also recognize that good politics -- like Sen. Collins's cutting out things like pandemic flu preparedness from the stimulus bill -- can lead to some bad policy, although seldom is the lesson taught as clearly as it has been this past week.
My own feeling is: do what you must, but mitigate it by seeking out and showing understanding of the contrary arguments here. (Chances are you will find this difficult; most politicians do.) You don't have to agree with us, but -- like lobbyists claim is their only real goal -- we appreciate your hearing us out.
Recognize also that some will excoriate you for not being Paul Wellstone reincarnate. Remember, by challenging you with such ferocity, those people are making you look more moderate. In your heart, even if not in public, you should thank them for it.
You seem like a good man, something that -- as I began my activism in this race, motivated by a desire not to let Gov. Paterson's choice to elevate Rep. Gillibrand to the Senate cost us a seat -- I had hoped but did not know was the case. If you look through diaries with the NY-20 tag, you'll find a lot of other good men and women who invested in your being in place to do the right thing. Frankly, I think you'd be making a great statement to join both the Blue Dog Caucus and the Progressive Caucus; in a district as close as yours, maybe your ideal role is to build bridges.
I had hoped to go up to NY-20 (or technically NY-21) while visiting the state this week to meet some of my new friends from the district to work on this race; it turned out that I couldn't swing it financially or timewise. Thank you for offering a pretty decent substitute here, where we can all join together and take pride in what you've done -- and will do.
Best of luck, Congressman. Call on us when we can help you build a more just society.
P.S. (because I can't resist): please stand strong against torture and for open cleansing of the constitutional wounds imposed by the Bush Administration. You can do this. These are not the sorts of issues that would hurt you in your district.