Dear Congressman Scott Murphy,
The theory was that, someday, having that one extra seat in Democratic hands might prove useful.
(Those diaries linked above are, with one exception, just my pre-vote phonebanking diaries on the NY-20 special election. I did publish several more post-election diaries too. I describe the one linked under "several" as a "manifesto," if that piques your interest. If not, try this one.)
In the above links, you'll find the philosophy that you just never know when one vote is going to matter, so it made sense to fight as hard as possible, especially in every special election (where everyone can focus on the same race), to give one more turn of the screw in our favor.
I was disappointed in your vote against the original House health care reform bill, Rep. Murphy, but so long as we did ultimately get the votes we needed, I thought it was forgivable. You have a tough district; you ran against a strong opponent in Jim Tedisco, and where it was possible for you to get a pass (as a red-district freshman), you deserved one. My only demand was that if you were really needed, you would be willing to put policy and principle above personal gain and fall on a grenade for your party.
You now have a more conservative bill before you, and you seem to be one of the few moderate-to-conservative Democrats who have been able to figure out that that means it's now safe for you to vote for it. And, from many media accounts, that's what you're going to do.
That was one wild race, a year ago. They said you couldn't do it -- and then it almost went to a recount! I was proud that the members of this website collective may well have given you the margin of victory in your district. It has given me a stake in your race. I wouldn't be surprised if, in between campaigning for Barbara Boxer and Bill Hedrick and Beth Krom out here in California, I found myself unable to resist making a few calls for you again, for old time's sake.
Mostly, what your victory represents to me -- this week more than ever -- is a vindication of the idea that our small efforts in political activism, wherever a target of opportunity presents itself in this country, are worthwhile. You're there, perhaps to cast the deciding vote for this bill and perhaps (after you get re-elected) to case the deciding vote for a bill that make furthre improvements, because we put you there. It's a great feeling.
I know that this is going to be a hard and perilous vote for you this week, and I know that it's actually a bit premature to thank you for your aye vote (although counting our chickens seems to be the order of the day.) And I know that putting the burden of my still unbent idealism, my belief that we are all the keepers of each other's legislators, on your back may not make your decision any easier. But it's how I feel.
I'm glad, I'm thrilled, I'm proud that you are there to cast your vote on this bill in the opposite way that Jim Tedisco would have voted. Thank you in advance. You made that time we all put in worthwhile. Please don't blow it.
Your former campaign volunteer from Orange County, CA,