Murphy’s experience an asset, not a liability
Published: Monday, October 8, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 8, 2012 22:10
On Sunday, Congressman Chris Murphy and wrestling executive Linda McMahon faced off in the first debate for Connecticut’s open Senate seat. It was a refreshing break from the battle on television airwaves, which McMahon is dominating due to her seemingly infinite campaign treasury. This event made it clear that when put on a stage together and asked to talk about the real issues, rather than bicker about who was more irresponsible with their old mortgage, Murphy is indisputably the better candidate.
Over the course of the debate, Murphy was finally able to address the allegations made by McMahon on an equal playing field. He shut down her accusation that he has no plan, showcasing his long record in Hartford and Washington. Murphy explained how the claim that he cut Medicare funding by $700 billion was simply Republican spin. And he drew attention away from the unimportant statistic of missing committee hearings, pointing out that he has a 97 percent attendance rate for actual votes. McMahon’s criticisms fell apart when Murphy was given a chance to respond.
As for the style of debate, it was clear that McMahon had rehearsed heavily, but she came off as having memorized entire paragraphs of arguments rather than truly grasping the issues. At one point, she was cut off while criticizing Murphy, and during her next turn to speak, she completely ignored the question and picked back up a few sentences before where she was cut off, repeating what she had said word for word and finishing her statement. It came off as fake and heavily scripted, much like the wrestling shows she made her millions off of.
Eventually, one major theme became clear: McMahon does not understand public policy. When asked about same-sex marriage, she hesitated and finally said, “Well, I live in Connecticut and I absolutely support, uh, America’s law for, you know, same-sex marriage.” Of course, there is no such thing. The only federal law concerning same-sex marriage is the Defense of Marriage Act, which forbids same-sex couples from obtaining federal benefits, even if they are legally married in their own state. It was clear that this was not a question she had rehearsed for.
The post-debate narrative of each campaign was telling. After the debate, Murphy told reporters, “Linda McMahon wrestled with the issues this morning and the issues won,” and his campaign later sent out an email claiming victory and saying, “It’s no wonder Linda McMahon ignored our campaign’s request–and several thousand petition signatures from Connecticut residents–to immediately kick off the general election with a series of debates on jobs.”
McMahon’s campaign made no such claims of victory, clearly recognizing that the debate was a setback for her candidacy. Her post-debate email just repeated her old talking points, saying, “We don’t need another career politician in Washington. We need someone who will fight for you — who believes America’s best days are ahead and not behind.”
Her accusations that Murphy is a career politician are true. He has been in office since 1999, first as a state representative, then as a state senator, and now as a congressman. But Sunday’s debate showed that this is an asset, not a liability. Murphy’s experience has given him an impressive understanding of the countless issues affecting the people of Connecticut, and a proven record that lets voters know he will do what he says if elected senator.
As demonstrated at the debate, Linda McMahon has no such understanding of the issues. She has no political record to back up her claims that she will break with her fellow Republicans on important issues like same-sex marriage or abortion access. When seen live during a debate, rather than in a commercial prepared by her well-paid campaign staff, it is clear that McMahon will not serve Connecticut well if elected senator.
The second debate of the campaign is scheduled to take place right here at UConn, Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Jorgensen Center for Performing Arts. Students who want to see the actual candidates, rather than the images they have created for television, should make every effort to attend.