Last Thursday, October 21, Murphy and Fitzpatrick had two debates in their fight for the PA 8th District’s Congressional seat. The first took place at the Bucks County Technical School and the second at Bucks County Community College. Neither produced a knockout punch.
The two back-to-back rounds were little more than dancing around the ring. Murphy proved he had no power punch to use against Fitzpatrick. He continued to jab at Fitzpatrick for his vote on the Central American Free Trade Agreement, but those jabs did not land very often because that issue is ancient history for many voters. So, too, is the issue of voting for a pay raise when Fitzpatrick was Congressman.
Fitzpatrick, on the other hand, landed a few punches with the current health care issue, reminding all that: “We were promised a deficit-neutral bill, a bill that would not raise our insurance rates, and if you had an insurance plan that you liked you could keep it.” Since all three promises are now proving to have been wishful thinking (or deliberate deception), Murphy’s unconditional support of the health care bill and the Obama/Pelosi agenda left him with no defense. Those jabs struck home, earning Fitzpatrick a few points.
Murphy’s attempt to hit Fitzpatrick with something more current, backing the Bush tax cuts, also missed its mark. Continually labeling those across-the-board cuts as only “tax cuts for the rich” does not pack much of a wallop. That misnomer has been getting stale and no longer has much of an impact even when it lands.
Murphy seems to be in a stagnant, defensive posture, content with finishing the fight without being knocked out, hoping to ride it out to re-election. Fitzpatrick seems to be willing to continue with jabs that are landing but not reeling Murphy enough to open him up for a good roundhouse punch.
Since Fitzpatrick’s punches are at least hitting the mark, he takes both rounds by a very, very slight edge. Murphy’s defensive posture may keep him from being knocked out, but it will not help win this fight. It will go down to the wire and as of now, Fitzpatrick still holds a slight edge on points.
David J. Hentosh