Murphy’s announcement good for health care reform

Hi everyone,

It didn’t take long for U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy to look Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District in the eye Thursday and announce plans to run for U.S. Senate.

The declaration came exactly one day after U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman said he would not seek re-election in 2012 and exactly two days after former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz revealed her plans to seek the job.

Murphy’s decision to seek a higher position in public service is a welcome one, especially in light of his record on health care reform.

Last year, Murphy was one of those rare Democrats who staunchly defended President Obama’s health care reform package. Unlike so many of his colleagues who distanced themselves from this historic legislation, Murphy stood his ground because it was the right thing to do.

He didn’t stick his index finger in the air to see which way the political winds were blowing. Instead, Murphy stuck out his chin and took Sam Caligiuri’s best shot.

Murphy’s reward: A resounding victory and a third term in Congress.

On Monday, the national holiday recognizing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, Murphy posted one of King’s most enduring quotes on his Twitter account: “Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.”

The quote is as relevant and as poignant in 2011 as it was in 1963, only now, health care is the debate of the day, not the Cold War.

There was nothing to be gained from the House vote on health care Wednesday in Washington, D.C. What did it accomplish, after all, without enough votes to repeal anything?

Instead of working toward a consensus, instead of meeting the Senate halfway, this vote was only another dose of poisonous politics.

From the start, this bill — “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act” — was an affront to civility. How about simply calling the bill, “Repealing the Health Care Law Act?”

Nah, that’s not nasty enough.

In truth, Wednesday’s health care vote was nothing more than bad theater on a big stage, an ideological Band-Aid for the Republican base.

Really John Boehner?

And folks criticized Nancy Pelosi for her divisive leadership?

So much for all those sweeping promises of civility in the days following the shooting rampage in Tucson. Sadly, it remains business as usual in the Beltway.

This isn’t to say the Democrats are blameless in this debate. But I don’t know how Congress can possibly hope to address any of the nation’s problems — the economy, health care, education — while skidding down this angry track.

To read more about Chris Murphy and health care reform, check out my “Take on Life” column Friday.

Exclusively in the print edition of The News-Times.

Brian Koonz