Newsweek dissects Scott Murphy defeat

The big take-away from this Newsweek think-piece is that Scott Murphy “was a Democrat” who voted for Democratic legislation — supporting controversial bills that, in the end, many voters believed were bad for the country.

Despite his deviations from Democratic orthodoxy, Murphy supported the two biggest items on Nancy Pelosi’s agenda: health-care reform and cap-and-trade legislation.

They were his downfall.

Once Gibson started slamming those votes—sometime between the first Siena poll, when 65 percent of respondents were unfamiliar with the Republican candidate, and the second, when that number had plummeted to 24 percent—voters disgruntled with the direction of the country (read: almost everyone) decided that Murphy, however unorthodox, had played enough of a part in determining that direction not to deserve another term.

Some of them may have voted against the policies, but most of them were simply voting against the status quo.

In a legislative sense, Pelosi’s skill at rounding up “ayes” on controversial bills has served the Democratic Party well: the 111th Congress was the most productive in recent memory.

But on Election Day, her successes made it difficult for vulnerable Democrats to claim that they’d bring about more change than their opponents.

Read the full article here.


22 Comments on “Newsweek dissects Scott Murphy defeat”

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  1. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Interesting that voters who want change would be against health-care reform and cap-and-trade. Both proposals were about change. The alternatives are about working around the edges of the status quo.

  2. gromit says:

    People are against health-care reform because they have heard so many lies about it from republicans and from the lazy media who let them get away with it. There are no death panels; the reform bill is not a government take-over. It’s a weak effort to deal with a few of the more egregious flaws in our system.

    People are against cap-and-trade because they have heard so many lies about it from republicans and from the lazy media who let them get away with it. Climate change is real, some sort of carbon tax is the only hope for slowing it.

    In both cases, corporate interests and their willingness and ability to spend obscenely prevailed.

  3. oa says:

    Newsweek buried the lead here. Murphy won the last election, against a bad candidate, by 700 votes. And his support didn’t crater because of his health-care vote. Everybody polled knew how he voted in August, when he was ahead. It was the indy conservative money, stupid. From the Newseek article:

    “On Oct. 15, Karl Rove’s behemoth American Crossroads organization made Murphy its first target in the House, launching a $447,366, 11th-hour ad campaign against the incumbent congressman. Related groups like the 60 Plus Association, Revere America, Americans for Prosperity, and the Tea Party Express had already invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in the race. All told, independent groups spent more than $2.8 million dollars to defeat Murphy, more than they dropped on any other Democratic congressman.”

    That was also about the time his support cratered. Sometimes correlation is causation. No wonder Newsweek was sold for $1.

  4. Common Sense says:

    Rewriting history of this election in one day. The voters are NOT stupid but rather very frustrated that many political leaders have certainly treated them as if they were. The type of legislation that intrudes with more government intervention into every citizens’ life must be written and executed in limited, precise and most importantly understandable ways. Law and policy should not be created by Congress establishing a new agency and give them the power to make regulations that will have the enforcement of the law.

    An example. A new bill for reforming procedures of health insurance companies. Simple, straightforward requirements that can be understood by anyone. Policy remains with the individual. No droppng coverage. Keep children on it until age 26. Must take new customers even with existing health issues with no more than 20% additional charge. Now we have a learnable ,teachable and debatable bill. Let it stand on its merits or be modified to do so.

    This past year produced very little good legislation. But most importantly it showed the voters a level of arrogance and condescending we have not experienced in modern times in this country. And although the voters had been fooled, they were not stupid. The results of this election show this.

  5. rockydog says:

    that’s right gromit. blame the republicans and the media becuase we all know the deomcrats are so much smarter. let it go. the people have spoken and weren’t led by their respective party or “lazy” media. i’m sick and tired of being called stupid because I make up my own mind. shove it and deal with it.

  6. Pete Klein says:

    As long as we are talking health care let me state clearly how I feel about health care.
    I think we have only two ways to solve the mess;
    One, make the buying and selling of health insurance illegal. If you can’t pay for health care, tough luck.
    The other choice would also be to make the buying and selling of health insurance illegal but provide one health care package for all Americans. In other words, no Medicare or Medicaid. No special coverage for anyone in or out of government.
    Everyone in the same boat or no boat at all.

  7. DBW says:

    Controlling health care costs is crucial to our economic well being in the medium and long term. If we had gotten this done 16 years ago we would have never lost so much of our manufacturing base. GM couldn’t compete against Japanese and European companies that didn’t have to figure their health ins. costs into the cost of their cars. It was true of a lot of other industries too.

  8. cement says:

    before we dove into obamacare, why didn’t we try tort reform and buying health insurance across state lines to open up the competition?

    why did we have to go directly to obamacare without attempting some alternatives first?

    both would have reduced the cost of health care.

  9. Sam Foster says:


    Here was my analysis 3 weeks ago, before the polls showed Murphy in trouble:

    Murphy and many other Democrats went down because of the nature of the legislation and its sweeping ideology. The opponents had superb and valid concerns with the bill. Concerns that the public were well aware of and have since seen media coverage that validate them. Murphy failed to put the breaks on it, stand up for his constituents, and ensure his district that the legislation was not a beaucratic nightmare that it is and will be.

    Not only that, but he echoed the administrations “government can solve our problems” mentality. In my article, I point out Murphy’s championing of SBA loans as an alternative to sparce bank financing. Which is and was a silly idea. SBA loans are terribly hard to obtain and come with boatloads of strings attach and people aren’t stupid, they know that they are.

    This idea of Republican money (a very good, but different discussion) and missinformation is silly. The fact that state-wide dems faired well only bears the proof that voters were singling Murphy out for scorn. They knew full well what they were doing when they stepped into the booth (well pushed the scantron because there are no more booths).

  10. Myown says:

    The voting polls show the economy/employment was the overwhelming issue this election for voters. The new health care law was way down on the list of concerns. And unhappiness with the new health care law cuts both ways. Many people are disatisfied with it because it did not go far enough. Repubs will be making a big mistake if they think the election results were a mandate to repeal the new healthcare law.

  11. Matt says:


    Thanks for calling me stupid simply because I disagree with you.

    You’ve got to be kidding me. If you really think that the reason that Scott Murphy and the Democrats lost the House was because Americans were just too stupid, then you frankly don’t understand America.

    Only 20% of Americans describe themselves as ‘liberal’ a far cry from the 40% that describe themselves as ‘conservative’. America is a center-right nation that does not support big government intrusion in the private sector. That is why Murphy and Democrats lost.

  12. Sam Foster says:

    Here are the national exit polls showing a large majority want the health care bill repealed

  13. Myown says:

    Yes, that WSJ poll says, “The economy topped voters’ list of concerns by far, with 62% calling it is the top issue facing the country. Health care came in second with 19%.” Exactly my point, health care is a distant second. And see below.

    The CBS poll says “48 percent — said health care reform should be repealed. Another 31 percent said it should be expanded, while 16 percent said it should be left as is.” If you add the 31 percent that said it should be expanded to the 16 percent that said it should be left as is that totals 47% that don’t want it repealed. Again, exactly my point – there is no mandate to repeal the new health care law.

  14. Pete Klein says:

    Americans want smaller government? Let’s see how well that goes up here in the North Country if we were to get rid of all federal, state, county, town a village jobs. Oh, and we could also close the schools. Everyone would need to leave. Even the criminals would need to leave.
    Would this be a plot by the environmentalists to protect the trees?
    Who knows? Only the Shadow knows.

  15. roady says:

    Pelosi said it best “we need to pass the bill to see what’s in it”
    They passed the bill the people saw what was in it then they voted.
    Pretty simple.

  16. Myown says:

    Roady – sounds pretty simple minded. So you are saying all citizens actually read the healthcare law? The facts are 48% oppose it while 47% support it.

    Pete – I hear ya – Americans want smaller government? It’s one of those “be careful what you wish for” issues.

  17. oa says:

    No citizens know what’s in the health care law, because hardly any of it has come into effect yet.

  18. Common Sense says:

    OA, your point about outside money as the problem ought to look at the vast amount of outside money pilled in by Murphy. Not including 527 ads Murphy had almost $5 million dollars, Gibson closer to $2 million. And this is not to mention Murphy had very effectively been utilizing his taxpayer paid for franking and printing privileges to produce what were essentially ads about him and sent to every house in the district for the previous year and a half. No one knew Gibson in August and Murphy was a household name.

  19. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    With or without the healthcare bill insurance rates have been increasing by double digits every year, sometimes by 15-20%. It is an unsustainable situation and one that the Republicans did nothing about.

    If Republicans want to amend the present bill to include tort reform great, have at it. If you believe that trying to get more choice will help you obviously have never shopped for health insurance in NY state. There is more choice here than in most states and you can spend days trying to figure it out and still not save any money. If you believe that the present bill should be repealed and replaced with something better you are a fool who is being used by people who just want the present bill repealed so they can go back to the old ways.

  20. Sam Foster says:

    Myown – I’m guessing that you are of the 16% that like it the way it is, because there is 78% that aren’t happy with it. Honestly, I don’t see how you could look at it any other way and while it’s not a clear direction it is most definately a mandate.

    just about everyone thinks the bill is bad!

  21. Myown says:

    Your “78% that aren’t happy with it” is meaningless since you are combining opposites – both people who want to repeal it and people who want to expand it.

    Actually, I am in the 31% that don’t think it went far enough because of too many compromises with Repubs who then voted against it anyways. It doesn’t do enough to address the costs of health care and left the insurance companies monopolies. Health care has become
    a huge transfer of wealth from the middle class to insurance and drug companies and specialty doctors.

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