And this is what happens (Murphy shows up around 9 minutes in to engage with the crowd):

Below the fold: a Williams namecheck, Murphy responds to the protesters, and some other Ephs weigh in with advice for both the left and the right.

I don’t recommend watching the whole thing, but I enjoyed this at the 8 minute mark:

Old guy: He’s an asshole.

Cameraman: What’s that? Who’s an asshole? I’m sorry?

O: Mr. Murphy.

C: Mr. Murphy’s an asshole? Why’s he an asshole, sir?

O: Why? He has low brains.

C: He has what?

O: He has low brains.

C: Yeah? Come on, he went to Williams College! He’s a pretty smart guy.

O: He’s like you. He’s like you. Get that out of my face.

C: Okay.

Thanks to commenter nuts for the link; s/he comments:

Protesting a debate can shutdown a debate. Look at what Chris Murphy ‘96 is coping with. I’m interested in whether Chris was able to have a productive communication with his constituents. At the end of the video, Chris comes out to the crowd to engage them.


Murphy responds:

Murphy said it didn’t matter to him whether those attending were part of a coordinated effort or just on their own.

“Any time I’m talking to my constituents in an unfiltered way I consider it productive,” he said in a phone interview afterward.

Murphy acknowledged that a few angry voices dominated the gathering, at least initially. But he said that didn’t bother him. “Was that out of a Norman Rockwell town meeting painting? No. But there are big issues being discussed in Washington … and people have a right to be concerned, even angry about it.”

Dan Blatt ’85 writes about this incident on his blog:

Despite Democratic descriptions of those protesting the President’s health care as a “mob,” protesters on the whole have conducted themselves in a civil manner. And despite conservative criticism of Democratic Representatives (and Senators) of painting their critics with a broad brush (as some have done), a good number of Democrats, like the late Jim Hunter, have shown great respect for their political adversaries.

And I’m pleased to report that one such Democrat, Connecticut’s Chris Murphy is a graduate of America’s finest liberal arts’ college. Although “mobbed” by angry constituents at a supermarket in his district, this good man was unfazed and stood up for citizens’ rights to speak out.

Blatt has some advice for the Right:

When we protest, we must make our concerns known, but not drown out elected officials (and their representatives) when they are trying to speak… No matter how civil most protesters are, the Democrats and their alies in the media and on the web will attempt to smear us as angry, racist mob of astroturfers. It’s sad that they strive to dismiss the legitimacy of our concerns and define us by the most extreme advocates of our cause.

Let’s not stoop to their level. Let’s speak out, forcefully, angrily if need be, but always civilly. Many elected officials will respond in a petty and petulant manner as have such Senators as Barbara Boxer, such Congressmen as Nancy Castor and Russ Carnahan and the woman all Democrats elected as House Speaker. But, there are the Chris Murphys out there. And let us show them the respect he has shown our counterparts in Connecticut.

Stephen Rose ’58 says it’s time for David Plouffe, and lays out what he sees as the problems with the current Democratic strategy:

Now I ask for a third time, when errors are creeping into Democratic strategy, will the President have David Plouffe become the field commander of the healthcare struggle.

Here’s what needs solving.

1. The current message sucks. I am using Plouffe language. The health care issue is complex and we still do not have the message we need to speak to the people we need to win.

2. Leadership is diffuse when it needs to be clear and obvious. No one is running this. That is terrible.

3. We are talking out of both sides of our mouths. We are cozying with the pharmas and saying we will not dock you more than the 80 billion you have offered. And we are casting this as an insurance battle. It is, but the contradiction needs explaining.

4. David Plouffe was as important to the success of this movement as the President was. They are the two sides we need to be whole in the struggle.

This can be solved with a phone call. I would put David in charge of the DNC and turn the DNC into OFA and let everyone yell and scream because they know this is a willing strategy. Failing that I would make him the leader of the August Health Care push.

From Chan Lowe ’75:


In the health care debate, the president and his people have fallen down on the job by failing to articulate what all Americans, the haves as well as the have-nots, have to gain from reform. By creating a vacuum of information, they’ve allowed special interests to define for the nation what change may mean in their own scary and self-serving way. Like a herd of cattle, people can be spooked into stampeding if you manage to generate around them a fog of anxiety about an unknown peril; in this case, a fear of what they may lose, even though what they may now have is a lousy deal. The problem with a stampede is that once it begins, it’s difficult to control. The stampede could go over a cliff, and then what would you have? Nobody left who can afford to buy your insurance, or your pharmaceuticals, or whatever else you may be peddling. Be very careful what you wish for.

Print  •  Email