Last year, Congressman Scott Murphy held many town halls across the district he represents in Congress. He referred to them as "Congress on your corner" events. They were announced well in advance and generally took place outside. Typically he had one each weekday and in some cases, held multiple events in the same day. They were well attended by people of all walks of life and varying political viewpoints. Both sides were generally respectful of each other and the Congressman took questions from people of a variety of viewpoints.
What a difference a year makes. In 2010, Scott Murphy flip flopped and supported the horrific ObamaCare legislation, along with various other contentious bills such as the so-called "financial reform" bill, the DISCLOSE Act, and the second "stimulus" bill. This August, he has not held any general town halls for people of all walks of life with notice well in advance.
Instead, Mr. Murphy has held a few "town halls" in August for specific groups of people such as senior citizens or veterans, with very little advance notice. Typically the amount of time given is around forty-eight hours.
Murphy's opponent, Colonel Chris Gibson called for town hall style debates in the month of August throughout the district. While Mr. Murphy initially said he would debate Colonel Gibson, a "correction" was then posted in the print edition of the Albany (NY) Times Union saying that while Murphy would debate Gibson, he has "not signed on to" Gibson's August timetable.
Meanwhile, Colonel Gibson has been having various town hall events called "Chris is in YOUR corner." Murphy has been invited to these events. The Gibson campaign has repeatedly provided the Murphy campaign with a schedule of events that Gibson is attending in order to allow Murphy the opportunity to participate.
Finally, the Murphy campaign agreed to appear with Gibson in a one hour forum on August 26th at a regional chamber of commerce young professionals group. The forum would be CLOSED to the general public. Was this the best Murphy could do?
A tea party member contacted Murphy's office and was told the Congressman stands by his vote for ObamaCare. If that's the case, then why is he not able to defend and explain his votes in front of the general public by holding general town hall events with plenty of advanced notice? Why was he unwilling to appear with his challenger, Colonel Chris Gibson, at town hall style debates where the general public could ask unmoderated questions? Why should he not have relished the opportunity to rebut Gibson's proposed solutions to the many crises our nation faces?
As August slips away and Congress will soon be back in session, Murphy may not have the opportunity to appear before a large group of his constituents and defend the votes his staff claims he stands behind.