Friday, December 16, 2005



I'm not sure how I first came across Lois Murphy. Probably Howard Dean told me about what an exceptional candidate she was. It was a couple years ago and I was a dual resident, at least in theory, of Pennsylvania and California and after learning a bit about Lois I was happy to make a contribution to her campaign. I recently sold my home in PA but when Lois called me 2 weeks ago to tell me she would be in L.A. I said I would love to meet her in person. That's what I did yesterday-- in the midst of all the craziness in preparing for leaving for my trip to Morocco this weekend. And am I ever glad I did!

I mean on paper Lois Murphy is a GREAT candidate-- progressive, smart, informed... all that stuff. But the Lois you meet in person is even more incredible! First impression: can someone this good looking and this genuine and... well nice be an effective member of Congress? Then she starts talking and you see an incredibly dedicated, passionate, completely informed candidate who could make an actual difference in our government. I like to think I keep up with everything (you know, at least for the blog), but there were no gaps in Lois' knowledge, I'll tell you that.

And one of the things that impressed me most about her was the glimmer of a real leader. You know how I'm always bellyaching about how Hillary Clinton is such a non-leader? Lois seems like the polar opposite to me-- someone who goes out and learns all the facts, processes them through the kind of moral compass I wish every member of Congress possessed, and then stands and fights for what's right.

Last time out Lois came closer to beating an incumbent than any other challenger in the U.S. Her opponent, a would-be DeLay clone is not well-thought of and is almost certainly going to be looking for honest work a year from now. Jim Gerlach is one of these right-wingers in a moderate suburban district who is utterly unsuited to represent the residents of Pennsylvania's 6th CD. It's a pretty well-educated, upmarket district where ethics and good government is appreciated, even demanded. That alone should disqualify Gerlach who is, in short, one of the more corrupt congressmen running around in the DeLay circle of corruption. He refuses to return all the tainted money he's been raking in from the indicted DeLay and from the admitted criminal bribe-taker Cunningham and, suddenly, he can't account for a "small" $2,000,000 discrepancy in his campaign funds. But his corruption aside, even if you just skim an interview he did recently with a local Philly paper you find a man who is either a bold faced liar or so disturbingly out of touch with reality that a leadership role is the last place you'd think he belongs.

Example: Gerlach doesn't think the Religious Right has any impact on the Republican Party! I mean is he lying? Is he just stupider than a paper weight? Why would someone say something like that? Asked if the Religious Right has too much influence on the GOP, his response was "I haven't seen a lot of evidence where religious leaders themselves, say evangelical Christian or very conservative Christians, have much influence on the rank and file of the Republican conference or on the leadership." When the interviewer followed up with a question about the Dover, PA court case that involves teaching Bible stories in place of science in public schools, so called "Intelligent Design" (aka- Creationism), Gerlach tried to duck the question, a tactic that seems typical whenever his extreme right wing positions are in danger of being exposed, with a lame and meandering non-response: "It depends what you mean when you say 'Intelligent Design.' What I've read is simply the notion, in the Dover School District, where the proponents of Intelligent Design simply want the teacher in the classroom to say, and I'm paraphrasing here, that there is a view out there in the scientific community that there may be other causes for the evolution of the human race that may be somehow connected to something spiritual - I'm not sure what the word is - but saying something like that, very generic, very open ended. I don't think that is inappropriate at all because there are a lot of people who believe that our creation is divinely inspired and not just the result of the joining of cells and protoplasm." Voters in Dover don't seem to agree. Every single right-wing loon on the school board who forced this creationist farce on the district was defeated by a progressive.

On issue after issue after issue Gerlach's own views are either out of step with his moderate district or he's dancing to the tune of Tom DeLay and the radical right to whom he is so financially beholden. In a very telling editorial called "A Pale Shade Of Green," THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER paints a picture of a twisted flip-flopping imbecile trying to do what moderates and environmentalists in his district want-- until Tom DeLay tells him what the Far Right must have, as Gerlach switches his vote to please the Big Oil interests who have been shoveling immense sums of cash into the pockets of DeLay and his allies.

The contrast with Lois couldn't be clearer. She's the quintessential good government candidate, someone who is destined for national attention and respect, the kind of candidate the DCCC needs to find plenty more like if they seriously expect to take the House back from the Far Right next November-- abd then govern America in a way that will get us back on the right track after the misfortune and catastrophe of the Bush years.


At 1:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gerlach won!!! Thank God!!! Keeping that angry, ugly liberal out of Congress is very important.

For the author(s) of this article, grow up. You're Lois Murphy's puppet... what a silly thing to call someone.

Get a clue.


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