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Posted by on Feb 24, 2009 in Politics | 3 comments

NY 20th: Scott Murphy’s Anti-Military Past?

As the days tick on toward the special congressional election in New York’s 20th district, opposition research on both sides continues to unearth background material on the candidates. This week the Albany Times Union finds some material published by Democrat Scott Murphy during his days as a Senior Editor at the Harvard Perspective. The editorial in question, signed by Murphy and two others, argues against R.O.T.C. presence on campus.

The values enforced by the military — submission to authority, unquestioning obedience, and a hierarchy of power — are contrary to the University’s values of independence, thoughtful inquiry, and equality for all.

Bringing ROTC on campus is not the best way of helping the economically disadvantaged.”

We, as editors of Perspective, firmly believe all people should have the right to choose whether or not to be in the military, but we believe a university must not sanction a philosophy that is founded on an unquestioning submission to authority.”

This is unlikely to find a sympathetic ear in the conservative leaning 20th district. Yet again, the key lesson of the day is vetting, vetting, vetting. When you rush to find a candidate in the modern age you leave yourself open to any number of surprises once the media and the bloggers sink their teeth into them.

Meanwhile, the New York Observer despairs of the “deeply negative” tone the campaign is taking. They refer to Murphy as “a rich carpetbagger, out-of-touch with the needs of the average voters in the 20th Congressional District,” and to his Republican opponent, Jim Tedisco, as “a hypocritical machine hack.” In reality, their own editorial is the most negative thing I’ve seen in the entire campaign thus far. Have they been watching any of the other elections around the nation for the last twenty years or more?

Researching previously published materials by candidates, asking why Scott Murphy failed to pay his taxes or noting that Tedisco actually lives seven miles outside the borders of the district hardly qualify as rolling in the mud and are fairly typical in terms of opposition research. If the campaign stays with its current level of discourse, it will frankly be one of the most civil I’ve seen in quite some time.

Previous NY 20th Race Coverage:

First TV ads from both campaigns
Tedisco’s Car Trouble?
Scott Murphy’s Tax Troubles
Tedisco – Murphy Gun Control Debate
NY 20th: Meet the Candidates