Clearly, Jim Ogonowski didn’t think through his positions on social security and immigration. Although Niki Tsongas held her own in those areas, it was candidate Patrick Murphy who shined a bright light on Ogonowski’s flawed positions. Regarding social security, Ogonowski said he would not raise taxes, not repeal Bush’s tax breaks, and not raise the retirement age–he also promised to protect social security for those who depended on it. At that point, Murphy jumped in (it wasn’t his turn) and wanted to know how can that possibly happen? (Think about it: without new revenue or cost cutting, how can you pay for more social security? It makes no sense.) Regarding immigration, Ogonowski’s position was clear: enforce the law. (Imagine, if you will, deporting 12 million people and putting a huge, electric barbed-wire fence outlining our borders. Inside, with us, are millions of parent-less, American-born children living in squalor surrounded by rotting, unpicked food.) Niki, however, did a decent job on immigration, explaining how folks would get in line and wait their turn, and how earned pathways, including paying back taxes and learning English, would get them to citizenship. Ogonowski and the other two balked that a pathway to citizenship IS amnesty. Again, it was Murphy who took it further when he agreed we need an earned path to effectively deal with people here, but we also need to look at the reasons why people come here, and we need to rework trade policies. Overall, it was an interesting debate, and the hour flew by, Whatever happens next week, Patrick Murphy is a young man with fresh ideas, who has made a lasting mark on this campaign. I’m betting we’ll see more of him, hopefully without the distracting accent.