I appreciate that most of the English-speaking world feels like we've all heard far too much about US presidential politics this year, but this profile of Mike Murphy, the political consultant who ran the campaign that raised US$118 million trying to get Jeb Bush the Republican nomination is at least a good read:

Murphy's clients have won around two dozen Senate and gubernatorial races (everyone from John Engler to Mitt Romney to Christie Todd Whitman to Arnold Schwarzenegger). If you notice a theme, it's that he often helps Republicans win in Democratic states. Likewise, he's played a major role in assisting three losing presidential candidates (McCain, Lamar! Alexander, and Jeb!). If you again notice a theme, it's that his presidential candidates sometimes seem more excited about their first names than the electorate does.

Like all hired guns in his trade, he's taken his share of mercenary money just for the check. But Murphy says when it comes to presidentials, he thinks it matters more and is a sucker for long shots. "I have friends I believe in who want to run. I'm a romantic, so I keep falling for that pitch." Jeb wasn't exactly a long shot, I remind him. Like hell he wasn't, says Murphy. It's a hard slog, not being a Grievance Candidate this year. "He was the guy who was handing out policy papers when Trump was handing out broken bottles."

Since a candidate is not permitted by law to discuss campaign specifics with his super-PAC once he declares, a law Murphy vows was strictly observed ("I'm too pretty to go to jail"), I ask him what he would've told Jeb during the campaign had he been allowed to. Over the years, Murphy has forged a reputation of telling his candidates the truth, no matter how bitter the medicine. (He once had to tell a congressional client that his toupee was unconvincing.) Though Murphy's tongue is usually on a hair-trigger, he stops and ponders this question for a beat. He then says he would've told Jeb, "What the f - were we thinking?" […]

I can totally imagine a lightly fictionalised version of this guy showing up on an alternate version of The West Wing, one where we ended up following Ainsley Hayes over to the Republican side of the game for a season or two. Whether that's an accurate reflection of his merits 1 or just a sign of how badly I miss The West Wing, I leave it to you to decide.

While I'm on the subject of the Current Situation in US politics, over at Slacktivist there's a plea for guidance:

I need help working through this. I’m starting to suspect that the 2016 election might disprove the possibility of the future invention of time travel.

We’ve watched Donald Trump rack up a steady stream of GOP primary victories. As he moves closer to securing the Republican nomination, we move closer to the disastrous possibility of Donald Trump actually being elected president.

But note what we haven’t yet seen — the sudden appearance of dozens of time-traveling visitors from the future desperately scrambling to prevent that from happening. That’s surprising. […]


[Via Longform.org]

  1. Or the abilities of Matt Labash, the journalist who wrote the profile?