Tim Murphy

Tim Murphy

Reporter

Tim Murphy is a reporter in MoJo's DC bureau. Last summer he logged 22,000 miles while blogging about his cross-country road trip for Mother Jones. His writing has been featured in Slate and the Washington Monthly. Email him with tips and insights at tmurphy [at] motherjones [dot] com.

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Rand Paul Really Doesn't Want to Talk About His McConnell Endorsement

| Thu Apr. 17, 2014 8:31 AM PDT
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)

A tea party revolutionary four years ago, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has bucked many of his old supporters by backing Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, in McConnell's primary against Matt Bevin, a hedge fund executive backed by the Senate Conservatives Fund. Why would Paul do such a thing? He has been cagey, to say the least. "He asked me when there was nobody else in the race, and I said yes," the junior senator told Glenn Beck in February. Evidently even that was too verbose. Per the Glasgow (Ky.) Daily Times, Paul has now taken his answer off the record:

After addressing about 30 people who turned out to hear him, the senator opened the floor for questions.

One constituent asked him why he came out in support of Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Louisville.

Paul declined to answer the question publicly, saying he would speak with her in private and explain his reason for supporting the senior senator.

Paul family political guru Jesse Benton, who is now managing McConnell's re-election campaign, told a tea party activist in a secretly-recorded conversation last year that, "between you and me, I'm sort of holdin' my nose for two years because what we're doing here is going to be a big benefit to Rand in '16, so that's my long vision."

One reason Paul might decide to keep his explanation private: His answer sounds a lot like Benton's.

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GOP Congressional Candidate Shoots Down Drone in New Ad

| Wed Apr. 16, 2014 10:52 AM PDT

In Montana congressional candidate Matt Rosendale's newest ad, which you can you can watch above, Rosendale aims a sighted rifle at a "government drone" and blows it away, before sending a message to the Obama administration: "Spying on our citizens—that's just wrong."

This isn't the first attempt by Rosendale, a state representative who is seeking the GOP nomination to replace Rep. Steve Daines in Congress next fall, to make nice with his state's far-right elements. In December Rosendale attended an event held by a group called Defend Rural America, whose founder, Kirk MacKenzie, called environmentalists "domestic terrorists." And although this is the first time a candidate has pretended to shoot down a drone, politicians have a long history of blowing things up in campaign ads. In 2008, Montana Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer used a double-barreled shotgun to blast the federal Real ID law into tiny bits.

As always, Mother Jones reminds you that if you must ritually annihilate a federal policy in a campaign ad, you should at least wear safety goggles and ear plugs.

This is the Best/Worst Campaign Video of 2014

| Tue Apr. 15, 2014 1:54 PM PDT

Depending on where you stand, this is either the best piece of political performance art of the 2014 election or the worst. Or maybe it's both. Supporters of embattled Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel, who is challenging longtime incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) in the June primary, have composed this charming jingle, asking Cochran to "please come home." These kinds of supporter-generated videos can often be tacky and amateurish, or woefully off-message. But this—this is art. Watch:

Lyrics below:

Won't you come home Thad Cochran,
Won't you come home,
You've been there way too long,
We sent you up there, to do what's right,
But now you done us wrong

Remember that crazy health care, that gun control,
You voted for was oh so wrong,
Well, it's really a shame,
And you're partly to blame,
Thad Cochran won't you please come home.

2nd Chorus

Won't you come home Thad Cochran,
Won't you come home,
Our party's gone off track,
With Chris McDaniel, we've got a chance,
To bring our party back,

So pack your suitcase, and grab your hat,
Then catch a ride and get here fast,
We know you did your best,
But it's time for a rest,
We hope this term be your last!

3rd Chorus
Won't you come home Thad Cochran,
Won't you come home,
You're spending way too much,
You've raised the ceiling of debt so high,
This country can't catch up...

And your pork barrel, is filled so full,
I think that it just may bust!
Please hear our call, as we plead one and all,
Thad Cochran, won't you please come home.

Note: Thad Cochran doesn't wear a hat:

Pete Marovich/ ZumaPress

 

GOP Senate Candidate Looks For Help From Radio Host Who Wants to Jail Gays

| Tue Apr. 15, 2014 7:36 AM PDT

Mississippi GOP Senate candidate Chris McDaniel appeared on a radio program on Monday hosted by a controversial social conservative activist who has called for gay people to be imprisoned and has said the "the spirit of the Antichrist is at work" in the Obama White House.

McDaniel, a state senator who is challenging incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran for the GOP nomination, has taken heat over the last week for past comments he made on his own radio show, "The Right Side," which were reported by Mother Jones in January. The comments, recently picked up by the Wall Street Journal, featured a riff on the merits of using taxpayer funds to pay reparations to the descendants of slaves. "If they pass reparations, and my taxes are going up, I ain't paying taxes," the tea party favorite said in 2006. His appearance Monday on "Focal Point" with host Bryan Fischer, the issues director for the American Family Association, was an opportunity to clear the record.

"They're desperate," McDaniel told Fischer. "And when these politicians and the establishment in Washington feels threatened, they always react with desperation. I was a conservative talk radio [host], actually it was a Christian conservative talk radio show for three and a half four years I hosted that. Two hours a day. And this is the best they've got? Most of it is way out of context anyway. They were talking about reparations, for example—let me be real clear, I'm against reparations. I don't know why that's a bad thing to say. Maybe Sen. Cochran's for reparations? He should clarify that for us. But I'm against it. And some of the other things, we were just sitting there, no harm was meant."

In other clips from "The Right Side," McDaniel alleged that Democrats were plotting to make polygamy legal in all 50 states, and that Hollywood was whitewashing the evils of Islam. He mocked San Francisco "elites" by alleging a correlation between IQ and "gender misidentification," and blamed an uptick of gun violence in Canada on hip-hop. Shootings, McDaniels claimed, are "a problem of a culture that values prison more than college; a culture that values rap and destruction of community values more than it does poetry; a culture that can't stand education."

But Fischer's show is an unusual choice for a politician looking to launder his reputation as a conservative shock-jock. In March, Fischer told his listeners that while he didn't think President Obama is the antichrist, "the spirit of the Antichrist is at work" in the Oval Office. He has said that people turn to homosexuality (which he'd like criminalized) when the Devil takes over their brains. He once called for a Sea World Orca whale to be Biblically stoned after it killed its trainer. He said the secretarial job in his office is "reserved for a woman because of the unique things that God has built into women." Even some Republicans have distanced themselves from Fischer—at the 2011 Values Voters Summit in Washington, D.C., Mitt Romney condemned Fischer's "poisonous language."

McDaniel has received the backing of major Republican groups, including the Senate Conservatives Fund and Club for Growth, but still faces an uphill battle. An April survey from Harper Polling gave Cochran a double-digit edge over McDaniel, 52–35.

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