Tim Murphy

Tim Murphy


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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Anti-Gay Football Analyst to Address DC Conservative Summit

| Thu Oct. 3, 2013 8:50 AM EDT
Craig James.

On Wednesday, the Family Research Council announced a new group of speakers for the annual Values Voter Summit in Washington DC, one of the nation's leading conferences for social conservative activists. Among the featured guests: Failed Texas senate candidate and recently-canned college football analyst Craig James, who sued Fox Sports for wrongful termination last month, arguing that his firing over anti-gay comments constituted religious discrimination.

James, a former NFL running back and victim of a world-historical Google bomb—in which pranksters game a target's Google search results to associate them with something unflattering—fell flat in his long-shot bid to win the Texas Republican senate nomination in 2012, but not before distinguishing himself as a fierce opponent of gay rights. "I think right now in this country, our moral fiber is sliding down a slope that is going to be hard to stop if we don't stand up with leaders who don't go ride in gay parades," he warned at a GOP primary debate. "I can assure you I will never ride in a gay parade." He went on to suggest that gay people will be judge (The man who won that primary election, now-Sen. Ted Cruz, also announced his opposition to gay pride parades.)

Those views didn't do much for James' candidacy (he took just 4 percent of the vote) and they ultimately cost him at least one job. ESPN never specified its reasons for letting James go, but used James' anti-gay debate comments as an excuse to announce that it would not be retaining him after his election was over. His subsequent employers at Fox Sports were more candid, telling the Dallas Morning News, "We just asked ourselves how Craig's statements would play in our human resources department."

Still, James makes for an unlikely martyr for conservatives, if only because he was an enormously unpopular broadcaster to begin with—the kind of on-air personality that would compel college football fans to make his name synonymous with quintuple homicide. In 2011, Sports Illustrated's college football writers unanimously selected him as their least-favorite analyst on television.

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House GOPer on Government Shutdown Strategy: "I Don't Know That There Is a Plan to Win"

| Tue Oct. 1, 2013 4:04 PM EDT

As the nation began grappling with the effects of the first government shutdown in 17 years—lost nutrition assistance, padlocked research labs, and the shuttering of virtually the entire Environmental Protection Agency—House Republicans met behind closed doors on Monday afternoon to sort out their differences and chart a new path forward. They still have some work to do.

The House GOP members who stubbornly insisted on blocking the Affordable Care Act as a condition of any funding resolution "are not tea party, and they're not conservatives," lamented a visibly upset Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), launching into his now-standard riff about North American tundra hamsters. "They're anything but that. I mean, if you're a conservative, you're actually trying to do something. These people are just flat-out lemmings. That's all they are. It's like the lemming caucus."

A fifth-term legislator from the Central Valley who once remarked that the Affordable Care Act had been passed with "totalitarian tactics," Nunes makes for an unlikely spokesman for a GOP cohort that has been described in the press as "moderate." But he insists it is the extremists in the House GOP caucus who are betraying the conservative movement. "You guys really need to find the lemming leaders, but they're hard to find, because they don't come out and actually speak," he told reporters before ducking into the meeting. "They sneak around. They hide. They hold private meetings. They hold private conference calls. These people are actually the description of what's wrong with Washington. They're really no different from Obama because their politics are the same—gutter politics."

So what more could he tell us about these secret strategy huddles? Nunes had no details: "You gotta go lemming hunting." (One obvious flaw with Nunes' political-suicide metaphor: Lemmings don't actually commit mass suicide by running off cliffs—that's a Hollywood creation.)

As he left the Republican conference meeting, senior members with Potbelly sandwiches passing him by, Nunes seemed resigned to his party's fate. He affirmed his support for the party's leadership and the "Ted Cruz lemming strategy" it was adopting. But he couldn't resist one last dig. "If you're going to take these extreme measures, you better have a plan to win. And I don't know that there is a plan to win."

The Collected Poems of the Affordable Care Act

| Tue Sep. 24, 2013 3:27 PM EDT

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law by President Obama in 2010, was an attempt by Democratic lawmakers to reform the health care system by creating an individual mandate to purchase insurance. But since then, the law has morphed into a specter seemingly larger. It is alternatively an abomination and a document worthy of adulation; the death of the Democratic Party and the yoke by which it will cling to power; the socialization of medicine and a gift-basket to private insurers.

Do these pundits contradict themselves? Very well then, they contradict themselves—Obamacare is fractal; it contains multitudes. As a service to our readers, we have rearranged the most vivid and hyperbolic descriptions of the Affordable Care Act below as a collection of short poems. Read them in your best Donald Berwick voice:



Obamacare is barreling down on us,

like a jet landing into San Francisco,

or a cat with nine lives—

neither alive nor completely dead.

Obamacare is a zombie,

it will nationalize our soul.

Obamacare is a big fucking deal.



Obamacare is a crack pipe.

Obamacare is addictive.

Obamacare is the Titanic.

Obamacare is the iceberg.

Obamacare is the DMV.

Obamacare is slavery.



Obamacare is fascism.

like the Jews boarding the trains to concentration camps,

like a failed rental car reservation,

like pressing the button for the elevator and stepping forward before the car arrives;

Obamacare is a locomotive.

It is a trainwreck.



Obamacare is Apple.

Obamacare is an iPad.

Obamacare is a broken iPhone app.

Obamacare is a Ford Pinto.

Obamacare is New Coke.

Obamacare is Alex Rodriguez.

Obamacare is a sharknado.



It is an ugly, socially awkward kid who transfers into grade school at mid-year,

and then spends the rest of the semester eating alone in the cafeteria while being giggled about,

by all the other pupils.

Obamacare will question your sex life.

Revolutionary wars have been fought over less.



Obamacare is like a box of chocolates.

Obamacare is Waterloo.

Obamacare is the Iraq War,

or its domestic equivalent.

Obamacare will kill more people than 9/11.

Obamacare is the War of Yankee Aggression,

Obamacare is the hill to die on,

Obamacare is Gettysburg.

Obamacare is the Fourth of July.

Obamacare is Christmas,

like being forced to purchase a book of cowboy poetry,

or a Barry Manilow album.

Obamcare is like this health insurance/medical aid kind of thing,

like a military draft.

Obamacare is the best bill you could have passed.

Obamacare is here to stay.

Obamacare will survive.

Obamacare is the moon.



Obamacare is like the inside of a clock.

Obamacare is a malignant tumor.

Obamacare is an abscessed tooth.

Obamacare is like getting teeth pulled without novocain.

Obamacare is 17th-century Britain.

Obamacare is the first thing Hitler did.

Obamacare is a civil rights struggle.

Obamacare is a lemon.

Obamacare is the law of the land.



Obamacare is the Right's worst nightmare.

Obamacare will live in infamy.

Obamacare is like kale.

Mon Jul. 21, 2014 3:33 PM EDT
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