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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Rep. Keith Ellison: GOP Is "Basically a Bigoted Party"

| Thu Sep. 6, 2012 3:00 AM PDT

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the nation's first-ever Muslim member of Congress, doesn't mince words when asked about the Republican party's formal proclamation that the United States is under assault from Islamic Shariah law. "It's an expression of bigotry," he said on Wednesday, in an interview with Mother Jones at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. "There has never been any legislation offered to establish Shariah law—not at the federal level, not at the state level. There's not been a municipal ordinance opposing this, there's not been anything."

For Ellison, the anti-Shariah plank was part of a broader narrative of exclusion. "Why do they want to become the party of hate? They're hating on immigrants who are from Latin America. They're demonstrating hatred toward Muslims. They're demonstrating hostility toward women. They act like they don't like gay people. Who is their party supposed to be made up of in 20 years?"

"I'm sad that they have decided to go into this dark ugly place where they see the whole world as their enemy," Ellison continued. "And this is the thing: I don't mind debating taxes and spending; we probably should. But they're the party that is basically a bigoted party and they have now officially declared themselves against a whole segment of the American population, because if we said we were going to put a plank opposing Jewish law, or Catholic canon, it would be an outrage. This is also an outrage. But you know, it'll pass."

Ellison's remarks echoed comments he made in July after his Minnesota colleague, GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann, accused Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood. (Bachmann's statement was condemned by some high-profile Republicans, like Arizona Sen. John McCain.) Ellison said he's spoken with Bachmann once since the Abedin controversy—in response to a bill she was proposing to audit Medicaid recipients—but didn't bring up the subject with her. "I don't find that to be a productive use of my time or hers," Ellison said. "She whipped up a million [fundraising] dollars by promulgating hate against a religious minority. I'm not gonna talk her out of that." His plan to settle the argument is to campaign for her opponent this fall, Minneapolis hotelier Jim Graves.

"She's always bragging about how great the private sector is. She should join it."

Duckworth Blasts GOP as AWOL on Afghanistan

| Wed Sep. 5, 2012 3:42 PM PDT

Four years ago, the Republican party was celebrating the military service and foreign policy credentials of its presidential nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain. But last week in Tampa, the United States' overseas excursions were that which must not be named. Mitt Romney made no mention of Iraq or Afghanistan, and with the exception of an appearance on stage by a group of disabled veterans, there was virtually no mention of the hundreds and thousands of veterans of post-9/11 conflicts. That has Illinois House candidate Tammy Duckworth (D) fired up.

"This is about a party that wants to lead this country, and Mitt Romney who wants to be the commander in chief and yet he couldn't even remember to talk about military men or women or our veterans," said the Iraq War veteran—and double amputee—in an interview with Mother Jones on Wednesday. "And this is the same guy who during the Republican presidential primaries called for an invasion of Iran. So it's very typical to sit there and say you're gonna use military forces, but then you don't actually acknowledge the men and women who have to bleed for this nation? The least he could have done is talk about Afghanistan and the work that needs to be done. He could have at least confirmed the covenant that we have to keep with our veterans, and he didn't do any of that."

"They say they support our veterans, and yet I don't see the actions that back up what they're saying," she added. "Instead they talk about everything else and we have men and women dying right now."

Duckworth, who narrowly lost her first House bid in 2006, has reason to be on edge: Her Republican opponent, tea party Rep. Joe Walsh, recently criticized her for discussing her military service on the stump, charging that a "true hero" wouldn't need to talk up her record.

Mass. Democrats Give Romney the Death Hug

| Tue Sep. 4, 2012 3:25 PM PDT

There was something missing from the Republican National Convention in Tampa last week, and Jim Roosevelt found it. "I've had a number of members of the press who were in Tampa comment to me how remarkable it was that in four days of convention compressed to three, there was never a mention of Governor Romney's greatest achievement, and that is the health care legislation he passed in Massachusetts," the DNC official told a gathering of Massachusetts delegates on Tuesday.

Democrats—and Massachusetts Democrats in particular—have spent a good portion of the last year or so arguing Romney was a failed governor who'd make a terrible president. But, at an industry-sponsored forum on the effects Romney's landmark 2006 health care reform law (it was held on a wood-paneled room in the 47th-floor offices of health care lobbying firm K&L Gates), they had a different message: Thanks.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, rattling off a list of statistics—98 percent of Massachusetts residents and 99.8 percent of kids now have insurance; 90 percent of residents have a primary care doctor—had nothing but praise for his predecessor. "The beauty of what happened was not that it was a perfect idea from the outset; it was that this broad coalition decided that there was a better solution than the usual two, which was a perfect solution or no solution at all," he said. "Policy matters only at the point where it touches people in my view. And in that respect this policy matters. I am very proud of what we've done in Massachusetts. I think, by the way, Mitt Romney is too." As proof, he pointed to Romney's official portrait:

It's kind of jarring sometimes to walk by and see him sitting, on my desk, with my pictures behind it. And they have painted in two things. One is a photograph on an easel of Mrs. Romney with forget-me-nots behind her. It's very beautiful. And the other thing that's painted in sitting next to Governor Romney on the desk is the health care bill. The health care bill!...There's only one thing it could be. And at the time he acknowledged that's what it was AND HE SHOULD HAVE! Because it's done a lot of good for a lot of good people. There's no doubt that in my mind that if the Affordable Care Act, based as you know on what he did in Massachusetts, were polling better nationally he would wrap his arms right around it.

As it stands, Massachusetts Democrats are happy to wrap Romney in a warm embrace of their own. It's a buffer against the GOP nominee's attacks on the Affordable Care Act Romney helped inspire—and a not-so-subtle reminder to skeptical conservatives that the Republican party's nominee just isn't one of them.

MoJo's Official DNC Scavenger Hunt

| Mon Sep. 3, 2012 6:30 AM PDT
Politician kissing baby: +1

On Thursday, President Barack Obama will arrive in Charlotte to accept the Democratic nomination for blah blah blah blah blah. Look, conventions can all start to mesh together at a certain point, so to help cut through the clutter, we've decided to turn the Democratic National Convention into a game: It's the official MoJo DNC scavenger hunt. Winner wins nothing, unless you actually find John Edwards, in which case we'll give you a reporting credit and you'll probably get an earful from his people.

Randall Terry delegate: +50

Keith Judd delegate: +100

Keith Judd: +911

—Phonetic transcript of Boston mayor Tom "Mumbles" Menino's speech: +30

—Bank of America execs cozying up to Democratic members of the House Committee on Financial Services: +25

—Official DNC literature rebranding Charlotte's Bank of America Stadium as "Panther Stadium": +5

Hologram Ronald Reagan: +50

—Hologram Saul Alinsky: +500

—RNC Chair Reince Priebus, crashing a party: +10

—Empty chair: +1

—Delegate posing with empty chair: +20

—Cher, looking empty: +50

—A homeless person who hasn't been forcibly relocated from downtown: +10

—A Scientologist trying to convert an Occupy protester: +5

—Newark Mayor Cory Booker: +10; with superhero cape: +100

—Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, looking lost: +5

—San Antonio's 35-year-old mayor and keynote speaker Julian Castro: +5

—San Antonio's 35-year-old congressman-elect Joaquin Castro: +5

—Reporter inadvertently interviewing Joaquin under the impression he's identical twin Julian: +15

—Box of M&Ms with official presidential seal: +50

—Box of Nicorette gum with official presidential seal: +150

—Party that serves recently declassified White House beer recipe, a.k.a. "Swill List": +20

"Kill List": +1,000

—Code Pink members protesting drones: +5; while being monitored by Charlotte Police Department drone: +35

Faded Obama poster: +10; with twentysomething staring at it blankly: +20

—Conservative saboteur James O'Keefe: +5; dressed like an imam: +50; dressed like Iman: +100

—John Edwards: +200

—Biden!: +1; cruising around town in a freshly-washed Trans-Am: +101

—"Green" event sponsored by oil or natural gas company: +5 (up to 10)

—Event with union bosses catered by nonunion workers: +20

Union bosses, period: +5 (up to 10)

—Drake, in character: +10

Wayne Knight, in character: +50

—Kal Penn, in character: +100

—Use of term "game changer" to describe an ultimately meaningless speech: +1 (up to 100)

—Lawmaker-turned-lobbyist, talking to lawmakers: +10 (up to 10)

—Delegate with donkey on top of hat: +2 (up to 10)

—Delegate with dog on top of hat, à la Seamus Romney: +20

—Actual donkey: +20

—Hologram Seamus Romney: +400

—SOROOOOOOOS! +1,000

—Michael Jordan: Game Over

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