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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Rep. Allen West: Jobs Report Is an Obama Plot!

| Fri Oct. 5, 2012 10:27 AM EDT

The monthly jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was released on Friday, and it had good news for President Obama: Non-farm unemployment numbers dropped below 8 percent—to 7.8—for the first time since January 2009.


As soon as the report hit, conservative commentators seized on the unexpectedly low figure as evidence of a sinister plot by the Obama presidential campaign to cook the books four weeks before Election Day. Within an hour, the conspiracy had reached the ranks of Republican members of Congress. Here's Florida Rep. Allen West, locked in a tight re-election fight, calling the Obama administration "Orwellian" in a post on his Facebook page:

We all want the suffering of the American people from this rampant scourge of unemployment to end. However, today's jobs report is confusing to say the least. Previous months numbers have been revised and yet the workforce participation rate remains at a 30 year low. The unemployment rate drops to 7.8 percent, that is where it was in January 2009 when the President took office. But the U6 computation of unemployed, underemployed, and discouraged Americans remains the same at 14.7 percent. I agree with former GE CEO Jack Welch, Chicago style politics is at work here. Somehow by manipulation of data we are all of a sudden below 8 percent unemployment, a month from the Presidential election. This is Orwellian to say the least and representative of Saul Alinsky tactics from the book "Rules for Radicals"- a must read for all who want to know how the left strategize . Trust the Obama administration? Sure, and the spontaneous reaction to a video caused the death of our Ambassador......and pigs fly.

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Please Stop Asking Senate Candidates About the Red Sox

| Tue Oct. 2, 2012 3:12 PM EDT
Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) greets a supporter outside Fenway Park.

Technically, Elizabeth Warren whiffed and Scott Brown punted. With five minutes to spare in Monday night's Massachusetts Senate debate, moderator David Gregory, host of NBC's Meet the Press, concluded he'd spent enough time grilling the candidates on Afghanistan (about two-and-half minutes), and on the ethnic background of Elizabeth Warren's mother (about seven minutes), and decided to use his last question on a matter he considered to be of great importance.

"I saved the most contentious for last," Gregory said, a smile creeping across his face. "The worst Red Sox season in decades, I hate to tell you. So, Ms. Warren, does Bobby Valentine deserve another year, or should he be fired?"

Valentine is objectively terrible and should be fired. But at a debate for a race that could determine which party controls the Senate it shouldn't have even been asked.

"I had such hopes for Bobby Valentine," Warren said, referring to the franchise's beleaguered manager. "I'm still just in wounded mode on that one."

Gregory followed up: "Stick around? Should he be given another chance or should he be fired?"


"This is the back page of the Boston Herald we're talking tomorrow morning, come on you've got to commit!" Gregory said.

"Then I'd give him another year," Warren said. "Let him build it, yeah, let's see if he can do it."

"Give him another year!" Gregory turned the question on Brown. "Senator?"

"Well, I remember at the beginning of the season that Professor Warren said they were gonna win 90 games and obviously that hasn't happened," he said. "It's been very disappointing, but I'll leave that up to the Red Sox management. But certainly we need to do better next year."

Gregory, incredulous again: "You're not gonna commit, one way or the other?"

"No, there's a lot of problems and they need to work it out for themselves."

So there you have it. Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren have officially weighed in on whether the manager of the local baseball team during the 2012 season should return as manager for the start of the 2013 season. All because of a pretty simple misconception—namely, that Democratic attorney general Martha Coakley's off-key comments about Fenway Park in 2010 caused her to lose her special election to Brown. Brown didn't beat Coakley in 2010 because Coakley was insufficiently enamored with the home team. If that were the case, Sen. John Kerry (whose professed favorite player, "Manny Ortez," is actually a made-up person), would have been thrown out of office long ago. Coakley's famed dismissal of the notion of shaking hands outside Fenway Park, in the cold, mattered because it reflected a voter outreach strategy that seemed to write off a large part of the population. (It wasn't Red Sox fans Coakley had spurned at Fenway; it was Bruins fans, who were there for a hockey game.)

Neither Brown nor Warren gave the correct answer on Monday night in Lowell. Valentine is objectively terrible and should be fired. But at a debate for a race that could determine which party controls the Senate—and the very real public policy implications it entails—it shouldn't have even been asked. Massachusetts isn't the only state where residents have a rooting interest in the local sports team; it's just the only state where out-of-town political journalists believe they have a responsibility to ask about it.

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