Mike Murphy Gets His ‘Political Obituary’

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
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Despite raising more than $150 million, the Right to Rise super PAC could do little to keep Jeb Bush’s hopes for the presidency alive. Super PAC chief Mike Murphy doesn’t think he deserves the blame, and sees longterm consequences to Donald Trump’s “short cons.”

“I can be shameless. I have a long career at this. But when everything is a short con, then there’s never another short con. Because you need trust, and you’ve destroyed it,” said Murphy in a Weekly Standard profile published Friday.

Murphy joked that Weekly Standard writer Matt Labash was there to write his “political obituary.”

Murphy is a long-time political consultant. Campaigns he has worked on range from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s run for California governor and Lamar Alexander’s failed bid for the presidency. Besides his political work, Murphy has an active career in Hollywood and has sold several scripts.

He said he moved to Hollywood to escape politics, “the lowest rung of show business.”

Murphy has drawn the ire of many conservatives for his campaign tactics in support of Jeb — specifically the many more millions spent attacking Rubio than Trump. (RELATED: As Campaign Falters, Jeb’s Super PAC Chief Gets Blamed)

“Our problem was too many regular Republicans ran,” said Murphy. He adds, “Marco ran, which was a problem, because we spent a lot of energy fighting Marco, and Marco spent a lot of energy fighting us. When the better thing to do would have been to unite our army and go fight Trump and Cruz. But that wasn’t the situation we found ourselves in.”

“These Marco guys always say, ‘Why the hell didn’t you spend a hundred million dollars attacking Trump and helping us?’ And I was like, ‘Why did you not? How about you don’t f — ing run?’ … Loyalty is not a small thing. I’m an old Irish pol. No loyalty is owed, if no loyalty was given,” said Murphy.

The candidate he was supporting ran a campaign nothing like the current GOP front-runner Donald Trump. Jeb remained optimistic and concentrated on policy at a time when the Republican electorate is furious.

Murphy said, “[Jeb] was the guy who was handing out policy papers when Trump was handing out broken bottles.”

FEC rules didn’t allow the Hollywood campaign consultant to talk to Bush during the campaign. If he could he says he would’ve said, “What the f — k were we thinking?”

While Murphy is known for negative campaigning — once calling himself “the merchant of mud” — he views Trump’s tactics as a “short con.” An example of this is Trump’s branding of Jeb as “low-energy.”

Murphy contended that Jeb is a workaholic: “If Trump kept up Jeb’s schedule for one day, he’d be in the hospital.” The phrase had nothing to do with work-ethic. Instead, the super PAC chief said it was, “code for ‘Jeb’s not furious at anybody.'”

Murphy continued: “[Jeb] doesn’t open a rally with ‘I want everybody to write down the name of any Mexican they know and put it in a bin because they are going to pay.’ It was all a code word for ‘civilized.’ Jeb was the anti-Trump in a Trump year.”

To explain the consequences of “short-con” politics, Murphy told a story about a conversation he had as a young boy with a man who worked in marketing.

“‘Let me tell you, as an ad guy, I work for McDonald’s. And every day, we hate Burger King. We hate those sonsofbitches. And we’d love to run an ad that says: Here’s Burger King, it’s full of worms. But then Burger King would run: McDonald’s hamburgers will give you cancer. And at the end of it, we’ve destroyed hamburgers. We would f — k the category.’ ”