Mike Murphy (political consultant)

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Michael Ellis "Mike" Murphy (born 1962) is a Republican political consultant. He advised Republicans including John McCain, Jeb Bush, John Engler, Tommy Thompson, Spencer Abraham, Christie Whitman, Lamar Alexander, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Until January 2006, he was an adviser to Mitt Romney. Murphy resigned his position with Romney when his former client John McCain made it clear he would also pursue the Republican Presidential nomination in 2007 and 2008; Murphy decided to be neutral in the contest between them. Murphy is a vocal Republican critic of the 45th U.S. president, Donald Trump.


Now, there is of course one great rescue device for the Republican Party that we have thankfully relied on time and time again and that of course is the Democrats.
My father likes to talk about the stroller accident that resulted in me becoming a Republican.
You have to feel for the French; they were great once.
[T]he only mark-to-market thing in politics is Election Day; everything else is hot air.
Romney... Right about Putin, right about Obama, right about Trump. And he's no drama.




  • All right you fucks, shut up! We got a call to order!
  • I'm too pretty to go to jail.
  • [T]here is no campaign trick or spending level or candidate whisperer that can prevent a party from committing political suicide if it wants to.
  • My story is very boring. Mostly about hair loss.
  • I'm not an establishmentarian... You think I really want the guys in polyester suits in Springfield, Virginia, running the fucking country? ... I'm an iconoclast, but I am an elitist — with incredibly popular taste.
  • If Trump turns out to be the answer, I'm incredibly proud that Jeb Bush did not want to be any part of the vile question.
  • If Trump kept up Jeb's schedule for one day, he'd be in the hospital... He 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. But being the anti-Trump is a huge badge of fucking honor. I think you get that tattooed on your forehead: "I'm the anti-Trump." People will be congratulating him on that the rest of his life.
  • Loyalty is not a small thing. I'm an old Irish pol. No loyalty is owed, if no loyalty was given.
  • It's a choice between Trump, who is terrible for the country, and Cruz, who is terrible for the party. He's too smart for his act ... and he's probably pissed that a bigger con man showed up.
  • The pain is legit. But Trump is a stupid vote. Because Trump won't solve any of those things, he'll make them all worse. You're voting against your pain. You're voting to create more. You're going for a kind of witch doctor of politics who is promising things based on magic.
  • [H]aving problems is not a license to vote stupid. People need the tractor to plow the damn field, now.
  • We like to say law, order, freedom — pick one, amigo.
  • [I]f your banker comes in one day wearing a diaper, speaking gibberish, you're going to pull your money out of that checking account.
  • You think the pissed-off steelworker in Akron has trouble now? Wait until we have a financial collapse and they take 25 percent off the dollar. He'll be serving hot dogs in an American restaurant in China.
  • I don't mind technique... 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.
  • I don't mind a good fight on an issue. I like that stuff. I don't mind negative ads. But when the fighting is over meaningless stuff, like "you're-low-energy-because-you-use-big-words-and-don't-hate-anybody-and-I-wear-a-red-hat-that-says-Make-America-Great-Again-because-I-played-a-business-guy-on-TV"? We cheapen the category to the point where we're getting an outcome that is actually a bit dangerous.
  • My revenge is living well... I want to go get on a freighter and go through the Panama Canal. All I've ever wanted in my life is freedom and access. I like being backstage and watching the weird, human drama of all of these strange personalities that politics attracts.
  • [O]ld lady sends her $25 to defeat Nancy Pelosi, and $22 of it goes to "fundraising costs".
  • [Y]ou can't have grievance politics without endless whining. I think if you got the Founding Fathers or the first hundred guys killed at Anzio Beach, brought them back to life, and said, "What do you think of all this?" "What a bunch of whiners. Have you ever had 400 Germans coming at ya? Put on a red hat and say Make America Great Again? What have you done, pal?"
  • If we have real, creative destruction here with Trump, and we have Armageddon or worse, out of the ruins will come new successes. New movements. And eventually, new rackets. And I'll be in on them. I admit it, I'm a racketeer.


Interview with Bill Kristol (2017)
Interview with Bill Kristol (20 June 2017), transcript
  • Trump has gotten six or seven stories in his presidency so far, that if they happened in 1981, there would have been serious talk about the president needing to resign. And that's gone now, that ray gun of, "We don't do this. You can’t get away with that" is pretty much gone.
  • Everything is a racial stereotype with him half the time; we've got to admit that about Trump.
  • [T]here was something about Obama that brought out the real alt-right crap. And because it was like one of these things where, "Hey, there are a bunch of cannibals that have joined our army, and they’re doing pretty well on the left flank." "Good, give them guns." You know? That kind of mentality. And so now, half the party is eaten by cannibals. And guess what? They’re eating us next.
  • Any good demagogue is very courageously telling people exactly what they want to hear.
  • People get what they vote for.


  • [T]he larger moral cowardice that has overtaken the party... Trump's shtick is that he's the grievance candidate... He's focused on the economically squeezed Caucasian voter... He is speaking to that rage. Mexican rapists, clever Chinese traders, African American people as dogs. That's Trump's DNA.
  • [W]e've got to break this equation of "I'm right, you're evil. So everything you do is suspect, everything you say is a lie, your facts are fake news." Because that is an acid on politics. We've got to get rid of that.
  • You want to win in politics? Stop wasting time being dragged screaming out of hearings and learn to f'ing organize. Signed, Reality.
  • GOP last tracks have been lurching in wrong direction. Big thanks to ol’ POTUS who is working so hard to make the midterms all about him and his epic racist madness.
Interview with Bill Kristol (2018)
Interview with Bill Kristol (7 February 2018), transcript
  • Well, you know, the future is always unmade, and my crystal ball is badly cracked because I’m one of the geniuses that said that "Trump is going to lose by a couple of million votes; he can't win." Well, he lost by a couple of million popular votes, but in the Electoral College, very narrowly, he was able to win.
  • If Napoleon had nuclear subs, we’d all be speaking French. So, the history thing can be oversold.
  • [H]ow popular is the president? Normally, they lose seats when they are kind of average popular. If they are unpopular, it tends to have a magnifying effect. And we do know, from averaging all the polls together, that Donald Trump is the most unpopular first-year president in the history of polling, easily. There’s nobody – he is first, second, and third place. So that is a bad thing... You know, there could be a foreign intervening event. Martians land with the same hair and say, you know, "Only he understands us, and we are going to save the planet." But, assuming normalcy, the forces are pretty bad.
  • [T]he more he governs, often the more trouble he gets into. He does not improve; he gets more unpopular, at least with the two-thirds of the country that is very suspicious of him.
  • Trump is going to go under an electron microscope. And everything I know about Donald Trump, and I know a fair bit about him going back to my Jersey days when he was operating in Atlantic City – that’s where I first kind of encountered him – he is one of the least likely people to survive an electron microscope into his life, I believe, and his business life of anybody. So, my instincts are strongly that they are going to find some stuff.
  • [T]he disease of the Republican Party is we treat base voters like swing voters, when, in fact, is you want to put the base under some pain to attract other people to get to a majority number.
  • [T]he only mark-to-market thing in politics is Election Day; everything else is hot air.
  • I've said the Romney scenario just because: Right about Putin, right about Obama, right about Trump. And he’s no drama; a nice boring presidency of competence.
  • In the end, they killed Rasputin.



Quotes about Murphy

  • I like Murphy. He's very mischievous. Very funny. He has no problem puncturing the conventional wisdom. He has that Irish twinkle in his eye.