Remember the rich guy who gave away a personal fortune to a 26-year-old Times Square psychic in hopes of reuniting with his dead ex-girlfriend? Mike Murphy, who drained the extremely moneyed conservative super PAC Right to Rise trying to get Jeb Bush to the White House, proudly played the role of that man in this year’s election.
Murphy, who lives in a $2.6 million home near Beverly Hills, was profiled today in the Los Angeles Times. According to the paper, Right to Rise “spent most of the $119 million it raised” on its entirely fruitless and quixotic effort to push Jeb on the American public, with the only result of that effort being the repeated national humiliation of the candidate himself. That said, there are a few key differences between Murphy and Niall Rice, the other man who was swindled chasing a ghost.
Murphy, obviously, did not spend hundreds of millions of dollars of his own money, whereas Rice personally lost $718,000. One point for Murphy. That said, Rice at least acknowledges the horrible folly of his ways. In speaking with the New York Times, Rice sounded very much like a man looking back on his life in shock: “I just got sucked in,” he said. “That’s what people don’t understand. ‘How can you fall for it?’”
Murphy, on the other hand, sounds very happy he fell for it—“it” being pissing away the equivalent of a small nation’s GDP on, generously, the fifth-most popular Republican candidate in a field comprised entirely of openly unlikable bottom-feeders. In the one quote Murphy gave for the story, he says:
“I believe in Jeb. I’m proud of him,” he said. “Jeb was never going to run a grievance or anger campaign, and I’m proud he didn’t.”
Other folks quoted in the piece might argue that Murphy himself played the role of psychic, attempting to connect rich donors with their dead ex-girlfriend Jeb Bush. Says one GOP consultant named Don Sipple:
“Mike, I believe, is the kind of guy who sort of flies by the seat of his pants and makes it up as he goes along,” Sipple said. “He’s charming … but a lot of it is snake oil.”
But Murphy, as the glowing profile elucidates, was a well-regarded Republican wheel-greaser who had a history of success running campaigns for Mitt Romney and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Now, he’s just the guy who wasted $120 million on the candidate who had to beg his audience to clap for him. Notes the western Times solemnly:
Though the biggest political prize — helping win the White House — has eluded Murphy, there doesn’t seem to be a sequel in sight, for now.