Clint Murphy’s message to his GOP allies

Promotional photo for former Republican operative Clint Murphy
Promotional photo for former Republican operative Clint Murphy

If a conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged, is a liberal is a conservative who got sick? Consider, for example, Jim Galloway’s report on a Georgia Republican named Clint Murphy.

If Gingrich sits near the top of the Republican food chain, Murphy was one of those underpaid GOP soldiers who slogged through muddy grassroots in campaign after campaign.

U.S. Sen. Paul Coverdell’s patronage took Murphy to Washington in the 1990s. He volunteered in Casey Cagle’s successful effort to become lieutenant governor in 2006, took a paid position in John McCain’s 2008 presidential effort in Florida, and served as a salaried staffer during Karen Handel’s gubernatorial push in 2010.

And so Murphy’s Facebook post on Obamacare last week, addressed to his Republican friends, was something of a surprise: “When you say you’re against it, you’re saying that you don’t want people like me to have health insurance.”

On the surface, Murphy would appear to be the kind of guy who complains about “Obamacare” – he’s a white Southerner who’s spent his adult life working in support of conservative Republican politicians. But Murphy also had a bout with testicular cancer.

Fortunately, the treatments were successful and his cancer is in remission, but because campaign work is seasonal, Murphy also became a real-estate agent. And that’s when he ran into “the pre-existing thing.” Not only was Murphy a cancer survivor, but insurers also had a problem with his sleep apnea.

And so Murphy, despite his history of health trouble, has been forced to go without coverage.

As you might imagine, his views on the Affordable Care Act aren’t quite in line with other Southern Republicans’. Indeed, Murphy told the Atlanta Journal Constitution, in reference to his party, “We have people treating government like a Broadway play, like it’s some sort of entertainment.”

He added that if Obamacare is somehow repealed, it’s likely he’ll go bankrupt and end up on welfare.

But there’s an unexpected twist in this story.

…Murphy said he will be supporting [conservative Republican] Karen Handel for the U.S. Senate next year, come what may. He believes that much in her ability to find a practical path through the current health care swamp.

We called the Handel campaign, which informed us that the former secretary of state remains committed to “a full stop and defunding of Obamacare in its entirety now.” She has endorsed the effort by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and others to shut down the federal government this fall if it doesn’t happen.

Hmm. Clint Murphy wants his party to know, when Republicans say they’re against the federal health care system, they’re saying he shouldn’t have access to basic, affordable care. And yet, despite all of this, Murphy nevertheless supports a far-right Senate candidate who wants to destroy the law, take away his insurance opportunities, and shut down the federal government until Democrats agree to defund the system.

I guess old habits die hard.