And the Winner is: Radio Free GOP
The best podcast birthed by the 2016 Presidential campaign is Mike Murphy’s Radio Free GOP.
I say that as a Democrat who has already voted for Hillary. I am also a huge fan of Jacob Weisberg’s Trumpcast, which finishes a close second to Murphy’s podcast.
Other campaign-related shows on my iPhone are Keepin’ It 1600 hosted by four former aides of President Obama, The Run-Up by The New York Times, ABC’s Powerhouse Politics, The Axe Files with David Axelrod, John Dickerson’s Whistlestop, Cape Up with The Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart and Kristol Clear Podcast with The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol.
Those are some excellent shows, but Murphy’s podcast, also known as “the voice of the Republican resistance,” tops them all because of its polish, humor, insight, and great jingles.
Jingles? What is this, old-time radio? You betcha, grasshopper. Murphy took the time and expense to create catchy bumpers for his various segments. Here is the opener, sung by a chirpy chorus of professional singers:
He used to have a great career, but now he’s had enough. / Podcasting’s great therapy; his shrink says it’s great stuff. / Radio Free GOP!
Murphy most recently worked as head of Jeb Bush’s political action committee, Right to Rise. He has also consulted for John McCain, Rick Lazio, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Mitt Romney. He is no fan of Hillary, but he is appalled and aghast at Donald Trump, whom he has nicknamed “the Orange Menace.”
Murphy is a nifty writer. I assume he scripts his opening segment, a summary of the week’s campaign developments. Today’s begins with this:
Well we made it. We have crawled our way across the broken glass of this election, and here we are just six days out. The law says we have to have one of these people as president, so we’re going to have one. And now the voting has begun.
Murphy is also an engaging interviewer. Each week he invites a fellow operative, pollster, or journalist to join him for an extended conversation that isn’t limited to Trump bashing, though there is plenty of that.
My favorite shows feature Murphy’s erstwhile foes in the political arena, Democratic operatives like Bob Shrum, Paul Begala, and David Axelrod. These conversations are like balm to my wounded heart. I love listening to articulate Americans who disagree on ideology and policy and at the same time respect each other’s love of country and and skill in the essential art of politics.
Murphy has the timing and wordplay of a standup comedian, so I end up laughing out loud during his shows. When Trump loses, he plans to call for show trials for those who made the orange menace’s hijacking of the Republican Party possible. As usual, he’s only partly kidding.
What Mike Murphy is serious about — you can hear it through the jingles and hijinks — is democracy and rebuilding the Republican Party on something other than the obnoxious sands of Trumpism.
After his chat with Axelrod, Murphy speaks quietly to his listeners as sirens sound in the background. “I’m going to be quick,” he says, adding this:
The Orthodoxy Police are closing in. There’s a bounty on my head and Axelrod’s — I can’t believe we are in the same undisclosed location. But we will easily elude them. I will be back next week in a new undisclosed location. Until then, start thinking about show trials. We are going to build a reform conservative Republican party that can win elections after this debacle…And remember: In the end, victory will be ours! I’m Mike Murphy, thank you for listening.
And thank you, Mike Murphy, for following your shrink’s advice and creating this uniquely healing podcast!