It was theater.
All day long I have watched the Murphy Mark-up in snatches. I would get mad or disgusted or just blown away in disbelief and walk away and tell myself there had to be something to do that mattered. And in a little while I would be back. It was like watching a wreck. You want to scream and tell people to look out and then realizing they already knew what was about to happen.
It was “The Murphy”…. the new bipartisanship.
From the beginning Murphy has tried to frame his bill as the voice of the people. Today I think he might have even said that they were the ones who wrote it. It was always more than a bill. It was a crusade. Like all crusades the assumption was that the cause was obvious to those of good will and character and that anyone not on board was somehow flawed or duped by someone who was. Murphy was never big on the possibility of honest disagreement and he pitched his bill as a moral imperative.
He once said that those in Congress who objected to his bill were “bigoted” towards the seriously mentally ill when they tried to criticize him and then was astonished when they questioned the sincerity of his assurances he would work with them, listen to them, and address their concerns.
Today the facade wore off. It was not about mental health. It was not about building a common vision to sustain a system badly needing vision. It was only about one thing.
In the same way that it happened in over 50 or 60 attempts to repeal the ACA it was about whether or not you were Republican or a Democrat. The Republicans pitched a perfect game only everyone lost. To the best of my knowledge not one Democratic amendment saw the light of the day. It was a massacre. It was the new bipartisanship. “I gave you a fair chance to agree with me. What are you complaining about you had a chance.”
It was almost like being told you had democratic anosognosia and we need to commit you to real mental health reform for your own good.
Murphy has tried to claim his bill is above politics. After today it is clear his bill is all about politics.
The way ahead is long and today doesn’t even begin to decide the issue. But Murphy will have to make the trip without his purity. That got left in the dust today.