Murphy’s Law And His Conflicted Interests

By

Leonard Zwelling

I have been advised often that I need to retitle the book I wrote about Congress “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up,” (the actual new title of the revised edition is “The Premature Birth Of ObamaCare,” available soon).

Republican Representative Tim Murphy of western Pennsylvania, has just resigned because while he was a staunch pro-life member of the right, he proposed that his much younger paramour get an abortion after he impregnated her during an illicit relationship they were having. And they are both psychologists, yet!

My father always joked that I should “do what I say, not what I do.” This guy really means it. What a hypocrite! He’s what gives Congress its so well-deserved reputation for feckless behavior.

Representative Murphy reminds me of the past leadership of MD Anderson extolling the virtues of the core values while personally ascribing to none of them. This is simply unacceptable in a member of Congress or the leadership of an academic or corporate entity.

It is no surprise to me that a member of the vocal social police thinks the rules he believes ought to govern the country, not govern him. My favorite story about my favorite senator, Tom Coburn (R-OK) was when he proposed one hot July night that if the Senate passed a public insurance option in the health care bill, all the senators would have to use it. The Democrats running the discussion on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee mark-up of the then-proposed ObamaCare bill were appalled. They were more than happy to have their constituents use the public option, but did not want to give up their own Cadillac health insurance coverage. Senator Coburn called them on it saying we should do this, “Because We Are Leaders.” It’s a title of one of the chapters in my book.
I became a permanent member of the Tom Coburn fan club and still find him the most thoughtful of all the legislators I met on the Hill.

If you are going to lead, you must lead by example. My take away from Dr. Pisters’ town hall was that he gets this profoundly and expects that to be the way things will be run under his leadership.

Thank goodness. We don’t need any more financial conflicts of interest in the MD Anderson President’s office and the integrity that Dr. Pisters projects is a welcome change from the lack thereof that so characterized his predecessors.

As I have repeatedly said, transparency is the key to ethical leadership. Tell us what you are doing and tell us why. Let us know that you are above reproach and that you are not trying to use the resources of the State of Texas to develop your own drug company.

I feel certain Dr. Pisters will lead with integrity. Showing that he does not follow Tim Murphy’s law would be a great step in the right direction.

Leonard Zwelling