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Republican Party insider speaks out

Written By: - Date published: 7:45 am, September 10th, 2011 - 20 comments
Categories: us politics - Tags: ,

Recently retired Mike Lofgren spent 28 years as a Congressional staffer, 16 of them working for the Republicans. His take on that party is interesting, to say the least:

Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult

…Both parties are rotten – how could they not be, given the complete infestation of the political system by corporate money on a scale that now requires a presidential candidate to raise upwards of a billion dollars to be competitive in the general election? Both parties are captives to corporate loot. …

But both parties are not rotten in quite the same way. The Democrats have their share of machine politicians, careerists, corporate bagmen, egomaniacs and kooks. Nothing, however, quite matches the modern GOP.

To those millions of Americans who have finally begun paying attention to politics and watched with exasperation the tragicomedy of the debt ceiling extension, it may have come as a shock that the Republican Party is so full of lunatics. … The Congressional directory now reads like a casebook of lunacy. …

It should have been evident to clear-eyed observers that the Republican Party is becoming less and less like a traditional political party in a representative democracy and becoming more like an apocalyptic cult, or one of the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe. This trend has several implications, none of them pleasant. …

As for what they really believe, the Republican Party of 2011 believes in three principal tenets I have laid out below. The rest of their platform one may safely dismiss as window dressing:

1. The GOP cares solely and exclusively about its rich contributors. …

2. They worship at the altar of Mars. …

3. Give me that old time religion. Pandering to fundamentalism is a full-time vocation in the GOP. …

If Republicans have perfected a new form of politics that is successful electorally at the same time that it unleashes major policy disasters, it means twilight both for the democratic process and America’s status as the world’s leading power.

How did it come to this? Another article on the same site (Truthout) has this to say:

Framed approvingly by Walter Lippmann in the early 20th century, “spectator democracy” is the idea that the U.S. public is a “bewildered herd” that needs to be benevolently directed, manipulated and controlled by elites with the tools of propaganda and disinformation. As they consume content about politics, people gain the (false) impression that they’re actively participating in democracy – that they’re empowered, not bludgeoned, by the media. …

How did this happen to America? is the wrong question. After decades of corporate triumphalism, which has put wealth in fewer hands than ever before, and after generations of government being so demonized and compromised that it is no longer capable of checking that power, the better question may be: How could it not have happened?

The next presidential election in America is going to be a very depressing spectacle indeed.

20 comments on “Republican Party insider speaks out ”

  1. Tiger Mountain 1

    The yankees are on the highway to hell alright. They make it difficult for many people to vote, poor, blacks, immigrants and impossible for the millions of prisoners and ex felons, so a lot of people don’t vote.

    The fundies and Tea Party lot scream for more of the medicine that caused the current mess. “No future….” indeed as the punk rockers said.

  2. Bill 2

    I watched an online docu last night that’s very relevant to this post. It’s called “Orwell Rolls in His Grave”.

    If you have the broad band capacity, it’s very much worth the time to watch. (And it ain’t rugby! 🙂 )


    From the very size of the media monopolies and how they got that way to who decides what gets on the air and what doesn’t, ORWELL ROLLS IN HIS GRAVE moves through a troubling list of questions and news stories that go unanswered and unreported in the mainstream media. Are Americans being given the information a democracy needs to survive or have they been electronically lobotomized? Has the frenzy for media consolidation led to a dangerous irony where in an era of more news sources the majority of the population has actually become less informed? ORWELL ROLLS IN HIS GRAVE reminds us that 1984 is no longer a date in the future.

  3. Afewknowthetruth 3

    The parallels with NZ are obvious.

    Corporations hijacked the political process decades ago, and what passes for government policy is actually a business plan for corporations, whether National or Labour are in power.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      The parallels with NZ are obvious.

      Just what I was thinking. All parties seem more to be about supporting capitalism and kowtowing to business than doing what is right for the people and our land.

    • Policy Parrot 3.2

      Dangerous parallels for New Zealand indeed. The strategy of manufacturing crises, and denigrating government institutions and employees, and ostracising those who receive government monies (whether it be in the form of wages/benefits/transfers) is word for word, point for point the underlying direction of the National and ACT parties.

      As is their Republican counterparts, the National Party isn’t about conservatism anymore, its a radical movement directed at shrinking the state to a size “where it can be drowned in a bucket”.

      And the same anti-intellectual, catch-all anti-politician sentiment identified deeply pervades the general apolitical population here. And the phone is off the hook for same reason – the Lord could come and out and say that the political path to salvation on Earth is by voting Labour/Greens, and because people are so disconnected and distrustful of politicians, they wouldn’t hear it.

      What is the end game for the Randists? How much will the general apolitical population allow them to get away with before they pick up the phone again?

      Ad endendum: “I really like the portion of the column that points out the hypocrisy of the Randists who cling to their bibles – when Ayn herself was a militant atheist. Just like Jesus would have been a socialist from all contemporary retellings of his life. Reconcile that!”

  4. aerobubble 4

    What if? What if all this debt had never happened? We were now looking down
    the road of peak oil with discretionary spending money in our pockets?
    Smarter people would be investing more heavily in alternatives, veggie
    gardens, solar powered heating, bugging their MPs to push for more local
    public transport, etc, etc.
    But we have so little say, so little room for movement, because of this weight
    of debt, even those without debts are frustrated by the collapse of demand.
    Speculators have moved into the human food chain!!!

    Surely someone should arrest Thatcher and Murdoch, for crimes against humanity
    (and a ragbag of Americian politicians mostly Republician).

    We are so desperately in need of adults in power, where the frak are they?

  5. joe90 5

    The American Prospect: Glory Days.

    Forget women voting, civil rights, workplace protection—conservatives want to bring back the 19th century.

  6. Phaedrus 7

    As noted above, it is the NZ parallels that are deeply concerning. As in USA, this meme is spreading so widely that Labour are having to dip their toes into this territory to be noticed – again there is that parallel with the Democrats in the USA. Orwell wasn’t too far out, just early in his predictions. Brave New World is also looming, with the current education policies aimed at sorting children by socio-economic status, so that children of the ‘elite” (aka rich) get a full education, while the rest (those who don’t achieve due to socio-economic conditions – well substantiated by world wide evidence) are restricted to work skills training education. Not quite selective breeding of workers as in Brave New World, but its on the same road.

  7. joe90 8

    The New Yorker: GIVE ’EM HELL, BARRY?

    Obama made a forthright argument that primitive individualism has to be paired with what he called “another thread running throughout our history—a belief that we are all connected and that there are some things we can only do together, as a nation.” He cited the example of his (and history’s) favorite Republican:

    We all remember Abraham Lincoln as the leader who saved our Union. But in the middle of a Civil War, he was also a leader who looked to the future—a Republican president who mobilized government to build the transcontinental railroad, launch the National Academy of Sciences, and set up the first land-grant colleges.

    All true. But it helped that, in the middle of the Civil War, there were no Senators or Congressmen from the part of the nation that, at the time, styled itself the Confederate States of America. In other words, Lincoln didn’t have to deal with so many of the sort of people of the type we would today call “Republicans.”

  8. Oligarkey 9

    The GOP and the Democratic administration are both full of Zionists (less than 1% of the US population). That explains the apocalyptic fetish in American politics. The system is cracking however, and the times are a changing. The internet generation in particular are much more open to alternative narratives and are not trusting of the story that the MSM are projecting. This is encouraging. I just hope it leads to more openness and more democracy. Expect the establishment to fight this trend hard.

    • tc 9.1

      Yes and we should be concerned at the level of filtering going on in the web by governments these days, big brother is watching and tracking.

  9. Macro 10

    Welcome to the “Age of Stupid”.
    Now let us stand and sing praises to our great “Invisible Hand”.

  10. Irascible 11

    As the commentator notes the GOP has a very peculiar view of history, of American society and how society changes as this video clip received from a Republican friend shows:
    Recived from USA Contact as folllows:

    “It’s very distressing to me to see the radical left in this country destroy the base of American greatness, brick by brick. This video runs a few minutes, but it shows the incredible progress that has been made in their goals to reduce America to ashes….


    This is a video that all Americans should see. Unfortunately, even those that see it will not believe it. Tragically, this is part of the reason our morality is in a cesspool today. That is only one part of the master plan which is well under way to their stated success. All this started a little over 50 years ago, and they have made significant progress. Watch and share.”


    If these views are held by “responsible” senators then the chances of Obama getting any agreement to break out of the economic & social mess that is the American economy today is unlikely.

  11. Draco T Bastard 12

    Kinda on topic:

    It demonstrates the utter incoherence of being very concerned about a structural federal deficit but ruling out of consideration the policy that was largest single contributor to that deficit, namely the Bush-era tax cuts.

    This is the same logic we get from NAct here: Tax cuts, Tax cuts, Tax cuts, Oooo, a deficit, public service cuts, public service cuts, public service cuts, ZOMG, the economy’s crashing, quick, cut taxes.

    And around and around we go and no matter how much you point out that tax cuts caused the crash in the first place the RWNJs won’t believe you.

  12. mik e 13

    Their not feeling the pain and their money is going further because what they buy has reduced in cost shares and money borrowing.

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