There’s an important story in The Atlantic written for anyone who loves this country, or who plans on living in it for the next 20 years or so.

It’s written by Michael Lofgren, a respected Congressional staffer who worked for Republican legislators on defense and budget issues for nearly 30 years before retiring this summer. 

Lofgren explains what is REALLY going on. Unfortunately, it doesn’t explain what we can do to stop the craziness, except vote. In large numbers. In every election.  

Below is an excerpt. Click on the link for the rest. This story is long but well worth the time.

Goodbye to All That: 
Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult
September 2011by: Mike Lofgren, Truthout | News Analysis 

Barbara Stanwyck: "We're both rotten!"

Fred MacMurray: "Yeah - only you're a little more rotten." -"Double Indemnity" (1944)

Those lines of dialogue from a classic film noir sum up the state of the two political parties in contemporary America. 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. The main reason the Democrats' health care bill will be a budget buster once it fully phases in is the Democrats' rank capitulation to corporate interests - no single-payer system, in order to mollify the insurers; and no negotiation of drug prices, a craven surrender to Big Pharma.

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. To be sure, the party, like any political party on earth, has always had its share of crackpots, like Robert K. Dornan or William E. Dannemeyer. But the crackpot outliers of two decades ago have become the vital center today: Steve King, Michele Bachman (now a leading presidential candidate as well), Paul Broun, Patrick McHenry, Virginia Foxx, Louie Gohmert, Allen West. The Congressional directory now reads like a casebook of lunacy.

It was this cast of characters and the pernicious ideas they represent that impelled me to end a nearly 30-year career as a professional staff member on Capitol Hill. A couple of months ago, I retired; but I could see as early as last November that the Republican Party would use the debt limit vote, an otherwise routine legislative procedure that has been used 87 times since the end of World War II, in order to concoct an entirely artificial fiscal crisis. Then, they would use that fiscal crisis to get what they wanted, by literally holding the US and global economies as hostages.



09/07/2011 11:19

Thanks for posting this story and Mr. Lofgren's comments which reflect on both parties at the national level.

We really do need to start taking our country back, and one of the ways to do that is to start "de-electing" those who have led us to this point.

09/10/2011 16:46

I was so glad to see this when The Atlantic was delivered to my mailbox. I worry sometimes that my perceptions are as skewed left by my choice of input as the tea party folks' are skewed right. I wonder if I can trust my own opinions, so I try to gather some neutral sources and force myself to spend some air time and reading time checking out the right wing. Articles like this one, while they have an agenda of their own, help me trust my own instincts a little more.

09/10/2011 16:55

Diane and Nance---Mike Lofgren confirmed our worst suspicions, but it's a great relief, no? It's not just our warped imaginations, bent perspectives, twisted brains or lousy instincts. No excuses. There's a similar piece on NY Review of Books, which might have been written before the Lofgren piece. It's worth reading, too.
Maybe the sea change we've been waiting for has begun. As you say, Diane, WE have to be part of that change, in our own way.


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