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Thread: GOP Defector Spills the Beans

  1. #1
    Havakasha is offline

    GOP Defector Spills the Beans

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/article...publicans.html

    GOP Defector Spills the Beans
    Sep 5, 2011 2:51 PM EDT
    Mike Lofgren loyally served the GOP on Capitol Hill for 28 years. But no longer. Michael Tomasky on what the defection of a Republican staffer tells us about the state of the party.

    Many people are buzzing about an article at truthout.org by one Mike Lofgren, a longtime Republican staff aide on Capitol Hill who just couldn’t take the crazy anymore, left his job, and produced this buzzy (and quite well-written) lamentation about his party’s tactics and goals. If you haven’t read it, you must. There was nothing in there that surprised me. I’ve been saying all these things for a long time (as have many others). What continues to dumbfound me is why Lofgren’s assertions are even controversial, because as long as they remain so, “neutral” observers who deny this reality bear some responsibility for the sad shape our politics is in.

    I should say before we get to the gravamen of Lofgren’s case that there is something in pieces like this that is a little bit too convenient for my side: a Republican with three decades of service to his party writes a scabrous attack on them, and it’s eloquent to boot! It makes me proceed with a little caution. On the other hand, James Fallows wrote over the weekend that while Lofgren was unknown to most of us, “among people who have covered or worked in the national-security field, he is a familiar and highly esteemed figure.” Jim being one of the very top journalists in the country, that’s a pretty valuable testimonial that eases the mind somewhat.
    The Lofgren piece is full of harsh observations and accusations, but here’s just a little sampling:


    • The debt-ceiling debate was an act of “political terrorism,” in which the GOP concocted a crisis and used it to ensure that the party's unprecedented demands were met. He writes: “Everyone knows that in a hostage situation, the reckless and amoral actor has the negotiating upper hand over the cautious and responsible actor because the latter is actually concerned about the life of the hostage, while the former does not care.”

    • The August FAA reauthorization fight was another instance such of hostage-taking: “Republicans were willing to lay off 4,000 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) employees, 70,000 private construction workers, and let FAA safety inspectors work without pay, in fact, forcing them to pay for their own work-related travel—how prudent is that?—in order to strong arm some union-busting provisions into the FAA reauthorization.”

    • The GOP plan to discredit government in the people’s eyes is very conscious: “A couple of years ago, a Republican committee staff director told me candidly (and proudly) what the method was to all this obstruction and disruption. Should Republicans succeed in obstructing the Senate from doing its job, it would further lower Congress's generic favorability rating among the American people. By sabotaging the reputation of an institution of government, the party that is programmatically against government would come out the relative winner.”

    • As for belief as opposed to tactics, the party basically really cares only about the rich. Actually, Lofgren doesn’t say “basically.” He says “solely and exclusively.” And he explains how they’ve camouflaged this with talk of protecting small businesses and so on.

    There is much, much more. He’s not very happy either about his party’s militarism, its cynical use of religion, its total opposition to doing anything about the environment, and other matters, but most especially its neo-Leninist posture in which political power trumps everything.
    When Lofgren first started working on the Hill, in 1983, the House and Senate were still full of moderate Republicans—and even Reagan himself was a quisling by today’s standards.
    Some with short memories may ask, how could such a person have been a Republican anyway? Answer: there used to be loads of Republicans like Lofgren. George H.W. Bush and his EPA secretary, William Reilly, put the first serious cap-and-trade proposals on the table. When Lofgren first started working on the Hill, in 1983, we were into the Reagan Revolution, granted, but the House and Senate were still full of moderate Republicans, and even Reagan himself, as has often been observed, was a quisling by today’s standards. And if you want to go back to Lofgren’s youth ... well, Google Thomas Kuchel or Charles Percy.
    Last edited by Havakasha; 09-10-2011 at 12:20 PM.

  2. #2
    Havakasha is offline
    Part 2 of previous post.

    I spend a part of virtually every day wondering where all this will lead. Will this fever break in two years? Five? Ten? What if it doesn’t break until, oh, 2028? Or never? The goals of today’s conservative movement are, shall we say, audacious. No public old-age pensions. No public old-age medical coverage. Taxes far, far lower than they are now, especially on that blessed and praiseworthy top 1 percent. Regulations gutted to the point of nonexistence. All achieved through the kind of political-terrorism tactics Lofgren describes. It’s going to take them time to accomplish these things. Our system moves slowly, even for Leninists. But there is no reason to think they won’t keep at it for many years to come.

    Every time I hear NPR (that allegedly socialistic outfit) describe the latest act of terrorism in neutral terms, the reporter taking care to blame “both sides,” interviewing an expert who is prudent enough to know that on NPR’s 501(c)(3) air she must, if she wants to be quoted again someday, hold responsible the mysterious and mostly unnamable failings of the amorphous “system” for this or that Republican hostage-taking exercise, I wonder if these people hear themselves and understand how they’re misleading America. NPR is better than most places, so surely they must, just as many elected Republicans must just as surely be a little ashamed of how they’re acting in public. What can change it? Only a crisis (I mean an actual one) so deep and threatening that even NPR must call things what they are, and even some Republicans must say, “OK, there is such a thing as collective action, and we’d better undertake it.” Until then? More Lofgrens.
    Last edited by Havakasha; 09-10-2011 at 03:19 PM.

  3. #3
    Havakasha is offline
    Here is the actual article by Mike Lofgren. It is rather long but very informative.

    http://www.truth-out.org/goodbye-all...ult/1314907779

    Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult
    Saturday 3 September 2011
    by: 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.

    The debt ceiling extension is not the only example of this sort of political terrorism. Republicans were willing to lay off 4,000 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) employees, 70,000 private construction workers and let FAA safety inspectors work without pay, in fact, forcing them to pay for their own work-related travel - how prudent is that? - in order to strong arm some union-busting provisions into the FAA reauthorization.

    Everyone knows that in a hostage situation, the reckless and amoral actor has the negotiating upper hand over the cautious and responsible actor because the latter is actually concerned about the life of the hostage, while the former does not care. This fact, which ought to be obvious, has nevertheless caused confusion among the professional pundit class, which is mostly still stuck in the Bob Dole era in terms of its orientation. For instance, Ezra Klein wrote of his puzzlement over the fact that while House Republicans essentially won the debt ceiling fight, enough of them were sufficiently dissatisfied that they might still scuttle the deal. Of course they might - the attitude of many freshman Republicans to national default was "bring it on!"

    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.

    In his "Manual of Parliamentary Practice," Thomas Jefferson wrote that it is less important that every rule and custom of a legislature be absolutely justifiable in a theoretical sense, than that they should be generally acknowledged and honored by all parties. These include unwritten rules, customs and courtesies that lubricate the legislative machinery and keep governance a relatively civilized procedure. The US Senate has more complex procedural rules than any other legislative body in the world; many of these rules are contradictory, and on any given day, the Senate parliamentarian may issue a ruling that contradicts earlier rulings on analogous cases.

    The only thing that can keep the Senate functioning is collegiality and good faith. During periods of political consensus, for instance, the World War II and early post-war eras, the Senate was a "high functioning" institution: filibusters were rare and the body was legislatively productive. Now, one can no more picture the current Senate producing the original Medicare Act than the old Supreme Soviet having legislated the Bill of Rights.

    Far from being a rarity, virtually every bill, every nominee for Senate confirmation and every routine procedural motion is now subject to a Republican filibuster. Under the circumstances, it is no wonder that Washington is gridlocked: legislating has now become war minus the shooting, something one could have observed 80 years ago in the Reichstag of the Weimar Republic. As Hannah Arendt observed, a disciplined minority of totalitarians can use the instruments of democratic government to undermine democracy itself.

    John P. Judis sums up the modern GOP this way:

    "Over the last four decades, the Republican Party has transformed from a loyal opposition into an insurrectionary party that flouts the law when it is in the majority and threatens disorder when it is the minority. It is the party of Watergate and Iran-Contra, but also of the government shutdown in 1995 and the impeachment trial of 1999. If there is an earlier American precedent for today's Republican Party, it is the antebellum Southern Democrats of John Calhoun who threatened to nullify, or disregard, federal legislation they objected to and who later led the fight to secede from the union over slavery."
    Last edited by Havakasha; 09-10-2011 at 12:22 PM.

  4. #4
    Havakasha is offline
    A couple of years ago, a Republican committee staff director told me candidly (and proudly) what the method was to all this obstruction and disruption. Should Republicans succeed in obstructing the Senate from doing its job, it would further lower Congress's generic favorability rating among the American people. By sabotaging the reputation of an institution of government, the party that is programmatically against government would come out the relative winner.

    A deeply cynical tactic, to be sure, but a psychologically insightful one that plays on the weaknesses both of the voting public and the news media. There are tens of millions of low-information voters who hardly know which party controls which branch of government, let alone which party is pursuing a particular legislative tactic. These voters' confusion over who did what allows them to form the conclusion that "they are all crooks," and that "government is no good," further leading them to think, "a plague on both your houses" and "the parties are like two kids in a school yard." This ill-informed public cynicism, in its turn, further intensifies the long-term decline in public trust in government that has been taking place since the early 1960s - a distrust that has been stoked by Republican rhetoric at every turn ("Government is the problem," declared Ronald Reagan in 1980).

    The media are also complicit in this phenomenon. Ever since the bifurcation of electronic media into a more or less respectable "hard news" segment and a rabidly ideological talk radio and cable TV political propaganda arm, the "respectable" media have been terrified of any criticism for perceived bias. Hence, they hew to the practice of false evenhandedness. Paul Krugman has skewered this tactic as being the "centrist cop-out." "I joked long ago," he says, "that if one party declared that the earth was flat, the headlines would read 'Views Differ on Shape of Planet.'"

    Inside-the-Beltway wise guy Chris Cillizza merely proves Krugman right in his Washington Post analysis of "winners and losers" in the debt ceiling impasse. He wrote that the institution of Congress was a big loser in the fracas, which is, of course, correct, but then he opined: "Lawmakers - bless their hearts - seem entirely unaware of just how bad they looked during this fight and will almost certainly spend the next few weeks (or months) congratulating themselves on their tremendous magnanimity." Note how the pundit's ironic deprecation falls like the rain on the just and unjust alike, on those who precipitated the needless crisis and those who despaired of it. He seems oblivious that one side - or a sizable faction of one side - has deliberately attempted to damage the reputation of Congress to achieve its political objectives.

    This constant drizzle of "there the two parties go again!" stories out of the news bureaus, combined with the hazy confusion of low-information voters, means that the long-term Republican strategy of undermining confidence in our democratic institutions has reaped electoral dividends. The United States has nearly the lowest voter participation among Western democracies; this, again, is a consequence of the decline of trust in government institutions - if government is a racket and both parties are the same, why vote? And if the uninvolved middle declines to vote, it increases the electoral clout of a minority that is constantly being whipped into a lather by three hours daily of Rush Limbaugh or Fox News. There were only 44 million Republican voters in the 2010 mid-term elections, but they effectively canceled the political results of the election of President Obama by 69 million voters.

    This tactic of inducing public distrust of government is not only cynical, it is schizophrenic. For people who profess to revere the Constitution, it is strange that they so caustically denigrate the very federal government that is the material expression of the principles embodied in that document. This is not to say that there is not some theoretical limit to the size or intrusiveness of government; I would be the first to say there are such limits, both fiscal and Constitutional. But most Republican officeholders seem strangely uninterested in the effective repeal of Fourth Amendment protections by the Patriot Act, the weakening of habeas corpus and self-incrimination protections in the public hysteria following 9/11 or the unpalatable fact that the United States has the largest incarcerated population of any country on earth. If anything, they would probably opt for more incarcerated persons, as imprisonment is a profit center for the prison privatization industry, which is itself a growth center for political contributions to these same politicians.[1] Instead, they prefer to rail against those government programs that actually help people. And when a program is too popular to attack directly, like Medicare or Social Security, they prefer to undermine it by feigning an agonized concern about the deficit. That concern, as we shall see, is largely fictitious.

    Keep reading by clicking on link at top of the page for this article.
    Last edited by Havakasha; 09-10-2011 at 12:24 AM.

  5. #5
    Havakasha is offline
    Did you read this one yet Siriusly Long? Did you read it but not comment on it cause it doesnt
    agree with your ideological beliefs?

  6. #6
    SiriuslyLong is offline
    Guru
    SiriuslyLong's Avatar
    Joined: Jan 2009 Location: Ann Arbor, MI Posts: 3,560
    Quote Originally Posted by Havakasha View Post
    Did you read this one yet Siriusly Long? Did you read it but not comment on it cause it doesnt
    agree with your ideological beliefs?
    I am simply not interested in Truthout propoganda. You see, I know what is says already - democrats are good, republicans are bad, and that misses the mark. They are both bad, but republicans slightly less in that they seem to respect the foundation of this country. For example, Thomas Jefferson said this, "The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits." And this, "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." I agree with both of those quotes. You?

  7. #7
    Havakasha is offline
    Did you read the article? Its by Mike Lofgren. Its not propaganda. He is a Republican staffer for many years.
    Where did you get that idea that the article was "propaganda" Very weird.

    Mike Lofgren retired on June 17th AFTER 28 YEARS AS A REPUBLICAN CONGRESSIONAL STAFFER.
    He served 16 years as a professional staff member on the Republican side of both the House and Senate
    Budget Committes.

    When you answer my questions about Peter Schiff's predictions,
    my questions on Climate Change, my questions
    on the presidential campaign, and others, all of which i have asked you
    mulitple times over the course of the past weeks I will
    be happy to respond to any questions you post.
    Last edited by Havakasha; 09-20-2011 at 12:02 AM.

  8. #8
    Atypical is offline
    SL constantly shows he has the attention span of a gnat. In one second the gnat's brain can decide, though, whether an essay has merit.

    Unfortunately, the gnat is never right but doesn't know it. He wouldn't care anyway.
    Last edited by Atypical; 09-16-2011 at 04:59 PM.

  9. #9
    SiriuslyLong is offline
    Guru
    SiriuslyLong's Avatar
    Joined: Jan 2009 Location: Ann Arbor, MI Posts: 3,560
    Quote Originally Posted by Atypical View Post
    SL constantly shows he has the attention span of a gnat. In one second the gnat's brain can decide, though, whether an essay has merit.

    Unfortunately, the gnat is never right but doesn't know it. He wouldn't care anyway.
    "Liberals seek to insult and discredit anyone who dares to disagree with them"

    Why do you fit that stereotype above so damn well?

    You two are like the Jehovah's Witness's that come knocking at my door on Saturday mornings..... except they are polite.

    Let's be real here. You want a central government that is highly integrated into society and the economy. I don't. That wasn't the idea behind America. Government sets the contextual framework, then sets us free to work within that framework. I respect that.

  10. #10
    Havakasha is offline
    DID YOU READ THE MIKE LOFGREN ARTICLE OF THIS THREAD?

    Dont be downright silly. I quess your insults and attempts at discrediting me come from a purer place. lmfao. You seem to reach for those when you are on the losing end of arguments. Think Peter Schiff. (I couldnt resist that. You set yourself up for that with your unwillingness to be honest and acknowledge the many mistaken economic predicitons he has made)

    We are not TOO FAR (lol) off on our philosophy of govt. Its just that I want a more effective govt not a weakened one; and I certainly dont think blaming Gov't for EVERY problem is a wise or accurate position. For whatever reason you seem to have a distorted view of my opinions.

    When you answer basic questions posed to you about your postions you will gain more credibility.
    Last edited by Havakasha; 09-20-2011 at 10:56 AM.

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