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Ear to the Ground

The Problem With the Republicans

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Posted on Sep 5, 2011
Flickr / carolyntiry

Mike Lofgren retired this summer after 28 years as a congressional staffer, 16 of which he spent on the Republican side working with the House and Senate budget committees, and he wants to tell you something about the nature of the current Republican Party. Namely, that it has become a lunatic enterprise, different from that of the Democratic Party, through the willingness of its members to engage in any fantasy that suits them.

The author is correct in drawing a distinction between Republicans and Democrats. But perhaps Republicans’ actions are best understood if we refrain from psychological evaluations and consider motivation instead, which would suggest we are witnessing the behavior of unscrupulous, calculating careerists. —ARK

Mike Lofgren at Truthout:

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 [Bachmann] (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.

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By never_to_return, September 7, 2011 at 12:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

For the hundredth time, money is not the root of all evil.  The LOVE of money is.  Get it right.

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By gerard, September 6, 2011 at 11:35 am Link to this comment

Okay, so Republicans (pardon the whopping generality) believe in War, Religion and Money. Insert here a couple more whopping generalities:  War is morally repulsive (except to people who make money from it) and clearly counterproductive to all sides. Religion is only good if its practice leads to ethical behavior.  Money is (as someone said long ago) “the root of all evil.”

At this point we need to say also that Democrats believe in war, religion and money because they have obviously been supporting all three by acceedence if not by acceptance.  Most of them would identify themselves, if asked, as patriotic, god-fearing (whatever that means to them) supporters of capitalism in preference to other more “socialistic” forms of government—just like the Republicans—which is why nobody has any good new ideas. 

So it appears that Repubs and Dems, subscibing to much the same over-riding and highly propagandized virtues, are actually prevented by the limits of their very compliance from being able to think their way into better systems or sensible moderations of the present system.  They are stuck on third and the pitcher (who embodies vitally key ideas like common sense, or faith, hope and charity, or freedom and justice for all) is being allowed to walk off the field.
  The main problem appears to be massive political inertia in the face of irrational political excess.
Beware the Man on the White Horse!

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By Inherit The Wind, September 6, 2011 at 9:19 am Link to this comment

mrfreeze, September 5 at 9:24 pm Link to this comment

gerard - I really appreciate your observations regarding this piece; nevertheless, I truly enjoy the fact that the author has finally seen “through the game” of the Republican religion of avarice, hate and utter moral bankruptcy. Forgive me for writing this but I fucking hate the Republicans…always have…always will. As I mentioned below, I’ve never met a republican who doesn’t suffer some personality disorder that renders him/her incapable of compassion or higher level thinking…..
*******

I know how you feel! When Chris Christie, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins are seen as the “sane” Republicans, you know they are a dangerous, truly fascistic movement, determined to create a new feudalism or, more accurately, a new plantation system with banks, drug chains, WalMart and fast-food joints as the new plantations.

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mrfreeze's avatar

By mrfreeze, September 5, 2011 at 9:24 pm Link to this comment

gerard - I really appreciate your observations regarding this piece; nevertheless, I truly enjoy the fact that the author has finally seen “through the game” of the Republican religion of avarice, hate and utter moral bankruptcy. Forgive me for writing this but I fucking hate the Republicans…always have…always will. As I mentioned below, I’ve never met a republican who doesn’t suffer some personality disorder that renders him/her incapable of compassion or higher level thinking…..

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Misfiteye's avatar

By Misfiteye, September 5, 2011 at 8:02 pm Link to this comment

Michael is an “Unregistered commenter”.

He can’t vote.

Maybe he’ll be deported.

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prisnersdilema's avatar

By prisnersdilema, September 5, 2011 at 7:28 pm Link to this comment

The republican party has become an irrational mass of delusions. Their irrational belief
system, does not respond to reason.

They believe that they can win big over Obama, and that may well be. But they don’t
seem to understand that the reason Obama is so unpopular with Democrats is because
he has been just like a republican. On the other hand it’s unlikely that republicans will
gain much in either the house or the senate. In fact it’s more likely that they will lose
seats, in the senate.

Republicans always do poorly in bad economies. They can only win when the ecomy is
good.

What’s more likely to happen is that the house and senate will go Democratic, and we
will have a Repulican president, which would not be much different than what we have
now. If the country survives the next 14 months.

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By mrfreeze, September 5, 2011 at 5:25 pm Link to this comment

@ Michael - As usual, you’re another republican apologist who didn’t bother to note that a 28-year veteran of the “Republican” party wrote the article. It just confirms what the author discusses: republicans are nothing but ridiculous automatons who can only parrot what their (morally/ethically/culturally) masters tell them to. 

Oh, I don’t dispute the possibility that our politics are going to swing far further to the right (IMHO we are already a very-right-of-centre country). I just find it fascinating that Americans find any refuge in what Republicans claim as “country first” values. I’ve never met a Republican who didn’t have a serious personality disorder….Michael, you’re no exception.

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By diamond, September 5, 2011 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment

“What utter lib nonsense. I guess that why the American people are planning to
deliver massive defeat to the Democrats come November 2012.”

Really? So who are they going to vote for? Sarah Palin? Michelle Bachmann? That moron Rick Perry? The Mormon capitalist (what would Jesus say? Tsk, tsk) Mitt Romney? Ron Paul? The Greens? The Tea (shudder) Party? Rudy Giuliani? Newt Gingrich? Mr. Potato Head? Only the last one has any credibility at all and he’s not running.

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By gerard, September 5, 2011 at 2:33 pm Link to this comment

This long-winded piece which tells us everything we already know—and in the broadest possible generalities—needs to be cut into bite-sized pieces, put into a language young people can and will read in places where they will read it.  Otherwise it’s mostly singing to the choir—and again, without a single inspiring suggestion as to how to field practical opposition to such destructive policies. As it stands, it is itself a “casebook” in defeatism.

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By berniem, September 5, 2011 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment

The problem with republicans or whatever they otherwise call themselves is that they are in fact a full-blown fascist cabal poised to inflict an authoritarian ideogical and totalitarian regime on this nation where there will exist no arguement against global domination. Say hello to the 4th Reich! FREE BRADLEY MANNING!!!!!

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By Michael, September 5, 2011 at 1:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What utter lib nonsense. I guess that why the American people are planning to
deliver massive defeat to the Democrats come November 2012. I suggest you start
living in the real world as opposed to your little lib world.

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