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Truthdigger of the Week

Truthdigger of the Week: Mike Lofgren

Every week, Truthdig recognizes an individual or group of people who spoke truth to power, blew the whistle or stood up in the face of injustice. You can see past winners here, and make your own nomination for our next awardee here.

On June 17, Mike Lofgren retired after 28 years as a congressional staff member. He worked for 16 of those years with Republicans on the House and Senate budget committees, but until this week, few people knew who he was. He would likely tell you that’s because he’s not a “lunatic” or a “crackpot” like so many Republicans who make up the “vital center” of the GOP today. But we now know who Lofgren is, and he’s our Truthdigger of the Week.

On Saturday, Truthout published a lengthy op-ed by Lofgren that received a surprising amount of attention, “Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult.” While not his first article to blast politicians for their utterly unproductive antics lately, the piece is refreshingly honest, engaging and downright sensible — characteristics that he would agree are difficult to find in today’s Republican politicians.

Lofgren accuses the Republican Party of practicing “political terrorism,” especially during the debt-ceiling crisis.

“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,” he wrote.

In nominating Lofgren, Truthdig reader Lucius said the article “is the best, hands down, evisceration of the Republican Party (and their Democratic enablers) yet published.” But Lofgren doesn’t simply “eviscerate” his own GOP. He draws the curtain wide, allowing us to see exactly why it is that the American people need to stay involved in the political process. Lofgren shows us, as Truthdig reader Carmen said, that “this is a big (Herculean) task. Let’s get on with it.”

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