Well, this is is refreshing. Michael Lofgren has written a column for TruthOut explaining why he left Capitol Hill after 30 years and why Republicans are not to be trusted and have devolved into a cult. Mike Lofgren was, until recently, a staff
September 4, 2011

Well, this is is refreshing. Michael Lofgren has written a column for TruthOut explaining why he left Capitol Hill after 30 years and why Republicans are not to be trusted and have devolved into a cult.

Mike Lofgren was, until recently, a staff member serving the Senate Finance Committee.

No one is spared in his column. As hard as he is on Republicans, he takes it to the Democrats, too, calling them cowards who quake in fear of Republican hard-lining. Here are some snippets that caught my eye:

On the debt ceiling debacle:

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.

On voting and Real Americans:

You can probably guess who those people are. Above all, anyone not likely to vote Republican. As Sarah Palin would imply, the people who are not Real Americans. Racial minorities. Immigrants. Muslims. Gays. Intellectuals. Basically, anyone who doesn't look, think, or talk like the GOP base. This must account, at least to some degree, for their extraordinarily vitriolic hatred of President Obama. I have joked in the past that the main administration policy that Republicans object to is Obama's policy of being black.[2] Among the GOP base, there is constant harping about somebody else, some "other," who is deliberately, assiduously and with malice aforethought subverting the Good, the True and the Beautiful: Subversives. Commies. Socialists. Ragheads. Secular humanists. Blacks. Fags. Feminazis. The list may change with the political needs of the moment, but they always seem to need a scapegoat to hate and fear.

On Democrats, messaging, and cowardice:

How do they manage to do this? Because Democrats ceded the field. Above all, they do not understand language. Their initiatives are posed in impenetrable policy-speak: the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The what? - can anyone even remember it? No wonder the pejorative "Obamacare" won out. Contrast that with the Republicans' Patriot Act. You're a patriot, aren't you? Does anyone at the GED level have a clue what a Stimulus Bill is supposed to be? Why didn't the White House call it the Jobs Bill and keep pounding on that theme?

You know that Social Security and Medicare are in jeopardy when even Democrats refer to them as entitlements. "Entitlement" has a negative sound in colloquial English: somebody who is "entitled" selfishly claims something he doesn't really deserve. Why not call them "earned benefits," which is what they are because we all contribute payroll taxes to fund them? That would never occur to the Democrats. Republicans don't make that mistake; they are relentlessly on message: it is never the "estate tax," it is the "death tax."

On this point, I could not agree more. I do not understand why Democrats can't master simple messaging. It always has to be nuanced, complicated, and wonky. Things I might understand but would have to boil down into far simpler terms for the average voter. It boggles my mind that Democrats (and this includes the President) cannot get a simple, easy message out there and hammer it home. Republicans seem to have mastered that.

You should read the whole article. There's much more in there about who runs the Republican party, why the religious sector is now mainstream and acting fully in concert with the oligarchy, and more. It's a brutal, frank, and devastating assessment of our politics today.

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