Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult

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Editor’s Note: Mike Lofgren retired on June 17 after 28 years as a Congressional staffer. He served 16 years as a professional staff member on the Republican side of both the House and Senate Budget Committees.

By Mike Lofgren, Truthout | News Analysis | Link to Original

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.

Mike Lofgren, Budget Analyst on Defense for the House Budget Committee, provides information on the 2005 Defense Appropriations Bill and its ramifications and allocation of funding. Photo courtesy of Global Security.

Mike Lofgren, Budget Analyst on Defense for the House Budget Committee, provides information on the 2005 Defense Appropriations Bill and its ramifications and allocation of funding. Photo: Global Security.

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.

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3 Responses to Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult

  1. Eric Francis Eric Francis says:

    We smoked the peace pipe and listened to some hot Dead bootlegs last night, in fact. Then we made a big pot of soup, and gave it to the homeless. Actually — that all sounds like a great way to spend the day.

  2. Phenomenal article, thank you sooo much for posting it here. Rarely have I ever read anything so clear, concise, honest and totally terrifying.

    Now the question is: What, if anything, can be done to avert the impending holocaust that the GOP would bring upon this country as a gift to glorify it’s God? … pick a god, any god : the Almighty Corporation, Jeehzus, “righteousness”…any will do in their eyes so long as they cripple this country and feast upon its (our!) bones.

  3. Judith Gayle Judith Gayle says:

    An honest man. Diogenes would be astounded. I suspect the right is readying the news release of his covert socialist, communist, hippy-loving roots as we speak.

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