A long article, but well worth the read. -- Dallas

Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult

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.

Read the rest here.

Tags: GOP, democrats, lunacy, politics, republicans

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Replies to This Discussion

Well I did finally get through the whole piece. It was a very good article, thanks! I even linked to it on facebook. The gist of the article is that the new republicans are even more plutocratic and theocratic and bigger war mongerers than their predecessors. Hard to disagree with that. I believe we are heading down a path which leads us as a country away from the plutocracy we currently have, and the bankers and mega-corporations know it and are fighting like animals with their backs against the wall to stop it. This is making things very dangerous indeed, and the question is how much destruction will they cause before they are stopped?


Another thing on my mind is that there is increasing pressure on our government to give in to corporate demands. If they pass legislation which taxes corporations at higher rates, or prevents them from outsourcing, they can threaten to take their business/money elsewhere. On the other hand, if the government does nothing, average Americans get screwed out of jobs and government resources. The corporations thus have a stranglehold over us as a people - we don't want them to leave, but we don't want them to stay as they are either. It is like a bad marriage, where the corporations are like the wage-earning husband and the people are the abused housewife - we don't want him to rape us or berate us or dictate to us when we can leave off with the household chores so we can see our family, but if he leaves we won't be able to make ends meet. Again, this seems to be an unsustainable set of circumstances. Eventually, either we will have nothing left to lose, or nothing left to gain. Obviously, they want to continue to abuse us and milk us for all we're worth, so their strategy will be to leave us with nothing left to lose.

IDK, the future seems pretty depressing. Politicians are such scoundrels, and we are inundated with propaganda.


A corporations job is to make money. My problem is that they are willing to give up their humanity to do so.

Amen. I would say they are unwilling or unable to fully realize their humanity, certainly greed is part of human nature even if it is a baser part. My problem is that they and their buddies in Washington are willing to throw everyone else under the bus so they can keep getting richer, and they are too powerful to be stopped, and too smart to lose their power. Meanwhile, we as Americans are giving other nations reason to hate us and to seek our destruction. It makes me ashamed to be an American.

they and their buddies in Washington are willing to throw everyone else under the bus



Great article.  






Thanks for reading. : ) Nice pict.


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