An Apocalyptic Cult

September 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

In an interview published on September 4, 2012 with Bill Moyers (video & transcript), Mike Lofgren,  life long Republican and congressional aide, discusses the problems he sees within the Republican Party today. Lofgren blasts the Party’s economic platform, saying:

“The party is really oriented towards the concerns of the rich. It’s about cutting their taxes, reducing regulation on business, making things wide open for Wall Street. Now you’re not going to get anybody to the polls and consciously pull the lever for the Republicans if they say, “Our agenda is to further entrench the rich and, oh by the way, your pension may take a hit.”

So they use the culture wars quite cynically, as essentially rube bait to get people to the polls. And that explains why, for instance, the Koch brothers were early funders of Michele Bachmann, who is a darling of the religious right. They don’t care particularly, I would assume, about her religious foibles. What they care about is the bottom line. And these religious right candidates, many of them believing in the health and wealth, name it and claim it prosperity gospel, believe that the rich are sanctified and the poor punished”

Bill Moyers points out that many Republicans and those on the right would blame Obama for the worsening situation of the middle class, to which Lofgren respond by saying that those individuals have “selective amnesia”:

“I think they’re suffering from selective amnesia. They also don’t understand that George Bush doubled the national debt, that the original meltdown on Wall Street occurred during George Bush’s watch, and by the time Obama became president in 2009, we were already well into the recession. Now I don’t defend him in every way. I don’t say that everything he’s done is right by any means. I have all kinds of issues with him on the health care legislation. For instance, his willingness to play ball with pharma made the bill cost a lot more than it need.”

He also discusses the Republican Party’s obstructionism and his reasons for leaving the party, something many moderate Republicans have either been forced to do or have done willingly (see here and here for example):

“We were in a very, very serious situation in this country. If the economy had fallen any further, it would be comparable to the Great Depression. So what is Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in the Senate, what is his first priority for the country? Is it getting jobs for people? Is it restoring the solvency of the financial system? Is it foreign policy? Is it any of those things? No, it’s making sure Obama is a one-term president.

But now it’s basically obstruct. They’re no longer a parliamentary loyal opposition. They want to seize up the wheels of government. And to most people that means you don’t have federal inspectors of airliners. You don’t have federal inspection of food safety. Your national parks will be closed. Federal law enforcement will go home. That’s what that means.

I left the party because it was becoming an apocalyptic cult. Because you cannot govern a country of 310 million people that is the greatest economic power on earth and the greatest military power on earth as if it’s a banana republic. You can’t govern it with people who think that Obama was born overseas or who believe in all manner of nonsense about climate change. They don’t even know, apparently, where babies come from, if we’re to believe Todd Akin.”

Lofgren goes on to talk about the need for more regulations, less polarization in politics, and the negative influence of money in politics


Wealth Worship, War Worship, And The Permanent Culture War

August 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

Mike Lofgren, a Republican and former Congressional staffer, recently published a book titled The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted. In it, he discusses the rise of politicized religious fundamentalism and anti-intellectualism within the Republican Party. The following are two quotes from a longer excerpt that was released online:

“Having observed politics up close and personal for most of my adult lifetime, I have come to the conclusion that the rise of politicized religious fundamentalism may have been the key ingredient in the transformation of the Republican Party. Politicized religion provides a substrate of beliefs that rationalizes—at least in the minds of its followers—all three of the GOP’s main tenets: wealth worship, war worship, and the permanent culture war.”

He also describes the Tea Party as a religiously fundamentalist authoritarian movement:

“The Tea Party, which initially described itself as wholly concerned with debt, deficit, and federal overreach, gradually unmasked itself as being almost as theocratic as the activists from the religious right that Armey had denounced only a few years before. If anything, they were even slightly more disposed than the rest of the Republican Party to inject religious issues into the political realm. According to an academic study of the Tea Party, “[T]hey seek ‘deeply religious’ elected officials, approve of religious leaders’ engaging in politics and want religion brought into political debates.” The Tea Party faithful are not so much libertarian as authoritarian, the furthest thing from a “live free or die” constitutionalist.”

Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann are two of the several politicians he mentions as adherents of “Christian Dominionism”, the idea that Christians are destined to take over the political process and eventually establish a theocratic state.

The quotes are from page 1 and 4 respectively (of the longer excerpt).

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