Michael Lofgren, The GOP “Cult,” and the Same Old Same Old


Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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98 Responses

  1. Avatar Aaron W says:


    I felt the same way you did after I read that post but I don’t think I could have possibly put it better.

    Also, to put a link to another post: <a href=”URL here”>Report

    • Avatar Aaron W says:

      Er, sorry, forgot the rest: &it;a href=”URL here”>link text</a>Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        Aaron – First off, thanks for both the ind words and the help. (I must confess, however, that I am such a blogging neophyte I have no idea what you just told me to do.)Report

        • Avatar Aaron W says:

          No problem.

          I don’t know what blogging software you’re using to write posts, but if you can put in HTML tags (what I tried to have you do) you can put in links by doing the following:

          If you want to have something like this appear:

          Read the Lofgren piece here

          You would type into your blog post

          Read the Lofgren piece <a href=”http://www.truth-out.org/goodbye-all-reflections-gop-operative-who-left-cult/1314907779″>here</a>

          The tag <a> creates a link to the URL referred to by href=”http://www.website.com” that continues until it encounters the tag that ends it </a> after which the link will end and the text will return to normal. I hope that’s much more clear.Report

  2. Avatar Max says:

    so…what you’re saying is, it’s your word against his?

    He’s got 20+ years experience as a respected congressional staffer, and you’ve got what exactly?

    and before you come crying with your ‘appeal to authority fallacy,’ let me just come right out and say that in this case – a discussion of the structural disasters facing the congress – it absolutely does matter that he has been inside it for decades, and you have not.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      “so…what you’re saying is, it’s your word against his?”


      Max, can I ask you to restate your objection here? I can’t tell if you think that I am accusing Lofgren of being a lier, or a hack, or what, but in any case I think you might have misread what I wrote. I really, really liked his piece, and said so. I think all of his observations were dead on, but that he drew the wrong final conclusion from them. I certainly said a lot of unflattering things about the GOP (as did Lofgren, for largely the same reasons) and a couple about the DNC as well; are you misinterpreting those for being unflattering things about Lofgren?

      Or is it that, as you say, I cannot question his conclusions until I have worked as a staffer for 30+ years to beat his 20+? If that’s the case, we’re probably just going to have to agree to disagree. Otherwise, I’d be more interested to hear what part of my observations or conclusions you think I got wrong, and why.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew says:

        Tod, I have to say I’m also not sure I understand what the crux of your difference with Lofgren is.Report

        • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

          MD, I would say that I agree with Lofgren’s observations, but that I disagree with both his theory of what has brought about those observations, and his conclusions about where the GOP is headed.

          Reading all of the comments this morning, it occurs to me that I did a very, very poor job writing the post, and might try to reword later today.Report

          • Avatar Michael Drew says:

            And I should reread the piece to try to get what the one main conclusion you’re referring to is, cuz I just don’t really remember much of one. I mainly remember the observations.Report

  3. Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

    Mr. Kelly, is this another “Democrats are bad but the Republicans are worse” post? I scarcely know where to start to unpack it.

    How about in defense of the Democratic Party? That would be nice, eh?

    were the Democratic Party to determine that long-term power could be gained by selling minorities down the river, they’d do it in a heartbeat.

    I deny this within a heartbeat. The American people as a whole had an epiphany c. 1964, that legal distinctions based on race sucked, and were impermissible in good conscience. I submit that even Democrats, as confused as they are, remain Americans of good conscience.


    Democrats like to point out that they’re the party that helps the underprivileged, especially minorities. It forgets to remind everyone that for a much longer period of time it ran on anti-black fear mongering that makes today’s GOP look like a Jesse Jackson campaign, and switched when it saw an electoral opportunity.

    Cannot agree with the thrust. The American consensus, Dem and Rep, finally found the grapes to do what was right in the eyes of God and their fellow man c. 1964.

    And the Reps oversell themselves as Party of Lincoln. Although the “Dixiecrat-cum-Republicans” riff is equally oversold, the GOP did not agitate strongly enough in all those lost years of Jim Crow. There is no credit or blame to be accorded that isn’t shared by each party, and the American [white] people as a whole.

    I mean, I don’t want this thread to devolve into a What Obama Should Be Blamed For vs. What George Bush Should Be Blamed For, but does Lofgren even remember the past decade?

    Well, it already did devolve there, along the lines of, “I’m not going to mention this,” but then mentioning it, then building one’s case on it. See paragraph 1. This sounds like more Andrew Sullivan, playing his both ends against the middle.

    BHO, unless a GOP opponent scares the electorate away, stinks on ice, to quote libertarian Matt Welch about 6 months into BHO’s first term. He stinks on ice.

    This is not to say that the GOP cannot come up with a worse candidate. John Kerry, an unredeemable POS poseur then and now, comes to mind. A decent liberal candidate could have taken Dubya to the cleaners in ’04, altho none come to mind. A Bill Clinton if one existed, to be sure.

    In short, my friend Kelly, I demur. BHO might win re-election, but he has squandered his chance to lead the nation anywhere. The only question is whether we have a lame duck for one year or five.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      Tom – As odd as I find it that you simultaneously disagree with me for arguing “Ds good Rs bad” and “you’re being to hard on the Ds,” I have a few quick responses:

      Regarding race relations – perhaps that was too charges an example to use. The point I was bring to make was that parties drift – quickly or slowly – to where they think they can get coalitions of voting blocks that give them money, power and influence. There are indeed sacred cows in each party, but I would argue those cows are only sacred to the extent that they keep and impassion voting blocks. In fact, here’s a prediction for you: In 20 years the Moral Imperative that we must protect our families and marriages from the gays won’t exist anymore as a GOP plank or strategy.

      And I think you missed the point about the last 10 years completely. I am not trying to make this a D vs. R issue; rather I am trying to say that at the end of the day both parties act in a way that gives greater influence and power to themselves.Report

      • Avatar wardsmith says:

        Tod, in your defense I think you wrote an excellent article (at least the one on my screen at this time, don’t know if it was edited). A similar R vs D example might be to point to an old bull of the Democratic party such as Sen Scoop Jackson. Hawkish as hell and a lot of other things that don’t place him squarely in the pantheon of current D heroes.Report

  4. Avatar Will Truman says:

    I suppose it says as much about me as it does you, but I think his criticisms of Democrats here on racial issues is… tepid… and a bit off the mark. Like you’re trying to be fair, but more completely understanding one set of criticisms than the other. Unfortunately, to really get into it, it seems I would have to dust off the old Partisan Armor, which I am reluctant to do.

    But to get to the race issue in particular, since Barack Obama secured the Democratic nomination, there have been two sets of behavior bumping in to one another. On the one side, you have certain Republicans drawing up racial imagery, intentionally and unintentionally, to denigrate their political opponent with as much of the kitchen sink as possible without being called on it. On the other side, you have certain Democrats trying to draw as tight a connection as possible between any criticism of Barack Obama and racist intent in large part to declare as much criticism as possible as being out of bounds, even when such criticism could and would apply just as easily to a white candidate.

    This dynamic plays out on all sorts of issues with race or just tangentially related to race. And there is enough truth to racism on the right that the left simply cannot let it go unchecked even when they’re not playing cards. But if everything that could be conceived as racist is taken off the table, a two-sided conversation cannot be had, isn’t had, and that’s just fine with the one side still speaking while the thoughtful ones on the other side are trying to figure out how to say what they want to say and the ones speaking up are often the ones that justify the censure to begin with.

    It’s there, and with the blithe personal dismissal of people in demographics with which they disagree, and not with the behavior of people who called themselves Democrats 50 years ago, where we can look and say “certain behavior is not limited to Republicans.”

    It’s 2 in the morning. This entire comment may not be coherent.Report

    • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

      On the one side, you have certain Republicans drawing up racial imagery

      I object, Mr. Truman. “Certain” means nothing except as an rhetorical device, of innuendo, unless you have some certain someones specifically in mind, in which case you should simply name the bastards.

      And there is enough truth to racism on the right that the left simply cannot let it go unchecked even when they’re not playing cards.

      There is not enough truth in this statement to argue against. I’m hoping you’ll retract it in the morning, Will. First of all, the best rhetorical strategy would be to “let it go unchecked,” and have the equality of the black man stand as self-evident.

      [That BHO himself is a crappy president doesn’t mean he still wasn’t the better choice over the crabby old white guy.]

      And whatever “the left” opposing racism means–names, chapter & verse, pls—we [me] of the right will join in your opprobrium, because yr homie here don’t play that shit either.

      As for “playing the [racism] cards,” this should not be glossed over lightly. That red-baiting and race-baiting as powerful partisan tools of the same demagogic stock is worth a discussion, I think, don’t you?Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:


        I get where you’re coming from with “certain” and perhaps I should have worded my statement differently. On the broader issue, if you are of the mind that Republicans have not and would not use racial imagery to influence people, it’s pretty unlikely that we are going to find common ground. This is an area in which I am in pretty strong agreement with Tod: of course they do it. They will use any tool within their disposal to win election, if they can get away with it. That’s a universal.

        To pick a reverse-party example, when Bobby Jindal was running for governor, some Democrats took to calling him by his given name, Piyush Jindal. To me, the intent clearly was to outline Jindal’s otherness. He is not to be trusted as a steward to the great state of Louisiana. He is not one of us.

        This isn’t arguing that he is sub-human. It’s not arguing that he is not equal before the eyes of God and the laws of Man. But it’s still using racial trepidations in order to advance the political agenda.

        The difficult part is determining where regular criticism ends and where race appeals begin. Which is why both sides are going to push as far as they can. We don’t know what’s in their hearts, what they mean genuinely, and what they mean racially. Maybe Louisiana Democrats really thought that Piyush was a nice name. Maybe Republicans thought that Willie Horton was really a crime issue and put his menacing mug on ads to put a face to the name. Who really knows? But I can’t get on board giving everybody the benefit of the doubt because, well, political machines just wouldn’t do that. Nor can I accept that all accusations of racism are because the accuser is genuinely concerned about racial overtones, when they have more material motivations for making the accusation.

        And so each side does what it does, jockeying for political advantage and often feeling that their actions are justified given the reality of the situation or the despicable nature of their opposition. None of this makes it any less a problem. But it does make it more complicated than “Republicans are racist!” or “Democrats are just race-baiting!” (and not just because one of my examples had a role-reversal).Report

        • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

          Willie Horton? A single political incorrectness from over 20 years ago? Fact is, he was a criminal who committed a heinous crime while on furlough. Perhaps unfair to blame Dukakis [for whom I voted], but that’s more the nature of the game than inherently significant.

          Now it’s certainly true that politicians and parties need a parade to stand in front of. For example, the disappearance of the pro-life Democrat. There’s a strong consensus for banning abortion at viability, but the Dems’ thrall to the abortion absolutists is a substantial obstacle to what should be an easy one.

          So yes, I see Tod’s point in this respect, and I do have a skepticism about the principledness of Ted Kennedy’s conversion from pro-life to a 100% pro-choice rating from the absolutists at NARAL. And of course, there was the race card they played against Bill and Hillary Clinton…

          And the man once called the “first black president” remains deeply wounded by allegations that he made racially insensitive remarks during the campaign, like dismissing Obama’s South Carolina win by comparing it with Jesse Jackson’s victories there in the 1980s.

          “None of them ever really took seriously the race rap,” he told me. “They knew it was politics. I had one minister in Texas in the general election come up and put his arm around me.” This was an Obama supporter. “And he came up, threw his arm around me and said, ‘You’ve got to forgive us for that race deal.’ He said, ‘That was out of line.’ But he said, ‘You know, we wanted to win real bad.’ And I said, ‘I got no problem with that.’ I said it’s fine; it’s O.K. And we laughed about it and we went on.”

          To me, the tragedy is that these people don’t take this crap seriously, but some of us do.Report

          • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

            Tom – Regarding this: “Willie Horton? A single political incorrectness from over 20 years ago? Fact is, he was a criminal who committed a heinous crime while on furlough. Perhaps unfair to blame Dukakis [for whom I voted], but that’s more the nature of the game than inherently significant.” Even the guys who made that add now proudly admit that they chose him because of his “look” and what it would do to middle American viewers.Report

            • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

              They’d have used Willie Horton if he’d been white. If they didn’t, they’d be stupid, which they weren’t. It was an effective issue, because it fed the perception that Dukakis was weak and a wuss [as did the tank thing, as did the debate question about his wife getting raped].

              Hey, I voted for him anyway. I’m at arm’s length on this.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                They’d have used Willie Horton if he’d been white.

                And there was no black guy available. Just as they would have used a woman or an old, frail-looking guy, if there was no scary-looking young man available.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              I have heard that Willie Horton was first brought up by Nobel Prize Laureate Al Gore during the primaries.

              Is this something that can be verified?Report

            • Avatar Art Deco says:

              admit that they chose him because of his “look” and what it would do to middle American viewer

              The man was ugly and menacing looking.Report

          • Avatar Kim says:

            I won’t pick on a cripple. Bill Clinton used to be a damn fine man.
            It’s funny, but I still see them pro-life Caseys. Maybe It’s because I live in PA, but my senator’s still pro-life.

            … at viability is different, in my opinion, than banning 3rd trimester abortions, particularly in cases of rape/abuse/incest. Let alone banning them when someone has just discovered that they can’t afford the kid.
            Not to mention, most people getting 3rd trimester abortions (which were rare in the first place), were getting them because they either hadn’t realize they were pregnant, or hadn’t realized/been able to get an abortion earlier.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman says:


            It’s not difficult to poke race into legitimate issues. In fact, you have to in order to have plausible deniability. And one of the things that makes the issue so difficult is that you don’t know where the legitimate point ends and the dubious stuff begins. This applies not only to racial issues, but other groups as well. I thought the anti-Prop 8 add targeting Mormons was beyond the pale, but someone else can just as easily look at that add as part of a larger struggle for marriage equality up against religions that oppose it.

            Whether it happens more often that race is integrated into campaigns or that the other side exploits fear of racism unduly, I’m not sure any of us are in a position to say with any certainty. Just because “both sides are guilty” does not mean that they are equally so. Almost everybody enters the conversation through one lens or another (even if the lens is an insistence that it all *must* be equal).Report

            • Avatar Kim says:

              Racism exists. Anyone who tells you otherwise is … willfully blind, or really, really ignorant.

              That’s not to say that the left can’t craft ads that wipe the pants off the right. When you engage the creative class, you get LolMcCain, which I think reached a good deal more college students than most ads on TV.

              … and the best ad of the 2006 cycle had 9-11 imagery in the background. Not That Anyone Noticed. (because when you whistle just so, nobody needs to notice to be effective).Report

            • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

              Oh, I quite agree, Will. There’s far more exploitation of race and racism by the Dems than the Republicans. They even did it to Bill Clinton, fer crissakes. Most of us on the right don’t think about race much atall. The Dems are 24/7 on it, because it’s all that stands between them and extinction.Report

              • Avatar joey jo jo shabadoo jr. says:

                opinion masqueraded as fact. lovely.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                It’s true, but admittedly hyperbolic, and clearly opinion. The facts are submitted elsewhere in this thread, sir, and you and we can start and end with what they did to Bill Clinton.Report

              • Avatar joey jo jo shabadoo jr. says:

                as you present it, you imply that this phenomenon is easily quantifiable. i urge you to demonstrate it, then. forgive me if until then i view the evidence as anecdotal instead of empirical.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                … I won’t say that Bill Clinton wasn’t a racist. I will say that if Bill Clinton had one racist bone in his body, he tried like hell to rip it out.

                “I’ma vote for the n—-!” was one Democratic voter’s comment, a few miles south of where I live, when he saw a Democratic canvasser.

                One can be a racist, and still vote for “the black guy.”Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                … and most on the right don’t think of sexism either.
                That doesn’t mean that it don’t exist.

                All that talk about “illegal aliens” is about race. It’s not about fair wages, and it’s not about “legal entrance” and it’s not about “horrid corporations that won’t pay minimum wage.” It’s about race.

                People standing at a voting booth, with guns, asking for papers — for legal US citizens of a different color than them — ought to be ashamed of themselves. And they call themselves republican — so you can’t run too far.

                Republicans would do themselves a lot of good to come out in favor of a race or two, maybe help out some poor rural rape victims, something like that.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Sorry, Kim, enough race-baiting for one day. I’m out, peace.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Will you let the claim that Ronald Reagan used racism as a tool to get elected stand? I apologize for drifting somewhat outside the scope of the above subject, but the words “black bucks” really struck me.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        TVD, Ron Paul drew an awful lot of racists out of the woodwork.
        The bloke from the Deep South who called Obama a “boy”
        Practically everyone in the Republican party other than Huckabee when Rev Wright came up. (Scary Black Man! Angry Black Man!)

        … the amount of racemongering in High schools is atrocious. Man, when I heard that people LIKED Malcolm X’s biography — when I actually sat down and learned at the feet of people who were there, what exactly Black Nationalism was like (and why Bill Cosby to some extent supports it). Astounding.Report

        • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

          Kim, I would think Ron Paul is more a reflection of the racism of libertarians. 😉

          As for Rev. Wright, he is scary, and he is angry. No white candidate would have survived having such a pastor.

          As for The Autobiography [that’s what they call it, and they ain’t referring to MLK’s], there’s a lot to unpack there about racial attitudes of a group that tends to vote Democrat overwhelmingly. But that would permit the door to swing both ways, although in this discussion, the hinges appear to be broken.

          Because the fact is, without race-baiting and black anger, the Dems are dead as a national party.Report

          • Avatar Kim says:

            … I should run away from your post. It makes my liberal sentiments cringe.

            The 88 crowd ain’t the libertarian crowd, unless you believe the fools minting Gold Ron Paul Coins were actual libertarians (as opposed to gunsmugglers aiding and abetting murder).

            TVD, he speaks like a lot of Southern pastors. And he was repeatedly misquoted, and dequoted — “chickens come home to roost” was something that an ambassador to Iraq said, and he quoted. I can’t say I’d put someone who marched with King, and led prison-ministries in the context of being scary, but that’s just me.
            …Palin led a blessed witchhunt in her hometown, while mayor, in order to fix their drug problem. And you think OBAMA had problems? Let’s just say that McCain made the right call there.

            without someone to demonize, the evangelical movement is dead.

            Are you one of those folks who believes that (some/most/many) blacks are poor because they’re lazy?Report

            • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

              Kim, most of your “facts” are only half-true and to unlearn you a lifetime of disinformation is beyond my poor power. As for trying to back me into ridiculous positions on race, no thx, and pls stop. Start with the Moynihan Report and we can go from there.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      “It’s 2 in the morning. This entire comment may not be coherent.”

      Coherent or not, I think this comment in pretty much dead on.Report

  5. Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

    There’s a reason why the GOP is referred to as the “stupid party.” The commie-Dems out smart them time and time again, with the exception of their desire to count votes down in Florida a while back (I couldn’t believe the GOP actually fought back.)
    You’re giving the GOP way too much credit.
    On the other hand, you can always tell what the commie-dems are up to by listening to what they accuse the GOP of. It’s usually that simple, and it sure ain’t rocket science.Report

  6. This post seems like an extended “both sides do it!” which is the kind of meet-me-in-the-middle platitudes that people mock libertarians for espousing…

    I mean, the stuff about Democrats embracing civil rights for electoral gain is rather confusing, considering the (apocryphal, perhaps) story of LBJ signing the CRA and saying, With this, we lose the South for a generation. No one was under the impression, in any event, that the CRA was going to be a good move for the Dems, electorally.

    The whole construct that both parties will sell-out their constituency in a heart-beat for gain is…not convincing. It ignores the fact that parties are not run by CEOs or wise men, but by constituencies. One of the Democratic party’s largest constituencies is black America and latino America. It could no more easily “sell out” either group than the GOP could just up-and-decide to ignore the Chamber of Commerce.

    The point of Lofgren’s critique, anyway, is that the Tea Party Republicans are a markedly different breed than those he’s worked with his entire life, though the trends that created them were a long time coming. Criticizing this analysis by pointing to things George Bush did isn’t therefore especially on-the-mark, considering W never was a Tea Partier and in significant respects would find himself considerably removed from the Tea Party position.

    All in all, I think the somewhat condescending tone of the post—”oh it’s a good read”—is unfortunate, because it seems in large respects like you read a very different post than I did.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      Elias – Your comment more than anyone else’s here has convinced me that my post was very poorly written – because I think we agree on most of what you are arguing, and partially because I had not meant to have a condescending tone. I think I might need to take a deep breath, think a little longer, and try to say what I was trying to say better.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      both parties are blackmailed to an astonishing degree. selling out is what they do, no more no less. And Chamber of Commerce has sold out its membership, to the point where its locals are repudiating it (in Utah just as much as Philly — we are NOT those people! we are sane businessmen who want health care reform.)Report

  7. Avatar Kolohe says:

    I found Lofgren’s criticism fair enough, but he could have said it in half the space and without substituting Democratic Party talking points for Republican ones.
    (I mean, it’s the little things like identifying the Patriot Act as ‘Republican’ legislation. I mean it’s true that the Republicans had control of the White House and one house of Congress, but it passed 357-66 and 98-1 – the latter overwhelming vote total being in the house the Democrats had nominal control of. And of course, the current non-Republican guy just re-upped it)Report

  8. Avatar MFarmer says:

    I think many people are past the end of this debate and moving on to what should be done about out system of governance. Those partisans still fighting for a slight advantage in the eyes of the public have missed the transition. Statism is in systemic failure, and it doesn’t matter if the statism is progressive, neo-con, social conservative, Big Government Republican, modern liberal, moderate or unabashedly socialist, the system has failed. There’s a big difference between destroying government power and limiting government power, and, right now, only a handful of Republicans are seriously calling for limited government, and time will tell how serious they are about putting their political careers on the line to fight for limited government and a free market. But, one thing is clear to me, nothing will get much better until our system of government goes through very fundamental changes and the private realm is empowered to create economic growth, begins to demand non-intervention in foreign affairs, and innovatively proposes new solutions to social problems. The State, red and blue, the system of statism, is anti-social, and its nature when not limited is to expand power and control. The system we have attracts the very worst characters and inspires the worst sort of power-seeking behavior.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      Mike – This may be correct, but I’m not sure. I think that for the most part Americans love their lives and their country. I have long believed that there is something inherently American about bitching about the government as a form of recreation, and that this sometimes gets confused with a passion for Big Change.

      (I should add that I think this inherently American bitching about government is a good thing, and is one of the things that helps make us a great country.)Report

      • Avatar E.C. Gach says:

        Someone would have to do a generational analysis, but I’d wager that the upcoming “millenial” generation will be the first to be noticably worse off than their parents, i.e. more people will have less (whether it’s less time, a less desirable job, less pay, less mobility, etc.)

        If that’s not true, than we need not be so dire, but I’m pretty pessimistic about where things are heading.Report

        • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

          EC – This may be true and I’m tempted to agree, but am a little gun shy. Since the late 70s this thought has been a constant refrain about “the state of things today.” Of course, one of these decades it’s actually going to come true and it may well be this one or the next, but I feel like I’ve gone down this road too many times in the past 30 years not to be wary of it.Report

        • Avatar Kim says:

          GenX has it noticeably worse than their parents. Teh boomers, over the past thirty years, have had it worse, but they’ve concealed it by the skilled use of bubbles (like the stock market), and downgrading their lives by buying poorer stuff.
          Boomerman 1970 said: “We Must Buy Ten New Clothes Per Year, to keep up with the jones”
          Boomerman 1985 said: “We Must Buy Ten New Clothes Per Year, even if they’re half the price and a quarter the quality”
          Boomerman 1995 said: “We Must Buy Ten New Clothes Per Year, and they don’t last the year, anyhow.”Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck says:

          I remember the exact same things being written about Generation X, and then Generation Y, and then Generation Whatever We Called The Nineties…Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        I like the bitching. It shows people are paying attention, and actively working on solutions. Some of them MAY not be feasible — but enough will bubble up and get implemented.Report

      • Avatar MFarmer says:

        Todd, I would generally agree that historically people have griped about government and things work out, but things don’t always work out, and apathy at this point is dangerous — we’re at a tipping point, and things can unravel fast — the world is so interconnected financially now that a loose thread can turn into a complete unravelling, and there can be widespread unrest and dominoe collapse that causes much suffering.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      I’d say that about the private sector before I’d say it about the public one.
      Because the private sector is actively out to screw you (“death by spreadsheet” “planned obsolescence” “shrinking bottles” “restacking overdraft fees”) — we actually demand that they screw us better than their competition.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        I’m not even sure I agree with it, but I am loving this line: “Because the private sector is actively out to screw you (“death by spreadsheet” “planned obsolescence” “shrinking bottles” “restacking overdraft fees”) — we actually demand that they screw us better than their competition.”Report

  9. Avatar Art Deco says:

    I gather highly mechanistic conceptions of social life which identify everyone’s ends as having to do with self-aggrandizement make you feel smart.Report

  10. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    While ticking off so many obvious issues, then, it is odd that Lofgren’s main point misses so far from the mark. According to Lofgren, “[u]ndermining Americans’ belief in their own institutions of self-government remains a prime GOP electoral strategy.” It appears to Lofgren that the GOP is willing to throw away all of it’s well- and ill-gained electoral booty on the hope that they can make their very industry obsolete. My response to this is:

    On what planet?

    On this planet, honestly.

    Look…the GOP – I believe – is just as, or at least almost as happy to play opposition as to govern. They hate governing because, for one thing, they’re pretty damn terrible at it. They love being in opposition, because in opposition they can get their way thanks to the fact that the Democrats really do care more about the health of the country than the Republicans.

    Lofgren calls it a totalitarian minority, which is lovely hyperbole of course, but it’s true to a degree. The GOP can govern better from a position of obstruction than from one where they actually have to take the lead. This is only more true now that the Tea Party has come into its own.

    I think Lofgren’s analysis is right on the money, frankly. If Obama had governed in almost any other era (prior to the 90’s at least) he would never have met with such bizarre resistance and cynical displays of obstructionism.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      I have already said this to Elias, but the comments here make me think that I worded my post poorly – everyone seems to think I’m saying something different! I plan on trying to make a post tonight that will say what I wanted to say better, and if it’s OK with you might especially address your point there. (When I look at the GOP today, for example, I don’t see something radical and different. Instead, they remind me of the Democratic party when I was in my early 20s and Reagan’s first term was happening. Same old, same old.)

      Because we truly do disagree on this point; I am usually cynical enough that when I disagree with someone about politics I really hope that they are right and I am wrong – but in this case, I really, REALLY hope that I am right and you and Lofgren are wrong.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        you’re both right and wrong at the same time. Jesse Jackson’s democrats were a different breed than the teaparty. less propagandized, for one, and at least feebly attempting to act in their own best interest, instead of trying to tear down those who get a bit more than them.Report

        • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

          When I think of the Dems in the 80s, I’m not necessarily thinking of JJ’s campaign. I am more thinking of those that truly believed that Reagan’s secret plot was to start a nuclear war to destroy all but a select few of humanity. People forget, but this was a pretty popular belief among the left in the early 80s.Report

          • Avatar Kim says:

            … the fact that RR did voice-testing that said (paraphrasing), “I would like to announce that we have launched a nuclear assault at Russia” — only to then be called up by the Russians (who had a spy listening), asking “Did you really just launch a nuclear attack?”
            RR’s pale-faced response, “… I’m just an actor.”

            I thank you for your wisdom. And if that was indeed so, that is kinda scary (wonder what people would say if I posted that on kos for comment,lol)Report

            • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

              I don’t think this should be taken too seriously, because kids in college are kids in college, but I remember having late night dorm arguments about – with all of humanity as stake – shouldn’t we be trying to assassinate him?

              (Please note this was in Eugene, OR. Had I gone to college in Norman, OK it might have been toned down a bit.)Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                …Ronald Reagan had an eight year old actively planning for nuclear war. But that was because Ronald Reagan just looked crazy, not because the kid thought that Ronald Reagan would do it On Purpose.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        not even the democrats wanted to go after veterans benefits.
        what’s the catchphrase: “veterans benefits are the new welfare”Report

      • Avatar E.D. Kain says:

        Well it’s easy enough to write a post that doesn’t quite communicate your thoughts the way you intended, so by all means write an update…but I think I see where you’re coming from now.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      even in the 90’s, we didn’t have economic terrorism from 20% of congress (if you don’t believe that monkeying with America’s interest rates is economic terrorism, kindly look up what we did to China the last time it threatened such. it was terrorism then, and it is terrorism now.). It took 90 years before someone fucking thought that was a good idea, folks.Report

    • Avatar Christopher Carr says:

      The world is generally a better place with the Dems in power and the GOP ferociously resisting all they try to do, because this generally creates an impotent, gridlocked government that can’t screw anything up. However, this time around things are different because the previous administration screwed things up so badly that radical change is needed if we want to avoid going off a cliff.

      Realignment anyone?Report

  11. Avatar mac says:

    I think you misread his argument.
    He argues that people who distrust the government favor the GOP.
    Therefore it is not harmful to the GOP’s interest to make people distrust the government by making things worse.
    This says nothing about the accumulation of power. It does explain comments like “deficits don’t matter” when your party controls the levers of power.Report

    • Avatar Ben says:

      This. It’s not “That the GOP leaders are looking to destroy the very thing that brings them money, power, book deals, TV contracts, sex with young interns, “gifts” from concerned industry lobbyists, and every other perk”; how would such a thing even be possible?

      It’s “GOP leaders are working to make people’s experience with government align with their overarching narrative, and to render less effective the machinery necessary to deliver on Democratic promises.”

      See also Grover Norquist’s “We’ll make it impossible for a Democrat to govern like a Democrat.”Report

  12. Avatar joey jo jo shabadoo jr. says:

    david broder would be proud. BOTH SIDES DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Report

  13. Avatar George T says:

    I would strongly disagree with the original article’s assertion that the GOP is schizonphrenic for always praising the Constitution while spreading distrust of the government organized under it. The Founding Fathers wrote prolifically on their mistrust of government (see the Federalist Papers or the Founders letters, speeches, and writings).

    The Constitution they wrote and ratified structured the government with divided powers under the theory that the people’s best defense against the vanity, narcissism, and greed of a politician is another politician standing in his way, mortally deadlocked in an endless battle of attrition. They greatly limited the power of government out of fear of government power, and the way it grows over time. If they’d have wanted a big, powerful, centralized government they could’ve given us one without a moments reflection just by copying almost any European system, such as the British, French, or Prussian models.

    They didn’t do that, and instead designed a system that could be safely operated by powermad scumbags, arrogant elitists, and village idiots, which is why they are still considered geniuses.

    My other complaint about the original article is that if the Beltway author was so moral and clear eyed, mortally opposed to the GOP, its philosphy, and everything it says, does, and stands for, why was he content to spend decades advancing its goals (anethema to him) in return for nothing but a fat six figure salary and a cool parking space?

    If all top Washington Democrats are that cheap to buy off, wouldn’t the GOP just buy the lot of them for less money than a single major league pitcher makes and be done with it?Report

  14. Avatar Sybil says:

    Lofgren’s article is the best I ever read on the subject of the disintegrating GOP. Having appreciated the bullseye accuracy of Lofgren’s piece, and reveled in the well-presented, logical flow of it, I resent that we must be pulled down to mediocrity once again. Kelly’s is merely sour grapes without substantive facts to back up his contrary claims. Having been a Republican for many decades, I have watched the loss of GOP ethical standards, their complete lack of concern for their hand in the destruction of the middle class, their courting of wing-nut evangelists nobody would ever let out of an insane asylum. Lofgren has seen it first hand and details it precisely. I saw the McCain/Palin campaign cater to the racists, and I was embarrassed that I have ever championed any one of them. I’ve seen the GOP decline in respect for the value of education and their own embarrassing lack of same. And I feel sick at the lies and conspiracy theories they allow to spread without so much as a blush, as long as it brings them a vote. I wish Lofgren’s article could be required reading for voters. And I’ll help to get it out there in response to the myths that have filled my mailbox for the last 4 years.Report