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The GOP Cult

Mike Lofgren has a detailed and compelling write-up about what’s wrong with the Republican Party and our political system in general. And he should know, he used to be a GOP operative and a congressional staffer.

If you ever wanted to read a clear description of what happened to the Republican party, this is it. Here are a few short excerpts:

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.

A couple of years ago, a Republican committee staff director told me candidly (and proudly) what the method was to all this obstruction and disruption. Should Republicans succeed in obstructing the Senate from doing its job, it would further lower Congress’s generic favorability rating among the American people. By sabotaging the reputation of an institution of government, the party that is programmatically against government would come out the relative winner.

A deeply cynical tactic, to be sure, but a psychologically insightful one that plays on the weaknesses both of the voting public and the news media. There are tens of millions of low-information voters who hardly know which party controls which branch of government, let alone which party is pursuing a particular legislative tactic. These voters’ confusion over who did what allows them to form the conclusion that “they are all crooks,” and that “government is no good,” further leading them to think, “a plague on both your houses” and “the parties are like two kids in a school yard.” This ill-informed public cynicism, in its turn, further intensifies the long-term decline in public trust in government that has been taking place since the early 1960s – a distrust that has been stoked by Republican rhetoric at every turn (“Government is the problem,” declared Ronald Reagan in 1980).

The Republican Party of 2011 believes in three principal tenets:
1. The GOP cares solely and exclusively about its rich contributors.
2. They worship at the altar of Mars.
3. Give me that old time religion.



  1. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    Awesome, awesome article. I’m glad he said this:

    “I do not mean to place too much emphasis on racial animus in the GOP. While it surely exists, it is also a fact that Republicans think that no Democratic president could conceivably be legitimate.”

    I’ve tried to make this point before: that there is no doubt a racist element within the Republican party, but that the invective from the Right is not because he’s black. It’s because he’s a Democrat, and he just happens to be black.

    Thursday, September 8, 2011 at 6:51 am | Permalink
  2. Patricia wrote:

    1032: I wish I shared your faith that the animosity is not race driven. I know it’s not 100% but I suspect it is more than 50% (percentage of fanatical obstructionism — not percentage of Republicans in general!)

    Thursday, September 8, 2011 at 7:31 am | Permalink
  3. starluna wrote:

    I have to agree with Patricia. I suspect that it is that Obama is black+Democrat.

    W Kamau Bell has done some good political comedy on this subject:
    (starting about 2:15). The last minute or so is where you’ll find commentary specifically on this.

    Thursday, September 8, 2011 at 7:50 am | Permalink
  4. Michael wrote:

    I’m with 1032. I do not believe the GOP leaders or the majority of the GOP are motivated by racism. Rather, I think it’s just a convenient leverage point to get the racists into the Republican fold. It’s just like the other aspects of the culture war. Imply that you’re going to work toward repealing Roe v. Wade, and you’ve added a number of single issue voters. Oppose gay marriage and civil unions, and you’re likely to gain more votes from bigots than you lose otherwise. (If I refused to vote for any candidate that wasn’t pro-gay marriage, I would never be able to cast a vote for a candidate…not even Obama.)

    Basically, I believe the appeals to racism, anti-abortion views, homophobia, etc., are just the modern equivalent of Stalin’s “useful idiots.” If you get enough of them to add to your minority of plutocrats, you win.

    Thursday, September 8, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Permalink
  5. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    Patricia/StarLuna: Do you think they would treat Herman Cain the same way as they treat Obama?

    Friday, September 9, 2011 at 5:06 am | Permalink
  6. starluna wrote:

    1032 – Which “they” do refer to? The tea party people?

    Friday, September 9, 2011 at 7:57 am | Permalink
  7. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    The people hurling racial epithets Obama’s way. So, sort of. 🙂

    Friday, September 9, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Permalink