So I’ve read this article that’s been making the rounds on Facebook, and I’m not impressed. The article, written by former GOP Congressional staffer Mike Lofgren, describes how the GOP has become a “cult” of the corporatist far right. I think people enjoy Lofgren’s attacks on the Tea Party, Libertarian-style theory, and the corporatism of the Republican Party. “The GOP,” Lofgren writes, “cares solely and exclusively about its rich contributors.” All well and good — so why was Lofgren a Republican in the first place? He finally reveals the answer in two quotes near the bottom of the page:
But how did the whole toxic stew of GOP beliefs – economic royalism, militarism and culture wars cum fundamentalism – come completely to displace an erstwhile civilized Eisenhower Republicanism?
It is this broad and ever-widening gulf between the traditional Republicanism of an Eisenhower and the quasi-totalitarian cult of a Michele Bachmann that impelled my departure from Capitol Hill.
Ah yes, here it is: more Republican handwringing about how the GOP has left him behind. There was nothing wrong with plutocratic, corporatist Eisenhower Republicans — those Republicans who tolerated McCarthyism, who tolerated Southern segregation, who in their very complacency committed unspeakable crimes. The problem is when they become vocal about it.
Let me tell you the difference between the Tea Party and Eisenhower Republicans: the Tea Party has the good grace to be outraged by the situation modern America faces. That’s it; that’s the only difference. Tea Party Republicans want to rush headlong into the same corporatist abyss that Republicans have occupied for generations, but at least they recognize that something is rotten in Denmark. That’s more than you can say for Eisenhower Republicans, who believe that nothing is wrong with America that a little gradualism won’t fix. I disagree with Eisenhower Republicans (and Nixon Republicans, and Reagan Republicans — what, wasn’t Lofgren bothered by either of these treasonous rogues?) on both solutions and strategy; I disagree with the Tea Party only on solutions.
Tell you what, Mike Lofgren: you can take your Eisenhower Republicanism and shove it. The solutions you promote are no better, and possibly worse, than those of the Tea Party Republicans you criticize. And while you’re trying to figure out where to shove your Eisenhower Republicanism (hint: where the sun don’t shine), give some thought to these three truisms:
1) Corporations are fundamentally evil institutions. The purpose of the corporation is to make money and grow in size. That is its job — to help itself. Since the money has to come from somewhere, the purpose of the corporation is to make money off everyone who comes in contact with it — who then, by definition lose money. Corporations are the exact opposite of government; government’s job is to help people, while corporations’ job is to hurt people. If you see a good, kind, selfless corporation, you are seeing a corporation that is not doing its job. All successful corporations are by definition evil. If you can’t see this obvious truism, you have no place in our political conversation.
2) Fiscal responsibility is synonymous with dramatically raising taxes on the rich. There are three, and only three, possible answers for dealing with the future of American national debt: taking away government aid to the poor; going deeper into debt; and taking away money from the rich that they don’t need. If you can’t see that the third option is the only good one, you have no place in our political conversation.
3) Nothing is as important as preventing climate change. According to UN reports, we are looking at a certainty of a mass extinction, coupled with millions of human deaths, from global warming within the next fifty to a hundred years. If you don’t recognize that doing whatever it takes to stop that from happening — even if it results in wholesale economic collapse for corporate interests — you have no place in our political conversation.
So Mike Lofgren, when you’ve figured out that the Republican Party you thought you were joining three decades ago is the exact same Republican Party you’re part of now — that the Republican Party, in all its iterations, needs to be ended forever as a political institution — then come talk to me. Until then, you can take your self-righteous effulgence about how much worse Tea Party corporate criminals are than country club corporate criminals, and shove it.