READ THE TRANSCRIPT

BILL MOYERS: The growing power of the religious right is one reason my guest left the Republican Party and became an Independent. "The mixture of politics and religion," he says, "debases both, and has turned the GOP into an apocalyptic sect." He has his problems with Democrats, too. For one thing, he says, both parties “are captives to corporate loot.”

Others may share those opinions, but what gives Mike Lofgren more clout than the rest is decades of insider experience on Capitol Hill. He was a Fulbright scholar with two degrees in history when he went to work in Congress and became a senior staff member of the House and Senate Budget committees. His specialty was the cost of national security. After 28 years of government service, Mike Lofgren retired and sat down to write a powerful manifesto that took off like a rocket when it was posted on the website Truthout.org.

It's now a book: "The Party is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted.” As you can tell from the title, he spares no one.

Mike Lofgren, welcome.

MIKE LOFGREN: Good to be here.

BILL MOYERS: The title of your book is “The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy.” How did Republicans go crazy?

MIKE LOFGREN: I think they went crazy when they started identifying Obama as the Antichrist.

BILL MOYERS: Meaning?

MIKE LOFGREN: Meaning, "He's not a legitimate president. We must do everything we can to obstruct him."

BILL MOYERS: The second subtitle, “The Party Is Over: Democrats Became Useless.” How did Democrats become useless?

MIKE LOFGREN: I think they got complacent during the '60s, '70s, and '80s. And then finally after that period, they woke up, found they had lost three straight presidential elections. So they had to retool and make themselves more corporate friendly.

BILL MOYERS: Corporate friendly?

MIKE LOFGREN: Absolutely. And it certainly helped Bill Clinton get elected. And while he did some good things like balancing the budget, he also unleashed Wall Street by repealing Glass-Steagall, and he signed bills that would end regulation on derivatives. So he is at least to some degree responsible for the Wall Street debacle.

BILL MOYERS: And that's how, to quote a third of your subtitles, “The Middleclass Got Shafted”?

MIKE LOFGREN: Both parties don't really seem to care about having a vibrant manufacturing base in this country, regardless of their rhetoric. I remember throughout the '90s the Clinton administration was lobbying relentlessly for free trade deals. And the promise for each one was, it will bring jobs to America. And in every case, the jobs left.

BILL MOYERS: The Republican Party now has the super rich and its corporate wing funding it and the religious right provides the ground troops. Why are so many everyday folks out there in the pews defending the prerogatives of the rich?

MIKE LOFGREN: That's something of a mystery. The Federal Reserve, in one of their recent reports, found that net household income fell about 40 percent since 2007. That's a tremendous drop. Yet, here we have as the nominee for one of the two major parties, we only have a binary choice in this country, is by all accounts the richest man ever to run for president and was a leverage buyout artist.

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: Many of those people on the right would tell you that the fall in the income of middleclass people and others has been because of Obama's economic policies.

MIKE LOFGREN: 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.

BILL MOYERS: The pharmaceutical industry?

MIKE LOFGREN: Yes. That said, he was legitimately elected. 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.

BILL MOYERS: It seems that some of these people are willing to see the government go down in order to win.

MIKE LOFGREN: That would be the case. I grew up in a party that believed in the traditions of Eisenhower, and for that matter, even Reagan. He raised taxes several times when the deficit threatened to get out of control. He pleaded with Congress to send him a clean debt limit extension bill without any extraneous riders on it. He knew what the stakes were.

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.

BILL MOYERS: Why did you leave the party? You'd been a Republican, what, all your life?

MIKE LOFGREN: 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.

BILL MOYERS: What do you mean "apocalyptic cult"?

MIKE LOFGREN: Well, I mean it literally in some cases. There's a very strong element in evangelical or fundamentalist religion that said the apocalypse is coming. And one sort of sees it subliminally in people like Michele Bachmann when the debt ceiling crisis came to a head and people were warning that we would be downgraded. And if we actually defaulted, we would possibly have to lower our standard of living and credit from abroad could dry up. And her attitude was sort of, "Bring it on. If we're all going to abide in the bosom of the Lord, by and by, it really doesn't matter whether we default.”

BILL MOYERS: Was that just rhetoric we heard on television?

MIKE LOFGREN: Oh, that's mainly rhetoric. But I think it does carry over into the mentality of maximalist obstruction, no compromise, because of course when you are with the saints and the opposition is with the sinners, you are doing evil if you compromise.

BILL MOYERS: You write that we now have a de facto religious test for public office, notwithstanding that the Constitution says we must not have one. How does this play out?

MIKE LOFGREN: Well, we saw it in 2008, when a pastor brought Obama and McCain before a live audience and quizzed them about their religiosity. That was Rick Warren. We really don't need that sort of religious test. It's banned in the Constitution. We had it play out last year when some preacher in Texas started criticizing Romney because as a Mormon, this man thought he wasn't a Christian.

PASTOR JEFFRESS: The Southern Baptist Convention, which is the largest Protestant denomination in the world has officially labeled Mormonism as a cult. I think that Romney’s a good, moral man, but I think those of us who are born-again followers of Christ should always prefer a competent Christian to a competent non-Christian like Mitt Romney.

MIKE LOFGREN: The media went off on that for a few days. And as I recall, some of the reporters were badgering the other Republican candidates as to whether they thought Romney was a Christian. So the media actually allowed itself to be used as a tool in this aspect. BILL MOYERS: Candy Crowley kept pressing Herman Cain and, and Michele Bachmann in the primaries on this very issue.

CANDY CROWLEY: Is Mitt Romney a non-Christian?

HERMAN CAIN: I’m not running for theologian-in-chief. I’m a life-long Christian, and what that means is, one of my guiding principles for the decisions I make is I start with, do the right thing. I’m not getting into that controversy.

CANDY CROWLEY: But it still will beg the question that you dodged a direct question, which is, is Mitt Romney not a Christian?

HERMAN CAIN: He is a Mormon. That much I know. I am not going to do an analysis of Mormonism versus Christianity for the sake of answering that. I’m not getting into that. I am a Christian—

CANDY CROWLEY: Even knowing it will look like you’re dodging it […] And let me just, because I gave Herman Cain the same opportunity, you know that, that by not answering the direct question “Do you think Mitt Romney is a Christian?” you leave open the possibility that people are going to say that you dodged the question, the direct question.

MICHELLE BACHMANN: No, I think what the real focus is here, again, is on religious tolerance.

MIKE LOFGREN: Well, I'll give them credit. They didn't answer her, because the question didn't deserve an answer. Romney's religion is his own business.

BILL MOYERS: What brought you to the moment you decided to make a break, and to issue that cry from the heart if I may say so, that went out on “Truthout”? What was the trigger?

MIKE LOFGREN: The trigger was the debt ceiling crisis of the summer of 2011. I thought it was so transparently needless, yet they did it. And that was the straw that broke the camel's back. Now it wasn't just a publicity stunt that gave the United States a black eye. Just the transaction costs for having to manipulate all the money and stave off the debt ceiling cost, according to the Government Accountability Office, $1.3 billion.

BILL MOYERS: And why did that impasse occur? Why couldn't they solve the deficit crisis? Or why wouldn't they solve the deficit crisis?

MIKE LOFGREN: Because they believed that they had Obama over a barrel. And that they could force him to do what they wanted, which was to radically downsize all domestic discretionary spending. And he wasn't going to do it. And that's how we got to that situation.

BILL MOYERS: What do you think's going to happen after the election, no matter who wins? Because the popular expectation is that we're heading toward a fiscal cliff. Are we going to go through, in those few months between the election and the inauguration, what we went through with the deficit crisis that you just talked about?

MIKE LOFGREN: I would say the likeliest possibility is that we'll get some sort of short-term extension of the provisions to kick the can down the road a little bit. Now I'm not saying that that will happen. There's also a possibility if past is prologue that the Tea Party faction in the House could dig in its heels and say no, just as they did with the debt ceiling crisis.

BILL MOYERS: And what then would be the consequence of that, as you can anticipate it?

MIKE LOFGREN: The consequence would be immediate and severe spending cuts, both on domestic discretionary, and on national defense

BILL MOYERS: Both parties catering, as you write so vividly in here, to their funders, their donors, the billionaires, the Wall Street financiers, the corporations. And yet they, one or the other keeps getting away with it.

MIKE LOFGREN: It's happened before in our country. It happened after the Civil War with the Gilded Age. So it's not surprising it can occur when money starts infusing into politics. They will capture the governmental mechanism, just as Wall Street has captured it now. Wall Street has captured Washington at its source, the capital.

BILL MOYERS: Just give me one example.

MIKE LOFGREN: One example would be banks that we are bailing out. Why not compensation limits on their CEOs and top executives? We didn't get that. But we did get limits on the compensation and the benefits of U.A.W. employees when we bailed out General Motors and Chrysler.

BILL MOYERS: We got from unions what we didn't get from the financiers on Wall Street?

MIKE LOFGREN: That is correct.

BILL MOYERS: How come? How so?

MIKE LOFGREN: Money from Wall Street into the pockets of campaigns.

MIKE LOFGREN: If somebody texts $20 to their favorite candidate, okay, that's $20. And they're not really expecting anything other than they like that candidate and they want him to win. But when savvy businessmen like Sheldon Adelson, who've shelled out $36 million so far and expects to spend $100 million before the end of the election cycle, when somebody like that is spending that kind of money, they expect a tangible, monetizable payoff.

BILL MOYERS Another example?

MIKE LOFGREN: When you see legislation, for instance, having to do with casinos, and I think the key word there is Jack Abramoff, you see these things happening.

BILL MOYERS: Did anything about the Abramoff scandal surprise you?

MIKE LOFGREN: Not at all. It was totally par for the course.

BILL MOYERS: What do you mean?

MIKE LOFGREN: That's the way influence works in Washington.

BILL MOYERS: Do you think it's still working now after Abramoff?

MIKE LOFGREN: I think it's working in a similar fashion. When we see how Ralph Reed and Grover Norquist, they were the two other members of the Three Amigos. They're still out doing their thing

BILL MOYERS: But what do we do about it? Nothing seems to tame the power of money in politics.

MIKE LOFGREN: The only thing that will achieve it is fundamental political reform. And the only way you're going to get that is mass defection from the parties. Because the parties simply do not serve our interests anymore.

BILL MOYERS: But the less we pay attention, the more of us who give up, the smaller the base and the number of elites who run those two parties. That's what some of them want.

MIKE LOFGREN: That may be, but there is a point where if there is mass public outrage at this, just as there was in the prairies in the 1880’s and 1890’s, eventually they'll get the message.

BILL MOYERS: What’s your greatest fear?

MIKE LOFGREN: My greatest fear is that this whole impasse simply carries on. And this country becomes more and more polarized and ungovernable. And we could be faced with a very bad situation, internationally and domestically.

BILL MOYERS: And what is your greatest hope?

MIKE LOFGREN: My greatest hope is that we can govern ourselves again in a spirit of bipartisanship.

BILL MOYERS: Do you think that's a realistic hope?

MIKE LOFGREN: We must let our hopes be greater than our fears.

BILL MOYERS: Well, I consider “The Party Is Over” must reading. And I hope my audience will spend these days between one convention and the other getting acquainted with your analysis of what's happening. “The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middleclass Got Shafted.” Mike Lofgren, thank you for being with us.

MIKE LOFGREN: Thank you very much.

Mike Lofgren on Dysfunction in Our Political Parties

August 31, 2012

Bill talks with Mike Lofgren, a long-time Republican who describes the modern dysfunction of both the Republican and Democratic parties. In Lofgren’s view, Republicans have become overly obsessed with obstructing President Obama, and the Democrats suffer from political complacency. Lofgren’s new book is The Party is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted.

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  • Anonymous

    I agree with most of what Mr. Lofgren says, but I think Republican craziness appeared at least 10 years earlier than the complaints against Obama. Look at the Bush 43 administration, with its ill considered tax cuts, denials about deficits, response to 9/11, invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, crazy claims about WMD and torture all followed by a housing bust and financial meltdown. In 2000, many people felt that Bush was unqualified, and a majority of voters cast ballots for Gore. The Republican Party was committed to seizing and retaining the reins of power by any means. Truth be damned.

    Before Bush 43 we had endless conspiracies about the Clintons which culminated in the impeachment of Bill Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair.

    President Reagan was an important turning point for the Republican Party, of course, and now serves as an icon where I can detect seeds of craziness. Reagan spoke as an ideologue but governed pragmatically. He was fortunate in that he came up for reelection after the Federal Reserve Board had successfully reigned in inflation under the guidance of Paul Volker (a Carter appointment) early in his administration. Furthermore, international oil prices fell 70% during his presidency. The resulting reduction in energy costs was two to three times greater than the value of Reagan’s tax cuts, but that is rarely mentioned. (I mentioned it here: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/ten-miles-square/2012/05/like_president_reagan_obama_or037617.php) I think that the young free market ideologues ignored the influence of cheap energy and Paul Volcker and interpreted the economic growth in the 1983-89 period as conformation of Reagan’s professed ideology, which they implemented during Bush 43′s administration. Its failure prompt sane people to question their assumptions. That does not seem to be happening.

  • Anonymous

    corrections:

    In the third to the last sentence “conformation” should be “confirmation”.

    The second to last sentence should read ” Its failure SHOULD prompt sane people to question their assumptions.”

    I apologize for these errors.

  • Anonymous

    Republican and the religious right- a scary symbiotic relationship for anyone left out of the “true believer” mentality. They certainly don’t represent me! As a reasonable, rational moderate, I have no representation at all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ian.brewer1 Ian Brewer

    I think the most tragic part of this is how the Democratic Party has also become beholden to corporate interests and serves as a kind of loyal opposition to its agenda. The party is now dominated by Third Way “centrists” who, although they still believe in government, also favor corporate interests and advocate so-called free market “solutions” to social problems. Thus, we got a health-care plan based on Mitt Romney’s plan which originated with the right-wing Heritage Foundation instead of single-payer or a public option. We also got a stimulus that, aside from being smaller than what economists advocated, was 3/4rs tax cuts (or revenue reducers) and only 1/4 actual stimulus spending. As well, Democrats have taken up the language of the right to refer to social-safety net programs as entitlements which they are willing to cut instead of social insurance programs. There’s no talk by politicians other than Bernie Sanders to raise the income cap to extend the solvency of Social Security. Why not?

    Yes, I’m still going to vote for Obama because the other option is much worse and I value civil rights for women and minorities, but the effect of corporate and financial elite money on both sides is ruinous to our political system and rendered the Democratic Party moribund.

  • rogue576

    Excellent interview and a wake up call for the “sane” branch of the Republican party. It amazes me that these politicians who will not govern and would rather see our country fail are shown any level of respect. They are actually enemies from within and should be removed from office as they seem to be elected to destroy our country. Neither party should let this happen. It is way past time to get corporate and special interest money out of our government. There is a push going on right now for a constitutional amendment to over turn the citizens united ruling by SCOTUS. I would say go one further and actually make it a crime for corporations, special interests and millionaires/billionaires to bribe our elected officials. We should also shut the revolving door between corporations and government regulatory entities. What a joke we must seem to be to the rest of the world with our bought and paid for government.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1567837307 Charlotte Shapiro

    Thank you, Bill Moyers, for inviting wide, public conversation and “keeping the balls rolling” on it. Our BLESSINGS are magnanimously magnified by this opportunity and by the many thoughtful, intelligent contributions by so many people.

  • http://twitter.com/citizenbfk citizenbfk

    This was a another great show. I am so now appalled and stunned speechless by our political poisonings that I need to be able to point to books like this, while I gag and choke on our political bile.

  • Anonymous

    I read Lofgren’s article on the Republicans when it came out on Truthout, and yesterday I read his piece on the revolt of the rich at The American Conservative. I haven’t read his book yet, but I hope that Americans will at least read those two articles before they go to the polls in November.

    I think Lofgren is right in his assumption that mass defection from the parties and/or mass outrage (and the strategies that grow out of it) are the only solutions. Because change is certainly not gonna happen from within either the crazy Republican party or the useless Democrat party; voters can be easily manipulated, but neither party is gonna dare bite the hand that feeds them.

    I’m old, so I may not live to see it, but it would be useful to have some general strikes — or maybe a rolling strike across the breadth of the country, starting on Day One in California and ending on Day Ten in New York — and if that doesn’t work, start it all over again.

    From where I sit, north of 49, American elections seem, with each passing four year period, more and more like mere entertainment. Let’s see how many lies get told, how many the media let the liars get away with it, who makes more gaffs than his opponent, how much money gets raised, how many ads the major American networks can cram into an hour’s worth of broadcast time and, most important, how much fun SNL, Jon Stewart, and Steven Colbert can make of it.

    But despite all this entertaining fun, I can’t help feeling a great sadness that the USA, the first modern state to be founded on Liberal democratic principles, should come to this.

  • shep2121

    Did anyone see the CNN article where two conventioneers were throwing peanuts at a black camera man and telling him.”This is the way we feed animals’? Sick.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ewan.fallon Ewan Fallon

    Republican are discrediting all incumbents as part of their playbook plan to offset their bad past, so that new Republican applicants can have an evener field. Sitting Repubs are expected to take one for the team and also get booted out. Check it out and see just how often it crops up

  • chuckbothparties

    Free Bradley Manning

  • Bjorn

    It’s great to see someone so obviously sane and grounded tell it like it is. I hope all the basically good people who have become deluded by tea party rhetoric come to their senses and see that the Republican party is not looking out for their best interests.

  • http://www.facebook.com/yourabsolute Marvin Gotthingstodo Fluellen

    the truth at last loftgren for pous 2016

  • Anonymous

    I think you have hit the nail on the head: the Democrat party is definitely moribund. Mike Lofgren (in his book, which I read most of last night) says that Democrats don’t believe in anything. That pretty much drives the nail home.

    The Western democracies, in all their variations, are grounded in the political philosophy of Liberalism, whether the emphasis is on John Locke’s rather conservative “life, liberty, property” or John Stuart Mill’s more socially conscious “greatest good for the greatest number.” Until 30 or 40 years ago, Liberal parties across the Western world practiced some combination of the two. Indeed, the great Liberal achievement of the twentieth century was the recognition that capitalism is an excellent generator of wealth but the distribution of wealth is beyond its purview; therefore, good government consisted of maintaining a balance between the private sector and the common good by distributing a portion of capitalist wealth through mechanisms of taxation and social spending.

    However, I’d be willing to bet real money that (with the possible – repeat, possible — exceptions of Bernie Sanders and Dennis Kucinich), no Senator or Congressperson could name the ten most important principles of political Liberalism, or the ten most important achievements of Liberalism since the time of John Stuart Mill. Nor would they know that it was nineteenth-century industrialists (in England, at least) who decided that a more efficient way of doing business would be to pay taxes so that government, not industry, could provide the infrastructure necessary to private industry. I dare say, those industrialists would be startled to see the way that corporate taxes today – if they’re paid at all – circulate from corporations to government and back to corporations in the form of corporate welfare, i.e., subsidies, grants, tax loopholes, and other euphemistic expressions applied to corporate entitlement programs.

    Democrats are ignorant of their own history because they believe the equally ignorant Republican definition of them as socialists and communists. However, both parties would be hard pressed to describe the difference between socialism, social democracy, Marxism, soviet communism, and a few other radically different varieties of Left political philosophy. As for the American people themselves (at least, the ones on the right), they appear to confuse socialism with fascism – one of many indications of the steep decline in the quality of education in the US.

    If a party believes in nothing, then it must look to other parties for ideas about what should go into a party agenda. Democrats fail because they are a weak imitation of Republicans. The phenomenon is not exclusively American. In Canada, the Liberal Party got trounced right out of power AND opposition because its chief aim was to be better conservatives than the Conservative Party.

    We used to have a choice between Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Now we must choose between Tweedledum and Tweedledummer.

  • Heidi

    I sit much further left than Obama’s administration, so how delightfully surprised I was tonight to learn of sane conservative Mike Lofgren. There is probably territory Lofgren and I don’t agree on, but its very clear that we stand on the same general ground regarding corporate hijacking of the Washington party system. Truly – Lofgren didn’t say one thing that I disagreed with. I would vote for him! I should read his book. Thank you to Bill Moyers for bringing Lofgren to my attention.

  • http://twitter.com/FPHCoaching Rick Botelho

    Bravo to Mike Lofgren. A courageous voice of indignation and clarity. How can bipartisanship and
    virtues prevail over dysfunctional polarizations and systemic corruption?
    How can sanity prevail over craziness, and competence over uselessness? In
    addition to third party influences, what else can restore political civility and
    sacred activism? What will assure that hope will prevail over fear, and love over hate?

  • Anonymous

    The “Bill Moyers and Company” productions evolve ever greater. Thank You.
    It’s unfortunate even thought we’ve discovered politics have been hijacked for personal profit, politicians and their Wall Street lobbyist criminal friends fully intend to extract all they can as long as their personal safety remains in tact.
    I’m not saying all politicians and lobbyists should be physically attacked. I’m just saying I believe they will fully continue lining their pockets for personal gain at our expense until such a point in time they feel they can no longer safely get away with it. They’ll pick the bones of this honor based system clean.
    First clue “our” constitution – void of check and balance – no longer protect’s us became evident when conservative Supreme Court Justices granted Wall Street Super Powers access for superimposing their clandestine business templates over our lives (Citizens United) in effect diminishing our voices as if residing within tiny ant farms.
    Reagan warned of the communists outside our borders that would subjugate us! No one expected the renegades would morph right here from our own Republican and Democratic Parties.
    So how and when do we stop them?
    The politicians know they have us over a barrel. We have no tools for change beyond going through the system they’ve redesigned, operate and control.
    Change a politician and you get another one that’s basically the same (working for the big donor corporations). The SYSTEM no longer works.
    “Everyone know’s something’s wrong but no one know’s how to fix it” That’s because an honor based system can’t be fixed when there is no honor to be had.
    Discussion after discussion with yet no clue how to escape the Ponzi scheme mote our politicians have cleverly dug around us. All our toothless grumbling doesn’t help. Politicians don’t mind a little harmless grumbling as long as the checks continue to clear. They fill their pockets and when there is no more, they borrow more. It’s not the borrowing I resent so much as the stealing. But why shouldn’t they if we allow them to.
    Bottom line: George Carlin – before his passing – said it right in his rant “The American Dream.” (on you tube).

  • Judy

    Thank you Mr. Loftgren for having the courage to tell it like it is on both sides. I am certain the GOP will go into a frenzy to drag you through the mud (if they haven’t already. I haven’t checked Fox news yet), but as a Democrat, I just want you to know I respect your honesty and I am listening! And you’ve given me hope that there are still sane people in the U.S.!

  • judy

    cllinton wasn’t impeached, either….

  • Judy

    That’s not going to happen (tea party types coming to their senses). They have drunk of the kool-aid and, given my experience trying to discuss topics with them, there is no longer such a thing as fact and logic and reason has left them entirely. According to those I know, all facts are lies planted & perpetuated by the left-wing media, Factcheck.org is a liberal propaganda machine, the President is a (I won’t go into the rhetoric, which they deny to the core is racially motivated). Like Sen. Barney Frank once said, it’s like talking to a table and about as useless.

  • FedUpWithGovt

    I searched everywhere high and low for that video but never found it. Won’t believe it till I see it with me own eyes!

  • M.G.

    Who said there was a video? You won’t believe it until you see a non-existent video even though the RNC acknowledged it? Sad.

    The convention released a statement saying, “Two attendees tonight
    exhibited deplorable behavior. Their conduct was inexcusable and
    unacceptable. This kind of behavior will not be tolerated.”

    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/29/two-people-removed-from-rnc-after-taunting-black-camera-operator/

  • Mike D

    Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair is a metaphor for our times.

    On the one hand, after a two year campaign/circus, neither candidate has said anything of substance; both are shouting themselves hoarse in increasing desperation because they know no one’s listening.

    On the other hand, Congress has a 9% approval rating with every voter screaming out for them to get their act together but the politicians are too hams-strung by big money to listen.

    In the meantime, the deep-rooted problems the country faces are being completely ignored.

    A dis-connect from reality. Bi-partisan insanity.

  • maddog

    You nailed it. That is exactly correct.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andy-Traynor/808525761 Andy Traynor

    I’ve recommended this article to facebook friends yesterday and today and will again tomorrow because I agree with everything Lofgren says – more importantly it’s the truth presented unambiguously. Sincere thanks to Bill Moyer, and thanks to previous commenters for amplifications.

  • NewsGuy

    Powerful. Important. Thanks so much for this interview.

  • jack

    Actually he was. But shouldn’t have been.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=646389468 Michal Mudd

    I love how articles like this one talk about dysfunction in “our political parties,” and only mention two of them. There are other parties in this nation, fighting the uphill battle that comes from the tunnel-vision imposed on us through selective media attention and a certain amount of politico-chauvinism. Why are the Green, Libertarian, Constitution, and other parties not given a chance to be functional, much less air our dysfunctions too?

  • daniel

    From my understanding, this is in part due to a first-past-the-post voting system that discourages voting for third parties, a corporate controlled media that has a mandate to maximize profits through advertising but lacks requirements for reporting the truth, campaign financing that comes primarily from the richest 0.01% of the population, and collusion between the two major parties to not cooperate with third parties in debates. I’m sure that there are other factors at play, and please point out the ones that I missed.

  • Bill Moyers devotee

    I left my corporate job 2 years ago. I’ve spent that time (for better or worse) discovering what is really going on in our country (political and otherwise).
    I’ve realized that all my friends, relatives, etc. who are educated people, have no idea what is going on.
    They are all too busy “keeping up with life”, work, rising kids, etc.
    All they hear is snippets of “stuff” in passing. They hear polical ads, pieces of speaches, rhetoric, talking heads, and they believe it. Why wouldn’t they? It’s all they hear.
    It’s small wonder the vast majority buys into it and is being led by the nose by
    politians and corporate america.
    If and when John Q Public does have the time, they are more interested in Good Morning America and Entertainment Tonight.
    The people who watch and follow Bill Moyers (for example) are such a tiny fraction of the populus that their outrage is simply drown out by the rest.
    The OCCUPY MOVEMENT was a haphazard attempt at change. Although they were onto something, they were such a rag-tag, aimless group that they never got the traction to make real change.
    SOLUTION: We institue a true JOHN DOE movement to replace our ENTIRE political body, extricate corporate america from the beds of Congress.
    And at risk of sounding too radical, we either pare back corporate america to mom & pop shops across america or socialize corporate america.
    This may sound crazy but consider this: The lust for money has become too great for corporate america to resist. “Ethics” is a dirty word to them. For the CEO’S, it’s become a game of “who has the biggest pile” when the music stops . . . all at our expense.
    And one last thing: JOBS JOBS JOBS! You’ll hear this incessantly until 11/6 . . . this is the biggest joke yet . . . You see, corporate america has just spent the last 5 years outsourcing, laying off, streamlining (all for the bottom line).
    What makes anyone think they are suddenly going to load up again?
    Here’s the irony, with all their outsourcing and layoffs, they’ve created a population that can’t afford to buy thier products AND a population that the government needs to care for !!!

  • B Jackson

    9-11 was a giant hoax. No, I’m not a member of the Democratic Underground, just a professional investigator

  • Eugene

    Religion is the “enemy” of Democracy;hence the founders admonition….I am eighty one years old…from Working Class ala the Great Depression. Poorly educated, became middle class in my early thirtys.(upper 12 % income)..I once again became poor as an “Old Person”.just the way I came into this world.

    I regret it but I see Fascism right around the corner led by the Christian right…I remember so vividly the films of the great crusade that was Nazi Germany. The Savior? will lead us…of course.

    Those good people didnt think that”clown”and his friends were anything but Tea Pary Types The Crazies, the Lunatics..who would believe that crap.

    And somehow thirty to fifty million human beings were slaughtered….cant happen here of course.were different arent we..

  • BigWhiteDog

    Because they are so far to the left or right (mostly left) to not be a viable option and never seem to have valid workable solutions to anything. The Libertarians are just really selfish Republicans.

  • Linda

    Who knew that a moderate Republican would be thinking exactly what I’m thinking? Also, I’m a history nut and was impressed with Lofgren’s breath of knowledge.

  • Anonymous

    The Supreme Court cannot be blind to the problems initiated by their decision in Citizens United. Don’t know whether the Supreme Court has ever revisited their decisions so soon after being made, but Brown vs Board of Education over former Dred Scott decision comes to mind in an earlier day.

    Perhaps this problem of democracy within our Constitutional framework should be laid at the feet of where it originated, at the Supreme Court. They should not be considered infallible, after all, as none of us presumes we are, or could be.

    As Reverend Al Sharpton tends to say, where there is a will, there is a way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/citizenbfk Barry F. Keaveney

    Getting millionaires paying their fair share of taxes, as President Obama has proposed, would be another good idea and we’re fools to let this inequality go on and on. IMO, The best thing we can do for our country is drive the Republican Party into extinction, for a decade long list of good reasons.