“Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.” President Eisenhower
Take the opposite of this, add in rich Jesus proselytizing and roman military triumphs, and you have the modern Republican Party. What went wrong? Mike Lofgren, former Republican congressional staffer, describes it the best I’ve heard, here at Truth-out. Among the highlights:
- ACA will be a budget buster because it caved to corporate interests: insurers and pharmaceuticals
- The Republican Party is full of nihilistic lunatics bent on destroying the citizenry’ faith in the federal government
- “This fact [Most of the House caucus did not care if the budget ceiling negotiations failed], which ought to be obvious, has nevertheless caused confusion among the professional pundit class, which is mostly still stuck in the Bob Dole era in terms of its orientation.” – (One of my favorite quotes of the year)
- The media’s false even handedness is bad for disseminating factual information
- Republicans only use low information white middle class voters for votes to promote their oligarchic interests, they don’t implement policies that would materially empower them.
- And this is different than the Great Depression, when an unemployed farmer knew Democratic policies would empower them, and voted that way.
- Democrats are bought and/or too conflicted to stop them.
The full article puts a great deal of importance on the modern Republican Party’s manipulation of low information voters, which he defines as white middle class families whose lifestyles are threatened by globalization and fiscal retrenchment.
In my experience, Logner speaks quite truthfully about them. My hometown is full of smart people who are involved community members and have stable careers. Yet, in my estimation, many are low information voters and I can’t figure out why.
Out of my greater extended family and many of my friends’ families, we’re almost entirely middle class, but almost all of the adults in their 40s-60s speak like Republican policies benefit them.
Republican policies do not benefit the middle class at all, period, and would destroy our way of life. Modern Republicans would turn Medicare and Medicaid into a strangling voucher system rather than require the rich to pay more tax on their investments. They’d turn public education systems, which have educated 3 generations into gainful employment, into private sector experiments.
The House Republicans are currently starving the country of public infrastructure to weaken Obama, their only strong national political opponent, and their state and federal level resistance to increased revenues (as well as targeted efforts to limit unions) are threatening middle class support systems, namely public teaching and safety forces.
Now, millionaires may not send their kids to public school, retire on Medicare, or use well-paved country roads to get home, but much of the middle class does. The important policy features that empowered my grandparents. Why don’t low information voters understand this? I have no idea.
Lofgren’s no hero either, his departure was done in rational self-interest; he’s just recapitulating his observation of his former work environment:
And, in truth, I left as an act of rational self-interest. Having gutted private-sector pensions and health benefits as a result of their embrace of outsourcing, union busting and “shareholder value,” the GOP now thinks it is only fair that public-sector workers give up their pensions and benefits, too. Hence the intensification of the GOP’s decades-long campaign of scorn against government workers. Under the circumstances, it is simply safer to be a current retiree rather than a prospective one.