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The Obama Miracle: A White House Free Of Scandal

Memo Pad

The Obama Miracle: A White House Free Of Scandal


Oct. 28 (Bloomberg) — President Barack Obama goes into 2012 with a weak economy that may doom his reelection. But he has one asset that hasn’t received much attention: He’s honest.

The sight of Texas Governor Rick Perry tumbling out of the clown car recently as a “birther” (or at least a birther-enabler) is a sign of weakness, not just for the Perry campaign but for the whole Republican effort to tarnish the president’s character.

Jonathan Alter

Jonathan Alter is a bestselling author and journalist who served as senior editor for Newsweek from 1983 to 2011. He is currently a lead columnist for Bloomberg View as well as a contributing correspondent to NBC News. Alter's 2010 book, The Promise: President Obama, Year One, reached #3 on the New York Times Best Seller list.

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  1. lusksavage October 29, 2011

    A man with integrity? No wonder the republicans hate his guts. He might as well be from mars!

  2. moonlite October 29, 2011

    You are kidding…right? Obama honest? That kind of thinking is either blind or insane. So, lets look as some facts that you can easily look up for yourself.

    1. He’s been called out as a liar since his healthcare speech before congress in 2009.
    2. He’s used two different names in his life Barry Soetero and Barack Obama…Why?
    3. He has used multiple SSNs and the one he uses now doesn’t pass eVerify…Why?

    I could go on but I’m sure you get the message. Barack Hussein Obama is an illegal alien perpetrating the greatest fraud on the American people ever. He is Constitutionally ineligible for POTUS because BOTH PARENTS MUST BE AMERICAN CITIZENS. His father WAS NOT an American citizen. Read the Constitution for yourselves.

    The certificate of live birth (COLB) he showed to the world was a FAKE. This has been proven time and time again. You can live in Hawaii for a period of one year and get a COLB stating you were born in the US when you actually weren’t.

    Obama is an illegal alien and narcissistic pathological liar who is ineligible to be president of the United States of America. Obama honest? You must either be kidding, delirious or blind.

  3. Judy Schlegel October 29, 2011

    C’mon now. The birth issue has been settled. He is an American citizen. As for the multiple names and SSN’s, where is your evidence? I’ve never heard of this. Sounds like a Sarah Palin lie.

  4. Judy Schlegel October 29, 2011

    And how can we trust someone who does not use his real name?

  5. Gadfly Granny October 29, 2011

    Moonlite… you need to get your head out of the stars and come back to planet earth… It is been debunked over and over again… The “birth certificate” is “REAL”… He used to be called “Barry” in High School because he was a “kid” and a name like Barack was uncool… the other two ‘examples’ are complete hooey… yes, that’s right “lies”… lies about the President because they have nothing one him… nadda, zip, zilch… If they had one “tiny shred” of evidence to any of those things he would have been exposed “BEFORE” he was elected. You are just another stupid, unthinking tool for the likes of Limbaugh, Glenn, Hannity, and O’Reilly… grow up and try thinking for yourself.

  6. JoAnnLawMcGrath October 29, 2011

    I heard the same thing on Monday….from a 94 year old man who never got out of the 8th grade and only reads The New York Post. He drools a little, too.

  7. omichael October 29, 2011

    This paper used to be a bastion of Liberalism until it was bought by the dark side’s black helmet Rupert Murdoch and now is as fair and unbalanced as Fox News

  8. Victor Estrada October 29, 2011

    You’re free to believe in whatever you wish thats your first amendment right but the distant between reality and you “birthers” makes landing on mars a walk in the park. Now just remember there are no unicorns, leprechauns, or pots of gold. Have a nice day and don’t stay in the sun too long it’s eating what’s left of your senses.

  9. jamesn October 29, 2011

    “moolite”, you are kidding, right? Your kind of thinking is blind, insane and rather turdly. Let’s look of some of the facts about your dishonesty.

    1. You are huge-ass liar, and you are so brazen about it that you think that you will continue to get away with it indefinitely.
    2. You hide behind your Mickey-Mouse moniker “moonlite” because you don’t have the balls to let us know who you really are.
    3. We don’t know if you have a SSN or even if you are a U.S. citizen. For all we know, you are just another “Brightbart blog brat” closet-commie trying to bring down the United States with your fake accusations and childish blather that have no substantive basis or value.
    4. You obviously have nothing to prove or back up any of your ridiculous accusations, and you are little more than a malcontent who can’t get it up enough to present even a remote resemblance to adult commentary.

    Why don’t you go back to your video games, to your hot dog, Twinkie, and soda pop diet, and leave the adult world of politics to responsible adults who have at least a shred of a pretense of integrity, honesty, and sincerity. Admit it to yourself that you are just a coprolitic bag of feces, and get some professional help.

    By the way, another outstanding journalistic effort by Mr. Jonathan Alter. It’s a shame that good work has to be denigrated by association in print with low-life mental cases like “moonlite”.

    Of course, Pres. Obama is the hardest working, most humble, most intelligent, and most honest President we have had the good fortune to have in decades. The fact that he has had the obstructionist Republicans in Congress dragging down his excellent legislative proposals like a ball-and-chain is never going to detract from his virtuous and courageous exercise of leadership. If the general voting public ever gets out of its foggy nap time, Mr. Obama will rightfully be re-elected by a landslide. If the voters can get their heads out of their behinds, and get correctly and truthfully informed about our politics, there will be a huge backlash against sitting Republicans and “blue-dog” Democrats who have sought to oppose virtually any and all efforts by Pres. Obama to elevate our country and the world. Only by having a Congress that is working with President Obama can we expect to have positive progress.

    Dishonest traitorous piss-ants like “moonlite” should be relegated summarily to the dung heap of non-history, and really should not be allowed to pollute the media with their twisted, brazenly dishonest renditions of opinion. Commentary so flagrantly stinky should be shunned and ignored, and publicly labeled as such.

  10. jamesn October 29, 2011

    “moonlite”, you are kidding, right? Your kind of thinking is blind, insane and rather turdly. Let’s look of some of the facts about your dishonesty.

    1. You are huge-ass liar, and you are so brazen about it that you think that you will continue to get away with it indefinitely.
    2. You hide behind your Mickey-Mouse moniker “moonlite” because you don’t have the balls to let us know who you really are.
    3. We don’t know if you have a SSN or even if you are a U.S. citizen. For all we know, you are just another “Brightbart blog brat” closet-commie trying to bring down the United States with your fake accusations and childish blather that have no substantive basis or value.
    4. You obviously have nothing to prove or back up any of your ridiculous accusations, and you are little more than a malcontent who can’t get it up enough to present even a remote resemblance to adult commentary.

    Why don’t you go back to your video games, to your hot dog, Twinkie, and soda pop diet, and leave the adult world of politics to responsible adults who have at least a shred of a pretense of integrity, honesty, and sincerity. Admit it to yourself that you are just a coprolitic bag of feces, and get some professional help.

    By the way, another outstanding journalistic effort by Mr. Jonathan Alter. It’s a shame that good work has to be denigrated by association in print with low-life mental cases like “moonlite”.

    Of course, Pres. Obama is the hardest working, most humble, most intelligent, and most honest President we have had the good fortune to have in decades. The fact that he has had the obstructionist Republicans in Congress dragging down his excellent legislative proposals like a ball-and-chain is never going to detract from his virtuous and courageous exercise of leadership. If the general voting public ever gets out of its foggy nap time, Mr. Obama will rightfully be re-elected by a landslide. If the voters can get their heads out of their behinds, and get correctly and truthfully informed about our politics, there will be a huge backlash against sitting Republicans and “blue-dog” Democrats who have sought to oppose virtually any and all efforts by Pres. Obama to elevate our country and the world. Only by having a Congress that is working with President Obama can we expect to have positive progress.

    Dishonest traitorous piss-ants like “moonlite” should be relegated summarily to the dung heap of non-history, and really should not be allowed to pollute the media with their twisted, brazenly dishonest renditions of opinion. Commentary so flagrantly stinky should be shunned and ignored, and publicly labeled as such.

  11. Dianrib October 29, 2011

    moonlight is a Fox Tea Bagger plant Paid to smear Obama on line
    They will stop at nothing to break Obama as they vowed
    How did the GOP sink so low since my parents voted for IKE ?
    Vote GOP Baggers out asap I;ll do my part .. as a former Repub voter till Bush

  12. Dianrib October 29, 2011

    I Recall Hitler Anti Christ Muslim Kenyan Mao Mao Socialist Fascist
    Hater of whites Not like us..code for not white ?
    Thats just some reasons I would be ashamed to vote GOP

  13. Sherlock October 30, 2011

    These comments are interesting and I agree with the clear remarks about the President and his integrity. He has met the 3 years of his administration with such strong character and grace, in the face of all the terrible things being said about him. Through all the hurtful things… that must pain his heart…he has shown himself to be a great gentleman and a great leader. I am proud he is my President from day one and I will be even prouder in his second term. Tell it Brother. Keep on Keeping on !!

  14. debra vener October 30, 2011

    If more of our politicians, congressmen, senators, etc. had half of the moral integrity & work ethic that President Obama has, this Country would be a far better place. Let’s remember who put us into this mess that he has been trying to get us out of! The very rich, mostly the Republicans, have shot down every bill he has put forth to help the economy, the poor & middle clas, the people that desperately need healthcare, WHY? They are afraid of losing a little bit of their millions & billions & also don’t want to admit that Obama is right. It’s time Congress lived by the same rules & laws that the rest of us live by. They have been getting a free ride for too long! If they cared about this Country, they would work with Obama & try to get things going in the right direction again! They don’t care & don’t want to give up their cushy jobs & benefits. It’s easier to attack Obama & spend all of their time bashing him, than working on a solution that would be a compromise for both parties. I would vote for Obama again in a heartbeat!! Everyday, I become a little more embarrassed to live in this Country, with the likes of Romney, Perry & the other Republicans becoming President, we are going to have our rights taken away from us, the rich will keep getting richer & they will continue on in George W’s footsteps, which destroyed the greatest Country in the world!! I am terminally ill & hope that I die before that happens!

  15. 4limitedgov October 30, 2011

    Anyone who thinks Obama is honest has been living with their head in the sand. Moonlite is right. Obama is as dishonest as a human can get. He lied about what he was going to do to this country before he was elected, specifically that he was going to have a transparent administration. He’s done nothing but hide 90% of what he’s doing, and deny everything he does. He tries to blame everyone but himself for the decline of the country. He writes phoney bills like the jobs bill, and spends our money hand over fist, and claims he hasn’t spent enough. He lies by omission: he’s in bed with big business, unions, George Soros. He’s a committed communist, attempting to enslave every American, and he knows it. He’s EVIL. I pity you people who speak for him. You don’t even have the good sense to know what’s coming for you. Idiots, all.

  16. Melinda7 October 30, 2011

    Moonlight a President only needs to be born in the US him/herself ( Andrew Jackson’s parents were both born in Ireland but he was born here) or can be born in a foreign country of pRents who are both US Citizens (mitt romney’s father was born to two US citizens in Chiuaua Mexico and ran for president And McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone. Educate yourself before making silly pronouncements.

  17. Victor Estrada October 30, 2011

    Please save us your looney tunes while using this page, making statements like”in bed with big business and unions” makes no sense. By the way congress controls the spending of money know your constitution…Please take your medication and stay out of the sun, your foolishness is showing, have nice day.

  18. Gene M Burke October 30, 2011

    On whether he’s qualified for President.

    His mother was born in Kansas. Case closed

  19. lounamyr October 30, 2011

    I realized one thing while analizing what’s happening in our country, it’s so sad these white rich people in the world of politics just dont want to stop on their agenda to put Obama down, OMG!!! the president is pleading to the white millionaires and to whom it may concern, why dont they cooperate for the sake of the people who are suffering and for the country to prosper again, OMG!!!! because of their ego and unending copy cat tactics, annoying attitude,who dont even want to share their millions or billions, they just want this sign always +$$$$ Yack!!!! sorry, I’m supposed to be in that party but I had change my mind, we the ordinary people had decided to give the President another chance to CLEAN YOU UP..

  20. bobpol October 30, 2011

    the right wingers will believe anything as long as it comes from one of their own. they do not know the meaning of the words fact or fact checking

  21. Sean OReiley October 30, 2011

    I hope that the author of the article was being sarcastic.
    This is the most corrupt administration sense Ulysses Grant. President Obama may be a man of personal integrity, but his regime is replete payoffs to political supporters. Chicago brass knuckle politics brought to a national scale.
    This mis-administration is first and foremost interested in the state of the unions, rather than the state of the Union. The following are only a few of the more egregious examples.
    Bankruptcy laws were turned upside down and inside out in the bailout of the auto industry for the benefit of the unions. Salvation of General Motors and Chrysler were collateral benefit to bailing out the unions.
    How many tax payers dollars were dolled out to the States to keep bloated payrolls for the benefit of public service and teachers unions?
    Lending half a billion dollars to a Russian billionaire for the benefit of the unions.
    Interruption of free commerce by stopping the building of a Boeing plant in South Carolina for the benefit of the unions.
    In addition, this president and his administration, acting completely unfettered by the constitution have trampled any notion of States rights under the 10th Amendment. They have enacted regulations, opposed to the will of Congress, by executive fiat rather than legislation. In violation of his oath of office he has picked and chosen which laws he wants to enforce after swearing to enforce all of the laws of the United States. Immigration laws and the Defense of Marriage Act are only two examples.
    He is acting like a king, strutting like and emperor, leading our Republic down the same path that Julius did with Rome. A Nero claiming to be an Augustus. Actually, he is an eloquent equivalent of Hugo Chavez.

  22. OkieVietVet October 30, 2011

    Obama is just as unscrupulous as his cabinet. He is only concerned about his Awsomness. I have been so impressed by his lies and ego, I am no longer registered as a Democrat. I am now independant. He and his buddies are selling out America as fast as they can. He is way to pro-muslim, and I think he is a muslim and was not born in the USA. No one really knows anything about him. All he does is try to be everything to everyone. That says a lot. Looking forward to voting against him. Lets see what he comes up with to try and suspend the 2012 election.

  23. Flo October 30, 2011

    If moonlight or anyone republican can give me the name of someone that died and took some of his/her riches with him/her I will vote Republican come Nov, 2012. If OkieVietVet can define lies in the light of the 2 wars started by evil republicans that was built on truth without really looking for Bin Ladin, then I will know he is a human being, but for now OkieVietVet has no human face

  24. NathanMartel October 30, 2011

    Have never been other than a registered Republican but they have lost me since they sold out what was once an honorable party and climbed into bed with fundamentalist fools. Their entire crop of would-be-candidates are pathetic except for Ron Paul. Their slimy hero George “WMDs” Bush did more to destroy America than anyone for years.

  25. dickeddy October 30, 2011

    President Obama is honest as HONEST can be. Statesman without honesty will always fail. Put all rhetoric aside, let someone give a name of honest statesman that has never been ridiculed.

  26. Helene October 30, 2011

    Moonlite…before you spew your garbage at least have enough sense to verify.

    Snopes already called your assertions false. Click here: snopes.com: Obama’s Occidental College Records / Meet the Soetoros

    ALSO ….both parents do not have to be United States citizens in order for their child to become president.

  27. kayatz October 30, 2011

    This President has done more good than any other president in my lifetime, and I’m old. Attempts to stop him from doing good for US has been launched continually by the republicons in Congress. Never before has there been such disrespect and disregard for this man and the Office of President, itself. Why? Because there is no scandals to fall on him, they must manufacture lies and economic disasters to make him appear incompetent. They must tank this country to get those uneducated folks to believe such nonsense, and no care for those of us that get caught in this wicked web of pure lies. Do you really think any republicon, in any office, from national to state and local, gives a damn? Look at their ideas, if you can call it that, they are to destroy democracy in this country and I am very sick of it. They are out to take away our rights, one by one, inch by inch, until we are so depleted that any little crumb looks good. The only hope we have to survive and have a decent life is with this President. Get rid of the deadbeats in congress and we will see what this man can, and will do for us.

  28. BREAD1 October 30, 2011

    Sean Oreiley it is really sad that some people just don’t use common sense. Obama has tried to do everything he promised, and if he hasn’t it is because the republican congress has blocked his effort’s. It’s does not matter what party you affiliate yourself with, what color you are, Don’t the truth mean anything. The republican’s have been lieing since George W got into office and they are still telling lie’s and they really think the American people are stupid that if they lie long enough people will believe it. Do you like being lied to? I don’t! and I am not going to lie just because I belong to a certain party. Republican’ ideas do not work it has been proven, even further republican’s don’t care about ordinary people. Anybody who stands up and say’s it is better to go after social security and medicare than tax millionaire’s and billionaire’s have no heart in my opinion. These are two programs that people paid for. Sean’ why didn’t you say How many tax payer dollars were spent on the war’s that we were lied into, that destroyed our economy, that gave Bin Laden what he wanted. To bankrupt American. If Obama had not bailed out the auto industry the economy would be even worse and million’s of people would be out of work. He gave the auto industry a loan of which most of them have paid back. How is that turnig the bankruptcy laws upside down? As for states right’s it is your republican governor’s who is trying to take away women’s right’s, voter’s right’s and the people’s rights that is what you should be afraid of because they are trying to take this country back to the 19th century and you want to blame it on Obama. Open your eye’s Sean speak truth to power.

  29. Esther October 30, 2011

    I keep wondering if Obama was white all this question of birth would have dominated our politics. The only people who can really lay claim to America are the native A American ldians. Every other person should shut up.I don’t belong to any party, but if the Republicans don’t stop blocking all Obama’s proposals,they will loose the elections big time. As the saying goes”You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all the time”

  30. Help Our Country October 30, 2011

    Please tell me why no one has commented on Obama’s Health Care Law? If I presented my employer with a proposal that had pencil-written comments within it, does anyone truly believe my employer would take the time to review it? And let’s include in this scenario that there is also a legislative body that needs to review the proposal before my employer does. And I present it to them on a weekday, after 6pm, and give them one night to review my effort before they can make a recommendation to my employer. Oh, yes, and my proposal is hundreds of pages in length.
    Why do my fellow Americans keep making excuses for the mistakes of our President? He is a grown and educated man. There is not one business executive I have met in my life that would have permitted the ‘Health Care Law’ to go to a vote. An educated person would have politely (or not so politely) told me to go back to the drawing board with my ‘ Health Care Law’. Yet there was a vote on this legislation. And many Americans, including myself, did not want it.
    Now it is my turn to rant: I work hard and I pay for my health care. I live in America, where my Constitution (that many reviewers have referenced to) is still in effect. So thank you very much, but I can choose my own health care plan. I don’t need someone to tell me how to do it. And I am very unhappy that my government thinks that it should make my decisions for me.
    I do not care if a person is a Democrat, a Republican, Tea Party, or any other political party. What I do care about is that our leaders seemed to have lost their common sense along the way.
    And ‘Bread 1’, I would disagree with your comment of ‘Obama has tried to do everything he promised’. His promise of ‘transparency’ has been a joke. He most certainly has NOT lived up to ‘all’ his promises. I truly wish he had.
    And ‘lounamyr’, I find your comment of ‘rich white people’ to be in very poor taste and very racist. I do not care how much you tax the ‘rich white people’ of this country – they do not have enough money to fix our broken and corrupt government. I wonder, how would you feel if you were one of those ‘rich white persons’ who worked to pay for their school, put their personal lives on hold to study and get a degree, started their own legitimate business, worked 80 hours a week to make a go of it…..and then you were later told that since you were now successful you have to give a lot of it back to the government?
    I am NOT one of the ‘rich white people’. But I am offended FOR THEM by your careless and heartless remarks. It is true that many of the wealthy in this country are from old money. But now there are also those who have worked very hard to become the ‘new wealthy’. Get off your duff and make your own way in life instead of presenting comments that infer you deserve come kind of handout. Work and make something of yourself and provide yourself with your own handout. If more people did that, this country would quickly turn around to the positive again. Individual responsibility seems to have become a thing of the past. Treating people with respect (just READ the above posts!) has become a thing of the past. Hostility and incivility are the new reality and it is tearing this country apart.
    If people would just take pride in themselves, and treat each other with respect, this country would be a better place to live. I you don’t like your life then put the blame where it should be – on yourself. Stop blaming others if you are not happy with your current lot in life. Pull yourself up and make a change. And stop expecting other people to do it for you.
    America was built on hard working people. I do believe that Mr. Obama is working hard. But he does not have the skill set needed to effect a positive change for this country. Unfortunately, the people that do have the skills are too smart to run for political office. This is not just a Democrat vs. Republican problem. The problem is that many of the people making decisions in Congress do not have the know-how to make those decisions. The hard-working people of this country are too busy working and we trust that those elected to office are making the best decisions for us and our country.
    Now we realize that is not the case. Someone needs to step up to the plate in 2012 and save use from ourselves.

  31. Judy Schlegel October 30, 2011

    First, I do not trust anyone who cannot give his real name.

    Next, I would vote for the Health Care Law. I have cancer, and for five and a half years, I could not pay for my treatment. Who do you think paid for it? You did!!! Now wouldn’t it be better if I paid for some of it. Actually I did, but under the new law I would pay more. WE NEED UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE. We are the only advanced nation that does not have it.

    You say the rich white guys cannot fix the government. I agree with you on that one. I think improvements can be made if people would think before they vote and not pay too much attention to campaign ads.

    But the rich white guys could help the economy. The large corporations, headed by rich white guys, are sitting ob two trillion dollars. They could create jobs with that money. And the Republicans think they need more money to create jobs. Get real.

    As for where they got their money, I believe that very few earned it. Some inherited it; some got it by exploiting their workers; and a few just happened to be at the right place at the right time.

    Anyhow, Obama gets my vote next year.

  32. Crashmister October 30, 2011

    Mike Lofgren was a well respected Republican staffer on the hill until last summer. He decided to retire just 2 years short of a full 30 year pension. Here’s why.
    Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult

    by: Mike Lofgren

    “We’re both rotten!”

    Fred MacMurray: “Yeah – only you’re a little more rotten.” -“Double Indemnity” (1944)

    Those lines of dialogue from a classic film noir sum up the state of the two political parties in contemporary America. Both parties are rotten – how could they not be, given the complete infestation of the political system by corporate money on a scale that now requires a presidential candidate to raise upwards of a billion dollars to be competitive in the general election? Both parties are captives to corporate loot. The main reason the Democrats’ health care bill will be a budget buster once it fully phases in is the Democrats’ rank capitulation to corporate interests – no single-payer system, in order to mollify the insurers; and no negotiation of drug prices, a craven surrender to Big Pharma.

    But both parties are not rotten in quite the same way. The Democrats have their share of machine politicians, careerists, corporate bagmen, egomaniacs and kooks. Nothing, however, quite matches the modern GOP.

    To those millions of Americans who have finally begun paying attention to politics and watched with exasperation the tragicomedy of the debt ceiling extension, it may have come as a shock that the Republican Party is so full of lunatics. To be sure, the party, like any political party on earth, has always had its share of crackpots, like Robert K. Dornan or William E. Dannemeyer. But the crackpot outliers of two decades ago have become the vital center today: Steve King, Michele Bachman (now a leading presidential candidate as well), Paul Broun, Patrick McHenry, Virginia Foxx, Louie Gohmert, Allen West. The Congressional directory now reads like a casebook of lunacy.

    It was this cast of characters and the pernicious ideas they represent that impelled me to end a nearly 30-year career as a professional staff member on Capitol Hill. A couple of months ago, I retired; but I could see as early as last November that the Republican Party would use the debt limit vote, an otherwise routine legislative procedure that has been used 87 times since the end of World War II, in order to concoct an entirely artificial fiscal crisis. Then, they would use that fiscal crisis to get what they wanted, by literally holding the US and global economies as hostages.

    The debt ceiling extension is not the only example of this sort of political terrorism. Republicans were willing to lay off 4,000 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) employees, 70,000 private construction workers and let FAA safety inspectors work without pay, in fact, forcing them to pay for their own work-related travel – how prudent is that? – in order to strong arm some union-busting provisions into the FAA reauthorization.

    Everyone knows that in a hostage situation, the reckless and amoral actor has the negotiating upper hand over the cautious and responsible actor because the latter is actually concerned about the life of the hostage, while the former does not care. This fact, 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. For instance, Ezra Klein wrote of his puzzlement over the fact that while House Republicans essentially won the debt ceiling fight, enough of them were sufficiently dissatisfied that they might still scuttle the deal. Of course they might – the attitude of many freshman Republicans to national default was “bring it on!”

    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, or one of the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe. This trend has several implications, none of them pleasant.

    In his “Manual of Parliamentary Practice,” Thomas Jefferson wrote that it is less important that every rule and custom of a legislature be absolutely justifiable in a theoretical sense, than that they should be generally acknowledged and honored by all parties. These include unwritten rules, customs and courtesies that lubricate the legislative machinery and keep governance a relatively civilized procedure. The US Senate has more complex procedural rules than any other legislative body in the world; many of these rules are contradictory, and on any given day, the Senate parliamentarian may issue a ruling that contradicts earlier rulings on analogous cases.

    The only thing that can keep the Senate functioning is collegiality and good faith. During periods of political consensus, for instance, the World War II and early post-war eras, the Senate was a “high functioning” institution: filibusters were rare and the body was legislatively productive. Now, one can no more picture the current Senate producing the original Medicare Act than the old Supreme Soviet having legislated the Bill of Rights.

    Far from being a rarity, virtually every bill, every nominee for Senate confirmation and every routine procedural motion is now subject to a Republican filibuster. Under the circumstances, it is no wonder that Washington is gridlocked: legislating has now become war minus the shooting, something one could have observed 80 years ago in the Reichstag of the Weimar Republic. As Hannah Arendt observed, a disciplined minority of totalitarians can use the instruments of democratic government to undermine democracy itself.

    John P. Judis sums up the modern GOP this way:

    “Over the last four decades, the Republican Party has transformed from a loyal opposition into an insurrectionary party that flouts the law when it is in the majority and threatens disorder when it is the minority. It is the party of Watergate and Iran-Contra, but also of the government shutdown in 1995 and the impeachment trial of 1999. If there is an earlier American precedent for today’s Republican Party, it is the antebellum Southern Democrats of John Calhoun who threatened to nullify, or disregard, federal legislation they objected to and who later led the fight to secede from the union over slavery.”

    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 media are also complicit in this phenomenon. Ever since the bifurcation of electronic media into a more or less respectable “hard news” segment and a rabidly ideological talk radio and cable TV political propaganda arm, the “respectable” media have been terrified of any criticism for perceived bias. Hence, they hew to the practice of false evenhandedness. Paul Krugman has skewered this tactic as being the “centrist cop-out.” “I joked long ago,” he says, “that if one party declared that the earth was flat, the headlines would read ‘Views Differ on Shape of Planet.'”

    Inside-the-Beltway wise guy Chris Cillizza merely proves Krugman right in his Washington Post analysis of “winners and losers” in the debt ceiling impasse. He wrote that the institution of Congress was a big loser in the fracas, which is, of course, correct, but then he opined: “Lawmakers – bless their hearts – seem entirely unaware of just how bad they looked during this fight and will almost certainly spend the next few weeks (or months) congratulating themselves on their tremendous magnanimity.” Note how the pundit’s ironic deprecation falls like the rain on the just and unjust alike, on those who precipitated the needless crisis and those who despaired of it. He seems oblivious that one side – or a sizable faction of one side – has deliberately attempted to damage the reputation of Congress to achieve its political objectives.

    This constant drizzle of “there the two parties go again!” stories out of the news bureaus, combined with the hazy confusion of low-information voters, means that the long-term Republican strategy of undermining confidence in our democratic institutions has reaped electoral dividends. The United States has nearly the lowest voter participation among Western democracies; this, again, is a consequence of the decline of trust in government institutions – if government is a racket and both parties are the same, why vote? And if the uninvolved middle declines to vote, it increases the electoral clout of a minority that is constantly being whipped into a lather by three hours daily of Rush Limbaugh or Fox News. There were only 44 million Republican voters in the 2010 mid-term elections, but they effectively canceled the political results of the election of President Obama by 69 million voters.

    This tactic of inducing public distrust of government is not only cynical, it is schizophrenic. For people who profess to revere the Constitution, it is strange that they so caustically denigrate the very federal government that is the material expression of the principles embodied in that document. This is not to say that there is not some theoretical limit to the size or intrusiveness of government; I would be the first to say there are such limits, both fiscal and Constitutional. But most Republican officeholders seem strangely uninterested in the effective repeal of Fourth Amendment protections by the Patriot Act, the weakening of habeas corpus and self-incrimination protections in the public hysteria following 9/11 or the unpalatable fact that the United States has the largest incarcerated population of any country on earth. If anything, they would probably opt for more incarcerated persons, as imprisonment is a profit center for the prison privatization industry, which is itself a growth center for political contributions to these same politicians.[1] Instead, they prefer to rail against those government programs that actually help people. And when a program is too popular to attack directly, like Medicare or Social Security, they prefer to undermine it by feigning an agonized concern about the deficit. That concern, as we shall see, is largely fictitious.

    Undermining Americans’ belief in their own institutions of self-government remains a prime GOP electoral strategy. But if this technique falls short of producing Karl Rove’s dream of 30 years of unchallengeable one-party rule (as all such techniques always fall short of achieving the angry and embittered true believer’s New Jerusalem), there are other even less savory techniques upon which to fall back. Ever since Republicans captured the majority in a number of state legislatures last November, they have systematically attempted to make it more difficult to vote: by onerous voter ID requirements (in Wisconsin, Republicans have legislated photo IDs while simultaneously shutting Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offices in Democratic constituencies while at the same time lengthening the hours of operation of DMV offices in GOP constituencies); by narrowing registration periods; and by residency requirements that may disenfranchise university students.

    This legislative assault is moving in a diametrically opposed direction to 200 years of American history, when the arrow of progress pointed toward more political participation by more citizens. Republicans are among the most shrill in self-righteously lecturing other countries about the wonders of democracy; exporting democracy (albeit at the barrel of a gun) to the Middle East was a signature policy of the Bush administration. But domestically, they don’t want those people voting.

    You can probably guess who those people are. Above all, anyone not likely to vote Republican. As Sarah Palin would imply, the people who are not Real Americans. Racial minorities. Immigrants. Muslims. Gays. Intellectuals. Basically, anyone who doesn’t look, think, or talk like the GOP base. This must account, at least to some degree, for their extraordinarily vitriolic hatred of President Obama. I have joked in the past that the main administration policy that Republicans object to is Obama’s policy of being black.[2] Among the GOP base, there is constant harping about somebody else, some “other,” who is deliberately, assiduously and with malice aforethought subverting the Good, the True and the Beautiful: Subversives. Commies. Socialists. Ragheads. Secular humanists. Blacks. Fags. Feminazis. The list may change with the political needs of the moment, but they always seem to need a scapegoat to hate and fear.

    It is not clear to me how many GOP officeholders believe this reactionary and paranoid claptrap. I would bet that most do not. But they cynically feed the worst instincts of their fearful and angry low-information political base with a nod and a wink. During the disgraceful circus of the “birther” issue, Republican politicians subtly stoked the fires of paranoia by being suggestively equivocal – “I take the president at his word” – while never unambiguously slapping down the myth. John Huntsman was the first major GOP figure forthrightly to refute the birther calumny – albeit after release of the birth certificate.

    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. Republicans also regarded Bill Clinton as somehow, in some manner, twice fraudulently elected (well do I remember the elaborate conspiracy theories that Republicans traded among themselves). Had it been Hillary Clinton, rather than Barack Obama, who had been elected in 2008, I am certain we would now be hearing, in lieu of the birther myths, conspiracy theories about Vince Foster’s alleged murder.

    The reader may think that I am attributing Svengali-like powers to GOP operatives able to manipulate a zombie base to do their bidding. It is more complicated than that. Historical circumstances produced the raw material: the deindustrialization and financialization of America since about 1970 has spawned an increasingly downscale white middle class – without job security (or even without jobs), with pensions and health benefits evaporating and with their principal asset deflating in the collapse of the housing bubble. Their fears are not imaginary; their standard of living is shrinking.

    What do the Democrats offer these people? Essentially nothing. Democratic Leadership Council-style “centrist” Democrats were among the biggest promoters of disastrous trade deals in the 1990s that outsourced jobs abroad: NAFTA, World Trade Organization, permanent most-favored-nation status for China. At the same time, the identity politics/lifestyle wing of the Democratic Party was seen as a too illegal immigrant-friendly by downscaled and outsourced whites.[3]

    While Democrats temporized, or even dismissed the fears of the white working class as racist or nativist, Republicans went to work. To be sure, the business wing of the Republican Party consists of the most energetic outsourcers, wage cutters and hirers of sub-minimum wage immigrant labor to be found anywhere on the globe. But the faux-populist wing of the party, knowing the mental compartmentalization that occurs in most low-information voters, played on the fears of that same white working class to focus their anger on scapegoats that do no damage to corporations’ bottom lines: instead of raising the minimum wage, let’s build a wall on the Southern border (then hire a defense contractor to incompetently manage it). Instead of predatory bankers, it’s evil Muslims. Or evil gays. Or evil abortionists.

    How do they manage to do this? Because Democrats ceded the field. Above all, they do not understand language. Their initiatives are posed in impenetrable policy-speak: the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The what? – can anyone even remember it? No wonder the pejorative “Obamacare” won out. Contrast that with the Republicans’ Patriot Act. You’re a patriot, aren’t you? Does anyone at the GED level have a clue what a Stimulus Bill is supposed to be? Why didn’t the White House call it the Jobs Bill and keep pounding on that theme?

    You know that Social Security and Medicare are in jeopardy when even Democrats refer to them as entitlements. “Entitlement” has a negative sound in colloquial English: somebody who is “entitled” selfishly claims something he doesn’t really deserve. Why not call them “earned benefits,” which is what they are because we all contribute payroll taxes to fund them? That would never occur to the Democrats. Republicans don’t make that mistake; they are relentlessly on message: it is never the “estate tax,” it is the “death tax.” Heaven forbid that the Walton family should give up one penny of its $86-billion fortune. All of that lucre is necessary to ensure that unions be kept out of Wal-Mart, that women employees not be promoted and that politicians be kept on a short leash.

    It was not always thus. It would have been hard to find an uneducated farmer during the depression of the 1890s who did not have a very accurate idea about exactly which economic interests were shafting him. An unemployed worker in a breadline in 1932 would have felt little gratitude to the Rockefellers or the Mellons. But that is not the case in the present economic crisis. After a riot of unbridled greed such as the world has not seen since the conquistadors’ looting expeditions and after an unprecedented broad and rapid transfer of wealth upward by Wall Street and its corporate satellites, where is the popular anger directed, at least as depicted in the media? At “Washington spending” – which has increased primarily to provide unemployment compensation, food stamps and Medicaid to those economically damaged by the previous decade’s corporate saturnalia. Or the popular rage is harmlessly diverted against pseudo-issues: death panels, birtherism, gay marriage, abortion, and so on, none of which stands to dent the corporate bottom line in the slightest.

    Thus far, I have concentrated on Republican tactics, rather than Republican beliefs, but the tactics themselves are important indicators of an absolutist, authoritarian mindset that is increasingly hostile to the democratic values of reason, compromise and conciliation. Rather, this mindset seeks polarizing division (Karl Rove has been very explicit that this is his principal campaign strategy), conflict and the crushing of opposition.

    As for what they really believe, the Republican Party of 2011 believes in three principal tenets I have laid out below. The rest of their platform one may safely dismiss as window dressing:

    1. The GOP cares solely and exclusively about its rich contributors. The party has built a whole catechism on the protection and further enrichment of America’s plutocracy. Their caterwauling about deficit and debt is so much eyewash to con the public. Whatever else President Obama has accomplished (and many of his purported accomplishments are highly suspect), his $4-trillion deficit reduction package did perform the useful service of smoking out Republican hypocrisy. The GOP refused, because it could not abide so much as a one-tenth of one percent increase on the tax rates of the Walton family or the Koch brothers, much less a repeal of the carried interest rule that permits billionaire hedge fund managers to pay income tax at a lower effective rate than cops or nurses. Republicans finally settled on a deal that had far less deficit reduction – and even less spending reduction! – than Obama’s offer, because of their iron resolution to protect at all costs our society’s overclass.

    Republicans have attempted to camouflage their amorous solicitude for billionaires with a fog of misleading rhetoric. John Boehner is fond of saying, “we won’t raise anyone’s taxes,” as if the take-home pay of an Olive Garden waitress were inextricably bound up with whether Warren Buffett pays his capital gains as ordinary income or at a lower rate. Another chestnut is that millionaires and billionaires are “job creators.” US corporations have just had their most profitable quarters in history; Apple, for one, is sitting on $76 billion in cash, more than the GDP of most countries. So, where are the jobs?

    Another smokescreen is the “small business” meme, since standing up for Mom’s and Pop’s corner store is politically more attractive than to be seen shilling for a megacorporation. Raising taxes on the wealthy will kill small business’ ability to hire; that is the GOP dirge every time Bernie Sanders or some Democrat offers an amendment to increase taxes on incomes above $1 million. But the number of small businesses that have a net annual income over a million dollars is de minimis, if not by definition impossible (as they would no longer be small businesses). And as data from the Center for Economic and Policy Research have shown, small businesses account for only 7.2 percent of total US employment, a significantly smaller share of total employment than in most Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.

    Likewise, Republicans have assiduously spread the myth that Americans are conspicuously overtaxed. But compared to other OECD countries, the effective rates of US taxation are among the lowest. In particular, they point to the top corporate income rate of 35 percent as being confiscatory Bolshevism. But again, the effective rate is much lower. Did GE pay 35 percent on 2010 profits of $14 billion? No, it paid zero.

    When pressed, Republicans make up misleading statistics to “prove” that the America’s fiscal burden is being borne by the rich and the rest of us are just freeloaders who don’t appreciate that fact. “Half of Americans don’t pay taxes” is a perennial meme. But what they leave out is that that statement refers to federal income taxes. There are millions of people who don’t pay income taxes, but do contribute payroll taxes – among the most regressive forms of taxation. But according to GOP fiscal theology, payroll taxes don’t count. Somehow, they have convinced themselves that since payroll taxes go into trust funds, they’re not real taxes. Likewise, state and local sales taxes apparently don’t count, although their effect on a poor person buying necessities like foodstuffs is far more regressive than on a millionaire.

    All of these half truths and outright lies have seeped into popular culture via the corporate-owned business press. Just listen to CNBC for a few hours and you will hear most of them in one form or another. More important politically, Republicans’ myths about taxation have been internalized by millions of economically downscale “values voters,” who may have been attracted to the GOP for other reasons (which I will explain later), but who now accept this misinformation as dogma.

    And when misinformation isn’t enough to sustain popular support for the GOP’s agenda, concealment is needed. One fairly innocuous provision in the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill requires public companies to make a more transparent disclosure of CEO compensation, including bonuses. Note that it would not limit the compensation, only require full disclosure. Republicans are hell-bent on repealing this provision. Of course; it would not serve Wall Street interests if the public took an unhealthy interest in the disparity of their own incomes as against that of a bank CEO. As Spencer Bachus, the Republican chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, says, “In Washington, the view is that the banks are to be regulated and my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks.”

    2. They worship at the altar of Mars. While the me-too Democrats have set a horrible example of keeping up with the Joneses with respect to waging wars, they can never match GOP stalwarts such as John McCain or Lindsey Graham in their sheer, libidinous enthusiasm for invading other countries. McCain wanted to mix it up with Russia – a nuclear-armed state – during the latter’s conflict with Georgia in 2008 (remember? – “we are all Georgians now,” a slogan that did not, fortunately, catch on), while Graham has been persistently agitating for attacks on Iran and intervention in Syria. And these are not fringe elements of the party; they are the leading “defense experts,” who always get tapped for the Sunday talk shows. About a month before Republicans began holding a gun to the head of the credit markets to get trillions of dollars of cuts, these same Republicans passed a defense appropriations bill that increased spending by $17 billion over the prior year’s defense appropriation. To borrow Chris Hedges’ formulation, war is the force that gives meaning to their lives.

    A cynic might conclude that this militaristic enthusiasm is no more complicated than the fact that Pentagon contractors spread a lot of bribery money around Capitol Hill. That is true, but there is more to it than that. It is not necessarily even the fact that members of Congress feel they are protecting constituents’ jobs. The wildly uneven concentration of defense contracts and military bases nationally means that some areas, like Washington, DC, and San Diego, are heavily dependent on Department of Defense (DOD) spending. But there are many more areas of the country whose net balance is negative: the citizenry pays more in taxes to support the Pentagon than it receives back in local contracts.

    And the economic justification for Pentagon spending is even more fallacious when one considers that the $700 billion annual DOD budget creates comparatively few jobs. The days of Rosie the Riveter are long gone; most weapons projects now require very little touch labor. Instead, a disproportionate share is siphoned off into high-cost research and development (from which the civilian economy benefits little); exorbitant management expenditures, overhead and out-and-out padding; and, of course, the money that flows back into the coffers of political campaigns. A million dollars appropriated for highway construction would create two to three times as many jobs as a million dollars appropriated for Pentagon weapons procurement, so the jobs argument is ultimately specious.

    Take away the cash nexus and there still remains a psychological predisposition toward war and militarism on the part of the GOP. This undoubtedly arises from a neurotic need to demonstrate toughness and dovetails perfectly with the belligerent tough-guy pose one constantly hears on right-wing talk radio. Militarism springs from the same psychological deficit that requires an endless series of enemies, both foreign and domestic.

    The results of the last decade of unbridled militarism and the Democrats’ cowardly refusal to reverse it[4], have been disastrous both strategically and fiscally. It has made the United States less prosperous, less secure and less free. Unfortunately, the militarism and the promiscuous intervention it gives rise to are only likely to abate when the Treasury is exhausted, just as it happened to the Dutch Republic and the British Empire.

    3. Give me that old time religion. Pandering to fundamentalism is a full-time vocation in the GOP. Beginning in the 1970s, religious cranks ceased simply to be a minor public nuisance in this country and grew into the major element of the Republican rank and file. Pat Robertson’s strong showing in the 1988 Iowa Caucus signaled the gradual merger of politics and religion in the party. The results are all around us: if the American people poll more like Iranians or Nigerians than Europeans or Canadians on questions of evolution versus creationism, scriptural inerrancy, the existence of angels and demons, and so forth, that result is due to the rise of the religious right, its insertion into the public sphere by the Republican Party and the consequent normalizing of formerly reactionary or quaint beliefs. Also around us is a prevailing anti-intellectualism and hostility to science; it is this group that defines “low-information voter” – or, perhaps, “misinformation voter.”

    The Constitution to the contrary notwithstanding, there is now a de facto religious test for the presidency: major candidates are encouraged (or coerced) to “share their feelings” about their “faith” in a revelatory speech; or, some televangelist like Rick Warren dragoons the candidates (as he did with Obama and McCain in 2008) to debate the finer points of Christology, with Warren himself, of course, as the arbiter. Politicized religion is also the sheet anchor of the culture wars. 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 my view that the rise of politicized religious fundamentalism (which is a subset of the decline of rational problem solving in America) may have been the key ingredient of the takeover of the Republican Party. For politicized religion provides a substrate of beliefs that rationalizes – at least in the minds of followers – all three of the GOP’s main tenets.

    Televangelists have long espoused the health-and-wealth/name-it-and-claim it gospel. If you are wealthy, it is a sign of God’s favor. If not, too bad! But don’t forget to tithe in any case. This rationale may explain why some economically downscale whites defend the prerogatives of billionaires.

    The GOP’s fascination with war is also connected with the fundamentalist mindset. The Old Testament abounds in tales of slaughter – God ordering the killing of the Midianite male infants and enslavement of the balance of the population, the divinely-inspired genocide of the Canaanites, the slaying of various miscreants with the jawbone of an ass – and since American religious fundamentalist seem to prefer the Old Testament to the New (particularly that portion of the New Testament known as the Sermon on the Mount), it is but a short step to approving war as a divinely inspired mission. This sort of thinking has led, inexorably, to such phenomena as Jerry Falwell once writing that God is Pro-War.

    It is the apocalyptic frame of reference of fundamentalists, their belief in an imminent Armageddon, that psychologically conditions them to steer this country into conflict, not only on foreign fields (some evangelicals thought Saddam was the Antichrist and therefore a suitable target for cruise missiles), but also in the realm of domestic political controversy. It is hardly surprising that the most adamant proponent of the view that there was no debt ceiling problem was Michele Bachmann, the darling of the fundamentalist right. What does it matter, anyway, if the country defaults? – we shall presently abide in the bosom of the Lord.

    Some liberal writers have opined that the different socio-economic perspectives separating the “business” wing of the GOP and the religious right make it an unstable coalition that could crack. I am not so sure. There is no fundamental disagreement on which direction the two factions want to take the country, merely how far in that direction they want to take it. The plutocrats would drag us back to the Gilded Age, the theocrats to the Salem witch trials. In any case, those consummate plutocrats, the Koch brothers, are pumping large sums of money into Michele Bachman’s presidential campaign, so one ought not make too much of a potential plutocrat-theocrat split.

    Thus, the modern GOP; it hardly seems conceivable that a Republican could have written the following:

    “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.” (That was President Eisenhower, writing to his brother Edgar in 1954.)

    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. It is not in my pragmatic nature to make a heroic gesture of self-immolation, or to make lurid revelations of personal martyrdom in the manner of David Brock. And I will leave a more detailed dissection of failed Republican economic policies to my fellow apostate Bruce Bartlett.

    I left because I was appalled at the headlong rush of Republicans, like Gadarene swine, to embrace policies that are deeply damaging to this country’s future; and contemptuous of the feckless, craven incompetence of Democrats in their half-hearted attempts to stop them. 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.

    If you think Paul Ryan and his Ayn Rand-worshipping colleagues aren’t after your Social Security and Medicare, I am here to disabuse you of your naiveté.[5] They will move heaven and earth to force through tax cuts that will so starve the government of revenue that they will be “forced” to make “hard choices” – and that doesn’t mean repealing those very same tax cuts, it means cutting the benefits for which you worked.

    During the week that this piece was written, the debt ceiling fiasco reached its conclusion. The economy was already weak, but the GOP’s disgraceful game of chicken roiled the markets even further. Foreigners could hardly believe it: Americans’ own crazy political actions were destabilizing the safe-haven status of the dollar. Accordingly, during that same week, over one trillion dollars worth of assets evaporated on financial markets. Russia and China have stepped up their advocating that the dollar be replaced as the global reserve currency – a move as consequential and disastrous for US interests as any that can be imagined.

    If Republicans have perfected a new form of politics that is successful electorally at the same time that it unleashes major policy disasters, it means twilight both for the democratic process and America’s status as the world’s leading power.


    [1] I am not exaggerating for effect. A law passed in 2010 by the Arizona legislature mandating arrest and incarceration of suspected illegal aliens was actually drafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative business front group that drafts “model” legislation on behalf of its corporate sponsors. The draft legislation in question was written for the private prison lobby, which sensed a growth opportunity in imprisoning more people.

    [2] I am not a supporter of Obama and object to a number of his foreign and domestic policies. But when he took office amid the greatest financial collapse in 80 years, I wanted him to succeed, so that the country I served did not fail. But already in 2009, Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, declared that his greatest legislative priority was – jobs for Americans? Rescuing the financial system? Solving the housing collapse? – no, none of those things. His top priority was to ensure that Obama should be a one-term president. Evidently Senator McConnell hates Obama more than he loves his country. Note that the mainstream media have lately been hailing McConnell as “the adult in the room,” presumably because he is less visibly unstable than the Tea Party freshmen

    [3] This is not a venue for immigrant bashing. It remains a fact that outsourcing jobs overseas, while insourcing sub-minimum wage immigrant labor, will exert downward pressure on US wages. The consequence will be popular anger, and failure to address that anger will result in a downward wage spiral and a breech of the social compact, not to mention a rise in nativism and other reactionary impulses. It does no good to claim that these economic consequences are an inevitable result of globalization; Germany has somehow managed to maintain a high-wage economy and a vigorous industrial base.

    [4] The cowardice is not merely political. During the past ten years, I have observed that Democrats are actually growing afraid of Republicans. In a quirky and flawed, but insightful, little book, “Democracy and Populism: Fear and Hatred,” John Lukacs concludes that the left fears, the right hates.

    [5] The GOP cult of Ayn Rand is both revealing and mystifying. On the one hand, Rand’s tough guy, every-man-for-himself posturing is a natural fit because it puts a philosophical gloss on the latent sociopathy so prevalent among the hard right. On the other, Rand exclaimed at every opportunity that she was a militant atheist who felt nothing but contempt for Christianity. Apparently, the ignorance of most fundamentalist “values voters” means that GOP candidates who enthuse over Rand at the same time they thump their Bibles never have to explain this stark contradiction. And I imagine a Democratic officeholder would have a harder time explaining why he named his offspring “Marx” than a GOP incumbent would in rationalizing naming his kid “Rand.”

  33. GlenHamilton October 31, 2011

    Crashmister: I would ask, if you are Mike Lofgren, can I have your permission to copy, reprint, and distribute the very insightful comment you have made here? I was so impressed with the facts you have included, and the sincerity of your views, that I feel it would be helpful to educate the under-informed voters you mentioned. I, also, am very concerned with the direction America is heading, and would do what ever I could (which, admittedly, isn’t much on my own) to slow the trend I see developing. I would just like to have this available, for when I meet people, and get into a discussion on this, and find their views so very blind. Perhaps your credibility will be more persuasive than my rhetoric alone.

  34. Totenkatz October 31, 2011

    From reading these comments it is obvious that if you believe President Obama is honest you are a Democrat, if you believe he hasn’t been you are a Republican. The President speaks well and spends a lot of tax payer (our money) on things he believes would fix the economy. That hasn’t happen. Fast and Furious is something his administration needs to explain much better than it has. Like so many other scandals from Tea Pot to the Blue Dress, it is the cover up that makes the scandal worst and where the President loses the support of the American People! I have voted for both Democrats and Republicans and I have been disappointed by both after they got in office. However, the bottom line for me is this President has got to stop blaming others after three years in office. In my life I have assumed responsibility for my actions and for those issues I have inherited from others that left a mess behind. I didn’t blame those others I fixed the mess I inherited as if it was my own because blaming those who came before shows nothing more than a lack of leadership and management skills. Everyone around me knew where the mess came from and after a year or so knew whether I made the situation better or worst. Every President inherits the good and bad from the previous administration, this is nothing new to this President and he will be judge on how well he handled those issues from the economy to foreign policy including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. So let’s stop with all the BS about blaming someone else, when you are in command you take command and you take responsibility for your actions and if you fail not matter how bad it was before you took command it is your failure not someone else’s. That’s what it means to be Presidential. I could give you a list of those presidents I believe past this test but you can probably pick your own and then ask yourself (HONESTLY) did President Obama pass the test. It’s not a Republican Democrat litmus test it’s an American one.

  35. LindaFerland October 31, 2011

    I don’t believe Obama is honest,so I’m not a dem? I believe Obama is dishonest, so I’m a repub? Not either! I’m a Progressive Independent. I believe Obama was bought-and-paid for, from his time in Illinois, expanded in the Senate, and consumed in his first yr. of the presidency.

  36. NAUNDIEE October 31, 2011

    It is sad that the United States can not handle and intelligent Black man in the World’s Top Position. He’s a genius and a G!!!!!!! Swallow your pride he’s Black and Proud and most importantly , He’s YOUR PRESIDENT Too, whether You like it or NOT!!!!!!! The man is a genius and if he were white you would say so. As a matter of fact he and Ronald Regan have some of the exact same Political Views. Now was Regan also not fit for office. Changes things for you dosen’t it. It’s because You All can not get his Black skin (that is really light brown) out of your eyes long enough to allow your brain to fanthum, YES He is Very Smart and VERY BLACK. GET OVER YOURSELVES!!!!!!!

  37. Crashmister October 31, 2011

    No I’m not Mike Lofgren, and yes you may copy and paste this anywhere you please. This is a letter he wrote and sent via email to a # of media outlet’s
    Mike Lofgren retired on June 17 after 28 years as a Congressional staffer. He served 16 years as a professional staff member on the Republican side of both the House and Senate Budget Committees. it is in no way copyrighted. His intention was to inform people of the facts around the recent budget fiasco that he saw as his last straw. I’ve checked the letter’s validity and it’s the real thing. Feel free to do so your self. If you Google his name, pretty much every political blog and website in the country comes up. Unfortunately the people who need to read and understand this most, either won’t, or can’t. the rest won’t believe it. Point is, Obama’s honesty in the view of far too many people is judged by the lies of others. I have never seen a sitting US President get blamed for more thing’s he had nothing to do with, or were the product of his predecessor, in my life. I once read how OB voted for the handgun ban in the city of Chicago during his 08 run. Which for those of us who lived in Chi Town was funny. OB never sat on the Chicago city council so he never had a vote. The birthers are another good example of people lying in an attempt to make OB appear dishonest. The fact they want you to believe that it’s even possible for a foreign born individual to circumvent the most thorough vetting process known to man. What’s worse is the Republicans not stopping that nonsense right from the start. But that really is the Republican party today.

  38. Truth4U November 1, 2011

    I don’t know who Jonathan Altar is, but I do know what he is….either a Liar or a Useful Imbecile. Barack Hussein Obama Jr. is an outright Fraud placed in office with George Soros’s finanical backing. He painted himself “black” to take advantage of Affirmative Action and their lowered standards…which neither he nor his more racist half Michelle could meet. For 22 years they were close friends with and attended Rev. Wrights Black Liberation “church” which spewed hate for America and hate for white people. His “reported “dad” was 7/8th Arab and 1/8th Luo/Black. This makes Barack Hussein Obama JR. 50% white trailer trash (his mom Ann Stanley was known by here HS Classmates as “Lucy Ann”….because she was such a hoe. His Arab dad was a drunk who beat his 4 wives regularly and killed himself. Community Organizer? Just a nice mask for an Extortion Artist. He taught his “students” well…straight from Sual Alinski’s Rules For RATicals. Yes, the only ones who claim Barry the closet Fairy (look up the Trinity Church murders, where 3 openly gay memebers and close friends of Barry’s were murdered & look up Larry Sinclair) is “honest”….ARE LIARS AND/OR IMBECILES.

  39. Truth4U November 2, 2011

    It’s tragic the stupidity of most people. The people who think the “birth” issue has been settled are not the sharpest barbs on the wire. His long form he produced has been proven to be a fake. The short form he provided is the exact same one his Indonesian born sister provided. His brother, grandmother and sister said he was born in Kenya. What did they gain or lose if they were lying? exacly, NOTHING! What did Arab-AmeriCON Barack Hussein Obama Jr. have to lose by not telling the truth and lying? EVERYTHING! The fact is, no one at this point can say with 100% accuracy where the fraud was born. Based on what is known and Barry the Fairy’s acts, he was most likley born where his family said he was born, in Kenya. He’s a pathological liar…that is at least a known and documentable fact. http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2008/02/obama-arab-amer.html

  40. cminhtown November 3, 2011

    Let me tell you about a real Black President…..- His name is Herman Cain and he is not into entitlements,laziness,wining,racism,gross overspending or playing the chronic blame game! Cowboy up treehugging Libtards!…. There’s gonna be a new sheriff in town and it’s not gonna go so well for you occupy wallstreet bums.

  41. Thomas Romano November 3, 2011

    To all the idiots who hate Barack Obama; you are all redneck, inbred fools. He is the 1st intelligent, honest and he truly loves his country. He will easily win the election…look at the total clowns that are running for the GOP! I never thought such fools could actually be running for Presidency.
    They all sound like a cult and I can not wait until they all drink the kool aid…
    George Jefferson is the flavor of the week. Cain could not win a Middle School debate. Rick Perry is on drugs. Bachman??? What is she? Is she Human? Or a Stepford wife to her closeted Gay husband…I can’t write anymore, all this treasonous Tea
    Party Republicans are bought and owned by the Koch Bros., both in the top 10 most wealthy. They all are enemies of our country. If they somehow win the election, there will be a total revolution, more than likely quite violent

  42. cminhtown November 9, 2011

    Anyone ever notice that when you threaten to pull the plug on handouts and entitlements and then point to the inevitable reality coming in the next election that the narcisstocrats immediately pull the racism card? And then the threats of violence if they don’t get to continue to suck the public tit. While the freeloading Ultra-Libs mindlessly cry racism and threaten to wage a revolution full of Unicorn dust I guess us redneck types should just shut up and continue to work 2 jobs and double shifts to support their wining asses. In an effort to protect shallow-minded stereotyping I guess I’m gonna need to have sex with some family members too. I would hate for this Thomas Potato fella’s “Jim Jones” brand fantasy to fall apart.


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