Thursday, April 11, 2013

Recharging My Battery -- Reflections of Mike Lofgren

Browsing my old Chirpstory collection I came across a powerful essay from 2011. 
The title says it all. 
In the face of all the presidential concessions I need to be reminded not to give up. 
The short excerpt below is from a six-thousand word expose/screed/analysis/revelation which was was published at a least-likely time to get attention, the start of a national holiday weekend. 
Nevertheless it received an avalanche of attention and may prove to be what is needed to snap Republican leadership back into reality. Or maybe not. We will soon see.
Readers are urged to link the essay and decide for themselves. This cri de coeur strikes me as more sad than angry, but the man's passion, intelligence and integrity are undeniable.

Update: That's more or less what I said at the time. Unfortunately the GOP leadership was not "snapped back into reality." If anything it got worse. 


September 3,  2011 
By Mike Lofgren
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. 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.

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