Bill Moyers Talks With Mike Lofgren

I did not recognize Mike Lofgren's name when I read the title of his book "The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Lost Their Mojo and the Middle Class Got Shafted." Bill Moyers inteviews Lofgren, Republican defector. I couldn't resist another 'cut and paste' of a few portions of the interview.
Parts of their conversation added to my own knowledge bank and gave me some more script to lay on folks from time to time. Makes me understand why I live with such dread about the effects of our polarized political landscape.
Lofgren writes that Republicans went crazy after they identified Obama as an illegitmate president and decided to do everything in their power to obstruct him. I go back to Senate
"The Federal Reserve," says Lofgren, "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," he says.  Of course. That's why I have this fear and dread. Why doesn't everyone see what is going on?
Lofgren says a lot of folks blame Obama for the drop in middle class income. He counters, "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.
"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."
Moyers asks his guest, "And why did that impasse occur? Why couldn't they solve the deficit crisis? Or why wouldn't they solve the deficit crisis?"
"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."
The interview ends with these remarks by 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... My greatest hope is that we can govern ourselves again in a spirit of bipartisanship.
Moyers asks, "Do you think that's a realistic hope?"
"We must let our hopes be greater than our fears."


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