Oh No, Not et tu!

A Maestro Joins the Tribe.

What's Your Tribe?Hero Scott Horton (lawyer) has fallen for Mike Lofgren's spiel, with his own post titled, Good-bye to All That.[1] Comparing Lofgren to former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and former Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC) - another hero - Horton states that Lofgren has said "something profound and honest about the environment in which he work[ed]." Nooooooooo! Another example of the wise policy of sticking to what you know - although that has never stopped me.

In my discussions of Lofgren's article, I haven't got to this yet, but I agree with his point that the GOP has three major tenets: (quoting from Horton)
1. The G.O.P. cares solely and exclusively about its rich contributors. We see this now in G.O.P. positions on tax-revenue issues: The party has adopted a mantra of opposing any effort to dispense with tax breaks for the truly wealthy, even though polling consistently shows a solid majority of Republicans favoring the elimination of loopholes such as tax breaks for corporate jets.

2. They worship at the altar of Mars. As the conflict in Libya demonstrated, Republican leaders don’t seem to be able to say no to a new war — even when some of them had been coddling Qaddafi in Tripoli only a year earlier. They also instinctively oppose cuts to the single biggest chunk of discretionary spending, the defense budget, an attitude that fuels increasingly extreme positions on other sectors.

3. Give me that old time religion. Religious evangelicals dominate Republican politics like never before. This helps explain why figures elected on a libertarian-like Tea Party platform instantly set to work on a very un-libertarian social conservative agenda — introducing the most aggressive efforts to curtail abortion rights since Roe v. Wade, for instance.
I'm good with all that, although I would note that it is the standard three-legged-stool description of conservative constituencies. However, Horton keeps going, first quoting Lofgren's mundane insight that the Religious Right and the GOP war hawks overlap quite a bit:
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.
The reason I suspect Horton quotes this section and finds himself drawn towards agreeing with the article's conclusions is his connoisseur's appreciation for the biblical knowledge Lofgren shows off. He also says the article is "composed in an unusually lucid, entertaining style." But those are not reasons to gulp down what is being sold like the big fish swallowed Jonah.

Horton ends his short post with pure fantasy. Cue the scary music:
Lofgren is not describing trends which may emerge at some distant point on the horizon. He is describing the circumstances that exist today inside the Republican tent. And his assessment is ominous. We live in a two-party system in which the electoral pendulum swings back and forth according to the performance of the economy and other factors. This means that with the crazies in charge of the G.O.P., their control of government is all but inevitable at some point in the near future.

Lofgren’s analysis is sharp-sighted and unsparing. And it suggests why it’s important to treat figures many will dismiss as marginal — Michele Bachmann, Steven King, and Alan West, for instance — with the utmost seriousness. In the past year, they’ve done a great deal of damage to the nation’s reputation in the world, particularly among our allies and in the financial community — but they’re poised to do much worse.
Just who are the "crazies in charge of the G.O.P."?
  • Speaker John Boehner (OH)
  • Rep. Eric Cantor (VA), Majority Leader
  • Rep. Kevin McCarthy (CA), Majority Whip
  • Rep. Jeb Hensarling (TX), Republican Conference Chair
  • Rep. Tom Price (GA), Republican Policy Committee Chair
  • Sen. Mitch McConnell (KY), Minority Leader
  • Sen. Jon Kyl (AZ), Assistant Minority Leader
  • Sen. Lamar Alexander (TN), Republican Conference Chair
  • Sen. John Barrasso (WY), Republican Conference Vice-Chair
  • Sen. John Thune (SD), Republican Policy Committee Chair
Notice anybody missing? Every single Republican Lofgren calls a crackpot. How powerful are they? Their seniority is meager: Rep. Steve King (R-IA), 5th term (211th in seniority); Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) 4th terms; Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) 3rd terms; and Rep. Alan West (R-FL), 1st term. Accordingly, these genuinely marginal figures do not chair any of the 21 House Committees. And there are only three sub-committee chairs: Rep. Broun chairs the Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee of the Science, Space and Technology Committee; Rep. McHenry chairs the TARP, Financial Services and Bailouts of Public and Private Programs Subcommittee of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee; and Rep. Foxx chairs the Higher Education and Workforce Training Subcommittee of the Education and the Workforce Committee. Three out of about 100 subcommittees. Now that's some "control of government"![2]

It gives me no pleasure to say so, but Scott Horton (lawyer) is dead wrong on this one.

[1] The reference must be to the book, Good-Bye to All That, an autobiography by Robert Graves published in 1929. Am I supposed to know this book as a cultural reference point? I've never heard of it, but it is a nice phrase. And yes, there is still plenty of posts worth of material on this topic.

[2] Notice that the three subcommittee chairs are the least crazy of the bunch. And no, Michele Bachmann has no chance at the Republican nomination, much less the Presidency.

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