91 of 96 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted (Hardcover)Caveat emptor: what follows is a biased book review. The author Mike Lofgren (bio - see ref  below) is a very close friend of mine. I have been flogging this important new book, since I first read it in draft copy.
Mike Lofgren, a native of Akron Ohio, is a conservative of the now forgotten Republican old school. He is more at home with the likes of Robert Taft, Dwight Eisenhower, and Abraham Lincoln than right wing ideologues like Newt Gingrich or plutocratic highway robbers like Mitt Romney.
Ideologically disposed readers of Lofgren's aptly titled book may be tempted conclude he has flipped and joined the Democrats. To be sure, Lofgren is harder on Republicans than Democrats. Having served on the Republican staffs of the House and Senate Budget Committees, he was in a much better position to observe and understand their hijinks than those of the Democrats. So, it is not at all surprising that his book has more detail describing how the ideological Republican crazies created a political economy that is poisoning our culture and wrecking what used to be the greatest job engine in economic history. It would be a great mistake, however, to conclude that Mike is arguing Republicans are THE culprits. The thesis of this book is about how the Republicans and Democrats worked together to sell out the middle class.
Lofgren is a modest, unassuming individual, who at first glance would appear quite unlikely to write such a book. He never sought the klieg lights. Nor did he ever pal around with the gucci shoe crowd to lubricate his way through the revolving door into a high paying lobbying job on K Street. Lunch for Lofgren was not at the Prime Rib or Capitol Hill Club, but a simple sandwich in a brown bag. This modesty of life style hides a principled intellectual with the character to go where his observations and reasoning take him. Moreover, a pen in Lofgren's deft hands, when combined with his deep understanding of political history and his acid sense of humor, becomes a sharp, deeply penetrating harpoon aimed at the heart of his subject. In addition to harpooning the ravenous Republican killer whale, Mike harpoons the tired Democratic whale by demonstrating subtly, yet persuasively, how the growing "uselessness" of the Democrats evolved out of an enervating sense of being entitled to power.
Over time, that sense of entitlement insensibly changed Democrats into what we in the Pentagon would call ENABLERS of Republicans. The Democratic enablers unwittingly played a crucial role in the demolition of the American dream, not unlike that played by infiltration troops in blitzkrieg. Infiltration troops soften up the front by slipping through defenses to find or create holes and weak areas for the tanks to roar thru to reap chaos and destruction deep in the enemy's rear area. Only in this case, the rear area being ruined is the American middle class, and the flood of tanks is taken up by the flood money supplied by the oligarchs who feather their nests by buying Democrats as well as Republicans in one seamless auction.
Put bluntly, to protect a sense of hereditary entitlement to the power that accompanied the coattails of FDR and the New Deal, Democrats abandoned their heritage and moved to Wall Street, Big Pharma, Defense, etc., and in so doing, insensibly mutated into faux Republicans. If you doubt this, look at the enervating, quasi-neoliberal bloviating by the self-inflating Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) or the cynical triangulations and warmongerings of Messrs. Clinton and Obama. The abdication of traditional Democratic principles gave Republican crazies more room to get even crazier, and together the faux Republicans and the real crazy Republicans reinforced each other to create a rightward shift in the American political dynamic that unleashed the emergence of a new gilded age, together with the emergence of a legalized plutocracy that criminal Russian oligarchs would envy. And this mutation came about in a remarkably short time of 30 to 40 years.
In so doing, the Democrats sold out their most important constituency, i.e., John Q. Average American, and colluded in the historic swindle that brought the great American middle class to the brink of impoverishment and debt peonage, a condition some times referred to chillingly in the tone-deaf salons of Versailles on the Potomac as the "new normal."
If you think collusion is too strong a term, I would urge you to think about Bill Clinton's (the DLC's choice for president in the 1992 election) collusion with Republicans in 1999 to nullify of the Depression era Glass-Steagle Act -- one of monuments of reform in the New Deal. This nullification was one of the main deregulatory "initiatives" that unleashed the greedy excesses that led to the 2007-8 financial meltdown. When he left office, Bill Clinton, by the way, did not pick up his grips and retire to a modest house in Independence Missouri like Harry Truman; he chose instead to join the plutocratic elite, where he is now well on his way to becoming a card-carrying member of the one-tenth of one-percent club of the mega rich. The bottom line: the Democrats' sense of entitlement and the consequent corruption of their principles have been a necessary, if not sufficient, condition in the emergence of the current political-economy that is destroying what is left of the middle class in our good ole USA. The reader would make a great mistake if he or she allowed the hilariously disgusting Republican hijinks described by Lofgren to brand his book as an anti-Republican polemic written by a convert, and miss his main message.
Mike, of course, states clearly in his title that his subject is how the madness of the Republicans and the uselessness of the Democrats reinforced each other over the last 30 to 40 years to hose the American People. It is the degenerate nature of their symbiotic relationship that is his thesis and should be the Left's call to arms.
I do not count on this happening, however. The faux Republicans are far more likely to try to exploit the embarrassment of riches in Mike's book for their narrow short-term political advantage, in yet another demonstration of the hypocrisy and opportunism that are central pillars propping up their losing mentality.
In closing, I ask you to read this favorable review of The Party Is Over . Note, it appeared in Pat Buchanan's American Conservative magazine, not some Democratic rag trying to gain leverage in the coming Presidential election. That should be an example for the Left to emulate. A real question in my mind is whether any left-leaning counterparts to the American Conservative will use Mike Lofgren's call to arms to summon the curiosity and the courage to explore the ramifications of his subtler analysis of the "enablers" of decline.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 8, 2012 9:01:35 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 8, 2012 9:03:00 PM PDT
Deborah K. Blum says:
Not to worry Franklin! There are plenty of of left-leaning readers who realize that they vote for the lesser of 2 evils. What needs to be done (as soon as I finish this book) is find a way for like minds from both sides to voice their concerns in whatever way gets them heard and acknowledged. Your friend should have had this book out 6 months ago! It doesn't help that there's a waiting period to buy this book from Amazon and Barnes and Noble! What's up with that?
Posted on Oct 8, 2012 12:45:44 PM PDT
A very very good review. Good job.
Posted on Oct 10, 2012 10:37:57 AM PDT
>>>Put bluntly, to protect a sense of hereditary entitlement to the power that accompanied the coattails of FDR and the New Deal, Democrats abandoned their heritage and moved to Wall Street, Big Pharma, Defense, etc., and in so doing, insensibly mutated into faux Republicans.
I'm not quite sure if the this claim is accurate - when looking at the history of special interest giving and who paid off whom it appears that the Democrats have won that game for decades, it wasn't until just a few decades ago that the Republicans began closing and taking special interest money. To me that seems more like the Republicans mutated into faux Democrats.
>>>If you doubt this, look at the enervating, quasi-neoliberal bloviating by the self-inflating Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) or the cynical triangulations and warmongerings of Messrs. Clinton and Obama.
But historically speaking it has been the Democrats that have actually been the war mongers (WW I, WW II, Vietnam, Korea, etc, etc.)
>>>The abdication of traditional Democratic principles gave Republican crazies more room to get even crazier, and together the faux Republicans and the real crazy Republicans reinforced each other to create a rightward shift in the American political dynamic
WHAT????? Rightward shift you could have fooled me?
Lower taxes on the Wealthy
Increased Defense Spending
Lower corporate income tax
Increase Spending on hi-tech weaponry
Partial Privatization of Social Security
Decrease Capital Gains
Sounds pretty right-wing doesn't it - the funny thing is that was the Democratic Platform in 1960 when JFK ran for president. The Democrats haven't been pulled to the right they swung to the left and pulled the Republicans and the country that way. What was considered a normal Democratic position 50 years ago is considered by you a ultra far right position today.
>>>In so doing, the Democrats sold out their most important constituency, i.e., John Q. Average American, and colluded in the historic swindle that brought the great American middle class to the brink of impoverishment and debt peonage,
You do understand that the new deal brought about a switch in the normal power structure of the country. The uber rich realized that the Republicans had lost power and switched over to the democratic Party. By the late 1940's nearly 90% of the top 1% were registered Democrats and they controlled the Democratic Party. Currently 73% of all billionaires are registered Democrats, special interest money flows into the Democratic coffers are alarming rates.
"Do you know where the top 15 Mega-Donors money goes????
Here is the breakdown about giving:
81.09% goes to Democrats
13.51%goes to Republicans
>>>If you think collusion is too strong a term, I would urge you to think about Bill Clinton's (the DLC's choice for president in the 1992 election) collusion with Republicans in 1999 to nullify of the Depression era Glass-Steagle Act -- one of monuments of reform in the New Deal. This nullification was one of the main deregulatory "initiatives" that unleashed the greedy excesses that led to the 2007-8 financial meltdown.
This is a false talking designed to mislead and misinform people. Virtually every country put forth a glass-Steagle Act after the great depression and virtually every country removed that in the 1970's-1980's with no problems. It was outdated and needed to be revamped but that is beside the point. The FACT is that GS was not the problem since it didn't address what the problem was - CDS's. CDS's were in fact allowed by FIRREA which the brainchild of the Democrats. CDS's were in fact never regulated, so you can't deregulate something that purposefully didn't have regulations in the first place.
>>>Mike, of course, states clearly in his title that his subject is how the madness of the Republicans and the uselessness of the Democrats reinforced each other over the last 30 to 40 years to hose the American People.
I kind of agree but I think the title has it backwards, this seems to be a better explanation: Crazies to the Left of Me, Wimps to the Right: How One Side Lost Its Mind and the Other Lost Its Nerve
You could say that I am the opposite of your friend, I used to work for the Democratic Party and saw the inside dealings of it. The pandering to big money, the selling out to special interests, the disdain that they spoke of the middle class that they felt abandoned them was nauseating. And back in the early 2000's when the Republicans tried to reign in the Democratic Casino known as Wall Street and how the Democrats refused any sort of reform or regulation of their boys, sickened me. They allowed the whole country and the world to falter because of their greed for money. Yes the Republicans knew we were in trouble and wimped out because of the charges of racism and not wanting to help the lower class while the crazy democrats drove the wagon over the cliff yelling giddy up.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 11, 2012 2:13:10 PM PST
J. Morris says:
Oh enigma, give it up. i have seen your posts & replies to everyone who favors this book. You are pushing an agenda. The agenda debunked by this book actually. I doubt you will stop. Usually any criticism of types like you leads to more shrill bleating.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 12, 2012 6:36:49 AM PST
Ahhhhh the requisite ad hominem attack, when one can't dispute the facts then attack the person presenting them, childish but predictable.
Do I have an agenda? I guess if you consider the search for truth an agenda, then I am guilty as charged. And if this book tries to debunk the truth and push forward propaganda as you insinuate, then you should be happy that someone is speaking up and putting forth historical facts, verifiable data and empirical evidence. But I doubt you will agree because it appears you enjoy propaganda, talking points and dogma driven ideology over the `bleating' of facts, data and evidence.
Posted on Oct 18, 2013 9:32:06 AM PDT
I'm totally confused about what you are trying to say about the book.
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