Recommended Political Reading

American politics in the age of media control. Corporations infecting the democracy we may lose if we continue without reform.

A retired journalist in Mexico sent this to me: worth considering.

Two “essential readings.”

1    Kamiya, Gary.  “The infantile style in American politics.” Salon, 2011-12-05. The GOP has reverted to a pre-potty-trained state. A 50-year-old essay explains why. 

2 Thatcher, Leslie. "I Know How to Beat Republicans": Interview with former GOP staffer Mike Lofgren, 2011-12-05.

Retired Republican House and Senate staffer Mike Lofgren spoke with Truthout in Washington, DC, this fall. Lofgren's first commentary for Truthout, "Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult," went viral, drawing over 1.2 million page views.

A response to one of the courageous Mr. Lofgren’s comments: “The problem is that, for years, liberals coasted on the coattails of FDR, got very complacent and generated no new ideas.”

The Democratic Party did indeed get complacent. But, from my perspective it was not that Democrats did not generate “new ideas” to perhaps replace, as Lofgren appears to imply, the New Deal/FDR. Liberals confused techniques with principles. It was some of the New Deal techniques that needed updating, not the principles. We failed to do it and the party (and the nation) are paying a high price. To compound this error, too many Democratic elite allowed Milton Friedman to seduce them. Too many liberals decided to jettison John Maynard Keynes without knowing anything about him or his work. We are seeing today the result of Milton Friedman’s ideas that held sway over the last several decades, and it isn’t good.

I have been frustrated since the late ‘70s by my party’s apparent confusion as to who it is and what it believes—largely a result of the venal campaign financing system. And as Lofgren implies, until we get rid of the corrupting campaign financing system, we will not be able to regain our democratic, republican footing that invites honest, civilized debate from all political perspectives. We have a seriously corrupted political system as well as an economic system out of balance.

In addition, I believe the American public should be disabused of thinking the U.S. electoral system and corporate media have not been seriously corrupted as well. Corporatism has infected every aspect of American life. Another two cents:  politicians receive and deserve a great deal of blame, but we the public need to accept our share of responsibility. We have embraced what has been termed “learned helplessness” or “willful ignorance.”

In my opinion.

Beverly Bandler

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