Originally posted 8/13/12 at Alternet
For 28 years, since Ronald Reagan's first term, Mike Lofgren served as a Republican Congressional staffer on Capitol Hill. He was one of the many people who work behind the scenes on the nitty-gritty of governing while the politicians they work for are out making speeches and raising campaign funds.
But in 2011, after a wave of Tea Party ideologues had stormed the Hill, Lofgren had seen enough. A few months after quitting his job, he wrote that the party he had belonged to for his entire career had become dominated by “lunatics.” The big problem, in Lofgren's view, was the pervasive fundamentalist theology that had gained so much influence in the GOP over the years Lofgren served in Congress. Last year, he wrote:
It should have been evident to clear-eyed observers that the Republican Party is becoming less and less like a traditional political party in a representative democracy and becoming more like an apocalyptic cult, or one of the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th-century Europe.
Lofgren has penned a new book, The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless and the Middle Class Got Shafted, that offers an insider's view of the extremism he saw among his colleagues. Lofgren appeared on this week's AlterNet Radio Hour. Below is a lightly edited transcript of the discussion (you can listen to the whole show here).