Friday, November 06, 2015


While watching tonight's 2-hour Democratic Party Forum on MSNBC with the intelligent and ever-thoughtful Rachel Maddow interviewing all 3 of the Democratic presidential candidates, I felt as if we were finally back in the Land of Reason where actual sane people live and run for office.   After viewing the Looney Tunes characters in the GOP race for the past several weeks, it was a welcome relief to hear clear-headed adults addressing substantive issues--and making real sense! It was comforting to see that the audience looked like normal people, too, sensibly listening and judging what they were hearing from the candidates. No wild-eyed lunatics in sight.  Ah, it felt good to be away from the Wacky Circus train wreck!

Then, tonight I read the following comments from Robert Reich who, thinking perhaps he was being too judgmental, felt the need to question a Republican friend about the field of candidates in the right wing. The answers he got from his friend made me realize that not all Republicans are crazy--there are still a few sane people
on the right who are feeling hapless, hopeless and helpless about the asylum inmates who have taken over and are wreaking havoc in their party.


— from Robert Reich's Blog

The other night I phoned a former Republican member of Congress with whom I'd worked in the 1990s on various pieces of legislation. I consider him a friend. I wanted his take on the Republican candidates because I felt I needed a reality check. Was I becoming excessively crotchety and partisan, or are these people really as weird as they seem? We got right into it:

Me: "So what do  you really think of these candidates?"

Him: "You want my unvarnished opinion?"

Me: "Please. That's why I called."

Him: "They're all nuts."

Me: "Seriously. What do you really think of them?"

Him: "I just told you. They're bonkers. Bizarre. They're like a Star Wars bar room."

Me: "How did it happen? How did your party manage to come up with this collection?"

Him: "We didn't. They came up with themselves. There's no party any more. It's chaos. Anybody can just decide they want to be the Republican nominee, and make a run for it. Carson? Trump? They're in the lead and they're both out of their f*cking minds."

Me: "That's not reassuring."

Him: "It's a disaster. I'm telling you, if either of them is elected, this country is going to hell. The rest of them aren't much better. I mean, Carly Fiorina? Really? Rubio? Please. Ted Cruz? Oh my god. And the people we thought had it sewn up, who are halfway sane – Bush and Christie – they're sounding almost as batty as the rest."

Me: "Who's to blame for this mess?"

Him: "Roger Ailes, David and Charles Koch, Rupert Murdoch, Rush Limbaugh. I could go on. They've poisoned the American mind and destroyed the Republican Party.

Me: "Nice talking with you."

Him: "Sleep well."

ROBERT REICH, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies, was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written thirteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock" and "The Work of Nations." His latest, "Beyond Outrage," is now out in paperback. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause. His new film, "Inequality for All," is now available on Netflix, iTunes, DVD, and On Demand.