Mike Lofgren, a now-retired staffer for Congressional Republican budget committees, has a piece on his disillusionment with the national Republican party which seems to me to be essential reading.
He is not kind to the Democrats, by the way, but he seems to see them as merely feckless. He sees the Republicans as transitioning from the more or less responsible Eisenhower model to something increasingly toxic. This sort of thing resonates with me because I agree with it — I’ve never been terribly excited about the national Democrats myself (except Howard Dean – I loved that guy); but I was raised as a Republican and think of myself as basically the same guy, but the national party has moved too far away to be agreeable.
Lofgren identifies three pillars of modern G.O.P. thought (1. Protection and enrichment of the wealthy; 2. Militarism; and 3. Religious fundamentalism) and suggests politicized religious fundamentalism as the key ingredient in the rightward lurch:
It is my view that the rise of politicized religious fundamentalism (which is a subset of the decline of rational problem solving in America) may have been the key ingredient of the takeover of the Republican Party. For politicized religion provides a substrate of beliefs that rationalizes – at least in the minds of followers – all three of the GOP’s main tenets.
He traces the drift through Iran/Contra to the 1995 Government shutdown to the Clinton Impeachment to Obama birtherism. He also makes clear that he doesn’t think that racism is a critical component in the antipathy toward Obama. It’s any Democrat. If Hillary Clinton had won the election, we’d probably be hearing more about her role in murdering Vince Foster.
I don’t know anything about Lofgren. The angle generally is to promote his credibility by saying, “this guy was a Republican forever, and look what *he* thinks.” But, I expect he’s already being attacked as a RINO or with some other calumny. I have no basis for judging what axe or axes he has to grind.