Live from the Roasterie: Robert Reich: Reality Check: "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:

Robert Reich awarded the first Heller School Dean s Medal BrandeisNOW

Me: ‘So what do really you 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---ing 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.’"