The Republican Party ought to change its symbol from the wise, long-living and majestic elephant to a symbol that better represents the party today: That lovable loser, Charlie Brown. Or maybe just the yellow shirt with black stripe, after all Charlie Brown is lovable because he is a child while the immediate future has the GOP looking like a bunch of old, white and out of touch losers.
Case in point: Republicans will cave and allow tax increases on the wealthy (and maybe they should, but I’ve written about that already and so has Karl). Doing so, they will claim, will allow them to seize the initiative and focus on cuts to entitlements (cuts in spending to reduce the debt). And, like Charlie Brown, the Republicans will gear up to kick the football held by the Lucy-like Democrats. And just like that nasty, scheming little girl who can be sort of funny but otherwise has no redeeming qualities, the Democrats will yank the ball away just as the feckless Charlie Brown-like Republicans hit full stride. The Democrats will encourage this. They will hold up the entitlement football and encourage the Republicans to give it a kick.
Lucy: This time you can trust me. See? Here’s a signed document….
Charlie Brown: It is signed…It’s a signed document! I guess if you have a signed document in your possession, you can’t go wrong. This year I’m really gonna kick that football.
(Charlie Brown hits full stride and just as he nears the ball, Lucy pulls it away and Charlie falls flat on his back.)
Charlie Brown: AARRRGH!
Lucy: Peculiar thing about this document, It was never notarized.
Just like Charlie Brown and the football, the Republicans have no advantage on entitlement reform. The Democrats will entice Republicans to vote for tax increases by promising meaningful discussions on cuts to entitlements (a sort of Wimpy-esque “gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today,” but I’ll save that pop-icon comparison for January). True to their eternally hopeful but naïve Charlie Brown form, the Republicans will take the bait and charge full speed ahead at entitlement cuts. Just as true to their dishonest, self-aggrandizing alter-ego Lucy, the Democrats will pull the ball away just in the nick of time. Lucy… err the Democrats will successfully holler about the poor, the effect on the elderly and those nearing retirement, the disadvantaged and the sick and how Republicans are only seeking “revenge” for their inability to prevent their rich masters from paying their fair share by punishing the poor and middle class. The Republicans, after all, hate the poor and fear the middle class and live only to serve the wealthy.
In the end the Democrats will win. They will have been aided by the Republicans in forever painting the GOP as anti-poor, anti-middle class and pro rich white guys. Its not true but truth has little to do with winning elections. Sure, the economy will continue to suffer. Unemployment will not come down much below 7%. Inflation will surge, the welfare state will grow, entitlement culture will expand. This will not help Republicans, it will hurt them. Some principled conservatives will struggle, yelling “Stop!” even louder in to the wilderness. But as the government doles out more and more freebies to a larger crowd, they too will be exposed as poor-hating elitists and quickly lose re-election to a big government welfare statist. What will be left of the GOP without serious party reform? California is the future. For a glimpse of how this brave new world can come to pass see my previous pop-culture meme. Republicans need to focus not on taking away what the democrats have over promised but by giving back liberty, personal freedoms and the control over one’s own destiny. To do this they need to build a solid infrastructure: A balanced budget amendment, an about face on drug and gay policies and focus on subsidiarity. It can’t win by playing football with Lucy Van Pelt. It can win by exposing her over-controlling tendencies, her horrible snobbery and her inability to improve rather than sustain the mire we are in.
In the meantime, and probably for the immediate future, the Yellow Shirt with a Black Stripe should be our symbol.