The Charlie Brown Conservatives
May 12, 2010
In the famous Charles Schulz comic strip, Peanuts, Charlie Brown is enticed every year by Lucy to placekick a football that she volunteers to hold for him. Charlie runs down the field toward his beguiling friend, who is holding the football on the ground, and swings his leg in a huge arching kick. But at the last moment Lucy jerks the football away and Charlie flies through the air to land on his back with a loud thump and the scream of "Aaugh!" Every year, Lucy convinces Charlie to try another kick, promising not to pull the football away like she did last time. And every year, Charlie runs down the field and Lucy jerks the football away at the last moment with Charlie falling on his famous fanny.
Why does Charlie continue to fall for Lucy's con? Because Charlie is a good-natured chap, but gullible about human nature. This priceless scene, which played out every year from the 1950s to 2000 in newspapers all over the world, is metaphor for that exasperating trait of large amounts of humans to fall for the beguiling promises of their fellowmen who seek something from them. Much of history is made -- from the daily mundane events of our personal lives to the grand, epochal affairs of nations -- because of this naïve trust that so many humans have in the professed benevolence of persuasive fellow humans who wish to enlist their support for a cause, a vote, a job, a war, a venture, a romance, etc. The world is full of guile because it is full of fools. Thus life for us as individuals and societies keeps running off the road into messy ditches of disaster.
America is no stranger to the ditches along with the fools who persist in driving us there; and the world of politics is an excellent arena to demonstrate this fact. For over four decades now from 1968 to 2010, the Republican Party hierarchy has been playing the role of Lucy to Charlie Brown conservatives. Every election year GOP politicians promise to millions of traditional conservatives among the party that if they will donate their money, time and votes to elect them, they as Republicans will vigorously challenge the "horrid Democrats" who are obtusely driving America into ditches of disaster. But year after year, just like conniving Lucy, the Republicans we send to Washington go back on their promises and proceed to do as the Democrats do.
Where the Right Has Gone Wrong
Do conservatives show any signs of ever learning from this? Unfortunately, no. They continue to do what Charlie Brown always did. They buy into Lucy's con. They agree to cooperate with Republican beguilers giving them valuable money, time and votes. This is happening once again as we head for 2012. The Charlie Brown conservatives are insisting that we must cooperate with the Lucy Republicans of Washington. As if the likes of Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Sarah Palin are suddenly going to become Jeffersonians and start fighting for strictly limited government. That will happen when mules qualify to run in the Kentucky Derby.
As Patrick Buchanan tells us in his book, Where the Right Went Wrong, "Robert Taft Republicanism is dead….There is no conservative party in Washington. There is a Democratic Party of tax-and-spend, and a Republican Party of guns and butter and tax cuts, too. Washington is all accelerator, the brakes are gone."
"Republicans believe they have found the Rosetta Stone of American politics, the key to the permanent retention of power: Cut taxes consistently, and don't let Democrats outspend you. As Dick Cheney told a stunned Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, 'Deficits don't matter.'"
"Lobbying groups, manned by conservative activists, have now been set up in Washington to steer clients to the right GOP congressman to get their pet projects funded by taxpayers…. Everybody gets his or her slice of pork, so long as everyone votes for everyone else's slice."
"What is the difference" asks Buchanan, "between the compassionate conservatism of George W. Bush and the Great Society liberalism of Lyndon Johnson?"
There is no difference whatsoever. Why is this horrendous profligacy taking place? Because the Democrats and Republicans have a monopoly over the ideas that feed the populace at election time. Statist-collectivist ideology dominates the electoral process and the TV Presidential Debates through the bogus two-party system. Both parties work for the relentless expansion of government to handle all problems. Both parties enshrine egalitarianism. Both utilize Keynesian economics. Both practice wealth redistribution. Both legislate Nanny State cradle-to-grave security. Both espouse open borders. Both tolerate the subordination of American sovereignty to the goal of one-world government. This has been going on for over 40 years ever since Richard Nixon dumped the Goldwater revolution into the Potomac and showed how to win power by becoming Democratic clones.
In other words, the Lucy Republicans have been jerking the football away from the Charlie Brown conservatives for over four decades. And still the gullible conservatives among the GOP buy into the disingenuousness of Republican promises every election year. When does reality set in? When do the Charlie Brown conservatives wake up and realize they are being played by the Gingrichs, Steeles, Roves and Romneys -- the political Lucys of Washington.
Rejecting the Snare and Delusion
There is a solution to this fools' game. It consists of facing reality and cutting the umbilical cord that draws freedom advocates into the Republican trap every election year. It will necessitate accepting that we no longer have a "two-party system." As Buchanan puts it, "Our vaunted two-party system is a snare and delusion. Our two parties have become nothing but two wings of the same bird of prey."
What we, who believe in freedom and constitutional government, must do is face up to this reality instead of clinging so naively every election year to the empty promises of Republican Lucys. We must forge a new political party -- a conservative party of our own! But not a party that preaches utopianism to the choir and garners 1% of the vote as the Constitution Party and the Libertarian Party do every year.
We need a REAL third-party that can get 38% of the vote, which would win in a three man race. Contrary to conventional thinking this is now possible. For example, all recent polls show the Democrats and Republicans each getting 30% of the electorate. For the first time since Gallup began asking the question in 1992, says USA Today, 40% of voters declare themselves to be Independent.
What is the source of this profound shift in sentiment? Big, arrogant government and 1) its egregious debt pyramiding, 2) its criminal expropriation of middle class wealth to subsidize Wall Street fat cats, 3) its refusal to check the alien invasion of illegal immigration from Mexico, and 4) the monstrous socialized health-care bill that it so haughtily insisted on ramming down our throats, and which will bring intolerable convolution and misery rather than ease and benefit to our lives.
Thus in today's political climate so outraged with Washington, if a conservative third-party was geared to end the above four tyrannical policies, it could easily draw 20% from the Independents, 15% from the GOP, and 5% from Blue Dog Democrats, which would be 40% of the vote. Even if the remaining Independent vote of 20% splits 12% in favor of Democrats and only 8% for Republicans, that still would leave the Democrats with only 37%, the Republicans with 23%, and our third-party with 40%. Voila! Victory for conservatives and libertarians. Victory for freedom and smaller government.
A New Political Paradigm
I have written a book that demonstrates how to do this, The Conservative Revolution: Why We Must Form a Third Political Party to Win It. It puts forth a cogent reform plan for our tax and monetary systems that will stop the runaway freight train of government growth and restore sanity to the land. It shatters the myth that we must, at all costs, eschew third-party efforts and "remain within the GOP." It shows how to unify millions of conservatives, libertarians and independents into one party -- the Conservative American Party. Its revolutionary reform plan will dramatically challenge the Washington establishment and bring about a pervasive political realignment equivalent to the Republican displacement of the Whigs in the mid-19th century.
The ideological forces of the past 40 years have been steadily building toward such a paradigmatic challenge, and the world's present economic crisis is the catalyst that can bring it about. The rising disenchantment we see throughout the American heartland is conservative-libertarian disenchantment. We need to tap into it. The Republican Lucys will continue to do what they are programmed to do -- default on their promises. But we as conservatives need to quit playing the role of gullible Charlie Browns. We need a political party of our own! We need to become heroic patriots again. This is the only approach and attitude that can bring salvation to America.