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The Charlie Brown Conservatives

Written By: Nelson Hultberg  |  Posted: Tuesday, May 25th, 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,

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