In the world of politics both parties have changed over time. Yet even though the symbols of the Donkey and the Elephant have evolved, they are closer than ever to their origins in some ways. The Donkey originated with Andrew Jackson when as a Democrat he ran for president in 1828. His opponent labeled him as a “Jackass” because of his populist beliefs of small government and his slogan of “Let the people rule,” which was aimed at allowing the state governments, not the federal, to oversee the rule of law. Editorial cartoonist Thomas Nast not only drew the Jackass, but was responsible for the elephant as well. The elephant was being frightened by the donkey in wolves clothing and ironically had been fooled by the “phony scare” to turn from its normal ties, or alliances. This sounds familiar. In fact, it seems like the same song different verse is being played today as the Democrats are intimidating the GOP to turn away from their conservative base to try and fend off the phony charges of not being inclusive enough.
I remember when my dad ran for Congress when I was in High School. He was a democrat primary candidate looking for the privilege of running against Rogers Morton , who later became Secretary of the Interior. My dad’s big campaign slogans were David against Goliath, the little man representing the people fighting against big politicians and big government. His other slogan, reminiscent of Jackson, was “Bring the Government back to the people.” My how things have changed. Today’s Democratic party that has been hijacked by progressives now stands not just for big government, but a government overwhelming in size and cost that has control of all aspects of your life. As Ronald Reagan once said government and their spending today is like a little baby, it has a monstrous appetite on one end and no responsibility on the other. How ironic it is that Democratic all-star John Kennedy would not be welcome in today’s progressive Democratic party with his Catholic, pro life, pro family, strong military, lower taxes platform. But as the Democratic Party has been infiltrated by progressives and turned into something that no longer represents what they once stood for the Republican party has been doing the same.
The Republican Party came into being as a result of opposition to slavery. With the support of businesses and small farmers Republicans also stood for non-intervention in economic issues. Over time the Republican Party become the champion for minorities and civil rights, it became the pro-life, free market, strong military, limited government party. Yet over the past few elections the GOP has forgotten who they were, alienated the conservative base and had three election losses running with the Bob Dole strategy of middle-of-the-road moderation, which failed all three times. Now instead of a different party the GOP looks like Democrat-lite as they ignore their conservative base and demonize the Tea Party Patriots, the new conservative base that gave them the House in 2010.
Democrats today say the Donkey is smart and brave, while Republicans say the Elephant is strong and dignified. Others say that donkeys are stubborn and stupid, while elephants are intelligent and powerful. No matter what kind of Kool-Aid you are drinking the reality is that after all this time the Democratic Party is back to its roots as a party run by Jackasses, showing real hate and animus toward anyone who disagrees with them. It is a party that wants the government to run over the people. The Republican Party is still afraid of the Democrats, and is frightened away from its normal ties to conservatives by lots of Democratic phony scares. That said, the Jackass is still appropriate for the DNC, yet the GOP needs to come up with a new mascot that shows what they truly stand for. With their ever-changing platform, Republicans are like weathermen looking to see which ways the wind is blowing at the moment. Ignoring their true foundation of consistent values to guide their decisions, perhaps the Republicans should select a new symbol: the chameleon.