The Republican Party needs a new mascot. The elephant is no longer appropriate. An elephant is a proud, strong animal. It represents strength, wisdom, loyalty, stamina and leadership. Clearly, after last week's cave-in to Democrats in order to achieve a long-term spending bill and avoid the possibility of another government shutdown, none of those traits apply to a party that controls both houses of Congress and the White House.
This little compromise, which added another $300 billion to the budget over the next two years, was a complete disaster for a country that is up to its eyeballs in debt and a president that was elected promising to drain the swamp. Earth to the president: The swamp feeds on tax dollars. This deal the GOP is celebrating just flooded the place and added to the stench.
And for what? When Democrats threatened to shut down Washington over amnesty for the so-called dreamers, they lost the public relations battle – and they lost big, as well they should. The president's instincts were right when he pointed out in his State of the Union message that "Americans are dreamers too." In order to keep the American dream alive for everyone, including all those young people who were brought here illegally as children, we need to get control of the border. However, getting control of the budget is something equally important to our young people who must pick up the tab for all this deficit spending. Clearly, this is not going to happen with our current political leaders.
Advertisement - story continues below
Instead of the mighty elephant, a more appropriate mascot for the GOP would be the armadillo. It rolls itself into a ball to hide from any problem. In this case, the problem is the Democrats who scream bloody murder when faced with cutting our bloated budget for anything except the defense of this nation. National defense is the primary responsibility of the federal government and the one area of the budget that really needed an increase. However, it is unnecessary to bust the budget to increase defense!
Perhaps a chicken would be the right mascot for the GOP. It's stupid and easily frightened. It is often depicted as too scared to attempt any slightly intimidating task – like finding offsets in the budget for the increase in defense! It's not that hard. Citizens Against Government Waste has already done the work. CAGW's Prime Cuts database contains 607 recommendations that would save taxpayers $336.2 billion in one year, not two, and $2.3 trillion over five years.
Furthermore, the Government Accountability Office (now that's an oxymoron if ever there were one) has released seven reports citing hundreds of billions in duplicative, fragmented and overlapping federal programs. If Congress is going to keep ignoring the GAO, why not just get rid of it altogether? There's an easy savings of $618 million a year.
There are many more exciting possibilities for a new, more symbolic GOP mascot: The opossum falls into a catatonic state when threatened. Then there is the lazy sloth, the shy little mouse, a scaredy cat, the ostrich that buries its head in the sand or the turtle that is afraid to stick its neck out.
Advertisement - story continues below
All those would seem to apply to a party that has made getting control of the budget a promise in every campaign but can't deliver. Sure, the arcane filibuster rule in the Senate requires 60 votes (Republicans only have 51) to get down to the question and actually vote on a measure. This rule continually allows lawmakers to obscure their votes. It desperately needs to be changed! Republicans now have the ability to do that, but they are too afraid. They are too busy looking over their shoulders, fearing the day when they lose the majority and are irrelevant. That kind of passive attitude is sure to make that a reality sooner rather than later.
However, Republicans aren't the only ones in need of a new mascot. Some say the ass is a perfect depiction for Democrats, but the fox would be more appropriate. Democrats cried about the measly $25 billion to build a border wall and the tax cut adding to the deficit. Then they turned around and added $128 billion in domestic programs to the budget without so much as a blink of an eye. The cunning fox is perfect. This animal is best know for trickery and its ability to get away with murder without being punished.
But back to Republicans. Maybe they should forget the mascot altogether and just use the white flag of surrender as their symbol. It's perfect!