Howard Phillips, the Constitution Party presidential candidate, once averred a compelling metaphor for American politics. It involves a locomotive heading for a cliff.

With the Democrats, he says, you’re chugging for the cliff at 80 mph. With the Republicans, you’re chugging along at 50. Either way, you’re going off the cliff.

That is why conservatives such as Howard and I have dumped the GOP and struck out on our own. The undeniable metaphor explains yesterday’s election. Indeed, it explains all elections:

The victor regardless, the federal leviathan grows.

If that sounds too cynical by half, observe the ridiculous debate in Minnesota between Democrat socialist Walter Mondale and GOP socialist Norm Coleman.

It would be nice to quote something, anything, the two said that was noteworthy. But you can’t because they didn’t.

Yeah, they told everyone how much different they are, but to one who would vote, say, for Coleman, because he is the “conservative” alternative to Mondale, you might ask a few questions:

Will Coleman seek to repeal federal withholding taxes and even the income tax itself, which provided the money to create the evil leviathan? What Cabinet departments does Coleman propose eliminating? Education? Energy? Housing and Urban Development? Health and Human Services? Does he have the guts to say no one, regardless of age, is entitled to free prescription medication?

Last question: Is Coleman really that different? Ask similar questions of any Republican anywhere.

Does just one national Republican in the era of George the Second propose eliminating just one federal program? Will any Republican ardently propose bringing home American troops from Germany and Japan and stopping the coming war against Iraq?


Truth is, Republicans propose limited government and tax cuts only when they’re out of power, as recent history since that Great Republican Revolution of 1994 adequately proves. But when the GOP is in charge, shafting the taxpayers is just fine.

FDR knew this truth when he said he couldn’t see dime’s worth of difference between the parties.

Republicans and Democrats, you see, differ in degree, not in kind.

If you earn $100,000, the Democrats want $75,000 to distribute to their malcontent constituents: illegal immigrants, militant minorities and frightened old people. They never get that much, “thanks” to Republicans.

The pachyderms “only” want $40,000, then claim they’re doing you a favor when they take it. It’s socialist robbery just the same, and eventually, the two parties settle on a sum that pleases both.

Republicans often expand government faster than Democrats, as the reign of Emperor Bush lays bare. That “compassionate conservative” in the White House, with a Republican Congress, spends money faster than Al Gore or Walter Mondale could ever dream.

Republicans even appoint pro-abortion justices to the Supreme Court.

No wonder some observers call this axis of evil the Republicrat Party.

The nation’s well-being does not lie with this establishment, but with a party that respects the Constitution, understands the proper role of the federal government vis-a-vis the states and cares more about principles than principalities and powers.

Rather, we need a viable third party that can vie with Republicrat boodlers.

Remember, the train heads for the precipice.

R. Cort Kirkwood is managing editor of the Daily News-Record in Harrisonburg, Va. His e-mail address is: [email protected]

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