November 18, 2007 8:08PM

Where Have All the Republicans Gone?

In Sunday’s “Opus” cartoon, Berkeley Breathed suggests that Opus, becoming middle‐​aged, will naturally find himself sliding straight into the welcoming arms of the Republican party. The general idea of middle‐​aged conservatism is understandable enough. There’s an old saying, attributed to many different authors, that “if you’re not a socialist at 20, you have no heart. If you’re still a socialist at 40, you have no brain.”

But Breathed reveals his own advancing age when he depicts the Republican organizers wooing Opus with the promise of “Balanced budgets — and smaller government! And no nation building! We’re not the world’s policemen!” When’s the last time Republicans offered such a platform?

Oh, right, George W. Bush in 2000. But seven years is a lifetime in politics. Today’s Republican party offers massive deficits, a government virtually unlimited in size and scope, and a Wilsonian‐​neocon foreign policy that is both policeman and nursemaid to the world. I wonder if even a middle‐​aged penguin would sign up for that.