The Repub­li­can Party is dead

The Denver Post - - OPINION - By Ken Buck

The Repub­li­can Party is dead. At one time, the blood of the peo­ple coursed through its veins, en­liven­ing the party with their val­ues and virtues, their goals and dreams. The party be­came its own energizing force, com­pelling peo­ple to sac­ri­fice for a higher moral pur­pose.

But to­day’s Repub­li­can Party aban­doned these peo­ple. It no longer rep­re­sents their val­ues. It no longer has a vi­sion for a bet­ter Amer­ica. And no one is step­ping up to pro­vide that vi­sion.

Repub­li­cans car­ried a strong vi­sion and val­ues into uni­fied gov­ern­ment six months ago. We cham­pi­oned prin­ci­ples like lim­ited gov­ern­ment, job cre­ation, bor­der se­cu­rity, and bud­get bal­anc­ing. We promised to re­peal Oba­macare, en­act tax re­form, and roll back bur­den­some fed­eral reg­u­la­tions.

But what have we done? Congress passed an om­nibus spend­ing bill that be­trays our val­ues. A re­place­ment for Oba­macare lies dead on the Se­nate floor. We’ve heard about tax re­form but seen noth­ing yet. Im­mi­gra­tion re­form is talked about more on Fox News than it is on the House floor.

Af­ter eight years of as­sur­ing that uni­fied Repub­li­can gov­ern­ment would al­low for con­ser­va­tive pol­icy, our Repub­li­can Congress has ac­com­plished lit­tle, ex­cept for passing a spend­ing bill that shack­les the as­pi­ra­tions of fu­ture gen­er­a­tions with crip­pling debt.

Those who called them­selves Repub­li­cans have a strong her­itage. Abo­li­tion­ists founded the party to rid this coun­try of the scourge of slav­ery and Pres­i­dent Abra­ham Lin­coln is­sued the eman­ci­pa­tion procla­ma­tion. Trust busters had the vi­sion to fight crony cap­i­tal­ism and Pres­i­dent Teddy Roo­sevelt ush­ered in free-mar­ket re­forms. Pa­tri­ots stood guard against the ad­vances of com­mu­nism and Pres­i­dent Ron­ald Rea­gan con­quered the evil em­pire.

Last year, I was proud to call my­self a Repub­li­can, too. The party is­sued a plat­form that called for a “con­sti­tu­tional re­quire­ment for a fed­eral bal­anced bud­get.” It called a pro-growth tax code “a moral im­per­a­tive.” Repub­li­cans wrote: “Our high­est pri­or­ity, there­fore, must be to se­cure our bor­ders and all ports of en­try and to en­force our im­mi­gra­tion laws.” And then there’s this: “It is time to re­peal Oba­macare … ”

Un­for­tu­nately, the men and women who crafted these words are not the men and women serv­ing in the halls of Congress. The writ­ers of these words were as­sem­bled from the far reaches of the repub­lic to enu­mer­ate the val­ues and prin­ci­ples of the party. They of­fered a pow­er­ful vi­sion for what Amer­ica could be.

But the Repub­li­can Party no longer be­longs to these writ­ers. Stand­ing in their place are the writ­ers of the om­nibus bill, the lob­by­ists, the special in­ter­ests, the weak-kneed sen­a­tors, ev­ery­one who sees the fed­eral gov­ern­ment as a di­a­mond mine to be ex­ploited for their per­sonal riches.

The na­tional debt ap­proaches $20 tril­lion, sad­dling each Amer­i­can with more than a $60,000 share. We’ll be ser­vic­ing this debt for decades. Our chil­dren will spend a good por­tion of their liveli­hood pay­ing off our gen­er­a­tion’s ex­trav­a­gant spend­ing.

Mean­while, they will also con­tend with a col­lapsed health care mar­ket and a tax code that fa­vors the rich and well-con­nected. A con­tin­ual un­der­valu­ing of the rule of law and in­flux of il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion will dev­as­tate the Amer­i­can fam­ily and the Amer­i­can worker.

Both par­ties have proven their in­abil­ity to deal with these prob­lems.

What can we do? More than any­thing else, we need a vi­sion, some­one who has a mes­sage and a plan to unify this coun­try. In­stead, we’ve as­sem­bled a “Bteam” of mes­sen­gers who dis­tract the na­tion with fri­vol­i­ties.

But Coloradans do not care about the friv­o­lous. We care about the mean­ing­ful. We have a vi­sion for the mean­ing­ful. If we can pass a bal­anced bud­get amend­ment, a re­spon­si­ble spend­ing bill, and re­forms of our health care sys­tem, of our tax sys­tem, of our en­ti­tle­ment sys­tem, and of our im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem, then we can be­gin to ful­fill the one-time des­tiny of this party, a des­tiny to of­fer hope and pros­per­ity to the peo­ple of this great na­tion.

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