Is the Repub­li­can Party dead? And if so, whose fault is it?

The Denver Post - - OPINION - Re: Glenn Hen­dricks, Daily Cam­era file Ste­van J. Ku­kic, Ron Black­welder,

“The Repub­li­can Party is dead,” Aug. 1 guest com­men­tary.

Rep. Ken Buck’s opin­ion piece on the “death” of the Repub­li­can Party is highly en­ter­tain­ing, par­tic­u­larly in light of his dogged ef­forts to en­sure that the GOP con­tinue to­ward the cliff at a high rate of speed. His ef­forts, along with the rest of the so-called Free­dom Cau­cus and the ex­treme hard-core right-wing fi­nanc­ing that en­ables them, are the root cause of the cur­rent dys­func­tion in the fed­eral gov­ern­ment. You can also see the fruit of this par­tic­u­lar poi­sonous tree in the col­laps­ing state gov­ern­ments of Texas, Ok­la­homa and par­tic­u­larly our neigh­bor to the east, Kansas.

Buck’s la­men­ta­tions re­mind me of the old lawyer’s joke: The def­i­ni­tion of chutz­pah is the man on trial for mur­der­ing his par­ents plead­ing for le­niency be­cause he’s an or­phan. ●●●

Rep. Ken Buck might well be cor­rect. But he does not men­tion a few crit­i­cal rea­sons for the demise of his party. In the ’50s and ’60s, Dix­iecrats — seg­re­ga­tion­ist Democrats from the South — left the Demo­cratic Party. They went not to the party of Lin­coln, but to a Repub­li­can Party that was be­gin­ning to move away from its “des­tiny” to “of­fer hope and pros­per­ity to the peo­ple of this great na­tion.”

The party sup­ported a pres­i­dent who took us to a vol­un­tary war in Iraq, a na­tion that had noth­ing to do with 9/11. The party nom­i­nated Don­ald Trump to be its can­di­date. The party voted for leg­is­la­tion that would take health care away from mil­lions of cit­i­zens.

Vi­sion and rhetoric with­out con­sis­tent ac­tion is a for­mula for the night­mare Rep. Buck’s party and we are in.

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The Repub­li­can Party is not dead — yet. It is just not lis­ten­ing. The House Free­dom Cau­cus did not win the 2016 elec­tion for the Repub­li­cans; the in­de­pen­dents did. In­de­pen­dents con­trol roughly a third of the votes, and if the Repub­li­cans do not cater to them, the Repub­li­can Party will be dead. In­de­pen­dents mostly do not want to re­peal Oba­macare, but they do want to re­place it. They do not want a re­place­ment plan that is crafted be­hind closed doors, but a plan that is openly de­bated. That will re­quire Repub­li­cans and Democrats work­ing to­gether with some lead­er­ship and com­pro­mis­ing to pass a bill that most Amer­i­cans can sup­port. If either party can de­velop a plat­form that ap­peals to in­de­pen­dents on a con­tin­u­ing ba­sis, they will be our lead­ers for the fore­see­able fu­ture. If the Repub­li­cans can­not do that, then Rep. Buck will be cor­rect. Send let­ters of 150 words or fewer to open­fo­rum@den­ver­post.com or 101 W. Col­fax Ave., Suite 800, Den­ver, CO, 80202. Please in­clude full name, city and phone num­ber. Con­tact in­for­ma­tion is for our pur­poses only; we will not share it with any­one else. You can reach us by tele­phone at 303-954-1331.

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