Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

October 23, 2013

House of Burgess: A Republican civil war's a-comin'

Liberal action needed to save GOP.

It might seem counter-intuitive, but if traditional conservatives want to reclaim the Republican Party, they had better start thinking progressively. Radical action is required.

The recently ended, 17-day government shutdown has illustrated a long-simmering battle: The Republican Party cannot continue much longer as it is. It is a dysfunctional family on the brink of collapse. Everyone seems worried for the Republicans, like a friend going through a rocky break-up.

“The moment draws comparisons to some of the biggest fights of recent Republican Party history — the 1976 clash between the insurgent faction of activists who supported Ronald Reagan for president that year and the moderate party leaders who stuck by President Gerald R. Ford, and the split between the conservative Goldwater and moderate Rockefeller factions in 1964,” reported Jonathan Martin, Jim Rutenberg and Jeremy W. Peters in The New York Times Sunday. “Far from being chastened by the failure to achieve any of the concessions they had sought … the conservative activists who helped drive the confrontation in Congress and helped fuel support for the 144 House Republicans who voted against ending it are now intensifying their effort to rid the party of the sort of timorous Republicans who they said doomed their effort from the start.”

Tea people in Congress drew a line in the sand regarding the Affordable Care Act. And if the tea party were to actually become an actual, separate Tea Party, it wouldn’t be out of line with the origin story of the Republican Party itself.

The Republican Party was founded in 1854 in response to passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act. This legislation repealed the Missouri Compromise and thus ignited a violent proxy war after Free-Staters and “Border Ruffians” flooded Kansas.

If Bloody Kansas and the later Civil War were movies, the former would have been the prequel.

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