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  • Writer's pictureMario Nicolais

Ken Buck has had enough

In the two decades I have known U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, he has always been a serious man. Lately, it seems he is seriously pissed about about the shenanigans pulled by some folks on his side of the aisle.

Buck’s blood seemed to begin boiling in mid-July. First, he went out of his way to thank FBI Director Christopher Wray for his work while his Republican colleagues took turns denigrating Wray. That led to an appearance on “Meet the Press” in which he not only doubled down on his defense of Wray, but broke news that U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene had been kicked out of the Freedom Caucus after she “consistently attacked other members.”

His disdain for folks that peddle in conspiracy theories was palpable.

None of that surprises me. Buck is a well-educated and thoughtful person. He attended Princeton and graduated from the University of Wyoming College of Law. He worked for then-U.S. Rep. Dick Cheney investigating the Iran-Contra incident and eventually dedicated himself to a career as a prosecutor. This is a no-nonsense background.

That fits with every interaction I have ever had with him. I genuinely like Buck. We might not agree on every policy or political position, but he is congenial and thoughtful. He prefers to make considered arguments than scream at the top of his lungs. He values reasonable debate.

That sets him at odds with a lot of people currently in his party.

Consequently, while he toed the party line on criminal indictments against former President Donald Trump, he lambasted efforts to intimidate members of the grand jury and prosecution with threats of violence. The former prosecutor scolded Trump, stating that “if you’re innocent, start acting like it.”

That is a welcome relief from a party that has stood in awkward silence as some among its ranks — all the way to the very top — have fomented political violence. Leadership like Buck’s is necessary to save the republic. 

So it should not have been a surprise that he felt it was incumbent upon him to respond when the Colorado GOP sent a blast email, including a letter rife with wild conspiracies about January 6 defendants. Buck put together a multiple-page letter of his own methodically exposing the inaccuracies and lies previously sent.

Buck managed to remain restrained in his response, but the anger was evident. This was not a letter he farmed out to a staffer. Buck obviously wrote it himself. He seemed affronted not only by the specious arguments, but the effect it had on 200 members of the Republican Central Committee that seemed swayed by its misinformation.

As Buck wrote, the “letter makes a number of factually incorrect claims, and then proceeds to overstate the threat to our Republic based on false claims.” He then took apart several claims with the precision of a practiced attorney dismantling a case before a jury. Using citations and specific numbers, he laid waste to the generalized allegations that have run rampant on the internet.

The Republican Party could use more of that.

Of course, the Dunce State will not go down without a fight. Because she is likely incapable of penning a letter as thoughtful and well-researched as Buck’s — or likely anything that requires factual analysis for that matter — Taylor Greene attempted to take Buck to task on X (the social media cesspool formerly known as Twitter). Whereas Buck used citations and analysis based on thorough research, she relied on casting aspersions and a single jail tour.

Something tells me Buck, the former prosecutor, does not need to be lectured on jails.

Buck did take the bait on a local radio show. In response he stated unequivocally that his sympathies were not with people who “assaulted police officers … beat up cops … destroy a building that I consider sacred … who want to stop a congressional function which is counting the votes in an election.”

And then he pilloried Taylor Greene: “When I was teaching law school, I learned and taught certain constitutional principles. When Marjorie Taylor Greene was teaching CrossFit, she learned a whole different set of values.”

Maybe Taylor Greene ought to stick to her best frenemy from the other side of the state. She does not have the intellectual equipment to engage with someone like Buck. She will just end up looking more idiotic than a pair of guys rolling into Aspen on a mini-bike in the middle of winter.

The Republican Party has been on a collision course with reality for quite some time. Unfortunately, it continues unabated toward the precipice. 

Ken Buck has clearly had enough. He is no longer willing to stand by and watch the wreck unfold. Our country will be better off if more Republican leaders follow his lead.

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