- - Thursday, July 3, 2014

Sen. Howard A. Baker Jr. was a man of passion and tolerance (“Sen. Baker, who posed famous Watergate query, dies,” Web, June 26). Like so many Republicans of his time, Baker understood the need for the GOP to carry the fight to the Democrats, yet he knew that when faced with certain defeat, a compromise was better than nothing. That was true when he was a member of the Watergate committee, as well as when he served as chief of staff to President Reagan.

Today’s Republicans are at war with each other. Many decry the Baker way as “selling out” the party. I doubt the “Great Conciliator,” as Baker was known, would agree. He understood that politics, like life itself, is not black and white, but rather is composed of shades of gray.

Baker’s not here to say it, so I will: Congressional Tea Party members have made their point about government spending. Going forward, they would be wise to adopt a softer, more conciliatory tone. It would be best for the GOP and even better for the country.

DENNY FREIDENRICH

Laguna Beach, Calif.