No Easy Walk Back to the Center for Buck

A day after a cutthroat Republican primary that featured both candidates in a race to out-extreme their opponent, what’s the first thing newly-minted nominee Ken Buck needs to do? Start walking back the craziest of his on-record stands, of course! But as the AP’s Kristen Wyatt reports, Democrats and their allies have no plans to make that easy.

Buck vowed “to reach out our hand for the independent and Democratic voters” after a long primary contest in which he played up his no-compromise conservatism and ties to tea party groups.

Activists with both parties moved to forestall opponents’ appeal to Colorado moderates.

A day after Buck defeated former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton in the Republican primary, a group of left-leaning groups launched a “Too Crazy For Colorado” tagline for Buck.

The coalition – dubbed the Campaign for Strong Colorado – included Planned Parenthood and ProgressNow Colorado, and it planned to use comments Buck made in his primary campaign against him. Early ammunition included Buck’s opposition to abortion rights, even in cases of rape and incest, and Buck’s argument for deep cuts to the federal departments of Education and Energy. Buck has called for completely cutting off funding for the U.S. Postal Service and Amtrak.

“How can he represent what Colorado’s all about and say these crazy things?” said Ellen Dumm, executive director of the group.

This is the dangerous moment for “Tea Party”-backed Republicans we’ve been talking about for months, and we see how well this transition is working out for the likes of Sharron Angle in Nevada or Rand Paul in Kentucky. We get how primaries work, and what is always necessary in order to appeal to the activist base: it’s true for Democrats too to a certain extent.

But we submit to you that the extent of “crazy” we’re talking about with Ken Buck–from the ever-expanding list of federal departments he would abolish, to open support for a radical abortion ban, to bad relations with Latinos as Weld County DA, to the shameless embrace of some of the nuttiest things to ever escape the mouth of Tom Tancredo–represents a much more difficult extremist hole to climb out of than the usual base appeasement-to-general election transition. Buck says that dissatisfaction with Washington and “ruling Democrats” will broaden his appeal sufficient to win moderate independents and even some Democrats. Nice idea, until the first general election voter asks, “not even if it’s rape or incest? Seriously?”

Ken Buck’s body of strident public statements in his primary as he battled Jane Norton for the support of the hard right is going to be the front line of this Senate race–Michael Bennet’s short walk to the center, versus a need to completely remake Buck’s image.

63 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. davebarnes says:

    I love that idea.

    Wasting my tax dollars on choo-choo trains coming to/from Denver is a waste.

    • Sage Sam says:

      as light rail is the future of transportation.  

      • JeffcoBlue says:

        The most efficient transportation there is. Someday we’ll have a Denver to Chicago 250mph bullet train that will really offer an alternative to air travel, and I’ll bet it will have an Amtrack logo on the side.

      • davebarnes says:

        Amtrak is all about inter-city and inter-state travel and is a complete waste of money (with the exception of the BOS-WASH corridor).

      • Voyageur says:

        Light rail, in cooperation with bus rapid transit, has a critical role to play.   Intercity, 1,000 mile plus rail passenger traffic, not so much.  Buses are far cheaper, planes are somewhat cheaper and a damn sight faster.  Amtrak’s value seems limited to the high volume eastern corridors, not much use out here.

        • Bus from Denver – Chicago round-trip is $166 at cheapest; Amtrack is $194.  Both take about 18-19 hours.  Flight via SouthWest is $198 and takes ~2.5 hours.

          (I chose Tue 9/21 through Thu 9/30 as my travel dates and looked at the cheapest rate; other dates obviously vary in price.)

          High-speed rail would potentially reduce travel time to Chicago down to 8-9 hours.  (Lots of time lost due to stops and in-town travel – non-stop road travel is ~16hrs, non-stop on a high-speed rail would be ~7 hours.)

          A standard Amtrak train can seat more passengers than a DC-10 (~300 passengers on a “standard” configuration train – but during peak season routes might add another ~100 seats, equivalent to a 747-400).

          The biggest limitation of our current rail system?  Maintenance of track, sometimes owned by multiple owners who only wish to maintain the track at lower speed ratings.  Invest in rail as we invested in highways, and rail could re-emerge as an efficient and cost-effective way to travel (and ship goods).

          • We subsidize bus routes by paying for the roads on which they travel.  ($40b in just the National Highway Administration in 2009 budget, not including various other agency budgets related to road travel.)

            We subsidize the airlines by paying in part for FAA services, subsidizing airport construction and maintenance, taking over airline pensions… ($14.6b in the FAA budget in 2009, approximately $9.6b of which are non-military related.)

            And we subsidize the railroads – $1b requested for 2009, with $0 spent on track improvements.  Of course, the stimulus spending is supposed to include initial funds for developing some high-speed rail, but those funds are more than matched by ARRA highway construction investments and the 2001 airline bailout, which eventually paid out $4.4b to the airlines (nevermind the aforementioned takeovers and special deals on airline pension funds…)

            People wonder why rail isn’t attractive: it’s been under-funded since WWII compared to other major modes of transport.

            • Voyageur says:

              highways, after all, are built mainly with fuel tax money and vehicle registration fees. It’s a user tax, very different from direct subsidies by general revenue.    Likewise with airlines, user taxes cover most or all of that.

              The fact remains that while rail is competitive over a few hundred miles — its my preferred mode New York to Boston — it’s really something of an anachronism West of the Mississippi.  Certainly, you can’t compare Amtrack with light rail/commuter rail service of the FasTracks kind.  If we’re in the mood for new federal subsidies, that’s where I’d put it.

              • How much does DIA get in tax breaks?  How much did we as taxpayers pay to build Pena Blvd to get people there?  E470?

                Wikipedia says that, overall, less than 70% of road funding in the U.S. comes from fuel/use taxes.  (Most Federal highway funding does come from fuel taxes, though – ~94%).  That means 30% of our spending on roads is in general funds – i.e. subsidies.  And transit buses receive ~$90m per year in Federal subsidies.

                Again, rail is an anachronism because we haven’t invested in the infrastructure.  If we boosted investment in new rail lines as we did highway funds starting with Eisenhower, we’d have a competitive (and fast, and efficient, and comparatively green) rail system.  Until then, we look at rail as we look at diesel – it had it’s day, regardless that it’s changed so much that it no longer matches our perception.

  2. 1854 GOP says:

    Michael Bennet’s has a short walk to the center?  Seriously folks. If you are intellectually honest, you realize his walk is just as long as Buck’s.  Both candidates have a lot of explaining to do . . . .

  3. Gilpin Guy says:

    The plagiarist was famous for pandering to whatever group he stood in front of and he will be available for lessons starting around 300k.

  4. ScottP says:

    At least that’s how I read the Tea Party attitude.

    As if watching Buck wasn’t entertaining enough already. This should be interesting.

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      Tancredo can’t run simultaneously for both Governor and Senator.  He knows the Tea Party crowd is stuck with him and Maes as their standard bearers.  He can call them dumbasses as much as he wants and like abused wifes they’ll stick with him.

  5. colawman says:

    popularity of Bennet. Bennet enjoys tremendous popularity among the Democrats and the unaffilated voters. He probably is very popular with the moderate Republicans too.  Bennet has proven during his short tenure as a Senator his willingness to be a centrist on all issues.

    Yep, this is going to be a landslide victory for Bennet. I am disappointed that Coloradopols is rating this race close. Obviously they are not listening to the contributors on this site. I think Bennet should be considered a 45-1 favor based on this threads comments alone.

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      are pro-Buck, I have to say your writing technique is as shallow as your comments.

      You are probably going to be in the minority of women who support Buck.  His misogyny was on full display during the primary and the female demographic will be lost along with the Hispanic.

      The odds of you contributing anything artful or interesting are a lot higher than Bennets chances of winning the general.

      • Middle of the Road says:

        if you were so busy making shit up about Buck (misogyny, really?) that you didn’t make a little boo boo in your last paragraph there. No?

        The odds of you contributing anything artful or interesting are a lot higher than Bennets chances of winning the general.

      • Middle of the Road says:

        Coloman’s ability to post something thoughtful and sane, could you link me to the horrific examples of Buck’s misogyny that will sway all great American women to run shrieking in horror into the arms of the nearest Democratic candidate?

        • PERA hopeful says:

          “I don’t wear high heels”

          “No abortion in pregnancies caused by rape or incest”

          • Middle of the Road says:

            is still working the old “high heel” chestnut, because it really worked out well for Norton when she ran with it, didn’t it though.

            Buck’s views on abortion are abhorrent to me, not in any way misogynistic, but rather a far right belief system which is a reason why I am a Democrat.

            I would point out that the two candidates that ran the most negative campaigns are no longer candidates for the Senate race. Might be something for people like Gilpin to think about a little.

            And thanks for the reply, by the way, Pera. Hope you are well and recovering from the primary.  

            • Gilpin Guy says:

              which according to you is you.

              Coloman’s comment were intended sarcasm and as mediocre as your writing so you two ought to get along just fine.

              Right or wrong Buck has a gender problem and has no chance to walk back his most extreme positions on the criminalization of womens health care.  There is a big demographic of moderate independent women who aren’t going to be persuaded that his positions aren’t way out of the mainstream and clearly not in their best interests to support.  In a close race extremism is going to cost him votes.

              • Middle of the Road says:

                Thanks, Wade Junior.  

                • Gilpin Guy says:

                  At least Wade had the courage of his convictions.

                  As far as the high heels comment, Norton was trying to appeal to extremists in her party which is far different from appealing to moderates.  Maybe it didn’t work out well for her but the comment is probably going to be put in ads and it might be a lot more effective because it does show a certain contempt for women.  He can’t walk back that comment either and he is probably going to make some more.

                  Misogyny (pronounced m?’s?d??ni) is hatred (or contempt) of women or girls.

                  • Middle of the Road says:

                    I find you amusing like a small child with a toy, which is why you have only earned Junior status, Wade.

                    • Gilpin Guy says:

                      Maybe if you didn’t take yourself so seriously you might be able to take a shit once in a while because you are so full it.

                      Since you can tell that colawman’s post was meant to be sarcasm can you tell if it was good or bad sarcasm?  If you can’t tell that it was very bad sarcasm then you are as big a literary dunce as you are a self-important prick who needs to feel superior to everyone.  I write to entertain myself.  You write to express your needy desire to feel important.  What an asshole.

                    • Gilpin Guy says:

                      Just so we understand each other roadkill, I could care less what you think about me.  

                      There were always dicks like you in the ski school who thought that because they made pretty turns they were better than the rest of us.  Superiority complexes are always relative dude. You would probably shit you pants or have to be taken out in a body bag if you tried to follow me down one of the backcountry lines that I am familiar with.  I’ve got two million turns under my belt and have lived in the forest for the last twenty five years.

                      I’ve posted one of my stories at the bottom to give a pussy like you an idea of what it is like to ride the wind.  Maybe you can post up one of your stories to show me how superior you are on your boards and in the outdoors.  My hunch is your just a condescending and pretentious prick who wouldn’t last 100 yards in Left Chute.

              • bjwilson83 says:

                Typical leftist tactic. Call conservatives racist, sexist. I think people are getting tired of it.

                • sxp151 says:

                  But I’m glad to see conservatives are at least embarrassed by all the racists and sexists in their shrinking little party.

                  After you repeal the 14th amendment, try the 19th. Once you’ve gotten rid of voting rights for minorities and women, you might start winning elections again. Good luck!

                • Gilpin Guy says:

                  when someone rails against the evils of government intrusion in peoples lives then wants full criminalization of womens health care because they don’t trust women to make their own decisions.  Government hands off on health care for everyone except women.  Barf.

                  Criminalization and bureaus of investigation for miscarriages won’t work because women also have free will and will find ways to deal with an unwanted pregnancy regardless of the sanctions.  Buck is very specific that he wants women to be wards of the state and forbidden from deciding their own destinies.  He is a real sexist in my book and he is going to lose both the women and Hispanic demographics over his extreme social positions.

                  I guess you have got to hope that our economy really really tanks so that Republicans can regain power to continue to do the things like the Bush tax cuts that got us into this abysmal position in the first place because he won’t win the middle otherwise.  I guess the other term would be traitor to the rebuilding of America.

            • Voyageur says:

              buck was up 10-12 points when she started then, she lost by 4.  they helped her, just not enough.

  6. Go Blue says:

    Ah, yes. This is how Buck wins over Independent and Democratic voters, by attacking Social Security benefits for seniors!

    How will this plan go over with the people?

    85 percent of adults oppose cutting Social Security to reduce the deficit; 72 percent “strongly oppose” doing so.

    What a winner.

  7. abraham says:

    Sadly, I think what is now the center is pretty much to my right.  I’m not sure Buck has as far to go as Bennet does in convincing the somewhat amorphous middle that he is their candidate.

    Ironically, I think history will record that Obama was right on much of his agenda.  But, history will record that he was a young man who had not developed mature political skills and got way, way too far out in front of his country.  Things are going to get pretty bad in the next few months, and if the Republicans are lucky the outside economic events will not catapult them into the majority.  They can no more change the course of the economy or world events than can the Democrats.  Neither party can now govern effectively.

    The Republicans can only cluck their tongues and say “aint it awful”, boy we’re not those guys.  They have nothing to offer – they are intellectually bankrupt.

    The Democrats have no choice but to keep going.  Can’t go back, can’t stay put. Reminds me of the old country song by Johnny Cash – “Four Feet High and Rising.”

    The Fed no longer has any tools to pretend that they understood either Keynes or Friedman.

    If China cuts back on goods production, our economy will take a double digit hit.  Obama may have got the Peace Prize, but he will never be considered for the prize in Economics.

  8. bjwilson83 says:

    and it hasn’t mattered much. See Rush Limbaugh. Name calling doesn’t really do much if you can’t back it up with anything.

  9. DaftPunk says:

    With the lead pic too.

    Ken Buck of Colorado, a district attorney and favorite of the Tea Party, on Tuesday became the year’s sixth Republican Senate nominee who was not the top choice of party leaders. He has argued that the separation of church and state in the United States was too strict and he has called for eliminating the Education and Energy Departments.

  10. Gilpin Guy says:

    The recent prolonged cold spell of subzero weather has rekindled debate over why anyone in their right mind would want to go outside in subzero weather for recreation.  Besides the risk of physical pain and permanent frostbite there is the awkward stiffness of being frozen to the bone and unable to move.  Conventional wisdom has it that bleak and bad weather days are best spent indoors by a warm and cozy fire.

    The countervailing view which is the mountaineers’ creed holds that some of life’s best moments are lived outdoors in dicey conditions.  The reward for playing outdoors on an icy cold day is being able to do really scary things without taking big risks.  Cold temperatures trend towards a state of entropy and slow down things to the point of stopping them.  When the snow is extremely cold and squeaky crunchy under foot it seems like everything develops a half second slower so you can ski interesting and scary lines in what seems like slow motion sequences. There are some lines at Eldora that I pretty much avoid unless it is really cold and slow or I’m having a Superman day.

    The only way to deal with subzero weather and prevent frostbite is with constant safety checks and good cold weather gear.  Google “frostbite safety” to learn how you can recognize the signs of skin damage on yourself or on others and always check for signs of frostbite on the chairlift or in the restroom.  If anyone in the group begins to show signs of frostbite it means that he/she is not properly geared up and needs to immediately return to the lodge before permanent injury occurs.

    Good cold weather gear starts with protecting the extremities by using custom boot liners and cold weather gloves that have the heat pack pocket on the back of the hand.  Larry at Larry’s Boot Fitting in Boulder (303 402-6733) is a technical virtuoso at molding the latest in boot technology around your feet for the best in warmth and control.  On the coldest days when the winds whip right through you, a wind shirt that is thin, lightweight and windproof can act as another skin layer over your fleece and helps to maintain core body temperatures.  I use a Turtle Fur neck gaiter to protect my mouth when breathing in as it helps to heat the frigid air before it hits the lungs.  Wily experienced snowboarders use bandanas for the same purpose and manage to look stylish at the same time.  Quality goggles are essential in flat light because the goggle lens can enhance depth perception and compensate for changing light conditions.  I have my skis professionally tuned about once a month in winter so that I’m always riding on a near if not perfect edge.  When you are riding on the edge you need to be riding on a good edge.

    A cold weather technique from ski patrol lore is to rub a body lotion like hand lotion all over your upper body before putting on your long handles because it will seal in some heat.  This is another reason to slather a lot of sun screen on your face on cold days.  

    Terrain can also be used in subzero weather to reduce the danger of frostbite.  I ski inside the trees on really windy days to escape the Arctic blasts and search for fresh pockets of wind driven powder.  A lot of fun can be found by getting down in the trees and jumping stumps in the bottom of the gully when no one else is around.  You are way out there on a forty degree slope in slow snow staying ahead of the turn count and never missing a beat all the while thinking to yourself “I just might launch it at the next jump point without any reservations.”  That’s the kind of day it can be in the deep cold and dark of December.  Those mountaineers who thrive in winter regard subzero weather as a golden opportunity to just bring it all day long and be red hot in the roughest of terrain.

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