The Great Buck Backpedal: 17th Amendment Actually Okay!

Talking Points Memo:

Colorado Republican Senate nominee Ken Buck, who upset establishment favorite Jane Norton in last week’s primary, last year expressed support for repealing the 17th Amendment, which allows for the direct election of Senators by popular vote…

Video recently unearthed by The Huffington Post shows Buck responding to a question at a campaign event last year by saying that the 17th Amendment “has taken us down the wrong path.”

“I don’t know that we get [repeal] tomorrow, but I think we get there in the very near future when people understand just what a horrendous effect the 17th Amendment has been on the federal government’s spending.”

Friday, Buck clarified his past statement to The Huffington Post: “It is not a position I still hold and it wasn’t a position I held a day later when I called back the guy who asked the question and talked to him about the issue and reflected more on it.”

The wholesale reversals are coming fast and furious now: Ken Buck abandoned his prior view that Social Security is a “horrible policy” that the private sector should be in charge of practically the day after his primary victory. This weekend, it was the wacky 17th Amendment stuff. Buck’s opposition to women’s reproductive choice, even in cases of rape or incest, is sure to follow soon–and somewhere in there he’ll want to soften that whole ‘Obama is worse than nuclear war’ thing.

And that’s nothing close to a full list–it’s an awful lot to walk back, isn’t it?

83 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Voyageur says:

    than the possibility that Ken Buck could be elected to the U.S. Senate.

  2. st0ry says:

    It’s really going to be hard for him to backpedal from all of this since he’s courting the Bagger crowd who support these wacky ideas and all of this has also been recorded and is going to end up in anti-Buck advertisements soon enough..

  3. Gilpin Guy says:

    The conservative extremists fear that the Hispanic vote is going to increase in the near term and a popular vote will be heavily influenced by minorities.  If the vote is through state legislatures than “white” districts with fewer voters will gain equal footing with Hispanic districts with more voters.  The goal is to prevent one man one vote which is basically anti-Democratic but those who feel threatened have no intentions of expanding their party.

    Buck essentially supported the idea of limited the influence of the surge in minority voting but now needs to backtrack to look less racist.  Did he double cross the Tea Party extremists or is he going to double cross the moderates?

    • gertie97 says:

      Buck will cross the baggers. He needs some moderates.

    • MADCO says:

      Approximate US population 1929 – 173million

      Approximate US population  2010 310 million.

      US House of Representatives 1929 – 435

      US House of Representatives 2010  435

      I don’t have the time to look up the corresponding state ratios, but I’m confident that pattern is similar.

      I hav eno problem with the 17th either way.

      But we should repeal the 12th.

      • Voyageur says:

        We just have a lot more half-wits now!

        • Craig says:

          They’re sort of like 60% or a person?  Are you kidding me, we could use some half-wits who had common sense in Congress.  Only problem is that even those half-wits are too smart to take on that job.  All we’ve got left are lawyers and millionaires.  

      • Gilpin Guy says:

        that would select the senator.  The proportion would be within the state legislative districts either senate or house.  The inequities would be the same regardless of whether you are voting in the state senate or the house.  The goal is to suppress the influence of an increasing non-white population.  They can dress it up as a state rights issue but by that standard so was the Civil War.

        • TheRINO says:

          Where are you getting this idea that somehow repealing the 17th amendment is racist?  I don’t support repealing it but the argument goes that if a senator is selected by the state legislature then he wouldn’t be as easily swayed by temporary political winds.  It is similar to why we don’t elect those on the supreme court but not a permanent.  It might even be a good thing by getting people more interested in who they select for their state legislatures.  Ask any lay person who represents them in the colorado state house and senate and I guarantee you they have no idea.  Even if the tea partiers were racist, they aren’t that forward thinking to come up with strategies like you are stating they are that would limit minority votes.  You all are being ridiculous.

          • TheRINO says:

            Originally, although a Senator was elected by a state legislature, he was expected to represent the people of that state (rather than the legislature alone) in the Senate (See Federalist No. 62 through No.66).[Need quotation to verify] Also it was believed that while an unqualified candidate might win a popular-vote majority through demagoguery or superficial qualities, the legislature, which could deliberate on its choice, and whose members had been selected by their constituents and had experience in politics, would be safe from such folly. Finally, election by the legislature was expected to insulate Senators from the distraction of public campaigning for election or re-election, leaving them free to concentrate on the great business of the federal government. This last purpose was also served by the six-year term for Senators, compared to the two-year term for U.S. Representatives.

        • Gilpin Guy says:

          What is the one thing the Republicans don’t want?  Hispanics to gain in representation because they are the new bogey man and the Tea Party extremists have done everything in their power to demonize people whose first name doesn’t start with Bubba.

          The logic is straightforward.  Theoretically a representative from Highlands Ranch and the representative from West Denver both get one vote for senator.  If the actual voting population of West Denver is a higher and the percentage of Hispanics is higher then a relative vote in West Denver is less than one vote per person.  This is why the Tea Party extremists are so gung-ho on repealing the 17th.  It neutralizes the influence an increasing minority population.

          One man one vote is a loser for Republicans because they have done everything possible to make their party an exclusive club.

          The repeal is disguised as a states rights issue but underneath the rhetoric is the Southern strategy to acquire power by disenfranchising minorities who aren’t welcome in the little tent.

          • TheRINO says:

            What you are saying if more of an argument of rural vs. urban areas.  I have never heard anyone say in the republican party that they are out to disenfranchise minorities.  That is absurd.  It’s not a states rights issue either because well I just don’t see how logically it can be.  Senators today are suppose to represent the state because they are held accountable to the voters here.  The problems of repealing the amendment are clear by the paragraph below.  And it is doubtful it can ever happen, so why are we talking about it?  Also, I have never heard of talk of repealing the 17th amendment at any republican event I have been to, so this is all news to me.

            After the Civil War, the problems multiplied. In one case in the mid-1860s, the election of Senator John P. Stockton  from New Jersey was contested on the grounds that he had been elected by a plurality rather than a majority in the state legislature.[1]  Stockton asserted that the exact method for elections was murky and varied from state to state. To keep this from happening again, Congress passed a law in 1866 regulating how and when Senators were to be elected from each state. This was the first change in the process of Senatorial elections. While the law helped, there were still deadlocks in some legislatures and accusations of bribery, corruption, and suspicious dealings in some elections. Nine bribery cases were brought before the Senate between 1866 and 1906, and 45 deadlocks occurred in 20 states between 1891 and 1905, resulting in numerous delays in seating Senators. In the worst case, Delaware failed to elect from March 1899 to March 1903; by the end of this period both of Delaware’s seats were vacant for two year

            • Gilpin Guy says:

              and a racist will never admit that they are engaged in racism because to do so would reveal their intentions and prevent their plans from succeeding.  They will actually go to any lengths including claiming the opposite of what they are doing to disguise their plans.

              Do you really believe that if whites were gaining in population over Hispanics that the racist far right would want to repeal election by popular vote?  Seriously.  Do you think the far right isn’t freaked out over the coming population gains by minorities?

              Repealing the 14th and the 17th amendments are far right fantasies meant to give them hope that they can hold onto power like the South African whites when they are in the minority status.

              It won’t happen but it shows how desperate the far right is.

            • parsingreality says:

              Ummmm, the entire post 19th century history shows that ‘Pubs don’t want the vote to go to minorities.

              Now, Southern Dems were no better, but Republicans have NEVER been about extending voting or civil rights. Sure, individuals stood otherwise, but as a party, foot draggers.

              Maybe no one officially says “We don’t want non-white, non-males to vote!” but the history is there.  

              • TheRINO says:

                Why would they disenfranchise minorities? Because they don’t like them? This really baffles me. That’s untrue that pubs never have been about extending voting or civil rights.  They voted in a higher percentages for the Civel Rights Act.  And you act as if because a party was was one way for a hundred years that you by virtue vote for the other party as if the people elected don’t change.

                By party

                The original House version:[10]

                   * Democratic Party: 152-96   (61%-39%)

                   * Republican Party: 138-34   (80%-20%)

                Cloture in the Senate:[11]

                   * Democratic Party: 44-23   (66%-34%)

                   * Republican Party: 27-6   (82%-18%)

                The Senate version:[10]

                   * Democratic Party: 46-21   (69%-31%)

                   * Republican Party: 27-6   (82%-18%)

                The Senate version, voted on by the House:[10]

                   * Democratic Party: 153-91   (63%-37%)

                   * Republican Party: 136-35   (80%-20%)

                • Gilpin Guy says:

                  because Democrats contain white Southern racists like Strom Thurmond.  Nixon was the one who devised the Southern Strategy to get whites to cross over from Democrat to Republican.  At one time the Northeast was a bastion of Republicans because of their commitment to social justice and a history of equality going back to the Civil War.  Lyndon Johnson initiated the split with Dixiecrats with his Civil Rights legislation.  Any votes regarding civil rights prior to 1970 are essentially meaningless to this diary.

                  Republicans once upon a time were lead by people like Nelson Rockefeller and Dwight Eisenhower.  Today they would be vilified as RINO’s or be members of the Democratic Party.

                  This is a racist fantasy to turn back the clock and use districts to cage voters.  When was the last time house or senate districts were redrawn for the Colorado legislature?  One man one vote is the worst thing that can happen to Constitution loving conservatives.

                  • Yokel says:

                    What did LBJ say about his electoral strategy upon signing his Civil Rights legislation?  

                    Or is it only the Republican Way that’s ever truly been racist?  

                    Yeah, that WFB, Jr. was such a RINO, and lost all influence in both conservative and Yankee circles after the party moved all racist.  

                    • TheRINO says:

                      He has yet to answer what it is in for republicans to disenfranchise minorities besides saying THEIR RACIST!!!!

                    • TheRINO says:

                      I hate when I make spelling errors.. lol

                    • Gilpin Guy says:

                      Maybe you can answer for me why Republicans are so anti-minority.  I have no idea why it has turned into a party of bitter old white men.

                    • Voyageur says:

                      There are a lot of biter old white women too!

                    • Gilpin Guy says:

                      of whether the racists in the Republican Party would want to repeal election by popular vote if the white population was increasing at a faster rate than minorities.  Talk about evading the obvious.

                      WFB’s III

                    • TheRINO says:

                      I am just going to state this as a fact that there is alot of social pressure to vote Democrat if you are either young or a minority.  Also, not many people look into the issues at hand and truly decide their vote based on what they believe is right or what is best for them.  I would say this is true for most people my age.  They either don’t vote or vote based on their “feelings”.  Another thing that may play a factor is that young people or minorities may not feel comfortable being deeply involved in the republican party if there are so few other minorities or young people.  It takes a certain type of person to overcome that.  Luckily, things are changing for the better and I have met more and more people who identify with the priniciples of the GOP that are young and are minorities.

                      And what you are talking about is urban vs. rural.  Wouldn’t it be in both side’s selfinterest to attempt to have most representation they could?  Rural communities tend to be less diverse than urban communities.  Just because the rural communities may want more representation doesn’t mean there is a racist element to it.

                    • Gilpin Guy says:

                      but you don’t seem to attribute any responsibility to Republican policies for the dismal participation of young and minority voters.  Nice dodge on not accepting any blame for the total turnoff by these demographics to Republican demagoguery.

                      Let’s say you are walking down the street and you see a young male with brown skin.  What is your first thought?  If it is to wonder if he is an illegal alien then you are probably a Republican.  And you don’t have a clue why minorities won’t vote for Republicans?

                      The real issue that was brought up by this diary is the flip flop by Ken Buck.  Is he sand bagging moderates and trying to hide his true extremism or did he double cross the extremists to eliminate Norton.  The guy is either Machiavellian or a big flip flopper who will say or do anything to get elected like John McCain.  

        • DavidThi808 says:

          State legislative seats must be apportioned by population. So each legislator represents the same number of voters. There are issues with gerrymandering and indirect voting – but I don’t see that it gives minorities less of a vote.

          Am I missing something?

          • Gilpin Guy says:

            Gerrymandering the seats so that urban populations with big minorities are offset by rural and suburban populations which are predominately white?  You end up with one district that is 100% Hispanic and you allow a tiny percentage of minorities in other districts and then allow for elections to be decided by the representatives.  Isn’t that one of the political consequences of Katrina is that a large black population was relocated to Texas where their vote didn’t matter that much?

            This repeal effort is totally bullshit anyway but it is an indication of why this election is so important because the winners get to draw the re-apportionment boundaries.

      • parsingreality says:

        I recall as a kid ca. 1955 thinking that 156 million was a LOT of people….

        Oh, my.  

  4. jpsandscl says:

    in the primary get to retroactively change their minds now that he is changing his???

  5. bjwilson83 says:

    Despite me calling in Obama to campaign for me and using him to win the primary; Washington is out of touch with Colorado and Obama doesn’t represent us.

    Top that!

    • st0ry says:

      but Ken Buck is an undeniable, Constitution mangling wack job.

      I felt that all the Senate candidates came out weak for Colorado this cycle. Romanoff started out good, but ended up doing all the stuff he said he wouldn’t do, and trashed a fellow Dem in the process, and Bennet is a corporate shill insider who gambled with our money and lost… but at least he’s not crazy…

      Ken “the Abolitionist” Buck is crazy, but he’s not as crazy as Drill Baby Norton..

      So I will hold my nose and vote for the greedy, same old politician.. because he’s the sane one. Knowing that this jerk is most likely going to go to Washington and line his pockets with gold, but at least he’s not going to do anything like try and repeal half the amendments to the Constitution or abolish the Department of Education..

      P.S. The 17th Amendment was made to fight corruption in state legislatures.. Once upon a time people were buying their way into the Senate. Sound familiar??

  6. Craig says:

    The anti-choice zealots continue to tell candidates that it’s a net positive to stay with the anti-choice position.  They are still wrong, but they believe their own BS.  What they always forget to factor in is that while they might sit on their hands in an election if someone isn’t to their liking, those of us who are pro-choice and used to be Republicans, won’t just sit on our hands, we’ll vote for the other guy.  That means our vote is the same as two votes while their vote is only one.

    Buck will never change his view.  It would be totally inconsistent of him to do so, and since abortion is the only issue that matters to the right wing, he won’t do so.  Those Republicans who say that they would allow rape and incest should either do one of two things.  They should leave the party and become Democrats because it is supposedly Democrats who think government can make better decisions than individuals.  In the alternative, they can become intellectually honest and admit life is life and abortion is murder, no matter the circumstances.  Unfortunately, this includes having to admit that murder must be punished as murder.  Sorry for the rant.

    In any case, Buck’s probably going to lose anyway, but if he changes on abortion, he goes down in flames.

  7. Majority Moderate says:

    Except for that 14th Amendment, and, oh yeah, the 17th, too.

    And that whole separation of Church and State thing.

    And anything else my shallow little mind can’t comprehend.

    But I’m a strict Constitutionalist.

  8. dwyer says:

    and run to the center for the general.  omg, they have been reading the Clinton playbook. And, I am shocked, shocked.

    Angel in Nevada is doing the exact same thing.  The tea party is about power. They have every intention of winning…and I think will say whatever needs to be said to win…

    As for “choice.”  Give me a break….the anti-choice people long ago abandoned the issue in favor of saying that abortion is a states’ right issue.  A while back, Buck said he thought it was a federal issue.  I predict he will back pedal on that too.

  9. Gray in Mountains says:

    as fundraising tools for the right. They have no intention of implementing any legislation or amendments. Any they propose they know would fail but would help raise $ from the very foolish. That would include some grad assistants I’m sure.

  10. Yokel says:

    The State of Colorado no longer has official representation in Washington.  There is no one to look out for the interests of the State as a political entity, and tell the feds to go to hell should they try to impose unfunded mandates or remove the authority of the states to Washington.  

    Hell, the government of Colombia has more sway in DC than the government of Colorado.  

    The end result is state governments are impotent and broke, because they have little authority not subject to direct federal oversight, and no way to complain that the feds are mandating the budgets to death.  

    This “racism” baloney is just the 21st-Century-Leftwinger evolution of Godwin’s Law.  GG admits as much when he says the absence of proof is somehow proof.  

    I say repeal the 16th with it.  Then the three-peat of idiotic progressive tumors on the Constitution would be all repealed together.  

    I’m not sure where this “Tea Partiers want to repeal the 14th Amendment” bullshit is coming from.  That’s a new one to me.  

    • ardy39 says:

      for my constitution.

    • Actually, that’s not true – until next January, the State of Colorado is officially represented by the Governor’s appointee to the Senate, Michael Bennet.

      Normally, the State itself has no representation in D.C., it’s true; but the People of the State of Colorado do have representation in Washington – our Congressmen and Senators, directly elected by we the people of the State.

      And I’d argue that that is a better thing; after all, this government, like the Federal government, is of the People, for the People, and by the People.  Bypassing the pitfalls of gerrymandering and instead directly electing a pair of statewide representatives to the Senate is IMHO an improvement.

      As to the Tea Partiers wanting to repeal the 14th Amendment, ask Ken Buck – he was among the crowd responding to Tea Party calls by saying that it should be repealed.

      • Yokel says:

        There are Representatives of the People of Colorado.  But the government of the state, as a political entity, has no representation to defend its interests.  As you can imagine, they often are at odds with each other.  

        For example, everyone wants better schools.  Popularly-elected official can run on better schools.  But when the Feds institute state mandates to that end and don’t pay enough to support the additional costs incurred, there is no repercussion for those who voted for it.  If the states as political entities had representation, there’s no way a responsible representative of the state would support the issue.  

        • If the People believe their Senator is doing a good job, no responsible State legislature is going to kick them out of the job regardless of whether or not they voted for full funding on a mandate – the legislators would be out of a job, and it’s a whole lot easier to replace them electorally.

          And, as pointed out above, legislatures can be (and often are) gerrymandered to the point where the State legislature does not represent the population.  And, yes, that gerrymandering sometimes has racial overtones.

          • Yokel says:

            If the state decides it’s too expensive to keep a politician like that on the payroll, he’s getting canned.  After all, a state that’s broke and dysfunctional as a result of federal laws dragging on its operations isn’t exactly good job security, either.  

            It all comes down to a difference in visions for the country.  One is the old school vision of 50 laboratories of democracy and unique political entities, the other is 50 divisions that matter little to the overall purpose of a federal nation.  We’re on different sides is all.  

            But the fact that I’m old school isn’t exactly revelatory information.  

  11. What about the 9th amendment?

    I agree, you all got it right, Buck went far right, just like Bennet rubber-stamped.

  12. Snead says:

    But he doesn’t let that get in the way of proposing solutions…

    “I don’t know how many people truly don’t have health care in this country. I think the other side of the debate consistently focuses on insurance, and I think it’s a red herring.”

    h/t Waldo Lydecker

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