Reporter Allison Sherry of the major Denver newspaper is out today with a story you knew was coming sooner or later: GOP Senate candidate Ken Buck has officially abandoned Amendment 62, the so-called “personhood amendment,” claiming he ‘did not understand’ that it might actually ban certain forms of birth control. Having given the measure his steadfast support throughout the primary election, Buck’s campaign now says he will vote against it.
Buck also now says that he will not introduce a constitutional amendment overturning abortion rights, as he told voters during the primary he would. And Buck even backed off his prior position on an abortion litmus test for nominees–pro-choice would not ipso facto mean “disqualified” now. He has not, apparently, changed his position that abortion should be illegal even in cases of rape or incest; these specific policy applications are merely where the issue is forced to the surface.
But it’s no less of a turning point in this campaign, folks, indeed this could be the big one that throws all the other incidents of Buck’s flipping-flopping and dishonesty, from the democratic election of U.S. Senators to abolishing the Department of Ed, Social Security and Medicare being “fundamentally against” what he believes, or a national sales tax—all of them–into unbearably sharp relief for the voters. Bob Beauprez earned the nickname “Both Ways” over far less. This all strikes us as a significant strategic error on the part of Buck’s campaign. The lessons from the Beauprez campaign, and prior to that, the John Kerry 2004 Presidential run, remain fresh in our mind; it’s always more dangerous to look like a “flip-flopper” than any one or two specific policy stances can ever be.
Buck has abandoned so much more than Beauprez ever did, so much of what he used to stand for, it begs the question: is there anything left of the Ken Buck who won the primary?