As we’ve said a few times discussing all of the various issues that GOP Senate candidate Ken Buck has reversed himself on since winning the primary election in August, one of the biggest dangers of doing this is not the individual constituencies one upsets when switching sides on their pet issue. A larger problem, especially for guys like Buck who really had a lot of primary immoderation to walk back, is that you reach a point where nobody believes you any more on any issue. When that happens, the people who you wanted to appease by flip-flopping are not appeased, and people who may not have otherwise cared about the issue you’re flip-flopping on…well, they probably still don’t care about the underlying issue, but they do notice the flip-flopping.
A good case-in-point for this is Buck’s reversals on Colorado Amendment 62, the so-called “Personhood” initiative. Buck backed away from his prior support for Amendment 62, claiming he didn’t realize that the amendment might also ban common forms of birth control. Buck, however, pointedly did not back off of his opposition to abortion even in cases of rape and incest–meaning that “Personhood” amendment or no, he’s still very much on the fringes of the abortion debate. And flipping on Amendment 62 didn’t win Buck a single pro-choice voter.
And as several news outlets have reported this week, the pro-62 crowd isn’t letting Buck off the hook either. The major Denver newspaper reported on harsh comments about Buck from Bob Enyart of “American Right to Life.” Colorado Right to Life–which seems to be the same group, or some kind of “chapter” of Enyart’s group, in any event the folks who bedeviled 2008’s Bob Schaffer after he refused to support a similar abortion ban initiative, posted to their blog early this month that not only had Buck abandoned them out of political convenience, but there’s no way Buck didn’t know what Amendment 62 would do when he originally agreed to support it:
Republican Ken Buck has said in the past he supports Personhood, and has responded to CRTL’s survey with 7 of 7 answers correct (with the caveat that he hasn’t taken a position on state ballot measures). A recent Denver Post article claimed Buck had reversed his support for Amendment 62. Buck’s campaign explained that was not true, and said he had never endorsed Amendment 62. However, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel and other sources claimed he had. It’s not entirely clear whether he’s changed his position, but his comments about not knowing it would “ban birth control” (an untrue claim – see note above) have concerned us. A representative met with him long ago to explain that some forms of birth control are abortifacient, and would be banned, but that other forms would not be. [Pols emphasis]
Every time Buck tries to clarify his stance, he makes things worse, and even seems to be officially supporting abortifacient birth control (he says he doesn’t support banning any common forms of birth control).
Ken Buck now seems to be embarrassed by the very pro-lifers who enabled him to win the GOP nomination, which is very disappointing, and in contrast to many GOP candidates it’s the last thing we expected from him. Buck has turned his back on the pro-lifers who have supported him, and gone back on his promises to us in several ways, including that he now says he will vote to allow “pro-choice” judges. This is a betrayal, much like what we came to expect from Republicans in recent decades who campaigned on pro-life issues, then did nothing to fulfill their promises. We’re tired of electing people who use us to get elected, and then do their own thing.
To review: what good did Buck do himself by flipping on Amendment 62? That would be “no good.” Especially with this week’s “buyer’s remorse” rape controversy threatening to permanently estrange Buck from women voters, abandoning the “personhood” crowd gained him nothing–their anger, in the face of Buck’s still-unpalatable stand on abortion, has no inverse political benefit.
But the “Buckpedaling” has hurt him with everybody.