How Could Buck Have Done So Poorly?

You’ve no doubt seen the video already on Republican Senate candidate Ken Buck comparing homosexuality to alcoholism in a debate with Sen. Michael Bennet yesterday on “Meet the Press.” That statement is getting a lot of negative press for Buck today, as it should (here, here, and here, for a few examples), but as we reflect on the national interview as a whole, we keep coming back to the same question:

How could Buck have been so bad?

With one exception (Presidential races), political debates are largely meaningless affairs so long as the candidates involved don’t do or say something stupid that will create headlines the next day. Buck made a tremendous mistake in answering the question about homosexuality in the manner he chose, but why would he even answer that question at all? Was he not properly prepared by his staff? Did he just panic? Or is Buck just really not ready for this kind of prime-time exposure?

Buck is running against an incumbent Senator, and by all accounts, the race is neck-and-neck. This is a great position for a challenger to find himself just a few weeks from Election Day, and it makes the strategy for Buck really simple: Run out the clock without screwing up. If you get asked a question like the one about homosexuality, all you have to do is duck and dodge in one answer, and perhaps one follow-up answer, and then you’re on to the next topic.

But it wasn’t just Buck’s answer on homosexuality that had us scratching our heads. In one question, moderator David Gregory asked each candidate about their biggest personal goal. Bennet did what he should do: He answered with something about raising his three daughters to be good citizens. But Buck, inexplicably, decided to say that his biggest personal goal was to play as much golf as possible and try to reduce his handicap.


This is politics 101, folks. When you get asked about your personal life, you talk about your family. This ain’t rocket surgery.

Again, was Buck not properly prepared by his staff? Did he panic and spurt out the first thing that came to mind? How do you completely whiff on such a massive softball of a question?

The U.S. Senate race in Colorado looks like it’s going to come down to the wire. If the race is decided by just a few thousand votes, it may very well be Buck’s own amateurish responses like these that ultimately make the difference.

52 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Gray in the mountains says:

    or, polsters will actually defend his remarks as being correct.

    • Froward69 says:

      since yesterdays FTN Debate. They are scared. If Buck had done a good Job they would not have argued to over 100 posts here at pols nor have argued to over 400 posts over at the D.Pravda. (spin spin spin)

      RW radio last night and this morning was spinning and spinning too. you could actually hear the fear in the voices of RW radio hosts.

      this has me nearly convinced Buck will lose.

      Of course of the views of the republicans I know… 7 out of ten are voting Bennet because they fear Buck will do far more harm to the party and America. (YES I have some sane, republican, non tea bagger friends.)

  2. botw says:

    These kinds of answers from Buch may be amateurish to a campaign professional, but they are quite revealing.  After months of campaigning, hundreds of events and Q’s and A’s, and undoubtedly a great deal of prepping for this interview, Buck’s answers show who he really is.

    He believes homosexuality is a choice.

    He believes it is appropriate to use the term “buyer’s remorse” when talking about an alleged rape to which the perpetrator admitted.

    His biggest personal goal is to play more golf.

    This is just who the guy is.

    • caroman says:

      I think Buck is doing what every liar who has spun a complicated web does.  You can practically see the smoke coming out of his ears as his brain tries to process what he said to the Tea Baggers to win the primary, and what he’s supposed to say to win the general.  Under pressure, he finally resorts to what he actually believes.  I just hope Unaffiliateds are paying attention.

      • Libertad says:

        Sure CPols and the Post are trying to spin hard on Ken Buck, but that’s as expected.

        I think Ken Buck was nervous, he didn’t look it, but his verbal misques “growing economy v growing government” were an indicator.

        At the end of the day to the average Coloradan, the sppointed one has not defended is radical 99% Obama-Pelosi voting record.

  3. Ralphie says:

    Maybe he’s just that self-centered..

  4. abraham says:

    It is truly amazing.  Usually candidates develop some good response skills while campaigning.  Buck has been campaigning since early in the year, and it is pretty clear that that he has yet to mature.  A campaign staff can help, but ultimately the candidate turns out to be who he or she really is.  I think we know who Buck is, and if he is not ready to be a candidate then he is not ready to be a United States Senator.

    We can assume that he is not a stupid man.  He was able to pass law school and the bar exam.  He has to have had some real trial experience.  You would have thought that trial experience would have given him some skills to rely on in a debate.

    Buck may have just sunk himself given the narrowness of the margin.  I have always thought that this race was a 1% and could fall into the margin for an automatic recount.  But, I have thought that Buck might squeeze by – now I think Bennet is likely to squeak by.

    Bennet has not shown himself to be any great shakes either in the Senate or on the campaign trail.  He may be smarter than Buck and he may have fewer outlier beliefs than Buck, but he has not shown himself to be a very strong person, either.  I suspect that we will see the next 6 years of Bennet pretending to agonize over hard votes and taking the spineless way out.  We will get what we have had since he was appointed.

  5. H-man says:

    Could he have done better on a couple answers?  Sure.  Are voters who are not hard core Dems going to have a hard time voting for Bennet?  Sure.

    Who is going to show up to vote?  That is what will decide this elections.

    All indications are it will be the Republicans and they will vote for Buck.

    • SSG_Dan says:

      I’m pretty sure that if you were in the Bunker with Hitler in 1942, you’d say that Stalingrad was a minor setback, and the overall the bigger picture looks like an easy victory for the Reich.

      THIS was the media appearance that reveal Ken Buck as the clueless, flip-flopping con-man he is. Not really any way else to view it…

      • H-man says:

        You believed Buck was that before the show so it did not move you?  I did not expect it would.  They are now playing to the 10% who have either not made up their mind or are not very convinced of either.  From my perspective that audience was not much effected one way or the other.

      • H-man says:

        You believed Buck was that before the show so it did not move you?  I did not expect it would.  They are now playing to the 10% who have either not made up their mind or are not very convinced of either.  From my perspective that audience was not much effected one way or the other.

    • MADCO says:

      Can we get him on The View  this week, and more SUnday shows and maybe Stewart?    Hell, now that he’s out of hiding, he should do the Koch Bros & Barnum Baily tea and crumpets tour with Sarah and Michelle.  

    • Half Glass Full says:

      Buck’s new campaign slogan.

    • raymond1 says:

      Are voters who are not hard core Dems going to have a hard time voting for Bennet?  Sure.

      Fact: the last poll showing a breakdown like this (PPP 10/5/10, http://www.publicpolicypolling… shows Bennet wins moderates 56-32.  And Bennet wins liberals as massively as Buck wins conservatives.

      H, I do agree with you that if I had $5 to bet right now, I’d bet Buck wins.  But if Buck does win, it’ll be just because conservatives turn out in unusually high numbers, not because moderates like Buck. The polling shows that moderates hate Buck; Buck is just lucky to be running in a year when conservatives will turn out at hugely disproportionate rates.

      • H-man says:

        PPP is the new daily kos pollster and is now listed as a Dem pollster by the Independent pollsters. Read the cross tabs of the others where Buck is ahead with independents.  If Buck splits independents 50-50 he wins by 5%, which is what I think will happen.  If you look at the cross tabs in the non-partisan polling Buck is leading with Independents.

        There is no question that conservatives will turn out in much higher numbers than liberals. The numbers are already coming in with those indicators.

        • Froward69 says:

          PPP is Democratic and Rasmussin is Republican…

          both lean in the appropriate direction.

          so are you done touting Rasmussin. I am sure it says the opposite of PPP.  

          • raymond1 says:

            H, I actually checked them before I checked PPP, just because Rasmussen was the most recent poll — but I couldn’t pull up cross-tabs.

            But I did just check the new (today) Fox poll, and it does show Buck winning those who aren’t Dem or R by 46-38.

            So this new poll does make me revise my interpretation: independents are up in the air, and kinda fickle in this race!

            • MADCO says:

              is tough to do correctly.

              The U’s i some areas usually vote R.  U’s other areas usually vote D.

              To get good numbers, it’s not enough to sample an “accurate” percentage of the three groups.   You gotta sample the “right ones”.   Polling that doesn’t reflect this, is missing the point in CO.

    • DaftPunk says:

      Roe v. Wade is not up to a vote, so “Buyer’s Remorse” Buck’s troglodyte views on choice are irrelevant, as Buck would be just one Senator.

      Oh, wait:

      Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) has placed a hold on President Obama’s nominee for the Pentagon’s top health policy position in objection to the nominee’s responses to questions regarding a provision in the 2011 Defense authorization bill (S 3454) that would allow some abortion services to be performed at military facilities, CQ Today reports.

  6. jW says:

    With all of these mishaps by Buck, when do we see something on “Why Bennet isn’t winning handily”? I’m serious. It’s like Buck is going out of his way to make sure he loses, but polls show a statistical tie with Bennet. Why isn’t Bennet up by 5-10 right now?

    Maybe in the end it will be Bennet by 10. I suppose we haven’t seen any of the recent Buck-ups – prosecution scandal, gay as a choice –  hit the airwaves, but it still surprises me that the majority of individuals polled are still willing to vote for him.  

  7. Early Worm says:

    And neither is Bennet.  I think that, most of the time, Buck simply says what he thinks without the career politician’s filter.  While that is often refreshing, in his case it is fairly disarming given his ultra-conservative views.  Bennet has his own weakness (his voice, his blue blood bearing), but he seems to be able to self edit better.  Neither is the perfect candidate, but I will take John Kerry-Lite over the misogynistic homophobe any day.

  8. MADCO says:

    n the spirit of why assume shill a complex answer when the idiot simple answer is available:

    Buck went into lock down hiding after the primary. He stuck around long enough to Buckpedal the extremiest teaparty positions and showed up at the “debates” with some canned answers to advance questions and otherwise  disappeared.  

    Until MTP called- can’t miss that one.  

    Of course he was nervous – he knows he’s not ready for Meet the Fucking Press. OMG- he’s just lucky Russert wasn’t there.  

    How could Buck do so poorly:  He knows in his heart that his wackadoo views are a too extreme and he’s not fast enough on the spot to MSU well enough to come off looking like other than what he is. And he’s just not ready for the Show.  

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