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October 04, 2023 12:21 PM UTC

Ken Buck: The Man With Basically No Friends

  • by: Colorado Pols

Rep. Ken Buck with his finger on the “chaos” button.

As the dust settles on yesterday’s historic ouster of former Republican Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy at the hands of eight of his Republican colleagues–and yes, Democrats who saw no reason to intervene and save McCarthy from his own–the fury of the Republican Party’s less self-destructive faction is falling squarely on those eight GOP members, led by Rep. Matt “Giggity” Gaetz of Florabama and including Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado, who perpetuated the chaos of last January’s fractious appointment of McCarthy with their votes to remove McCarthy yesterday.

As Newsweek reports, the closest thing that passes for an elder statesman in today’s GOP, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, is calling for all of their political heads in primaries next year:

The Republicans who voted to remove McCarthy were Gaetz, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Ken Buck of Colorado, Tim Burchett of Tennessee, Eli Crane of Arizona, Bob Good of Virginia, Nancy Mace of South Carolina and Matt Rosendale of Montana.

“They are traitors,” Gingrich, a former House Speaker, said during an appearance on Fox News.

“All eight of them should in fact be primaried. They should all be driven out of public life. What they did was to go to the other team to cause total chaos.” [Pols emphasis]

As readers know, Rep. Buck has been coming under increasing fire from his right over his refusal to support an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden citing the lack of evidence to support the effort, as well as Buck’s thorough and damning denunciation of election fraud conspiracy theories regurgitated by the state Republican Party. Buck’s rogueish-ness led to renewed speculation that his retirement may be imminent in favor of a career in cable news commentary–and for the first time, Buck didn’t deny the rumors.

With McCarthy taking on something of a martyr status among the majority of House Republicans who voted to keep him as Speaker, the goodwill Buck may have been cultivating with more moderate Republican colleagues is effectively squandered. With this vote, Buck has aligned himself some of the worst far-right actors in the House majority like Gaetz and raging asshole Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona. We’re not sure if Buck didn’t realize there would only be a handful of Republicans on board, but this was a vote so risky that not even Lauren Boebert could get there even though she thinks McCarthy is literally a demon. Today, Buck is holding the bag with an uncomfortably small number of distinctly unsavory co-conspirators.

The problem for CD-4 Republicans who might use this vote as their pretext to challenge Buck is that a large percentage of the Republican grassroots agree that McCarthy was a snake and deserved to be ousted from his position as Speaker. McCarthy bypassing the Freedom Caucus twice this year over major spending bills was deeply unpopular with the grassroots, and plenty of them will cheer Buck on even while they hold their nose to all the other inconvenient things he’s been saying lately.

If the goal is for Ken Buck to become the most enigmatic talking head on cable news, this vote will probably add to the mystique. Politically, Buck’s bridges are just about entirely burned: a far-right conservative who has alienated his natural base of support after the contradictions of the Trump era became too much, but far too reactionary–and unpredictable–to be an ally to the other side.

In the end, a television audience might be the only one Ken Buck can please.


4 thoughts on “Ken Buck: The Man With Basically No Friends

    1. Agreed.  Methinks he's doing a lot of attention-seeking things in order to get a cushy talking head deal.  Burning bridges to create new ones?  Well, it's a strategy, I guess


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