Media right to scrutinize Buck positions before/after primary

Ken Buck is having second thoughts on yet another issue, The Denver Post reports today.

This time, it’s the consumption tax, which Buck called “great” during the GOP primary but now says was “never my alternative,” according to The Post.

The Post reports:

“Buck’s stance Wednesday on the consumption tax is the latest instance in which he has offered a different position from in the primary.”

We all like a person, especially if she is your wife but even if he is a political candidate, who’s willing to change his or her opinion.

But the key phrase in The Post’s sentence above is “different position from in the primary.”

It’s one thing to consider new information and make a change. It’s another to take a position to appeal to one group of people (right-wing GOP primary voters) and change it to appeal to another group of people (average everyday angry voters).

In this case, whether you’re the angry right winger or the average angry voter, you’re wondering whether Buck will say anything to get elected.

That’s why Buck’s recent changes are important, and why media outlets like The Post deserve credit for spotlighting them for us.

In today’s article, The Post reviewed three other issues, on which Buck has flipped since the primary:

Personhood. He supported it during the primary, briefly came out against it, and now says he’s neutral, but is still in favor of personhood “as a concept.”

Pro-choice judges. During the primary, Buck said he wouldn’t confirm “pro-abortion” candidates for any federal job, including judges. Now Buck will confirm pro-choice nominees.

Anti-abortion legislation. During the primary, Buck promised to sponsor anti-abortion legislation. Now he won’t.

Now that Buck is establishing a record of backtracking, The Post and other media outlets should offer readers a wider view of his before/after primary positions. The expansive list includes:

Social Security and Medicare. During the primary, Buck says “the private sector runs programs like [health care and retirement] far better” than the federal government.  Now the Buck campaign says, “Ken is not in favor of privatizing Social Security,” and we have to keep a “promise” to seniors and maintain the program, with tweaks including privatization and a higher retirement age for younger people.

Constitutionality of Social Security. During the primary, Buck said he was “not sure” about the constitutionality of major federal programs passed over the past 70 or 80 years. Now he says he’s “never had doubts” about the constitutionality of Social Security.

Privatization of Medicare. During a primary debate (Mike Rosen 7-19-10), Buck said he supports “privatizing as many of the areas of health care as possible, including the decisions of folks that are on Medicare.” Now he tells the New York Times that he hasn’t “decided whether some form of vouchers would work or not.”

Department of Education. During the primary, to select audiences, Buck advocated shutting it down immediately. Now he consistently says it should be cut back.

Common forms of birth control. Consistent with his position during the primary, the Buck campaign told 9News that he’s against common forms of birth control that prevent implantation, such as IUDs as well as some forms of the Pill. Now he says he is “not in favor of banning any common forms of birth control in Colorado.” (But still opposes killing fertilized eggs, which are killed by common forms of birth control.)

Social Issues. (See above.)

Consumption tax. (See above.)

News outlets like The Post, Associated Press, Grand Junction Sentinel, and others have covered Buck’s before/after primary stances on a case-by-case basis, but I’d like to see more reporting that brings all these issues together, a bit like Buck’s interview with New York Time reporter John Harwood here, and delves more deeply into why Buck staked out the positions he did initially and why he is changing his views post-primary on some issues and not others.

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