Radio host fails to ask, “What would Buck’s conscience do to women?”

Update:   I posted Ross Kaminsky’s response to my questions at the end of this blog post.


On KHOW radio Friday, U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck said voters can “absolutely” count on him to vote his conscience. (Listen to Ken Buck @6:50)

Normally, you might think this would be a good thing. But when it comes to Ken Buck, and you recall his conscience-laden opposition to abortion, even in the case of rape and  incest, you realize that Ken-Buck-voting-his-conscience may not be so great for women.

Given how desired women are by political campaigns in Colorado, it’s astonishing that Buck is already doing what he did during the last election. That is, trying to say abortion doesn’t matter; no one cares about it.

As Buck told the Colorado Observer when asked if his abortion position had changed:

Buck: You know, what I believe is Congress has voted to ban late-term abortions, and I’m one who opposes late-term abortions, and voted to ban federal funding for abortion, and I’m one who opposes federal funding of abortion. I’m tired of people talking about issues that are not relevant to the public. I’m a pro-life candidate.

How is abortion not relevant when pretty much everyone agrees Buck lost last time because of abortion and women’s issues?

And politics aside, abortion issues are addressed in the U.S. Congress. In addition to countless bills that go nowhere, but create PR fodder, the issue gets real-time play. Remember in 2011, funding for Planned Parenthood was at the center of negotiations that almost led to a government shutdown. Federal money for the United Nations Population Fund, whose health services are a life saver for tens of thousands of impoverished people, was also under attack by Republicans with a conscience.

With any luck, reporters will respond to Buck’s nonsensical no-one-cares-about-abortion defense like Gloria Neal did during a televised debate on CBS4, when Neal asked Buck, “Will you really make a raped woman carry a child to full term?”

Buck said that “we need to stay focused on the issues that voters in this state care about, and those are spending and jobs.” Neal responded:

“Social issues are important to the voters in this state. I am one of them. So I need you to answer that question, because in addition to votes and jobs and all of that abortion is very important, and when you start talking about rape and incest, that is important to the voters. So, please, answer that question.”

Buck then said:

“I am pro-life, and I don’t believe in the exceptions of rape and incest.”

That’s the kind of questioning I’d like to have seen from KHOW’s Ross Kaminsky.

So what if Kaminsky is a fellow conservative. If he’s going to demand that Ken Buck vote his conscience, he should dig into what Buck’s conscience would do to women.

Partial transcript of Ken Buck’s appearance on KHOW Friday. (Listen to Ken Buck @6:50)

Kaminsky: Can I count on you, Ken Buck, that if you get in the U.S. Senate, and there’s some vote.. [and] you want to vote yes, and Senate leadership asks you to vote no, can I count on you to vote yes? Can I count on you to vote your conscience?

Buck: Oh, you absolutely can. I have to tell you. I think that’s a huge problem in Washington DC. And I’m not just talking about bipartisanship. I’m talking about people who are doing the right thing regardless of special interest groups, regardless of their future.

I asked Kaminsky why he didn’t ask Buck about abortion:

Kaminsnky: Although I do not share Ken Buck’s conservative views on “social issues,” the issue I was trying to raise was not abortion (though I knew it would come to mind for many people) but rather my impression that so many politicians (with Democrats seeming slightly worse than Republicans) vote the way leadership tells them to vote rather than casting a vote which fits both the legislator’s views and his constituent’s interest. Noting an amusing video from May, 2009, even ultra-liberal David Sirota complained about both Senator Udall’s and Senator Bennet’s vote flipping, where they both voted “no” on a measure then switched to “yes” after asking permission from Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

Republicans are far from politically pure, and I disagree with them on many things, but I prefer to elect someone whose votes are mostly predictable based on the candidate’s stated principles rather than someone who will be a marionette for leadership, regardless of party.

As for following up with an abortion question, three things: One, I ran out of time. Two, Ken made it clear that he learned from 2010 that he’s going to focus on issues he thinks the electorate cares most about, which right now (in my view) are economics/jobs, health care, and terrorism.

Three, what could Ken answer that everybody doesn’t already know about him?

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