Talk radio can put you in the middle of a political worldview that's completely foreign, with an intimacy and intensity that some people can't stand. That's understandable, but it's also unfortunate because there's a lot to be learned from radio talk shows.
My own world is almost completely void of social conservatives. So I like listening to them on talk shows. Not always but sometimes, especially if they have interesting guests.
If you've been following my blog, you know that recently I've enjoyed listening to Jim Pfaff, who holds the social-conservative flag over at 560 KLZ.
So after Ken Buck won on Tuesday, and I abruptly had to stop writing about media lapses and triumphs relating to Scott McInnis, I turned to Pfaff's radio show to find out more about how Buck operates in the social conservative world.
Talk radio generally is a great place to learn about candidates, and Pfaff's show on Buck, which aired May 21, did not disappoint. In about an hour, Pfaff pretty much provided his listeners with everything they might want to know about Buck's views on social-conservative issues.
In a year when Colorado Republicans started out generating Denver Post headlines like, "Colorado GOP campaigns on a single issue: the economy," Pfaff boldly confronted buck on the importance of conservative social issues:
Pfaff: "These social issues, like marriage, these are critical issues. It has been one of the great weaknesses of the Republican Party not to deal with these critical issues."
Buck: "I agree with you that I think it has been a weakness of the Republican Party in the United States Senate, and I think it's time that we look at the people we are sending back to Washington DC and making sure those people are sticking by the values they espouse on the campaign trail."
A host like Pfaff doesn't just ask about Buck's position on Roe V. Wade. He goes beyond it, asking Buck: "Let's say we overturn Roe V. Wade. What should we do to address the issue of abortion nationally, if anything?"
"I think it is a federal issue. You know, you look at the founding documents, and one of them is the Declaration of Independence. And it clearly states that among our inalienable rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And life to me means life, and life begins at conception. So we need to honor that in how we deal with the federal government. Others would insist these are issues for the state legislatures and they certainly would have a role in that but I think the federal government has to guarantee life."
Asked by Pfaff about the Supreme Court, Buck said:
"I think those Supreme Court Justices really need to be scrutinized. They've got to have a record, and we've got to probe to make sure we know exactly what they are going to act like on the Supreme Court. I am a strict constructionist, and I believe strongly that we need to make sure Supreme Court justices and other judges are not legislating from the bench."
If you're like me, you might not even think about where a candidate stands on religious freedom. So you might learn something completely unexpected when Pfaff asks Buck about this, and Buck says he questions the application of "separation of church and state" and argues for a vague "coexistence between government and religion."
Elsewhere in the interview, Pfaff establishes that Buck opposes same-sex marriage and "would certainly be in favor" of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, if required, to ensure that states like Colorado doesn't have to "acknowledge" gay marriages from other states, like perhaps Massachusetts.
So in less than an hour, in one obscure interview, you get mostly up to speed on Buck's positions on social issues. Every one of Buck's answers apparently satisfied Pfaff, which tells you, if you're a Pfaff listener, that Buck is a five-star social conservative. This comports with Buck's nine-out-of-ten rating by the Christian Family Alliance of Colorado, which claims Buck supports the "public posting of the ten commandments" but he lost points by not answering the question of whether he supports adoption by gay couples.
Along with gay adoption, I found a few items Pfaff didn't cover. These were Buck's support of the Personhood Amendment, his opposition to abortion without exceptions for rape and incest (which Buck announced later), and his view that, actually, "we could be much better off with a closer relationship between church and state" but without state-sponsored religion. (Colorado Right to Life pointed to Buck's primary win as the "biggest victory" for Personhood in Tuesday's results.)
So here's my advice. If you want to learn about our surprising new GOP candidates, and do it in a lazy and entertaining way, listen to a podcast or two.
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