On KHOW radio Friday, Republican Ken Buck said we can "absolutely" count on him to vote his conscience, if he wins the Senate seat currently held by Colorado's Mark Udall. (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."
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. If he's going to demand that Ken Buck vote his conscience, he should dig into what Buck's conscience would do to women.
Asked about this, Kaminsky emailed me: "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?
Well, try this: How would Ken Buck vote on abortion issues, like funding for Planned Parenthood, if they came in Congress, and he was Colorado's junior Senator? Would he vote his conscience on a women's right to choose?