Colorado's GOP nominee for U.S. Senate, Ken Buck, appears to be backing away from pro-life positions he took during the primary campaign.
According to the Denver Post
No longer would Buck introduce a constitutional amendment to ban abortion -- though he says he would still support one -- and he now says he would be willing to vote to confirm even pro-choice judicial nominees.
Earlier this year, Buck answered another survey saying he would never confirm "pro-abortion" candidates for any government job, including judgeships. But last week, he drew a distinction between pro-choice and pro-abortion candidates, saying he would have no "litmus test" preventing pro-choice candidates from Senate confirmation.
"When I look at that word, pro-abortion, to me that doesn't mean pro-choice, that means someone who is an activist, someone trying to find ways to promote abortions," he said.
Buck's reversal sounds absurd to me. Every conservative I know considers "pro-abortion" to be the same as "pro-choice." It's all about framing the issue (Pro-choicers, likewise, often label pro-lifers "anti-choice.") More likely, Buck's evolving position has to do with politics. Winning a GOP primary required one position, but now that
incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet is attacking him
for his socially conservative stances, he is, um, revising
During the primary, Buck -- who was backed by Sen. Jim DeMint
(R-S.C.) -- handily defeated former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton. Though Norton was a consummate establishment insider,
she was also a proven social conservative who helped de-fund Planned Parenthood
in Colorado. Clearly, when given the choice, conservatives this year were more interested in electing outsiders than in electing proven social conservatives.
But there is a bigger story here. While the Tea Party is largely a positive force for conservatives -- including social conservatives -- Buck's victory over Norton underscores a trend whereby social conservatives (who dominated politics on the right in the 1990s) are taking a back seat to fiscal conservatives.
Buck's win over Norton may be one more example to suggest that the culture wars, at least as we have known them, are over.