Politics & Policy

EXCLUSIVE: Buck Sees Economic Issues as Dems’ Achilles Heel

Part II of III. Find Part I here.

Ken Buck sees his victory in the Colorado primary as more than just a reflection of an insurgence as a result of Tea Party support, or from dedicated Republican activists who form the core turnout in the party’s caucus, which Buck won by a razor-thin margin.

The message was a financial one, steeped in the current state of the economy and the issue of government expenditures, and the message reached beyond the party caucuses.

“Absolutely, in large measure it has to do with spending,” argued Buck of his victory for the GOP nod for the Colorado Senate seat occupied by Michael Bennet. “People talk about those issues in different ways. I’ve talked to business people who say the same exact thing as Tea Party folks, but no one is putting them together. There is a much broader coalition than people realize on the economy, spending, and fiscal issues right now. Much broader.”

Little has changed since March, Buck said, referring to when he first began lambasting Bennet for out-of-control spending. “I feel really good about Michael Bennet’s voting record and my message and the contrast that’s going to be had among Democrats, unaffiliateds, and Republicans,” said Buck. “It’s not just conservatives that are hearing that message.”

“I think it helps in the sense that my message is the same in the general election. It’s about economic freedom, it’s about giving people the opportunity to make a better life for themselves and government doesn’t do that,” Buck said. “It’s about the individual liberties on economic issues and Constitutional liberties. I think we have set a very strong stage that we will continue through the general election. I think it is the issue that voters of Colorado are really focused on right now.”

In the first few days following the primary, however, Buck faced a new challenge.

Labels.

Tea Party candidate. Extreme. Crazy.

Nonsense argued Buck.

“That’s who we are,” exclaimed Buck, pointing to the “grassroots choice” sign hanging on the office wall. Buck continued, “I’m proud of my association with the Tea Parties, but I think that there are a number of groups out there that aren’t just Tea Parties that are part of the grassroots. That’s the key for people to understand, it is a broad grassroots movement. The liberal Democrats will try to portray it as ‘He’s just a Tea Party guy, he’s just this narrow person with narrow support.’ And they won’t see the tsunami coming, because it will come. Democrats are mad, unaffiliated voters are mad that Washington, D.C. is continually taking more and more from us. And if they just think it’s a little Tea Party segment in Colorado, they’re not going to see it coming.”

Buck observed that the first post-primary poll gives him a five-point lead, 46 percent to 41 percent, over Bennet.

“Just means the Democrats are going to take bark off me earlier, that’s all it means,” Buck quipped.

With the media clamoring to dub Buck the “Tea Party” candidate and Bennet and his supporters eager to tag him with unflattering descriptions, Buck talked about his approach to addressing voters.

“I’m going to talk to them about economic freedom,” said Buck. “I’m going to talk to them about the fact that no government control of the economy has been successful in the history of the world. If we’re going to have a truly upwardly mobile society it will be based on economic freedom and that’s what we need to strive for. Working Americans at all levels get that. That message itself reaches out to different groups.”

Buck acknowledged that Democrats would attempt to use social issues as a wedge to force him away from economic issues. Instead, he believed the best defense was to stay on message–spending and the economy.

“It is all related. If the government is overspending as much as it is, we are not creating jobs,” said Buck. “We are creating inflation in the future. We are creating an economy that is dependent on the government rather than a vibrant, free-enterprise economy. When I say spending, I think the balance of trade deficit is included that, as are jobs and tax rates. It is a bundle of economic issues that we are really looking at.”

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