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Less in the name than you'd think....

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, September 22, 2010.

Edwin Newman, the NBC newsman who died in his 90's last week, had a best-selling book in the 1970's called "Strictly Speaking." It's a great read even today. Newman touched upon the then Hollywood habit of actors renaming themselves so that their name emphasized the type of characters they were born to portray. Rock, Rod, Tab were frequently employed actors, with the assumption that while Rod was a virile, no nonsense, and strong man, he was not so virile, no nonsense, and strong as Rock. You could tell by the name. This is the mentality that American western conservatives still live in. They love the affected wardrobe and posturing to suggest a connection with a fictional past. They are abetted by a public that has great difficulty flensing fiction from history, image from reality.

I thought of Edwin Newman when Ken Buck started running ads back in his Senatorial primary against Jane Norton. His television and radio spots were near perfect illustrative examples of the power of single syllable names. Great emphasis was put on his name: Ken Buck. Ken Buck was, apparently, the sort of hard-nosed western conservative hero that scared the pants of Washington insiders who greatly feared real conservatives like Ken Buck, whose name says it all. Ken Buck.

In the hands of another spinmeister, though, Ken Buck is actually one of those standard issue conservative posturing law and order Chickenhawks whose campaign values change according to the audience just like a politician, albeit a clumsy one. Ken Buck, an actual Princeton lily, has been a protégé of another more famous Chicken hawk, Dick Cheney, and after getting his law degree at the University of Wyoming, he worked in the Iran-Contra investigation. Between 1990 and 2004, as a federal attorney and then Weld County DA, Buck managed to get formally reprimanded with mandated ethics classes, and engage in a raid that was deemed unconstitutional.

Ken Buck said in answer to a group of Tea Partiers early in his campaign "Would a Veterans Administration hospital that is run by the private sector be better run then by the public sector? In my view, yes." Like all hypocrites, he doesn't address or even wonder or allow his audience to wonder how government - the public sector - became involved with veteran's groups. I myself have always assumed since soldiers got hurt in service to their nation, that nation's government was responsible for their enthusiastic care. After 10k years of evidence from all nations that monarchs and merchants are unwilling to shell out dime one for those crippled in their service without a gun to the head, cruel liberal governments took it upon themselves to organize and raise the average level of care, primarily because soldiers and their families voted.

And they didn't turn money for vet care over to private investment opportunities where it could all go bottoms up with regularity, just as lotteries in private hands always - absolutely always - collapse in scandal. Conservatives today want to put state lotteries in private hands, as well. Along with social security, and Buck agrees.

Well, maybe. Ken Buck says different things to different constituencies. He was caught demeaning the birthers and recently, as Colorado Pols relates, Buck went to speak before the United Veteran's Committee, representing just about all the major vet groups. He arrived with nothing to offer beyond, and I quote, "I support all your issues. I don't have anything prepared to say, so what are your questions." For this to be true, the United Veterans would have to approve the privatization of their health care, which they do not.

Today, conservatives like Ken Buck, Princetonian la-di-da, does not want you to know that the Veterans Administration is one of the three highest customer satisfaction Healthcare systems in America. The other two are Tri-Care and Medicare. Which is to say, the three health care systems currently with the highest approval are already government run. The New England Journal of Medicine agrees.

Ken Buck thinks women impregnated by rape, even incest, should have to bear the child, and abortion should be illegal. Although, after his primary, he abandoned support for the personhood amendment that would make that mandatory which he'd promised to introduce. He has been caught on tape advocating the FAIR tax and denying it. He has advocated revoking the 17th amendment which allows the public to vote for its Senators. He waffles on that.

It's not pretty, but fellow actors Tab, Rod, and Rock would understand Ken Buck all too well.