The Buck Stops in Northern Colorado

A phrase associated with President Harry S. Truman, “The Buck Stops Here” refers to making the important decisions, taking accountability, and getting the job done.

To quote Truman:

You know, it's easy for the Monday morning quarterback to say what the coach should have done, after the game is over. But when the decision is up before you -- and on my desk I have a motto which says The Buck Stops Here' -- the decision has to be made.

Another Buck recently stopped in northern Colorado, specifically U.S. House Rep. Ken Buck, who a few months after announcing that he would not seek reelection after serving his fifth and current House term, last week announced his abrupt resignation at the end of the following week.

He certainly made his decision. But to what end?

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There is rampant speculation as to why and what consequences will result, intentional or unintentional. This is not a one-off event. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, after unceremoniously losing the Speaker’s gavel, promptly resigned from Congress.

McCarthy’s resignation created the need for a special election to be held in May, further diluting an already thin GOP House margin. Given that both Buck and McCarthy won reelection by about a two to one margin over their Democrat opponents, their districts appear safely red.

But we are talking California and Colorado, two blue states, with Democrats eager to grab control of the House, where election chicanery could turn these safely red districts blue.

Rep. Buck is not my congressional representative and I have never met him, but as I live in and follow Colorado state politics, I will offer my own ideas of what Buck’s surprise exit means for Colorado, Congress, and dare I say it, liberty versus tyranny.

Buck had a strong GOP pedigree having served as chair of the Colorado Republican Party and Weld County District Attorney. He was first elected to the U.S. House in 2015, riding the Tea Party wave, and was considered a strong constitutional conservative.

Recently Buck has turned against the MAGA America First coalition of the Republican Party. This is Donald Trump’s party now, as evidenced by his overwhelming support in the Republican primaries, recently securing the GOP nomination, at least in terms of delegates.

Buck is clearly in the NeverTrump wing of Republican Congressional caucus, in the mold of former Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. Buck shares the same opinion of the January 6 “Trump supporter, fed-organized, entrapment scheme” (so-called insurrection) as do his two former House colleagues.

Buck voted against Rep. Jim Jordan for House speaker, “claiming Jordan’s refusal to recognize Trump’s loss to Biden disqualified him.”

Buck believes the Secretary of Homeland Security was following his duty to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution by opening America’s borders and allowing millions of unvetted, many criminal, illegal immigrants into America, facilitating an invasion of the U.S. homeland.

Grandmothers strolling the U.S. Capitol grounds on January 6 were the biggest threat to democracy in our nation’s history, but 10 million to15 million illegal immigrants, 5 percent of the U.S. population was neither a high crime nor a misdemeanor.

There also was this:

Buck was also one of three House Republicans who opposed the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

The GOP now has an even narrower House electoral advantage over Democrats. “The breakdown will be 431 members with 218 Republicans and 213 Democrats. Now, the GOP will only be able to lose two votes of their own on any given issue.”

House Republicans stupidly expelled indicted, but not convicted, Rep. George Santos. Rather than allowing him the presumption of innocence until proven guilty and letting him finish his remaining months, with his previous promise to not seek reelection, they expelled him. He was a solid conservative vote, now replaced by a liberal Democrat.

Democrat Sen. Robert Menendez, also indicted but not convicted, is still in the U.S. Senate and a solid Democrat vote, his party offering him due process, innocent until proven guilty, unlike the suicidal Republicans.

So why did Rep. Buck leave so hastily, not waiting until completing his term next January?

If it was for health reasons, why not announce it, rather than depart under the cloud of speculation? In 2013, he was diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma which fortunately went into remission. If it returned, he would likely announce it, as he did for his original bout with cancer.

Another reason for a quick run to the exit is “kompromat.”

Rep. Tim Burchett, when asked about this, noted how voting, and by extension resignation, could be forced:

And when asked if he believed there were House members who had decided how to vote based on compromising material about them held by foreign powers, Burchett said, “Absolutely. And other powers. It doesn’t have to be foreign powers.”

Buck is twice divorced and the airing of some aspect of his personal life could have led to an offer he couldn’t refuse.

Buck is a cable news regular, particularly CNN and MSNBC. Perhaps he was promised his own show, or a lucrative appearance contract? He could have continued his current regular appearances until the end of his term before attempting to become the new Morning Joe or Rachel Maddow. A quick departure wouldn’t be necessary.

Then there is the Boebert boondoggle. Rep Lauren Boebert, an America First and Trump supporter, won her last House race, in a district across the state from Buck, by the slimmest of margins in 2022. Her personal life is a higgledy-piggledy mess of divorce, restraining orders, an out-of-control ex-husband and son, and a handsy make-out session at a Denver theater caught on camera.

Leaving her district, she moved across Colorado and is running in the GOP primary for Buck’s soon to be vacated seat. But with Buck’s sudden resignation, a special election for Buck’s seat will be held on June 25. This date is coincidentally (although I suspect not) the same as for the GOP primary for Buck’s seat.

If Boebert wins the special election, she would have to vacate her western Colorado House seat, losing another House GOP vote. And if she also didn’t win the GOP primary, she would instantly become a lame duck representative, serving only a few months.

Buck has no love for Boebert, given her MAGA stance. Buck as a five-term representative, likely has strong sway in his district, and could persuade his constituents to elect Boebert in the special election, but not the primary, essentially retiring her from Congress.

The Denver Post astutely asked, “So, did Buck leave just to make things harder for Boebert?” I say yes. Boebert can sidestep this trap by not running in the special election, instead running only in the primary. But as a carpetbagger in a new district, this may still be an uphill battle for her.

Could Buck’s resignation be an “et tu, Brute?” gambit against Boebert? Possibly but my belief is that this is Buck giving the middle finger to the entire America First Trump coalition by thinning the House margin closer to Democrat control.

Buck suggested even more NeverTrump House members following his lead:

Buck then hinted that more colleagues might resign, saying: "I think it's the next three people that leave that they're going to be worried about."

Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face. Buck may be willing to throw all he ever stood for politically into the toilet because he doesn’t like the messenger. So many other formerly conservative pundits and politicians took this approach, essentially becoming Democrats, all out of spite toward over the brash boisterous mean tweeter from Queens.

If the GOP loses a few more House members, the Democrats are in charge. What does that mean, especially ahead of a presidential election? Democrat control of the White House and Congress is the perfect storm of an “America Last” agenda.

Expect amnesty for tens of millions of illegal migrants, along with voting rights. Election laws could be changed nationally to facilitate ballot-harvesting, mail-in ballots, signature non-verification, and other measures to ensure another Biden victory regardless of the actual vote count.

The U.S. Supreme Court could easily be expanded, adding enough leftist justices to gut the Constitution, meaning goodbye to free speech, gun rights, due process, and a host of other liberty safeguards. The money laundering spigot through Ukraine would flow again, paid for by “tax the rich” schemes.

Complain about any of this and the justice system will lock you up in a gulag, Soviet-style. Get sick and let Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for all” decide your fate and life. We are now adding a trillion dollars to the national debt every 100 days. Democrat control could double that.

Rep. Buck may believe he is standing on and upholding “principles” but that’s great only for think tanks or cable news discussions. This is a street fight. Democrats bring knives and guns. Republicans bring position papers and PragerU videos. Who wins that brawl?

The Buck will stop, but not on the side of freedom and liberty. If the buck moves too far left, we may never recover.

Brian C. Joondeph, M.D., is a physician and writer. Follow me on Twitter @retinaldoctor, Substack Dr. Brian’s Substack, Truth Social @BrianJoondeph, and LinkedIn @Brian Joondeph.

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