Congressman Plays Both Sides in the Republican vs. Republican War

Colorado Congressman Ken Buck likes to sound like a Tea Party extremist on talk radio and then go back to Washington and compromise. And talk radio hosts don't seem to care.

On the radio, he brags about his principled stances against immigration, the safety net, and gun control. His spokesman Greg Brophy tells the conservative faithful that Buck would have voted against a budget bill that would have likely resulted in a government shutdown.

But in Washington, Buck compromises. He votes for House Speaker John Boehner, who was under attack by uncompromising Republican warriors for compromising. Buck promises never to allow funding for Obama's humanitarian immigration reform, but then joined Boehner in allowing Obama's policy to continue.

And Buck was set to vote for Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who set to replace House Speaker Boehner, until McCarthy was torpedoed by the same uncompromising Republican warriors who ran Boehner out.

With the proverbial excrement hitting the fan in Washington, Buck is now sounding like a compromiser. He hopped on the radio last week and said that any new Republican House speaker is "immediately going to be cast as someone who is compromising."

Buck told KHOW 630-AM's Mandy Connell that the current situation is so difficult with Boehner and McCarthy out that some House Republicans are considering "forming a coalition government" that would keep conservatives "out of the mix in terms of choosing a speaker."

"Be careful what you wish for," Buck condescendingly told Tea Party Republicans who might have been listening:

I have to tell you though, be careful what you wish for, because we've gotten rid of John Boehner, and Kevin McCarthy has decided not to do it. There are Republicans now, because they are so frustrated with conservatives holding this up, talking about forming a coalition government, talking about working with Democrats to create a majority and keep the conservatives out of the mix in terms of choosing a speaker... It would be horrible. It may very well form a third party. And I strongly believe, if you split the Republican Party into two parties, and the Democrats win for the next  [inaudible] years.

Interestingly, Buck apparently doesn't consider conservatives like himself among those who'd be iced out, since he voted for Boehner. Neither did Buck say on air how many Republicans were considering a move against the uncompromisers.

But he made the case for such a move, which he said he was against, when he told Connell how difficult the coming weeks will be for the next House speaker, if he or she is elected by the Republican caucus. (@11:25)

The next month or month and a half will be a very difficult time for whoever is in that position. I say that because we've got a debt-ceiling vote that President Obama has moved up specifically because, not because we are running out of money, but specifically because John Boenher has stepped down. And he knows that the Republican House is in disarray at this point and he wants to take advantage of that. And we have other votes. We have an omnibus vote on Appropriations that's coming up. So we've got some very difficult decisions to make, and whoever steps into this is immediately going to be cast as someone who is compromising and it's going to be tough.

Buck is trying to be a Tea Party crusader and not be one at the same time. How long will talk-radio hosts let him get away with it?