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GOP Senate Candidate Ken Buck Compares Homosexuality to Alcoholism

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This post first appeared on Washington Monthly.

Ken Buck has already made quite a name for himself as Colorado's right-wing Senate candidate. From extremist positions on the issues to inexplicable professional misjudgments, the Republican nominee stands out -- but not in a good way.

This morning on NBC's "Meet the Press," viewers got another opportunity to get to know Buck. Host David Gregory noted to the GOP challenger, "In a debate last month, you expressed your support for Don't Ask, Don't Tell [and] you alluded to 'lifestyle choices.' Do you believe being gay say choice?"

Buck replied, "I do." Gregory followed up, asking, "Based on what?" After initially pretending not to understand the question, Buck added, "I guess you can choose who your partner is."

Let's pause to note that Buck, if elected, wouldn't exactly be one of the towering intellects of the United States Senate.

Before moving on, Gregory pressed further, asking, "You don't think it's something that's determined at birth?" Buck replied, "I think that birth has an influence over it, like alcoholism and some other things, but I think that basically you have a choice."

Sen. Michael Bennet (D) responded that he "absolutely" believes his right-wing rival is "outside the mainstream" on this.

Bennet's right, but he's also understating the case. Buck's* views on human sexuality are evidence of a bizarre worldview. That he'd compare gays and lesbians to alcoholics -- dispassionately, as if this were a routine thing to say -- is a reminder that the leading U.S. Senate candidate in Colorado would be a voice of ignorance and intolerance in the chamber.

It's also a reminder about a larger truth this campaign season. Like Wisconsin's Ron Johnson, Pennsylvania's Pat Toomey, and Florida's Marco Rubio, Buck has benefited greatly from the fact that he's been overshadowed by other extremist candidates.

In a typical year, someone like Buck would be an almost cartoonish right-wing nut, and the subject of national ridicule. After all, the far-right candidate supports repealing the 17th Amendment, eliminating the Department of Education, scrapping the federal student loan program, banning certain forms of birth control and all abortion rights, even in cases of rape or incest. He's said Americans he doesn't like are a bigger threat than terrorists, and is on record talking about privatizing Social Security, the V.A., and the Centers for Disease Control.

And now Buck is insisting sexual orientation is a choice and gays are like alcoholics.

I like to think Colorado is better than this, but I suppose we'll find out in 16 days.

*Corrected