When we last checked in on former Rep. Bob Beauprez, the Republicans' gubernatorial hopeful in Colorado, he was defending his support for "Personhood" proposals; he was falsely claiming IUD contraceptives are "abortifacients"; and he was telling a debate audience, "I'm unabashedly pro-life."
Last week, however, the far-right former congressman talked to Colorado Public Radio, and as Andy Kroll reported, Beauprez seemed to offer a very different message.
CPR: On women's reproductive health, as governor would you be committed to your current stated position that while you're personally against abortions, you won't stand in the way of people having access to them or letting women choose their preferred method of birth control?
Beauprez: That's correct. I respect people's opinion, women's right to that choice. I know what the law is. And my job is to enforce the law. The question of birth control has come up and let me be real clear...I think women ought to have the choice of whether to use birth control or not. I think women ought to have the choice of what type of birth control to use. I just don't think taxpayers need to be paying for it.
I respect people's right to choose. I live my life the way I personally choose, but I'm not going to interfere with somebody else's. The job of a governor is less to govern the people, and more to govern the government. I don't want to make somebody else's decision, but I want them to have every opportunity to make their own. I don't want to run somebody else's family and make decisions for their family, their life; I want them to have the opportunity and the freedom to do that themselves. That's the kind of governor I'll be.
Well, that's quite an evolution, isn't it? Over the course of three weeks, Beauprez went from being "unabashedly pro-life" to "I respect people's right to choose." On Sept. 30, the Republican candidate saw IUD contraceptives as "abortifacients"; and on Oct. 22, he's "not going to interfere with" birth control.
In the larger context, between Bob Beauprez, Cory Gardner, and Mike Coffman, Colorado voters may very well elect several far-right congressmen this year, at which point many conservatives will see this as a triumph for right-wing culture warriors. After all, Colorado is a fairly competitive state -- it backed President Obama twice -- and if it rewards far-right congressmen who've fought to eliminate all abortions and ban common forms of birth control, the argument will go, then maybe the public is amenable to this extremist vision.
The problem with the argument will be that Beauprez, Gardner, and Coffman all had to dramatically change their positions on culture war issues, pretending to be something they're not in the hopes voters wouldn't know the difference.