Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Great and Powerful Kansas Cleanse

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

This past weekend I was in the Kansas City area where I managed to drive through quite a bit of Kansas City, Kansas, as well as several small Kansas towns on the periphery of Kansas City.     I’m a sucker for bumper stickers and political yard signs, regarding both as barometers of the popularity of candidates.  Surprisingly, I did not see one bumper sticker or yard sign promoting the re-election of Kansas’ Republican governor, Sam Brownback.  I encountered several promoting his Democratic opponent, Paul Davis, but none favoring Brownback.

Is that a bad omen for Brownback?  I certainly hope so.

Kansas has three statewide elections of note this November.  Each of the three offices – U.S. Senator, Governor, and Secretary of State - have Republican incumbents, and each of the incumbents appear to be in danger of losing.

Oh joy!

Pat Roberts, the senator who is up for re-election, spent the better part of a year battling his way through a tough primary election.  It should have been a cakewalk for Roberts, but things got difficult when it became public knowledge that the senator did not have a home in Kansas, and, according to him, rented a lazy-boy recliner from a friend when he made his visits “home.”  His wife, a Virginia realtor, promoted her real estate activities as a committed Virginia resident.

Roberts was running against Democrat Chad Taylor in the general election as well as an independent candidate named Greg Orman.   Taylor and Orman had been splitting the vote and it looked as though the increasingly unpopular Roberts could slither back into power if his opponents split the anti-Roberts vote.  But then a couple of weeks ago Taylor withdrew from the race – or at least he tried to.   The Kansas secretary of state, a reptilian Republican by the name of Kris Kobach, arbitrarily decided that Taylor had not properly withdrawn – and decreed that his name must remain on the ballot.  Taylor was in court yesterday trying to get the matter resolved, but it may all be academic now anyway.  New polls show Orman beating Roberts fairly handily – even in a three-way.

That may not be great news for Democrats because Orman is unpredictable and could wind up caucusing with Republicans anyway – thus possibly putting big tobacco’s best friend, Mitch McConnell, in charge of the Senate.  Orman does have some decent progressive leanings in some areas – so even if he tacks on a Republican lapel pin once he makes it to the senate, he still has to be better than Roberts.

However, I remain an eternal optimist and am hopeful that Senator Orman will vote as a Democrat – at least on the important stuff.    (And Greg, it’s all important.)

Kris Kobach, the incumbent secretary of state in Kansas, is a well known national quantity.  Some of Arizona’s worst legislation was authored by Kobach.  He needs to be defeated – and a good caning might also be in order.    The current flap over Kobach’s partisan decision to force Chad Taylor to remain on the senate ballot appears to he hurting his own (Kobach’s) re-election chances.    Too bad, so sad.

And then there is the scurrilous Sam Brownback, former congressman and senator from Kansas – and current Republican governor.  Brownback has almost single-handedly wrecked the state's economy by cutting taxes on corporations and the wealthy – and waiting for all of that prosperity to trickle down.  Right now it’s trickling down his pants’ leg, but that’s about the extent of the miracle economy that God told Sam to expect.  Democrat Paul Davis appears to have him on the ropes.  Brownback’s coming defeat couldn't happen to a more deserving individual.

There is a real possibility that Kansas could cleanse itself (at least partially) by kicking out three well-known Republican miscreants this fall.   That will be great news not only for those forced to live under the yoke of radical right-wing oppression in Kansas, but for the rest of us as well.

Dorothy and Toto would be so proud!

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