Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): June 2012

Friday, June 29, 2012

Show Me Something Good

So, the esteemed Senator from the Show-Me-State is hiding from reporters. God willing, she won't be a Senator much longer and I'll personally owe Missourians an apology for thinking horrible things about them every time Claire McCaskill opens her mouth.

For years, I've silently mocked the people in Missouri. They can't drive. The large school district to our east, KCMO, is so bad it's the stuff of legend.

But in 2008, the Deliverance people of Missouri showed true gumption. Somehow, while a majority of the rest of the country (and embarrassingly even Johnson County) was snookered into voting for Obama, Missourians saw through it and gave their swing state to John McCain. I didn't think they had it in them.

If they manage to toss Claire and her ridiculous pearls to the curb, I may quit flipping the bird every time I pass a Missouri driver.

You're welcome, Missouri.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Stuff that doesn't make me feel any better

Attorney General Derek Schmidt made new appointments to the Sunflower Foundation and the foundation's advisory committee.

What, you ask, is the Sunflower Foundation? From the foundation itself:

"The foundation was established in 2000. Its mission is to serve as a catalyst for improving the health of Kansans, which it supports through a program of grants, special initiatives and related activities. Further details of the foundation’s programs and grants are available at www.sunflowerfoundation.org."

I am so sickened by the Supreme Court's ruling on Obamacare that I can't even write about it. (Or think about it without tearing up.) But somehow, this Derek Schmidt appointment information doesn't make me feel any better.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

If you're a Democrat

You're obviously not very bright.
But if you're a Democrat in Kansas, your level of idiocy borders on legen (wait for it) dary.
Kansas is clearly, and mercifully Red Country. (The TV talking heads using red for Republican states on Electoral College maps seems particularly cruel when students of history all understand it's the Dems who are Commie red, but I digress.) By red, I mean we're conservative. To its credit, the state boasts the most conservative Congressional delegation in the nation.

This is all to say that being a Democrat in Kansas is a lot like being a camel in the Artic Circle -- cold and lonely.

In almost a fifth of the races in the Kansas House, there is a single Republican candidate. In another 17 seats, there are only Republicans challenging for the seat. By Aug. 7, those seats will be decided. And that's not counting the tens of other seats that although contested by a Democrat, have just about zero chance of actually going to the Democrat candidate.

And so, I find myself appalled that the Kansas National Education Association -- the teacher's union -- has just now figured out that their members should register as Republicans. Last week, an email from a union member to other members urged teachers to change their voter registration from Democrat to Republican in order to vote in Republican primaries.
The author of the blog I linked to above, Wichita Liberty,  appears to be disturbed that the teacher's union would sink so low. I'm disturbed that the union hasn't been telling its members all along to register as Republicans in Kansas.

I mean, this is a no-brainer. These people are teaching our children, and they're just now figuring out the simple political fact that in Kansas, you're either a Republican or a non-entity.

The wise Democrats figured this out years ago. (John Vratil, call your office.) The few remaining Democrats in Kansas are either too principled (yeah right) or too dumb to simply switch parties.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What if they had a picnic

And no one came?
That's not exactly what went down at the Olathe Republican Party picnic, but it was close.
Oh sure, there were plenty of politicians. Sen. Jerry Moran glad-handed his way through the picnic early. Congressman Kevin Yoder gave an inspired speech that everyone in the audience had probably heard at least three times before.
As the festivities wound down, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer put in an appearance, and I think I saw Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
And of course, there were tens of candidates for state Senate and state House. But as I suspected, there was one thing largely missing at what was billed as the largest Republican event in Kansas -- basic voters.
Pretty much everyone at the event was working for some campaign -- not that there's anything wrong with that.
It just seems that with only 40-some days left between then and the primary election -- all of those campaign workers would've been better served out glad-handing voters instead of one another. But what do I know? As I've said before, I'm no insider -- just an observer.
And what I observed is the same thing I always observe at these events -- it was your basic old white person convention with a few 30 year old men thrown in for good measure. There was much hand-shaking and grinning for the camera and very little substance. Most of the conversations had to do with the hard work of campaigning.
I was pleased to see that although there were people there who had primary opponents also in attendance, I never heard disparaging words. That's something. I expected some back stabbing and vitriol.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Why the Nom de Plume?

Je voudrais dire la vérité pure et simple et et rien que la vérité. See how witty I am? I mean, since my title has a French phrase I thought I'd just do the whole post en Francais. And then I remembered, most people in Kansas don't speak a lick of French, and that's my target audience.
So, yes, back to the pen name.
I told exactly one person that I was going to start this blog. (Hi, my one reader!) And this person's first question was, why not use your real name?
I want to tell the truth and nothing but the truth on these virtual pages, but as I said before, I eventually hope to be a state party insider. And you know what gets the doors and windows barred to potential newcomers?
Flapping your big, fat gums about the people and things that happen in the inner circle.
(And why do I want to be an insider? I'll share that in a later post.)

Stupid story alert

The publicly-owned radio station in Kansas City, PRAVDA-AM, has a story on its web site today, "God, Politics and Sam Brownback."

I read a lot of meaningless, stupid, biased stories every day, but this one deserves a special roasting seat in Dante's Sixth Circle. (That's the circle reserved for heretics, right?)

I think the author is trying to suggest that Brownback is overly religious and that everyone hates him for it. For example, she writes about him moving "casually and affably among public and corporate officials at a recent groundbreaking for AMC Theaters in Leawood, a suburb of Kansas City" and mucking it up about wind credits.

 (Wind credits are disgusting, but that's not the point of this post, so..)  Later that same day, the author writes, Brownback (or policy preacher, as she calls him.. HUH? Isn't that ALL politicians?) presents his tax plan to CPAs, and apparently the writer then questioned the women in the audience about abortion.

"...from the women in the audience, there was almost uniform concern about his agenda on reproductive rights." Unless there were only two women in the audience at this "wonky policy power point presentation for CPAs," how on earth did this "reporter" gauge opposition for Brownback's stance on abortion?

The reporter interviewed two women in attendance who somehow just started talking about their wombs.

Look, I'm not saying the mere mention of Sam Brownback doesn't make me instantly think of my ovaries -- especially when he starts in on talking about tax cuts and wind credits. I'm simply saying this reporter imagined a story about a preachy Kansas Governor and then tried to fit what few facts she could find into her preconceived notion of Gov. Sam.

It simply isn't true. I've attended more events in which Brownback was a speaker than I care to mention or remember. And only once, at a prayer breakfast, do I remember the Governor praying or preaching about God or his Catholicism. Yes, he's a Christian. And yes, he sometimes mentions it, but to suggest he's running around evangalizing at Chamber events, is well, dishonest.

Prentension and backstabbing in Olathe this weekend! Be there.

There's going to be a picnic this weekend in Olathe. The Olathe Republican Party hosts a picnic every summer and it's a pretty big deal -- for people who want to see and be seen. It's actually a pretty good time, but a dark under current runs through the event.

Almost every candidate for any kind of office on the Kansas side of the KC metro will make an appearance, and since we're spitting distance from the Republican primary, the entire thing will feel a bit awkward.

The last time I attended, I think, was two years ago. That year, former Representative Todd Tiahrt was facing now-Sen. Jerry Moran in a primary for a seat in the U.S. Senate. Let me just say, people who worked on those campaigns still hate people from the other side. And at the picnic that year, there were hard feelings about the straw poll. (Picnic goers can vote in a straw poll in a variety of races. You pay to vote and you can vote early and often, so the results are hardly scientific.) Anyway, one of the Senate campaigns complained that the other campaign bussed in voters. There was a lot of whining and gnashing of teeth, and I can't even remember which side was charged with abusing the system.

Almost everyone there will be involved in a campaign for one or more candidates and everyone will be throwing around titles. Introductions will include full resumes. "Hi, I'm the (volunteer coordinator/communications director/campaign manager/candidate) for candidate X.I graduated cumma sum laude from University Y. I am the former city council member from Z and served on the Governor's Committee for a Better America. Stop by my booth/wear my sticker/take a yard sign."

Unfortunately, everyone will be introducing themselves to other people who have a similar spiel. There will be very, very few people that just want to meet their elected officials or learn about candidates on the next ballot.

No candidates are going to win any votes by showing up at the picnic. They'd all be better served door knocking and giving out literature in their own communities. If I'm Joe Schmoe, candidate for Senate in Leavenworth, it would make a LOT more sense to have my volunteers and other resources on the ground in say, Leavenworth.

But that's not what's going to happen: Instead an army of Schmoes will be in Olathe trying to impress other candidates. I'm not sure how valuable that is, but like I said, I'm no insider.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Getting to the Inside

I'll admit it. I want to be a Kansas GOP insider, but the truth is, they don't just let anyone in. Don't ask me who "they" are, because I don't know. Right now, I'd say "they" is whoever Gov. Sam Brownback says is in charge.

And it's been that way for at least the last two years, and probably longer.

I started going different GOP events several years ago. If I mentioned specifics for my reasons for joining, I'm pretty sure I'd out myself. So, for now, I'll keep it on the down low.

I've always actively assisted in campaigns -- especially for the KS-03, which for years belonged to Dennis Moore. I'm a conservative and former Congressman Moore left the taste of yesterday's wine cooler in my mouth. That is to say, the existence of a Democrat (a liberal one at that) representing me in Washington made my teeth feel fuzzy.

I would go to the offices of whoever was running to kick him out of office and stuff envelopes and make phone calls. I never felt particularly welcome, and I was always a little turned off by the apparently required 20-year-old blonde volunteer coordinator who wanted me to sign my name to some drivel letter to the editor ghost written by some other staffer. Let's just say, I felt like my talents were wasted in those efforts, and I also felt like finding people's talents and using them in the most helpful and productive ways was not a priority. That's a little inefficient and a whole lot dumb.

A few years ago, I decided to step up my involvement. Quite simply, those politicos need me. I've held a real job in the private sector for several years. I don't get dressed up in suits to go to political picnics in July. This makes me an anomaly among the political set.

I started attending GOP events, going to different club meetings and in general getting involved with the hopes of eventually being brought into the inner circle.

So far, this effort has been an epic fail, and I'm not sure why.

I suspect the powers-that-be (whoever they are) fear regular people who don't suck up and refuse to simply go along to get along. I'll get along, but if I think a politician is doing something wrong, I have zero problem mentioning it to them. I believe next to elections that's the simplest way to hold them accountable to the people. By simply saying, I'm watching you. I saw what you did there. I disagree. No arguing. No shouting. Just, I'm your boss and I'm paying attention.

I'm not sure what exactly I mean by insider, but I know that when I attend meetings and events, I feel like an outsider more than three years into my quest to get on the inside.

I find this strange. I'm educated. I'm smart. I work hard, and I'm personable. But obviously I'm doing something wrong.

This blog is my attempt to determine where I went wrong and how to fix it. I'll document here as much as I can. Sometimes, this may not be possible, because Republican events are sometimes small, and I hope not to out myself.

I'm open to suggestions in moving to the inner circle. I don't want to be a player, but I do hope to be a voice of reason for the powers that be. I'll let you know how it goes.