Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): KFL marginalizes itself

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

KFL marginalizes itself

Add Kansans for Life (KFL) to the pile of groups that were once principled but now make decisions based on maintaining a death grip on political power. This is, sadly, the evolution of most political organizations.

They start with principles but once in power, toss them in the dustbin in order to maintain power. The Kansas political landscape is littered with such groups, and I fully expect Kansans for Life to become a small organization banished to the outskirts of the political scene.

There was a time when I took KFL’s candidate endorsements into the ballot box with me, but I’ve relied on the “expertise” of KFL’s board members less and less over the years as it was becoming increasingly obvious that the pro-life issue was no longer the group’s sole focus.

My disillusion with the group peaked during the 2010 primary election. That year Reps. Jerry Moran and Todd Tiahrt engaged in a heated battle to replace Gov. Brownback in the U.S. Senate. KFL wasted no time endorsing Tiahrt – even going so far as to not allow Moran buttons, t-shirts or campaign staff at its annual breakfast. (At least, that’s what I’ve heard through the political grapevine. I was unable to attend the breakfast that year.) The raging activism on behalf of Tiahrt was surprising considering Moran also boasted a pro-life voting record.

A truly principled group would not endorse at all, except to mention that both candidates have pro-life voting records. But that’s not what happened. Republicans almost ripped each other to shreds over that race as both men are and remain very popular, and pro-life activism has suffered because of it.

Moran is now a U.S. Senator, but what do you want to bet he never goes out of his way to assist KFL or its national counterpart in the future? Moran appears to be pro-life, not because of KFL, but despite them. I’m certain he will continue to vote pro-life, because that’s his conscience – but help KFL? I doubt it.
That election damaged the organization’s credibility with its individual members, I’m certain. Now it’s so bad even the mainstream media  is beginning to notice.

I understand that redistricting made KFL’s endorsement decisions more difficult than usual. There are so many races in which incumbents are facing other incumbents and in which district numbers and boundaries changed so dramatically. And that’s the excuse the group is using.

David Gittrich, a KFL bigwig from the Wichita area told the Topeka Capital Journal that it was “chaos.”
“It was difficult with several incumbents who we like being in the same races,” Gittrich said.

So how to explain the group’s decision in a variety of races to choose one pro-life candidate over another? If the group’s stated goal is the election of pro-life candidates and the passage of pro-life legislation, why choose one candidate over another?
Trent LeDoux, a pro-life representative from the Manhattan-area, said it best in the TCJ story.

“Either endorse them both, or stay out of it,” he said. “Kansans for Life has marginalized themselves. But my commitment to the pro-life cause is not going to be weakened at all.”

Sadly, the races mentioned in the Topeka article are only a few of many where KFL will likely end up with egg on its face. In a race in the Wichita area, they endorsed one pro-life candidate over another, because one candidate listed his fiance's address as his home address after the redistricting snafu. I'm told that the candidate was told that KFL didn't like that he was "living in sin." The group was apparently willing to overlook the fact that the other candidate in that race has naked pictures of himself on Facebook.

First, "sin" isn't KFL's issue. "Life" is. And if "sin" truly is a concern of the group, someone please explain to me why the group endorsed a candidate in southeastern Kansas who actively promotes same-sex marriage on social media.

 I have a theory: This is nothing but an attempt to exert KFL's power. The politicos who suck up to Mary Kay Culp and David Gittrich the most were awarded with an endorsement. Voting pro-life apparently isn’t good enough any more. Greasing the backsides of certain people matters more.

Here’s hoping more politicians and voters figure out that KFL only has power if it’s granted to them from the people. People, who I might add, will continue to be pro-life with or without the assistance of KFL. Who needs a group of political hacks when science is beginning to agree with what Christians have known all along – life is precious and deserves protection. We don’t need KFL to tell us that.

And we, the people, don't need KFL to advocate on behalf of life. The people built KFL into the monster it is today, and we can take it down just as easily by giving our donations of time and money to the pro-life candidates of our choice rather than waiting for KFL's approval.

I long for the day when abortion lands on the dust heap of history along with slavery and other great evils. And when it does, it won't be because of KFL's efforts, it will be despite them. Because what they say the advocate for and what their leadership actually advocates for appear to be two different things. And in the pro-life movement, power should never trump principle.

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