Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): August 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014

No really. Orman is a Democrat

A wise reader sent me additional information about Greg Orman. And what do you know? Orman has donated lots of money to political causes. And by political causes, I mean Democrat committees and candidates.

There's $9,400 to the Kansas Democratic State Committee; $4,600 for Obama for America; $500 for Democrat Al Franken for U.S. Senate. (So he gives money to actual clowns) and $100 to Democrat Laura Kelly for Congress. 

In all fairness, he once gave $2,000 to Scott Brown for U.S. Senate. So, he's given more than $122,000 to candidates and committees since 2008. Of that, less than 2 percent went to Republicans.

Look, I don't care if the guy is a member of the Vulcan Party. To each his own. However, Orman's campaign is an ode to dishonesty and opportunism.

If Orman campaigns on a lie -- the massive lie that he's an independent -- how would he legislate? 

Orman is a man you can't trust. Or, as we conservatives call him, a Democrat.

The Brownback Education Plan reminds me of The Hunger Games

The Brownback campaign is rolling out an updated "Roadmap for Kansas" via a statewide tour. 

And it is maddening. At least, the education part of the tour is egregious.

"Every Kansas child should have access to a quality education that not only meets their individual needs but also embraces their specific talents and interests," the plan reads.

Sounds good to me, until you dig a little deeper. Here's what he means:

• More local control of public schools

That's good, but it's not exactly reaching for the stars. To me, touting how an education should be tailored to an individual child's needs and saying the locals are better at making that determination still misses a very important point: We are all individuals, and "local control" of state funded public schools is still a one-size-fits all education, albeit more localized, I suppose.

It reminds me of the "Hunger Games," in which district in Panem had one responsibility. For example, district 12, from where our protagonist hails, was responsible for mining. Every child there grew up to become a miner. If you were a child born in District 12 with a special gift for art or athletics or science, too bad.

I realize that Brownback is campaigning scared. He's worried about the education lobby, but I am here to tell him that the education lobby isn't quite as powerful as it once was. They do a lot of screaming and yelling, but most of the general populace realizes that it's so much ado about nothing. 

I already gave the Brownback campaign a task -- create a meme. They screwed it up, but I'm going to help them out again with a little messaging. 

Find a child -- a real, live child -- who has been failed by the public schools in Kansas -- maybe a gifted child or one who has an IEP that the public schools just aren't able to do. I'd probably find a child in Johnson County with autism. (I am NOT saying "use" or take advantage of this child, but I am saying get his or her parents' permission and make a point that that the public schools are failing some kids -- especially those who have incredible or different gifts.)

I am saying autism, because there used to be a private school in Johnson County that specifically tailored its program to educating students with autism. It was prohibitively expensive, but those kids were getting a hand-crafted education that very specifically met their individualized needs, rather than a cookie-cutter special needs program that essentially puts some kids with autism in padded rooms in the public schools.

Make the case for vouchers, and give it a human face. The campaign could also find a kid with extraordinary talent -- one training for the Olympics or focused on some goal that makes going to a physical public school everyday nearly impossible. And then find the school that addresses that problem. Hint -- there are online charter public high schools, that receive public funding. Shine a light on some of those programs that already exist and encourage the establishment of more with a voucher program.

Yes, I said it. Discuss, debate, and lead the voucher program discussion.

This message requires REAL people carrying the message. And by real, I mean, not Brownback. He looks so stiff and unnatural in his campaign ads and even in photos. So stop using him. Find a spokesperson -- i.e., someone who can personally make the case and then slap the Paid for by Brownback at the end or whatever.

• Oppose involuntary consolidation of rural schools

This is not good fiscal policy, and it smacks of pandering. Kansas has way, way too many separate, public school districts. I think there are 396. That's outrageous, and when superintendents and administrators are earning six-figure incomes, the public really can't afford to just continue funding 400 school districts because we don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. 

I am not suggesting closing schools. But I am suggesting consolidating in such a way that each district includes a nice big number, say 10,000 students. That doesn't mean the students hop on a bus and travel 100 miles for school. That means the district administration building is moved into a central location, and administrative staff is cut. 

Cutting administrators means cutting on-going, continuous staff salaries. That's money that can be funneled directly into classrooms or to teachers. 

Here's the whole sordid thing. I have more problems with it than I am willing to list right now. Stay tuned.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Orman is a Democrat

This just needs to be said. A whole bunch of times. Greg Orman, the so-called independent candidate for U.S. Senate, is a Democrat.

He may not call himself that, but if it looks like a Democrat, and talks like a Democrat... Quack. Quack.

First, there's this nugget: Orman is headlining the laughable Women for Kansas conference in Wichita along with Paul Davis, Jill Docking, and Jean Schodorf -- all Democrats.

Second, Kansas Democrats are endorsing him over Chad Taylor, the Democratic Senate candidate -- probably because there is no way on earth that a Democrat will win a U.S. Senate seat in Kansas. The donkey party hasn't put a Democrat from Kansas in the Senate since the 1930s. So yeah. 

Finally, his campaign staff is full of Democrats. There's Aaron Estabrook, for example. Estabrook hails from Manhattan, Kansas, where he recently ran for state representative as a Democrat. (Of late, he's started a little party called the "Moderate" party, probably because he recognized the absolute futility of trying to get Democrats elected in most parts of Kansas).

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Not So Fast in discrediting SurveyUSA results

Former state legislator and Kansas party activist Benjamin Hodge thinks the SurveyUSA poll numbers shouldn't be taken lightly by the Brownback campaign.

On his Facebook page, Hodge outlines why he believes the Brownback campaign is facing such an up hill battle in November. Hodge writes:

"In a normal world, Brownback's re-election (in Kansas... in the 6-year-itch year of Obama... with ObamaCare failing) would be among the easiest re-elections in American history. Republican voters are still awaiting a strategy and a path to victory from the Kansas Republican Party leaders. Party leaders have made it clear over the last 4 years that they don't want much to do with the conservative base. "
He also links to an interesting New York Times 538 blog post breaking down the accuracy of the pollsters in 2012. The Times' Nate Silver found that SurveyUSA was actually biased to the right in 2012, for what it's worth.


What's happening in Kansas

Ugh. Over at Hot Air, Ed Morrisey suggests Kansas might dampen election night hopes for the Republican Party.

He cites the now-controversial SurveyUSA poll results showing Gov. Brownback lagging 8 points behind Democrat Paul Davis and a narrow Roberts lead over a crowded U.S. Senate field.

I won't rehash the whole thing, but here's the highlight:

"The GOP may have a big night at the polls, but Kansas may turn into an unpleasant surprise..."  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Yeah, That's really not good news

I am seriously confused by the Brownback campaign.  Regular readers will note I have never claimed to be some sort of campaigning genius. I'm actually pretty bad at it. Campaigning is basically sales and I would rather eat slugs smothered in liver sauce than try to sell anyone anything. I have a serious aversion to it.

Yet, when I look at the stuff the Brownback campaign is sending out, I feel like a Harvard mind jedi at campaigning in comparison.

Today's example: The campaign is sending an email with internal poll results to the general public. The purpose of the email is to counteract a SurveyUSA poll showing Brownback 8 points behind challenger Paul Davis.

Their internal poll suggests that Brownback is ahead -- by 1 point -- in Kansas. The supposed conservative incumbent governor of arguably the reddest state in the nation is ahead by 1 point with only a few months to go. 

I don't even... 

I guess they're sharing the "good" news that Brownback is gaining in the polls? 

Our incumbent Governor should never have had so much ground to make up in the first place. 

The campaign email points out that SurveyUSA poll that shows a Davis lead uses manipulated data to draw the conclusion that Davis has an 8 point lead.  

Did this need pointing out? The Brownback email likely hit the inboxes of Republican activists. Yeah. We already knew SurveyUSA was a joke of a polling firm. Even without the Brownback campaign assurances, we already suspected the governor's race was much tighter than SurveyUSA polling let on.

I just don't get the reasoning behind releasing the internal poll. Those numbers don't strike me as anything to brag about. 

And it doesn't seem like a bad thing to let the base have a little fear wondering about the accuracy of those SurveyUSA numbers. A resolute base salted with a bit of fear is likely to work harder.

These numbers, while close, may encourage some of the base, who were tempted to sit this one out in the first place, to do just that.  I know plenty of conservatives who won't be sorry if Brownback wins in a very narrow, terrifyingly close race. If they believe that will happen, they'll be just fine hanging out at home watching NCIS instead of rallying their friends and neighbors to the polls.

Here's what the Brownback campaign SHOULD be doing: Making inroads with conservatives. How that looks, I'm not sure, but I have no problem saying conservatives are fed up with this party and specifically, this governor. If they stay home on election day, Brownback loses.  

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thank heavens, those crazy costumed people are libs

Relax. They're liberals. 

I almost passed out when I received an email with the above photo talking about how "Women for Kansas" were featured on a television news show.

I saw the costume -- that hat!! -- and thought, oh no, Brownback campaign. Please tell me you didn't send out the weirdos to shill for your re-election.

Alas, the fruits pictured above with KWCH's Kara Sewell are NOT conservatives. I am not kidding you: when I saw that photo, my heart leapt into my throat and my cheeks flushed with embarrassment.

And then I read the email. The two pictured are Mary Knecht and Janet Wright, and I've never heard of them. Whew. Crisis averted.

Apparently, the "Women for Kansas" are hosting a convention soon with plans to "Take Back Kansas." 

The Wichita convention promises educational workshops on critical issues (so brainwashing), opportunities to help shape the future of Kansas, a rally lead by a drum line, and a banquet dinner featuring Paul Davis, Jill Docking, Jean Schodorf, Greg Orman, and Rochelle Chronister.

So, if you're really into comedy, might I suggest registering to attend?  

If you don't want to spend $160 bucks (plus hotel, if you don't live close to Wichita), you can attend the TAKING BACK KANSAS PUBLIC RALLY for free on Aug. 29 at A. Price Woodard Park in Wichita. The evening of hilarity begins at 5:30 and will feature the Cherokee Maidens with local singer legend Robin Macy. 

I am so relieved that those aren't our monkeys, and that event isn't our circus. Seriously, conservatives, rejoice.

Keen for fair tax

Keen Umbehr supports a fair tax system. And if he pulls off a victory in Kansas --  highly unlikely, but we can dream -- he told the Wichita Eagle he would demand fair tax legislation. Swoon.

He supports a lot of other stuff that doesn't make me swoon, but I just remind myself he would be working with a very conservative legislature. They would temper some of his craziest ideas. So there's that.

Here's the full story:

If he pulls off a long shot victory, Keen Umbehr said he would demand passage of fair tax legislation.
Umbehr said it was immoral for a wage earner to pay income tax, while sole proprietors, such as himself, do not have to pay income tax on their businesses. He would eliminate the income tax completely and replace it with a 5.7 percent consumption tax on goods and services.
“They have to equalize the tax code for everybody, A to Z, all at once. And failure to do that, I will veto every single piece of legislation they bring me until they fix this,” he said. “Because this is the most insidious. This makes 1.4 million W-2 wage earners the tax slaves of the state of Kansas.”

Read more here: http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article1239165.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article1239165.html#storylink=cpy

Renaming this blog

I should just start calling this thing, "Daily Brownback Campaign D'oh."

I am no campaigning expert, but I consider myself pretty astute when it comes to how normal humans will react. And well, the Brownback campaign is blowing the lights out of the Ick Marquee.

Yesterday, the Governor and every elected officials slobbered all over New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. I've tossed and turned this Christie campaign photo op over and over again in my head, and I don't get it.

What did the Brownback campaign hope to achieve with Christie Love Fest 2014?

 If the goal was to let the world know that Oklahoma Joe's Barbecue is the best in Kansas City, mission accomplished, I guess? (And agree.)

I suspect that wasn't the goal. If I had to spit ball, I'd say the goal was to rally moderate Republicans, and if this was 2012 or 2010, I might say that was a good plan.

But at this point, Brownback probably ought to be doing everything in his power to rally the base. The base is not happy. 

I could list all of the reasons Christie is the furthest thing from a conservative, but I'll spare you. Just know that the tough-talking New Jersey Governor is anything but.

I suppose Christie's trip to Kansas may have made for a successful fundraiser. But what does it say that the Republican Governor's Association is having to spend more than a half million bucks to help secure the second term of a conservative Governor in Red Kansas?


Monday, August 18, 2014

Can't stop Meme-ing

That's the latest Brownback meme. It's just so cheesy and sad and uninspiring.

I honestly think memes are valuable marketing as the American populace is dumbed down and addicted to slogans. Republicans really, really need to get a handle on the three-second sound-byte, the catchy meme, and the 140-character slogan.

I can't say exactly what makes a meme successful or more shareable, but I can tell you when I see one that isn't going to be sucessful -- SEE ABOVE.

First of all, if you're not all that politically active, you have NO idea who that guy in the photo is. Is that Paul Davis? Is it Sam Brownback? Is it Jerry Moran? Pat Roberts? I mean, the meme looks like it came from some political slickster's office, but which one? 

If you're the type who will cast your vote based on who is "cool" and down with the hipsters (and trust me, there are more of those among us than most people would ever guess) this meme is not going to bet anyone sporting skinny jeans and a beard to the polls.

The above meme, has these words beneath it:

"As governor of Kansas, I have sworn to uphold the state Constitution and protect the rights of all Kansas residents. That includes taking a stand against encroachment upon the rights and freedoms that we all cherish, regardless of the source of the threat.”

There's also a link to the governor's campaign website along with the text.

The "customer service agents" at the Department of Motor Vehicles have also sworn to uphold the state Constitution.

I truly do not understand how Republicans can be so bad at social media and its art forms. Please, please Brownback campaign, find someone, ANYONE, who can help you work with social media.

I do not feel inspired to click the link and learn more.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

There's a Davis Meme!

Someone in the Brownback campaign obviously decided to take my advice. (Or great minds were thinking alike or something.)

I don't think this meme will be very effective, however. Maybe over Davis' face, it should say -- "Brownback added jobs" and "School spending increases under Brownback." Or even a "Tell Davis to stop spreading lies about the Kansas economy and school funding..." 

To just say Davis is lying isn't quite enough. To low-information voters, it looks like name-calling. Don't get me wrong. I think it's OK to make jabs, but I don't think the correct response to a jab is another jab. It's a block, which requires giving voters the truth as well as telling them it's a lie.

However, the meme is a thousand times better than that million-page email blast, which I'm sure was read by tens of Kansans.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Brownback responds to Davis attack ad

The entire Davis campaign is based on two bold-faced and easily disproven lies, Brownback campaign communications director John Milburn said in a blast email.

1. Despite what Davis says, the Kansas economy is growing. Kansas has added 55,000 new, private-sector jobs and is fourth in the nation for new construction.

2. Kansas school funding has increased $175 million in the last year alone. 

The blast, available here, goes into much greater detail -- as in so much detail that no one is going to bother to read it all. 

Might I suggest a meme? Something short and sweet with a bad picture of Davis (difficult to come by, because he's either very photogenic or the media has never published one) with a thought bubble saying, "Actually, private sector jobs have grown under Brownback."

(Obviously, I'm no meme genius, but surely there's one SOMEWHERE in the KS GOP).


Something rotten in Kansas

The New York Times' Nate Cohn reports that Sen. Pat Roberts is finding himself in a tight race. The latest poll puts him ahead by a nose -- 5 points.

I'm resisting the urge to say not-nice things about the conduct of some of the Republican Party Establishment throughout the primary. If you're a regular reader of this blog, you've seen it here. And if you're at all interested in Kansas politics in the first place, surely you saw the vile Twitter and Facebook posts.  

Cohn suggests that Roberts' poll numbers will look closer the further the primary is in the rear view mirror. But I'm just not sure that's true. 

I'm not an expert on poll numbers, but I know a little something about human nature. And there's a lot, LOT, to overcome from that last primary.

The Internet trolls aren't helping. They continue to name call other Republicans who haven't taken a blood oath support of Roberts. This may not be fair, but it's true: The victors in the Roberts primary race should show a lot of grace and humility in the upcoming days. So far, with the exception of the Senator himself, I haven't seen much of that.

Yes, the Wolf supporters should be out loudly proclaiming their support of Roberts. And I believe they will, but the Roberts' side is probably going to have to take the first step. 

Cohn lists some of the challenges Roberts will need to overcome:

Start with Mr. Roberts himself, who is an extremely weak incumbent. His weakness was on display this month, when he won the Republican nomination with only 48 percent of the vote. He probably would have lost against a more serious challenger, but instead squeaked by against Milton Wolf, a radiologist who was chastised for posting gruesome images of wounded patients to Facebook accompanied by distasteful commentary. Mr. Roberts was plagued by residency issues — he pays a family $300 a month to occasionally stay overnight in their home on a golf course — and those issues could persist if the general election ends up being competitive.
Cohn also points out that the Governor's race in Kansas isn't a slam dunk for Republicans. 

In short, Republicans have a lot of work to do in the upcoming weeks and months. There are several folks that may not be up to the task.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

New poll equals bad news

This seems really, really bad. A recent Rasmussen poll found that 51 percent of likely voters preferred Davis to Brownback, with the Kansas Governor only garnering 41 percent. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent. Um. No matter how you slice the poll, Brownback is behind and falling fast.

It's a disaster. 

Meanwhile the Brownback campaign's response was to send a fundraising email from "Sam." Yeah, not helping. I think they're trying to send some message that the Governor is just one of the guys.

They should just stop. Who Brownback is as a person is already fairly well established. He should be selling his policies and NOT himself. 

I guess maybe that was the point of the Roadmap 2.0 tour today. Yes, it's a Tuesday. Yes, the tour stops all occurred during work hours. Does the Governor's campaign team not realize that Republicans actually work? We can't just go galivanting around the countryside listening to a Brownback stump speech in the middle of the day. I'm guessing the daytime events were scheduled to garner press coverage, but I don't understand why Brownback expects anything but negative coverage from here on out. The media is no friend to conservatives.

If the Brownback campaign manages to lose in red Kansas in this current political state, I am truly frightened for this country.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Biggest, whiniest babies in all of Kansas

Someone needs to call the Waaaaambulance.

Kansas teachers and the education lobby are in a huff, because they have to live -- sort of -- like the rest of us.

Today, the Kansas National Educators Association announced its intent to sue the state of Kansas for not allowing teaching deadbeats to teach in our public schools forever.

I write, of course, about the legislature's fiendish plan to demolish tenure for public school teachers.

I know that whenever anyone mentions a teacher, the general populace is supposed to weep at their feet for their decades of service. But teaching, like any other profession, is a job. It comes with certain perks -- hello, summer off. And certain, well, not-so-perks. One of those in the public school system is that your boss isn't actually your boss, it's the people. (And some people are just not that bright, for which, I personally believe the public school system bares a whole lot of responsibility). And the people select representatives, who ultimately do some of the work related to "bossing."

Our representatives chose to end tenure for teachers. They did everyone a favor, particularly the students who languish in classes with terrible teachers. Those poor kids are hostages to a system that values a teacher's right to perpetually feed at the public trough over that of a student's right to a quality education.

I don't even have words for the amount of money the public school system has spent over the course of the last several years protecting bad schools and teachers and demanding more money via the court system. 

If I sound angry, it's because I am. Our kids deserve better.

Roberts faces up-hill battle

It's not going to be a cake walk for U.S. Senator Pat Roberts.

He is going to have to fight like crazy to win back much of the conservative base, and some party operatives aren't helping much. (See Johnson County Republican Party Chair Ronnie Metsker's quote in this story. There is talk that the quote was used by the Star to further marginalize conservatives, and if so, well-done. Seriously though, Republican leaders, be smarter. If you can't self-filter, then just stop talking to the press.)

But Roberts will also have to fend off a Democrat in elephant-ish clothing in independent Senate candidate Greg Orman. I don't know a whole lot about Orman, an Olathe businessman. 

He apparently has plenty of his own money, as I hear he's self-financing much of his campaign. He's launched an 18-stop "Problem Solving Tour" where he plans to detail his Congressional reform plan.

The very basics of his reform plan sound good. His four-point reform plan includes enacting term limits, ending Congressional pensions, banning lobbying by former members of Congress, and eliminating leadership Political Action Commissions (PACs). I can get behind those things.


I just can't trust a man who won't say with which party he'll caucus if elected. If in Kansas, you're an independent who can't clearly and honestly say, I'll caucus with the Republicans, then I can't vote for Orman. 

That's a non-starter. One of the worst things that has ever happened to this country was the vaunting of Harry Reid to U.S. Senate Majority Leader. 

I don't want to be called jingo-istic, but I truly believe Harry is evil. That isn't something I say easily, but that guy may as well be sporting horns and red spandex.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Olathe was robbed

UCLA and MIT measured how conservative various cities in the U.S. are and USA Today announced the results -- the most conservative is Mesa, Ariz. 

Johnson County was robbed.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Ellzey resigns

Gavin Ellzey has resigned as vice chair of Kansas' Third District Republican Committee, effective immediately.

He probably wouldn't have, but the Kansas City Star ran somewhat of a hit piece on him.

I actually feel sorry for the guy. Even though I think he behaved disgracefully throughout the 2014 primary season, he probably didn't deserve to have his humiliating behavior play out in such a public way.

His role in the Republican Party is a teeny, tiny one. It's an organizational position that holds very limited authority and power. The chair and vice chair run third district party meetings, which I believe happen about twice per year -- once at the Kansas GOP Convention, in which the third district meeting consists of listening to Rep. Kevin Yoder and other electeds give a stump speech -- and an organizational meeting in which delegates are selected. Otherwise, that's the extent of the chair and vice chair's duties, I think.

To its discredit, the state party at one time called Ellzey its communication director. I hear that he was actually an unpaid volunteer. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that public relations isn't Ellzey's thing.

There are a few lessons for all Republican activists and elected officials.

First, the media is not your friend. If you are a Republican with a title, be wary. Members of the media will go out of their way to tarnish you personally. They will show you absolutely no grace, so be careful what you say in a public forum. 

Yes, Twitter is a public forum. Ellzey's Twitter account has been locked down with high privacy settings, but just know, anything you post there can and will be saved via screen shot and used against you politically when expedient.

And finally, Republicans of all stripes, we should be careful upon whom we bestow titles and offices. (See previous paragraph.) 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Leaving the GOP

I am leaving the Kansas Republican Party. While I will continue to work for candidates I like, and continue to be a registered Republican -- you don't get a choice in most of the elections otherwise -- I'm out.

My disillusion with the party can not be overstated, and I simply see no reason to stay.

This fall, I will be volunteering for the Libertarian candidate, Keen Umbehr.  Do I agree whole-heartedly with Keen? No.  In word only, my values more closely align with what Gov. Brownback says his values are. (His actions suggest otherwise.)

I can no longer spend my time or money for a party that actively works against the people -- specifically the grassroots people.

I am fairly certain I'm not the only person who has had enough of it. There's an extraordinarily unusual lack of decorum among what I would call the Establishment of the Kansas Republican Party.

Take, for example, Gavin Ellzey, vice chair of the Third District Republican Party. A few days ago, he locked down his Twitter account, but prior to that he made numerous posts about "offending Muslims with a .45," "only attractive women need equality," and posts essentially calling Milton Wolf a piece of sh!t.

This is what passes for respectful discourse in Kansas politics these days. I was disgusted by his tweets, but that's just the most public tip of the iceberg.

There were widespread rumors of many candidates making threats to individuals if they didn't get onboard and offer their full support. 

While not a huge Wolf fan, I continue to be disturbed by the way he was treated by what I would call the Kansas Establishment. He was ostracized, called names and I heard that he was uninvited to county and state GOP events. 

Every Republican candidate in Johnson County attended an election night party at the Marriott Hotel in Overland Park. Wolf's party was across the street at a different hotel. Was he not invited to participate  in the county party? 

I am not for one minute saying that everyone in the Republican Party has to be in lock step. But party members should welcome new faces, new candidates and fresh ideas -- even if they don't personally support some of the new people or their ideas.

That's acceptable. It is not acceptable to act like the Republican Party is a locked boys club, where only certain people need apply.

I'm sure the Kansas Republican Party is simply a microcosm of what goes on in other states, but I don't have the heart for it anymore.

The things I heard people say last night at the Marriott, the things I saw and heard people say in social media over the course of this campaign, I am out.

I blame our current crop of Republican politicians for this discourse. A gentle word here and there from them about Reagan's 11th Commandment would go a long way. But those words are left unsaid, and I have to assume it's because our most of our Republican politicians think winning is more important than anything. It baffles me that these self-professed Christians appear to believe that the ends justify the means.

They don't. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Star endorses... or Who To Avoid on Your Ballot at All Costs

As is the tradition, the Kansas City Star has offered its pile of steaming endorsements. 

Actually, they ran this list several days ago. Anyway, most conservative voters know to vote for those on the Star's list at their own peril. Seriously, I thought Scott Schwab might cry when he learned the Star had offered its endorsement to him. If I were Schwab, I probably would've run to social media with pictures and memes of me lighting the newspaper on fire, but...

The Star very occasionally manages to make an endorsement that isn't complete nonsense. There are a few on here that aren't the worst candidates running, but I'll let you decide which endorsements they got kind of, maybe right.


Monday, August 4, 2014

Gidget's predictions -- Eilert vs. Peterson vs. Lightner

Eilert vs. Peterson vs. Lightner

This race is the only race that will appear on every single ballot issued in Johnson County. The three-way, non-partisan battle to chair the Johnson County Board of Commissioners will be pared to two on Aug. 5.  

Conservative Patricia Lightner has a marked advantage in this primary race. I don't know if it will carry her across the finish line at the general election, but she wins the primary by a healthy margin. 

More conservatives will make their way to the ballot box than anyone else in this primary election. There's just no reason for Democrats to bother heading to the polls, and there actually aren't that many Republican races this year pitting conservatives vs. moderates. (There are a few, and that may drive some people to the polls, and I expect in certain pockets of Johnson County, those folks will break for Eilert.)

Lightner will carry Olathe and southern Johnson County by big margins. She will also carry conservatives from every part of the county.

The Eds will split moderates with Peterson taking the approximate 5 Democrats who bother to vote. I am not sure which of the Eds advances to the general, but I'd be more likely to place money on Eilert than on Peterson.

Eilert has a broad base of support in Overland Park, Johnson County's largest city. He will also wrangle most moderate, Republican voters. 

That leaves Ed Peterson with the few Democrats who bother to show up for the primary election and a handful of moderates. I don't think it's enough to advance him to November.

Gidget's predictions -- Pompeo vs. Tiahrt

Pompeo vs. Tiahrt

Everything about this race makes me ill. It's like that game -- would you rather. Would you rather be falling off a 20-story building and snag your eyelid on a nail? Or... would you rather have wooden toothpicks rammed beneath your fingernails while being run over by a bus?

Both of these candidates are completely, 100 percent unpalatable. Thankfully, I do not live in that district. If I did, I would not cast a vote for either of them.

Ironically, I would've voted for Tiahrt in a milisecond, and then he started his campaign. Seriously, his campaign rhetoric goes something like this: I love pork barrel spending. If elected, I promise to make deals that divvy out pork to other districts and in return, I'll keep the bacon coming home to Wichita. In a nutshell, that's his WHOLE campaign. 

Remember all of that Tea Party push to slow (or stop) spending? Remember that push to eliminate crony capitalism? It's as if the last four election cycles never happened and at the Tiahrt campaign office, it's 1996. That isn't the message Tiahrt embraced in his 2010 primary campaign for U.S. Senate. That was a close race, and I personally believe Moran was successful because he was the more fiscally conservative of the two. Did Tiahrt learn nothing in 2010?

Meanwhile, Pompeo has never been a nice human. I knew this going in. (To hear some former campaign staffers talk, Pompeo was an absolute tyrant. Arrogant, rude and unlikeable.) Still, I am surprised by the bullying tactics Pompeo has apparently employed to stifle opposition. For example, Pompeo has been accused of bullying teens -- Roberts' campaign field directors Dalton Glasscock and Moran Anderson. In their sparetime, the two also volunteer for the Tiahrt campaign. According to one blog, Pompeo called Roberts and threatened to revoke his endorsement of Roberts and provide endorsement and funding to Roberts' opponent, Milton Wolf.

The blog, linked above, lists several, several other attempts to bully Tiahrt volunteers and supporters. It's just disgusting and embarrassing for a Kansan (in office, no less) to treat people that way. It's unacceptable. It is an absolute abuse of his position, and if he was a decent human, he would offer an immediate apology. I mean, he would really lay it on thick.

The bullying tactics are even more frightening considering Pompeo supports allowing the NSA to spy on American citizens. Obviously, Pompeo can't be trusted not to use whatever information the NSA garners against his fellow countrymen should they disagree with him or oppose him on any issue. 

That race literally puts my stomach in knots. It's a lose-lose. If Tiahrt wins after campaigning for earmarks and pork, we can just write off the entire country. We can't afford the mentality that spending just for the sake of political expedience is a way to conduct the business of the American people.

And it's intolerable to comprehend the elevation of someone who  like Pompeo, a bully, who may be inclined to use the NSA to blackmail U.S. citizens, to have a seat at the table of American governance.

If there's any way that Pompeo and Tiahrt could both lose on Aug. 5, that'd be awesome. I can't handicap this race. No matter who wins tomorrow, America loses.

Do better next time, Wichita.

Gidget's predictions -- Roberts vs. Wolf

Roberts vs. Wolf

Sigh. This race is the most disgusting and vile thing I've witnessed since, well, Moran-Tiahrt. From the outside, it appears that everyone involved in the Roberts/Wolf fiasco has lost all of their senses. 

I don't have word for the campaign tactics of both sides. It has been truly disgusting.

I have heard horror stories about Wolf threatening legislators who refused to endorse him. Apparently Wolf or his campaign operatives have told state legislators that he will find a primary opponent (and assist in funding an opponent) if they didn't offer Wolf a public endorsement. 

Just so it's on record, it baffles me when active politicians publicly endorse in primaries -- especially ones in which their constituents overlap. For example, every Kansas legislator has constituents who overlap in a statewide race. It makes zero sense to publicly endorse and risk offending those in their own district who are adamant supporters of the other guy. Why risk even a few votes? 

Brownback and Colyer publicly (and privately) endorsed in primaries in 2010 and in 2012. I thought it was a huge misstep. I lost respect for them both. Did it cost them my vote? No, but it caused me serious pain in the voting booth on Election Day. (Don't worry. I followed Reagan's Commandment and did the right thing, but I walked out of the voting booth with the taste of bile on my tongue.)

Meanwhile over in the Roberts' campaign, the Senator's supporters probably need to re-up their Prozac (lithium??) dosages. They're off the rails with completely insane vitriol, accusing Wolf of possibly losing down ticket races. These supporters believe that Wolf has cost down ticket candidates valuable campaign contributions.

Um. Not true, or at least, not provably true. Wolf's campaign finance report is online. You can check it out here. The majority of his large donations -- those over $1,000 -- are from out-of-state. (And he's received a ton of money from the Senate Conservative Fund.) I have trouble believing those Texas and California donors would have used that $1,000 in support of say, Jennifer Flood, a conservative candidate challenging Stephanie Clayton in Overland Park. 

That's not how it works. That's not how any of it works.

I suppose the argument could be made that Roberts could have directed his supporters and fundraising abilities to other races instead of fighting for his political life all summer long. 

However, campaigning is the JOB of a politician. (The legislating is actually the secondary role.) It is not a bad thing that Roberts has had to spend extra time with his constituents. 

Finally, I am appalled, truly, sincerely appalled, that Wolf is now being investigated by the Kansas Board of Healing Arts for photos and comments he  made on Facebook years ago.

Had he not run for office, his career would not be threatened. It's that simple. Whatever you think of Wolf (and I really don't think much of him), he doesn't deserve to have his professional career ruined due to a Facebook post. He just doesn't. 

And it smacks of Roberts calling in a political favor. There is exactly one member of the Kansas Board of Healing Arts who is not a doctor or medical professional. That person is a political activist, appointed by Brownback, and a vocal Roberts supporter. Did she have anything to do with the Wolf investigation? She says no, and I'm inclined to take people at their word.

However, often in politics, as in real life, perception is reality. And the timely investigation of Wolf stinks. Badly. This is why good people don't run for office.

While we're on the topic of those Facebook posts -- they were tacky and tasteless. That said, raise your hand, oh you among us, who hasn't put something on Facebook or Twitter or email or snapChat or whatever, that you later realized was ugh. 

A forgiving soul would probably recognize Wolf's inappropriate Facebook posts as gallows humor. It's not at all uncommon for people who work in fields where they regularly witness human horrors to react with humor. It's a defense mechanism. 

Anyway, inappropriate? Yes. Worthy of an ethics violation? I think not. Politically motivated? It looks that way. 

I sincerely wish Roberts would have done the right thing a year ago -- and that is decide against running for a fourth Senate term. We would have better candidates to choose from had he done so, and it's been obvious for quite some time the direction in which the political winds were blowing. Kansans (and many around the country) had had enough of long-term federal legislators in Washington. 

I contend that had Roberts really, truly cared about Kansas, the state GOP and the country, he would've bowed out this year. He's a nice man, but his ego may be out-of-hand if he truly believes he's one of only two people in the state of Kansas who can fairly, accurately and reasonably represent the Sunflower State in the U.S. Senate.

I suspect Roberts' plan was to run for one more term, bow out halfway through and allow the Governor to select his hand-chosen replacement. (Colyer? Tiahrt? I'm spitballing here.) 

I am unhappy with both candidates in this race. I don't really want either of them. Unfortunately, these are the two choices we have. 

Roberts will win. It will be closer than the 9 points currently separating the two in the most recent polling. 

The damage done to the Kansas GOP may never be repaired.

Gidget's predictions -- Brownback vs. Winn

Brownback vs. Winn

Gov. Brownback is going to win this race easily. However, it will be much closer than it should be. I can't tell you the number of people I know who have cast votes for Jennifer Winn in advanced voting. The handful of people I spoke to said they recognize that Brownback will win and want him to, but they said they hoped their votes would send a message that all isn't quite rosy in the love affair between conservatives and the Brownback administration.

Under normal circumstances, an incumbent Republican Governor in red Kansas should probably win with more than 80 percent of the vote. (Even 90 percent wouldn't be unreasonable.) In my mind, if the Brownback/Colyer ticket doesn't come close to 80 percent, they should be concerned. The general election isn't going to be a cake walk.

And OK. One insider-y bit, I have heard from people who have been out campaigning for House and U.S. Senate candidates that many conservative voters on doorsteps are openly hostile to the Governor. The likely voters are happy to vote for a conservative candidate, but they haven't been overjoyed about voting for Brownback. Does that mean they'll support Democrat Paul Davis? I can't say, but seriously, Mark Dugan, David Kensinger, whoever is running Brownback's campaign, please, please start listening to your conservative legislators. I KNOW they have mentioned the doorstep conversations to you. They aren't making this stuff up. Many conservative, likely voters -- you're very base of support -- are completely fed up with Brownback.

Guess who's back from Outer Space?

We're in for a roller coaster tomorrow, Aug. 5, aka Kansas Primary Election Day.

I have taken a much needed break from all things political during this campaign season. I know it's bad timing, but my tender soul can only deal with so much back-biting and garbage slinging, and the 2012 primaries sent me to a dark place. 

I didn't think the 2014 primaries could get any uglier than what occurred in 2010 and 2012. But people surprised me. 

Several Kansas primary races are being carefully examined by the national media. (The national media is also slobbering all over the general gubernatorial race.)

Anyway, I have decided to share my thoughts on some key races. Typically, I would have some insider, gossip-y information to share. This year, I really have very little, as I've taken a leave of absence from the political scene. This year's thoughts are based on being down with the people -- the commoners -- who don't live and breathe politics. I don't have my finger on the pulse of what the Republican Establishment is up to, but I can tell you what I'm hearing on the ground from grassroots people and obviously, I can tell you what I think!