Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): The Great Divide: Principles vs. Power

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Great Divide: Principles vs. Power

The primary election is about to separate the principled from those who love power. Conservatives will be shipped to the legislative wilderness come January. My hope is that their stay will be short. However short or long the tenure of this new Democrat-led legislature, it will reveal the true character of the so-called conservatives who remain.

Conservatives are going to have a choice: Do they compromise their integrity for better office space or cherry committee assignments or do they continue to hold the line on conservative principles?

This should be very, very easy for people whose principles were set a long time ago. That doesn't necessarily mean a refusal to compromise. In the short term, it means crafting compromises that hold the line on spending increases and the growth of government.

The first test will likely be the LLC tax exemption. People of good faith can and do disagree on this issue. Still, it's troubling that we're about to have a war in the Kansas GOP over $160 million in tax relief in the state budget. (There's a disagreement about how much closing the LLC relief would generate. The Department of Revenue says $160 million. Others say $400 million.) Neither paltry sum gets us anywhere remotely close to delivering on the promises made during the primary campaign season. At last count, the schools alone were seeking almost a billion in additional funding. I don't want to upset anyone's apple cart, but $160 million is waaaaaaay less than a $1 billion. You can check my math, but I'm pretty sure it's accurate. Surely there's a compromise on this issue that puts all Republicans on the same page.

Maybe a savvy conservative should propose $160 million in cuts somewhere as a method of keeping the peace in the Kansas GOP.  And if the argument about ending the LLC tax relief is that it gives relief to some and not others, maybe the wiser solution is to figure out how to give all workers the same tax relief.

Conservatives are going to have to be exceptionally smart to navigate these new waters. Hopefully, they're prepared to be smarter than they have been. This will mean looking for the unexpected solution instead of the knee jerk reaction. It means being kind, but firm and principled.

How conservatives react in this hostile environment will be quite telling. Here's one to watch: Traditionally, our Congressional delegates have assisted in the efforts to get Republicans elected up and down the ballot. It will be extremely telling to watch how much support is given to which candidates. (I wouldn't want to be Rep. Kevin Yoder in this environment. He should support Republicans, but he should be careful to support Republicans who actually support the party platform.)

Actually, that's a question I hope party officials like Kelly Arnold, KS GOP Chair,  and Clay Barker, KS GOP executive director, are asking as Republican candidates seek assistance in difficult races: With which parts of the platform do you agree? 

That's not a purity test. The Republican Party has a platform. You can read it for yourself. That national party has one and so does the state. I don't expect anyone to be "pure." But I don't think it's too much to ask that a candidate seeking financial support from the party agrees with at least 50 percent of the state party platform. That's not a very high bar, but I suspect there are so-called Republican candidates this election who don't reach it.

I hope the few remaining conservatives are prepared to fight for conservative principles. That's what this voter expects.

1 comment:

  1. Let's be frank: the principled conservatives who would have held the line were largely defeated in the primary.