Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): Stand Up Kicks Conservatives

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Stand Up Kicks Conservatives

Stand Up Blue Valley--the organization we're all supposed to believe is just a bunch of soccer moms--hosted a candidate forum earlier this week. In theory, the goal of the forum was to give voters a chance to learn about statehouse candidates. In reality, Stand Up Blue Valley used it as an opportunity to demagogue. (I'm shocked. I tell you. Stunned.)

The forum was moderated by Sam Zeff, who somehow has a job at a Kansas City taxpayer funded radio station, KCUR. Zeff appeared to take imminent joy in launching gotcha questions at Republican incumbents Sen. Jim Denning and Rep. James Todd during the event. 

The Stand Up event isn't the first time Zeff has taken a shameful turn. When he worked for KCTV 5 in 2007, registered Democrat Zeff stalked a young teacher, attempting to determine whether Phill Kline lived at the teacher's address. Acting as a special projects editor for KCTV 5, he also harassed Kline's landlord, following him and even following him into a cemetery! It freaked the landlord out so much he called the Johnson County Sheriff's Office. 

After sitting outside Kline's apartment for days, Zeff eventually tried to break into Kline's apartment. Most disgracefully, Zeff followed Kline's teenage daughter. It made her so nervous that her mother called police. Even Pitch Weekly called the attempts of Zeff and KCTV 5 reporter, Ash-Har Quraishi, shoddy journalism. The left-leaning Pitch actually wrote a story defending Phill Kline against the actions of Zeff. 

Let's just say that prior to pretending to be an impartial moderator at a Stand Up Blue Valley event, Zeff was experienced at picking targets and aggressively attempting to discredit them up to the point of having police called on him. Repeatedly.

There were a lot of ridiculous moments during the event, but perhaps the most nutty was Democrats calling the American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC, "sinister." (Hilariously enough, the person calling ALEC "sinister" to crowd approval was Skip Fannen, a Democrat running against Republican John Skubal--Stand Up Blue Valley's premier candidate in the August primary. Skubal beat Sen. Jeff Melcher, you'll recall in August. I'll be quite curious to see whether the organization continues its support of Skubal into November. My guess is probably not.)

As one attendee said, Zeff asked BS questions with the express purpose of making jabs at Denning and Todd. To some attendees, it appeared that the Democrats had been given the questions in advance. The good news is both Denning and Todd gave substantive answers and facts, while other attendees used, as one attendee put it, "empty rhetoric and grandstanding."

This forum certainly wasn't fair, nonpartisan ground for all attendees, and anyone who suggests such a thing should be laughed off the planet.

Denning and Todd deserve credit for attending the forum, but guys, we, grassroots people, have to work on this for next cycle. During the primary, a common refrain heard on doorsteps was that conservatives were inaccessible; they didn't attend forums. Now I don't blame any candidate for choosing to avoid the lion's den that is a forum hosted by a leftist, socialist group, but this is something we, as grassroots people can do. We can plan and host actual nonpartisan forums. I'm not even opposed to finding open-minded liberals who want a fair, honest, and accurate opportunity for voters to get to know candidates. Those people exist. They are not, however, members of Stand Up Blue Valley.

This well-funded group isn't what it claims to be. From answers at the forum, it appears their main concern is padding the pockets of the Kansas National Education Association. As one national teacher's union president once said, "When school children start paying union dues, that's when I'll start representing the interests of children." 

Stand Up Blue Valley is supposedly a group of concerned parents so interested in the welfare of children that they let a guy accused of stalking a teenager moderate their forum.

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