Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): March 2019

Monday, March 4, 2019

The Page 6 Version of Events and Unsolicited Advice

Last week, some high-ranking House officials and a Medicaid expansion lobbyist stopped for dinner and drinks at White Linen, a hipster restaurant where people with deep pockets and ambitions can snack on cheese and meat charcuterie for $22. The new restaurant probably should've posted a few rules about over-imbibing prior to allowing some of Kansas's high-ranking Republican House leaders in the door. And the elected officials (and lobbyist friend) should have behaved appropriately in public.

But they didn't.

Rest assured, the restaurant's oversight has now been corrected. And here's why:

These House members proceeded to drink way too much and act like fraternity members bellying up to a house party rather than respected government officials. The restaurant manager asked them to leave several times, until finally, a House committee chair (who for now, shall remain unnamed,) apologized and offered the entire restaurant an awkwardly worded a toast.

Fast forward to mere moments after their loud and embarrassing departure. The chefs and owners of the restaurant posted this on their Facebook page:

"Unfortunately, it has come to our attention that we need to be more explicit about our alcohol policies at The White Linen. We want to ensure our guests, who are on their best behaviors, that we will enforce Kansas alcohol laws that require us to refuse to overserve individuals who are visibly intoxicated/incapacitated, and therefore, may not be on their best behaviors. We work diligently to make sure we uphold Kansas laws and that our guests have a great experience in the meantime. We hope our past, current, and future customers can understand our intentions to keep the restaurant a safe and inviting environment and will dine with us with our policies in mind."

Slick burn. 

The people involved were long-serving and powerful state lawmakers. They put White Linen owners (and servers) in an incredibly awkward position, in which they were asked to break Kansas law on behalf of Kansas lawmakers. At worst, it reeks of subtle corruption. At best, it's unbecoming.

Here's my unsolicited advice: Stop treating the Legislature like a college party. When you gavel out for the night or the weekend, get in your car and go home, especially if you have a family and live less than an hour from the Capitol. To paraphrase the great Ted Mosby, nothing good happens after hours. The decisions you make after hours are the wrong ones.

I say this as someone who lives in fear of lawmakers getting conned into something stupid--like Medicaid expansion--because they didn't have the ability to behave themselves in the presence of an expansion lobbyist at The White Linen. Be better.