Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): 2020

Monday, October 5, 2020

Yeah. About that "Republican" the JCRP Just Highlighted

I really, really don't want to write this right now. With less than a month away from the election, it's important for Republicans to appear united. However, as many long-time listeners know, I draw the line at the people pretending to be Republicans at election time but acting and voting just the opposite once elected.

So here we are. Today, the Johnson County Republican Party has chosen to "highlight" so-called Republican Stacy Obringer-Varhall in its weekly e-newsletter. Varhall is running for Johnson County Commission. You know the commission that is completely beholden to whatever Laura Kelly says? The commission that is hell bent on ensuring your kids never set foot in a school building again? The commission that raises taxes every time the sun shines, and doubles the increase every time rain is in the forecast? That commission. Varhall is running for that board.

Varhall is running against Charlotte O'Hara, who has a long history as a Republican -- and not just in name only. She's a former state legislator with a Republican voting record

Varhall, you'll recall, is the Blue Valley School Board member who sent her own kid to Florida for in-school learning so he could play football. She simultaneously voted against allowing kids in the Blue Valley district the same opportunity. It's like Nancy Pelosi and her visit to the hair salon -- only the victims in Varhall's let-them-eat-cake moment weren't adult hairdressers. Varhall's victims are childrenThe hypocrisy is blinding.  

Meanwhile, Varhall is one of a handful of Stand Up Blue Valley's handpicked candidates who remains on the ballot in November. Mercifully, most of their "Republican" candidates were sent packing following Republican primaries in August. Here's a photo of their Zoom meeting bemoaning that their pro-abort candidates lost:

There's Jan Kessinger, who is prominently featured in ads supporting Barbara Bollier for Senate. And there's John Skubal, a Stand Up Blue Valley "Republican" who was scrubbed from office by reasonable Republican Kellie Warren in the August primaries. Skubal is ALSO listed as a "Republican for Bollier." There's Michael Poppa, whose claim to fame is advocating for special treatment for the LGBTQIAZXWMNUYO community. And finally, there's Kerry Gooch, the former executive director for the Kansas Democrats. These are the people Stand Up Blue Valley chooses to "explain" how Republicans have lost their way. (Hint: They're all actually Democrats.) That's like lining up Kris Kobach,  a KFL spokesperson, NRA leadership, and Kelly Arnold to explain how traditional Democrats lost their way.

Johnson County Republican Party, with its recent newsletter, is allowed  Stand Up Blue Valley to set its agenda. I feel like I say this way too often, but it must be said: That is unacceptable.

Rumor has it the current crop of JCRP leadership says they HAD to highlight Varhall because other JCRP leadership highlighted her opponent, O'Hara, in a previous newsletter. 

This baffling decision to cede to the Democrats reflects poorly, not just on the new crop, but also on their biggest supporters. Word on the street is that former Gov. Jeff Colyer specifically asked Fabian Shepard, the current chair, to run for JCRP Chair. And sources tell me that the JCRP leadership asked for permission from Mike Kuckelman -- last seen putting his finger on the scale in Republican primaries and elevating those who figuratively commit fratricide.(Coming soon: About that.) 

It would have been so easy to tell the Mary Birches of the world complaining about Varhall not getting a newsletter-mention something like this: "I will not be held accountable for the actions of others. Further, the county commission race is the only non-partisan race on the November ballot. As a party, we are going to focus on electing Republicans in partisan elections." (Obviously, our county elections should be partisan, but for now, they are not. Until then, feel free to use this feckless excuse to avoid doing anything stupid.) 

I am beyond aggrieved by what JCRP did today. They've legitimized a person who will be the very first on the list for "Republican for Whichever Democrat Is Running for High Office" in 2022. Everyone who pays a lick of attention knows this. Stand Up Blue Valley is probably laughing about the assist the JoCo Republicans just gave to Democratic platform right now.

At some point, the actual Republicans in our party have to refuse to lay down to the Democrats, whether they be honest Democrats who label themselves appropriately, or those in our own party who pretend to be Republicans to get elected. I'm not opposed to compromise, but you'll note: the so-called moderates NEVER do the same for conservatives. And Stand Up Blue Valley will NEVER turn the other cheek for Republicans. Never, ever, ever. 

We don't have to be mean, but we should at least be savvy. Turning the JCRP newsletter into Stand Up Blue Valley propaganda was a no good, very bad, awful decision. Please don't make me say this a second time: Do better. 

Monday, September 28, 2020

Dear Karen: You Don't Get the COVID Moral High Ground

There are an awful lot of leftists and their media allies attempting to take the moral high ground by demanding more shut downs, continued cancellations, keeping schools closed, shuttering bars and restaurants, and generally increasing the malaise wrought by government response to the virus. Clearly, the moral high ground sits at an elevation where they aren't getting enough oxygen to their brains. 

Despite an early policy that absolutely devastated New York nursing homes and despite the fact that 18 percent of all (questionably counted) COVID deaths in the U.S. have occurred in the Empire State,  the media holds New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo up as some kind of sage who throttled the virus with his bare hands. Democrats even gave the guy a victory lap at the Democratic National Convention. In a pre-recorded address, Cuomo told the 5 people who could stand to listen to his self-righteous bloviating that they did things right in New York and Republican-led states failed in response to COVID-19. 

It would be laughable if the Cuomo circus wasn't inflicting real damage. 

Millions of Americans are out of work, but the Empire State is particularly hard hit. While unemployment nationally hovers around 10 percent, in New York City, the unemployment rate is 20 percent. The statewide unemployment rate sits at over 12 percent. Bars and restaurants in NYC STILL remain closed for indoor dining. Bang up job, Cuomo and clown show De Blasio. 

Meanwhile here in Kansas, we have a Governor and her "health" expert presenting conman-style charts and graphs to make the case for additional lockdowns and keeping children out of school. For people who supposedly care about The Children™ they have a really funny way of showing it.

More people are suicidal? So what. More people are getting fatally ill because they're too afraid to visit a doctor to get that lump checked out? So what. Substance abuse is up? Big deal. More women and children are being daily subjected to domestic violence? If you care about that, you want to kill grandma.

If I think too long about what is occurring in our nursing homes and from keeping kids out of school, I get so angry I can barely breath -- even without a mask covering up my oxygen intake valves.

All public policy is a balancing act. Say your local government wants to raise the speed limit on a local road. Studies suggest the danger of car accidents increases along with speed. So policymakers must decide whether the value of the extra time gained by people traveling along the road is worth the increased risk. Any policy you can think of -- no matter how mundane-- is a balancing act.  Every.last.one.

Except, somehow, in the case of COVID-19 policy. For our Governor, the number of cases is the only thing that matters. (Set aside for a minute the stories about whether those who are asymptomatic or those who receive a positive diagnosis after 40 PCR cycles are even capable of spreading COVID. Also, set aside the ever-moving goal posts. We're on month six of two weeks to "flatten the curve.") 

Make no mistake: Children are suffering due to draconian lockdown measures and repeated cancellations.  Actual researchers -- not the bureaucrats who masquerade as Scientists™  on TV-- are reporting severe trouble in children subjected to long-term lockdown. They are finding gadget addiction, mental health problems, and behavioral issues. That doesn’t even begin to account for the educational delays of students who aren’t in schools. 

This story in the New Yorker, about a bright, but poor kid in Baltimore is infuriating. It details the challenges inherent in trying to educate underprivileged kids like Shemar in a virtual environment. Spoiler alert: It's not going well.

Kids like Shermar might have a chance when in person at school, because they come into contact with caring adults and have meaningful interactions with people who can give them a tiny boost. Right now, however,  the Shemars of the world are sitting in dark rooms alone, not getting much of an education. Meanwhile, little suburban kids have parents and grandparents shuttling them to soccer practice and daycares (that never closed, by the way) and ensuring that they are doing whatever worksheet passes for an education these days. Shemar is falling further behind and may never recover, but at least the Karens raising those little suburban kids get to feel morally superior about their masks and “saving grandma.” 

They disgust me.

The kids are not alright.

Things aren’t that much better for adults. In fact, they may be worse because  adults are not as resilient as children. Suicides and drug overdoses are just the tip of the iceberg. In one Chicago suburb, overdose deaths spiked by 50 percent. Oh well, at least grandma is safe in isolation, say the monsters responsible for draconian lockdowns. Unfortunately, that’s not true either.


Granny is slightly safer in a nursing home outside of New York state, but she’s not doing well in the remaining 49 states. If she has dementia or Alzheimer’s, the lockdowns increased the likelihood of her untimely death. Back in June, the Center for Disease Control reported 15,000 more deaths than usual for age-related brain diseases. Humans are social creatures. Isolation is not just deadly; it’s cruel.

The average stay in a nursing home prior to death is a little more than a year. In that final year of life, nursing home residents deserve to benefit from the care and love of their families. I can’t speak for everyone, but I definitely speak for myself when I say given a choice between a few months shaved off of my life because of something like COVID or a bit more time in complete isolation, I choose actual living versus mere existence. Many people may choose differently, but they should have the choice. But that’s not what’s happening with COVID. A lunatic like Cuomo can isolate and quarantine nursing homes without any say from the people who live or work there. And he can do so while ordering those sickened with COVID to remain in the nursing homes, creating the precise conditions in which the virus thrives.

I can find approximately 95,000 stories about young, seemingly healthy  individuals who were severely ill and/or died with COVID, and almost nothing about the toll isolation is taking on nursing home residents. I can find a handful of stories about children suffering due to forced social isolation and lack of educational resources, but approximately eight billion stories a day about the number of COVID cases. (It’s funny how we hear so much about cases and statistical outlier deaths, but very little about the actual death rate. It’s dropping like a rock.)

The lopsided nature of this reporting isn’t because social isolation isn’t damaging nursing home residents or children. It’s because political allegiances now demand that half of society, and in particular the cultural elites and news media, avert their eyes to the horrors COVID policy has wrought.

I won’t even go into the demoralizing cruelty and insensitivity of not allowing people to visit their loved ones in hospitals or have funerals, because COVID. Apparently, you’re only safe from the clutches of the not-so-deadly virus in large groups if you’re throwing bricks into buildings, setting structures on fire, or looting private businesses.

The Karens of the world do not hold the moral high ground in this COVID insanity. They’re welcome to continue averting their eyes, but the rest of us shouldn’t. It's time our COVID policies take more into consideration than just case counts.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Thundering Herd of RINOs Rebrands Again

Kansas's most famous thundering herd of RINOs is riding again, and their song and dance is starting to get a bit stale. Like the second verse of the lyrical masterpiece, "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall," the thundering herd is wearing out its welcome with its 98th reiteration of so-called Kansas Republicans for a Democrat™.

Today, Barbara Bollier announced endorsements from 75 "Republican" lawmakers and leaders. This most recent group of thundering RINOs isn't to be confused with the 27 Republican leaders who signed on to back Laura Kelly for Governor in 2014 or the Save Kansas Coalition of Republicans who formed to bloviate against Gov. Brownback in 2014, or the 46 Republicans who created Traditional Republicans for Common Sense in 2012 to advocate for "job creation and funding schools" be a thorn in the side of elected Republicans, or the 100 Republicans who signed on to back Paul Davis for Governor in 2014, or... you get the point. 

What attribute do nearly all of these named "leaders" share? Almost to a man (and woman) they are political has-beens and electoral losers, bitter that voters rejected their tired ideas in a primary election.

To Bollier's credit, at least she finally signed on to the party who shares her values of hostility to religion, gun confiscation, infanticide, and allowing men to compete against women in boxing. The same can't be said of the likes of Rochelle Chronister, Fred Kerr, Tim Owens, Lana Oleen, Sandy Praeger, Gary Sherrer, Steve Morris, and Jim Yonally who apparently retain their Republican credentials simply so they can sign on to some new "Republicans for Liberal Cause or Candidate" group every two years and maybe get their names in the paper once again. 

And their numbers grow when sitting officeholders lose Republican primaries. (Looking at you, Jan, John, Mary Jo, Tim, etc. You know who you are.)

It borders on embarrassing. 

(As someone who knows a thing or two about rejection, let me just offer this advice to the losers: Being graceful isn't easy. It isn't pleasant but you get to keep your dignity and your principles. It's worth so much more than having your name mentioned in a single news cycle.)

If you don't support any Republican policies and you don't support any Republican candidates (other than yourself when you dishonestly place yourself on the ballot as such), should you call yourself a "Republican?" Asking for a friend.

For what it's worth, this sham has gone national. See rainbow-belted John Kasich. See Jeff Flake. See the shameful number of so-called Republicans holding on to relevance with a death grip by publicly endorsing Joe Biden for President. Here's a tip: It is possible to not really like the Republican at the top of the ticket and just keep your mouth shut instead of pimping for the other guy. I've done it so many times I feel like I deserve the Best Political Filter Award pretty much every two years. (Man, if that award came with a cash prize... hello, beach house and private yacht.)

Unfortunately, the national Republicans are only exacerbating the problem this year by deciding not to have a platform. Instead, our party has opted for "Whatever Trump Thinks." This is a terrible, terrible idea. Elected officials should know the platform and fear wandering off the reservation. If we're to be the party of principles rather than a cult of personality, we need a platform.