Archive for Thursday, June 1, 2006

Republicans lash out at Sebelius’ pick

Former GOP leader named as governor’s running mate

June 1, 2006


Reader poll
Some Republicans are lambasting former state GOP chairman Mark Parkinson because he switched parties to join Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as her running mate. Do you agree with Republicans who think he's a turncoat?

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— Leaving many GOP officials stunned and angry, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, picked former Kansas Republican Party chairman Mark Parkinson to run with her as lieutenant governor.

Parkinson switched parties to run with Sebelius. The move was announced as the pair made stops in several cities around the state on Wednesday.

Response from Republican leaders was quick and critical.

"Mark Parkinson obviously feels more at home with liberal Democrats than he does with Republicans," said Ron Freeman, executive director of the Kansas Republican Party.

"Mr. Parkinson has abandoned the beliefs which made the GOP America's majority party," said Charlotte Esau, executive director of the Kansas Republican Assembly.

Democrats said the selection showed Sebelius had the courage to ignore party politics to do what was best for the state. But Republicans angered by Parkinson's defection said the move had everything to do with politics.

And Republican Party Chairman Tim Shallenburger said he was glad Parkinson and other recent party switchers had left because they had been Republicans simply as a way to gain power.

"In essence, they ran as Republicans not because of sincerely held beliefs, but because that was the only road to money and political power in Kansas," Shallenburger said.

Democrats welcomed Parkinson, 48, of Olathe, with open arms.

"I've been an admirer of Mark Parkinson for a long time," said state Rep. Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, who attended the Sebelius-Parkinson kick-off announcement at the Kansas University Edwards Campus in Overland Park.

Parkinson, a lawyer, has served in the state House and Senate. He owned Sweet Life nursing and assisted living facilities in Shawnee, which recently sold to the Nashville-based American Retirement Corp.

"When I was an intern in the Legislature, he was a state senator, and I was always very impressed with his intellect and thoughtfulness," Davis said.

"Despite being a former Republican Party chair, I have never seen him as a real partisan person. He is generally interested in good government and that is why he is here today and why he decided the Democratic Party fits him better than the Republican Party," he said.

Parkinson said he switched because he has grown to admire Sebelius as someone who ignored party labels to get things done for the betterment of all Kansans.

He said the Republican Party was headed in a different direction and sometimes against his core beliefs of economic development, excellent public schools and "a deep belief that the government, to the greatest extent possible, should stay out of the lives of our families and people of this state."

As state GOP chairman in 2002, Parkinson worked to defeat Sebelius, who was running against Shallenburger.

All his negative quotes about her from then were brought back up. When Sebelius picked former Republican John Moore to be her running mate in 2002, Parkinson called it a "gimmick."

On Wednesday, he said he had been wrong.

He said Sebelius had delivered on her campaign promises to improve the economy, increase funding to schools and cut government waste, all while leading in a nonpartisan manner.

Last month, Moore said he would not seek re-election because he wanted to spend more time with his family.

That sent Sebelius searching.

She said she picked Parkinson because of his legislative and business experience.

"This sends a very strong signal this is not about a partisan battle; it's about being a Kansan," Sebelius said.

By tapping Parkinson, Sebelius has a high-profile former Republican from vote-rich Johnson County, the largest county in the state.

She also could shore up support among pro-education Johnson County voters who believe the last school finance bill didn't go far enough in letting their school districts raise local funds to supplement their school systems.

Sebelius will face the winner of the Aug. 1 Republican primary. The three major candidates are state Sen. Jim Barnett, of Emporia; Ken Canfield, of Overland Park, founder of a center on fathering; and former House Speaker Robin Jennison, of Healy.

Barnett said Sebelius' selection of Parkinson was a political trick.

"This is a crude attempt to convince voters that Sebelius is in touch with mainstream Republican beliefs. She is not," he said.

Parkinson's departure from the GOP follows that of Paul Morrison, Johnson County's top prosecutor, who switched to the Democratic Party to run against Republican Atty. Gen. Phill Kline.

"The question is whether this is the beginning of a trend," said Joe Aistrup, head of the political science department at Kansas State University.

"Whether other Republicans decide there are greener pastures in the Democratic Party will depend on the success of these two candidates," he said.


Janis Pool 12 years ago

I think Sebeluis made a smart move, working toward the greater good. It does not say we should eliminate party politics, as some are predicting the trend to be, but it does recognize that sometimes joining forces is the best road traveled.

bernard 12 years ago

Mark Parkinson is a thoughtful, bright guy, though certainly not particularly liberal. He is a moderate who will be a non partisan leader seeking solutions to problems. Not a bad strategy. Governor Kathleen demonstrated a stroke of genius with this selection. Good going Kathleen!

ryanjasondesch 12 years ago

From the Republican comments it sounds like they think they're on the yellow brick road of 2003. It's 2006 now. Wake up idiots!

johnadavies 12 years ago

I'm a pretty liberal guy; maybe I can join the "Repub" party and help them see the light!

Jamesaust 12 years ago

'"In essence, they ran as Republicans not because of sincerely held beliefs, but because that was the only road to money and political power in Kansas," Shallenburger said.'

I believe this is what the psychologists call "projection".

offbrand1 12 years ago

I think Sebelius made a very deft political move and I think this points to a trend that some Republicans will be leaving their party because of the corruption and radical rightwingers that have damaged their image with American voters. Moderate and Conservative Republicans who still believe in the core values of their party are beginning to come out against the fundamentalist extreme faction and in some cases, have to change sides just to avoid all the bad connotations. If you can do it and still maintain true to your principles, why not?

As a side note:

I think anyone who goes to vote should read a few texts on political parties and the fundamental principles of each and AVOID the buzz from the media and the extremists on either side. Find out what it means to be a Democrat or Republican - don't just swallow what the media or your family spoonfeeds you as the truth. The most ridiculous comment I ever heard was from a former friend of mine that said she voted for Bush even though she thought he as a horrible president. She voted for him because her family had always voted Republican and she didn't know to do anything different. Come on people! This is your country! Take a minute and educate yourself beyond watching Fox or CNN.

Sorry. Stepping off soap box now. :)

BunE 12 years ago

Hahahahahahahah: The Republican party is showing some cracks? I thought that the were the permanent majority? Nice to see some shake ups in politics.

"Barnett said Sebelius' selection of Parkinson was a political trick.

"This is a crude attempt to convince voters that Sebelius is in touch with mainstream Republican beliefs. She is not," he said. "

Sour grapes...

To be honest this seems more like a well thought out strategic move to pull moderate votes from the GOP and marginalize the power base of the hyper-conservatives within the party.

speedykitty 12 years ago

I'd think some Dem. leaders would feel stabbed in the back by Kathleen, as one of them might have had the position of Lt. Gov to run for Governor from in 2010. So much for faithfully carrying water for the party!

Janet Lowther 12 years ago

The Republican Party in Kansas has become dominated by the Taliban wing of the party: Ed Brownback & Jim Ryan are amongst the most prominent Taliban Republicans (Talipublicans?) in their respective wings of the capitol.

In the two party system if a party wishes to be a majority, they must embrace a range of positions.

The Christian Taliban has been busily casting moderates out of positions of power and influence in the Republican Party.

Expect to see more moderate Republicans leave the party as the Taliban consolidates its position.

Remember, George and Bob Docking were Republicans 'till the party refused to give them nominations. So they became Democrats.

Bob Docking was arguably the best governor Kansas has had. (With four two year terms he was certainly the most elected!) His budget cap anticipated the TABOR by over thirty years.

BunE 12 years ago

Dweeb? three times in a sentence? Is that the best you can do? Call people names?

If you really think to the right, I feel sorry for you. Did you just read some Ayn Rand and decide that sounded neat?

james bush 12 years ago

Women are colluding to start a 3rd party! I just read about it in Peggy Noonan's WSJ column on the Drudge website. It wasn't clear what she was promoting until I put it together with the Sebelius maneuver.

Then I saw the Gov of Michigan, another attractive woman getting air time on the cable news channels today.

It's clear that the women are involved in a political uprising. Why else would their be a Women's Study Department in our universities?

james bush 12 years ago

Seriously, the Noonan column is an interesting read.

BunE 12 years ago

You conservies sure do get defensive when your icons are mocked.

Perhaps if I mocked Michelle Malkin?

At any rate, the GOP's white knuckle grip on power (and reality) seems to be slipping away. Govern for the majority and we will see what happens.

BOE 12 years ago

Posted by Arminius: on June 1, 2006 at 12:16 p.m.

" ' I've been an admirer of Mark Parkinson for a long time." - Monkeyboy, D-Lawrence '

That's kind of scary. "


You talk trash about Bartcop, but have no problem utilizing his schtick and pawning it off as your own.


Imitation being the highest form of flattery, no doubt ol' bart would get a kick out of it. ;)

BunE 12 years ago

Leftist? Hahahahahahaha. You have got no idea what a leftist is. Once again, the Conservies show their true colors:

If they is agin ya, attack, attack, attack.

Extreme leftists...hahahahahahahah. You know, Sebelius reminds me of a young Karl Marx, especially the way she panders to big business.

yourworstnightmare 12 years ago

Must agree with BunE about this. There are signs, nationally and right here in Kansas, that the ulta-right wing of the republican party is beginning to balkanize itself with its 30% of the fundamentalist christian vote. Moderate republicans and those with a moderate ability to think are beginning to abandon ship. The moderate center is now up for grabs, and the democrats (along with moderate republicans) are seizing it.

What have the rightist republicans delivered?

Rhetoric about social issues.

Tax cuts that have devastated our societal infrastructure while fattening corporate criminal plutocrats.

Skyrocketing spending and deficits (due in large part to an optional war).

A war of choice and the resulting dead young men, women, and innocent civilians for no just cause.

The destruction of small, independent business and the establishment of huge corporate monopolies (along with the concomitant loss of decent jobs). Often called "deregulation".

An arrogant and bullying foreign policy that has left us all less safe.

hottruckinmama 12 years ago

thank god i think the melt down is finally beginning. and right here in red red kansas no less. even in my home co. miami-usually the redest of the red- people are starting to shy away from the really radical right wingers and thats amazing considering you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a republican in this county. i don't really have a problem with all republicans-just the nutty bush type. you can't live in this county and not have some republicans as friends-you'd be one lonely person.but i have noticied lately that a lot of my more conservative friends are starting to change their tune just a little.

gop4life 12 years ago

yourworstnightmare is dreaming...

Tax cuts boost the economy (it's Demos that help the plutocrats).

Skyrocketing spending and deficits are caused by socialist programs like Socialist Security, welfare and other 'entitlements' for lazy bums.

War of choice? Don't you remember 9-11-2001?! Perhaps you prefer to acquiese to terrorists. I prefer to stand up to them (and you).

Small, independent businesses are hurt by regulations, mostly by the compliance costs that big corporations can absorb. Deregulation helps small business and job growth.

I feel safer now than when Clinton was President. We only bully the bullies, because that is all they can understand.

xenophonschild 12 years ago


What planet are you living on? Republicans have done nothing but show themselves to be charlatans of the first water. Their only true constituency is the super-rich, for whom they regularly sell out the interests of everyone else in order to curry favor - money - to get re-elected.

"Socialist programs"? Etes vous fou? You obviously don't have much of a grasp of history, of how your Republican forebears screwed up the economy, and the country, and left if to the Democrats, and FDR, to save not just the country, but capitalism itself. You obviously have never lived in, or understood, an environment where a third of the workforce was unemployed, and no one had any answers or way out.

Republicans are through. You have been exposed as the racist, elitist scum you truly are, and the movement to remove you, and keep you forever, from power is well underway. Get used to being irrelevant.

tophawk87 12 years ago

Ken Canfield, the Republican candidate for governor, chose a member of the Legislature from Clay Center to be his running mate. Much better pick.

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