Archive for Sunday, January 8, 2012

GOP shift?

Kansas Republicans will decide whether they want Kansas to become a more conservative state.

January 8, 2012


There’s no doubt Kansas is a Republican state, but for much of our history, the Republicans who rose to our top elective offices were moderates who worked across party lines for the betterment of Kansas. They tolerated many viewpoints and were willing to compromise with those who disagreed with them.

Now, the Kansas GOP has shifted significantly to the right and, rather than work with their moderate colleagues, conservative Kansas Republicans are more interested in simply getting rid of them.

An Associated Press story published in Tuesday’s Journal-World focused on efforts of conservative Republicans to defeat legislators — particularly state senators — whom they considered too moderate. The 2010 election swept many conservatives into state offices, but Kansas Senate seats were not on the ballot that year. All 40 of those seats will be up for grabs in 2012, and Democratic senators aren’t the only ones being targeted by conservative Republicans. They also want to oust moderate Republicans from their seats. Top-ranking senators like Senate President Steve Morris of Hugoton, Senate Vice President John Vratil of Leawood and Budget Committee Chairwoman Carolyn McGinn of Sedgwick already have opponents in the August Republican primary, and more challenges are likely.

“There are many out there who believe the Senate is the final step,” said Derrick Sontag, state director of Americans for Prosperity. “What it would do for Governor Brownback is that it would push him to the right. It would make his agenda even more conservative.”

Is that what Kansans, even registered Republican Kansans, want?

Money from conservative, anti-tax groups like Americans for Prosperity likely will play a big role in this year’s elections. Perhaps even bigger than in 2004, when the organization spent more than $100,000 on a postcard campaign to oust Kansas legislators who had voted in favor of a tax increase to fund public schools. Among the incumbents beaten in Republican primaries that year were Rep. Cindy Neighbor of Shawnee and Rep. Bill Kassebaum, son of former U.S. Sen. Nancy Kassebaum, of Burdick.

Would respected moderate Republicans like Nancy Kassebaum or Bob Dole even have a chance of being elected in the current political climate? Is U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts conservative enough to hang onto his seat? When U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran served in the U.S. House, he was widely considered a moderate voice for Kansas, but when he ran for the Senate two years ago, his campaign rhetoric seemed to make a decided shift to the right.

The question here is whether the conservative leaders in the Kansas Republican Party truly represent the majority of Kansas Republicans. Although history would tell us otherwise, perhaps the political winds have shifted enough in the last decade or so to justify the party’s current conservative focus. If such a shift has occurred, then the chances are good that Kansas will indeed take what Sonntag called “the final step” to elect a conservative majority in both the House and Senate, clearing the way for a more conservative agenda in the governor’s office.

So is Kansas a conservative Republican state or a moderate Republican state? Is a majority of the party moving to the right or are election results skewed because conservative voters are more likely to turn out, especially in primary elections, than their moderate counterparts? Those are questions voters will have an opportunity to answer in August primaries and the November general election.


mloburgio 5 years, 6 months ago

When U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran was elected senator he turned into a brownback!

mloburgio 5 years, 6 months ago

"Republican Tea Party Contract on America"

  1. Repeal the Affordable Care Act (Health Insurance Reform)

  2. Privatize Social Security or phase it out altogether

  3. End Medicare as it presently exists

  4. Extend the Bush tax breaks for the wealthy and big oil

  5. Repeal Wall Street Reform

  6. Protect those responsible for the oil spill and future environmental catastrophes

  7. Abolish the Department of Education

  8. Abolish the Department of Energy

  9. Abolish the Environmental Protection Agency

  10. Repeal the 17th Amendment

woodscolt 5 years, 6 months ago

The shift of the republican party from moderate to a radical right wing has left the republican party as the anti-people party. They are against any and everything that benefit the people and the "maths" of the right wingers are cheering them all along the way.

Republican=anti people.

cato_the_elder 5 years, 6 months ago

Has Scott Rothschild been allowed to write J-W editorials? He could have written this one.

Alyosha 5 years, 6 months ago

And why's that? You seem to have difficulties accepting that a simple statement of historical facts, as in this editorial, and the raising of calm legitimate questions, is somehow "liberal" or "left wing."

Reality indeed does have a well known liberal bias. That must be difficult for commenters like "cato_the_elder" to accept.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

Yes, I know, facts have a distinct "liberal bias" that drives reactionaries like you crazy.

weeslicket 5 years, 6 months ago

ummm..... a minor point i know, but..... this editorial limited itself to the topic of kansas elections, and more specifically to kansas elections for senator (state and national). therefore, the bias you reference clearly lies with you.

Scott Drummond 5 years, 6 months ago

WeThe final step, indeed.

We are witnessing the final steps of a 30 year assault on a progressive and just society. Decimation of the public education system, legalization of corporate graft and takeover of a media in the public interest has resulted in public support for such lunatic fringe public politicians.

Alyosha 5 years, 6 months ago

Calmly pointing out facts now equals "BS"?

Your non-thought-out / emotional outburst of a comment is further evidence of this editorial's topic: those who now call themselves Republicans are little more than extreme radicals trying to create an America in a radical image that has never existed before.

Educate yourself, please. Get out of the dark ages.

Fatty_McButterpants 5 years, 6 months ago

Ohhh.... I think it has existed before. The original incarnation was brought over on the Mayflower (for those of you who are not smarter than a fifth-grader, that's the ship that brought the Pilgrim's to the New World). Those carefree and happy souls created such a wonderfully trusting and happy environment, that folks in Salem knew no better way to party than to accuse people of witchcraft, then hang them until they stopped twitching. Good times, good times. It's most recent incarnation, aside from the current one, was that jovial period of time known as McCarthyism; which, of course, created faaaabulous ripples in society that are still felt to this day. Oh yes, please let us bring back such golden ages!

kugrad 5 years, 6 months ago

These so-called "conservative" non-moderate Republicans do not even try to represent Kansans. They are representing a different constituency. That constituency is the Koch brothers and other corporate and 1% interests who fund their re-elections and wine and dine them. They are career politicians in it for a job, not for public service. Ironically, the moderate Republicans now find that they too are part of the 99% (really the 99.5%). The government no longer represents them. This is what the Occupy/99% movement has been trying to say. It isn't about some far left political agenda, it is about talking with one another about our common interests. In particular, the influence of money in politics and the shift from a government that represents the people to a government that represents the few wealthy enough to purchase influence. If you are reading this, in all likelihood you too are part of the 99%. Our government no longer even tries to represent our concerns. Their agenda is spelled out for them. I can't count the number of times I have heard a State Republican elected official give a speech or public comment that is an exact match for the press releases of the Kansas Policy Institute, a Koch brothers organization. I'm not meaning to imply that Democrats don't have their issues (although Paul Davis strikes me as a local politician interested in the public welfare, and I'm no Democrat), but this editorial is about Republicans, so I am addressing that issue. Yes, there is a shift. It was bought and paid for.

ivalueamerica 5 years, 6 months ago

It is not a matter of trying to make Kansas a more conservative state, it is a matter of Browmbackenstein trying to create a Judeo-Christian Sharai Law state.

Lisa Medsker 5 years, 6 months ago

Seemed that way to me, too. I always thought "conservative" was a term that was supposed to mean "less government involvement". Somehow, "conservative" and "theocracy" have become synonymous, and a Judeo-Christian Sharia Law state describes it perfectly.

ivalueamerica 5 years, 6 months ago

Of course you have nothing to add to the discussion, just attacks on the messenger.

It says so much about who you are and what you have (don't have) to bring to the table.

how embarrassing for you.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 6 months ago

Moran has always been a Brownback...

Brownback is a sold out dude to corp special interest money. He does not give a damn what anyone writes or says. Brownback is not his own man...

scarletbhound 5 years, 6 months ago

As a long-time observer of Kansas politics, I must point out the obvious: Kansans elected these conservative Republicans, suggesting that Brownback and his allies are the kind of leaders that the majority of Kansans prefer. Brownback's agenda is no secret. He is a strong social conservative who favors less government, lower taxes etc. Anyone who even casually follows Kansas politics knows that. The complaint seems to be that Kansans are getting what they voted for. Surprise! It's called democracy. The conservatives have played by the rules. They have outworked moderate Republicans and Democrats to win elections. They have presented ideas and candidates that clearly appeal to a large segment of the Kansas electorate. Blame Koch etc. all you want. The truth is that the conservatives have earned the right to govern and they are governing as they promised. If you don't like it, get off your rear ends, organize and win elections for your side.

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

Actually, some of that is probably incorrect.

Many people who voted for Brownback have said they are surprised and unhappy with his actions, and will not vote for him again.

I'm not sure how they didn't know this is what he would do, but that's what they say.

verity 5 years, 6 months ago

"I'm not sure how they didn't know this"

They didn't know it because they weren't paying attention---and because Brownback had name recognition. As a senator, most of what he did was not noticed by the media.

Scarlet is right about this---we need to get off our butts and work for what we believe in. Apathy is driving us over the cliff. We as individuals working together can defeat the power of people like the Kochs.

thebigspoon 5 years, 6 months ago

They also did not know this because he lied. His campaign promised educational support. Now we see what it means to him. He promised to look after the best interests of the downtrodden. Now we see what he means. And on and on. I do believe that too few peoploe paid attention, but I also strongly believe that the Brownbacdk campaign lied to us who did pay attention. I still see no reason for anyone to have voted for him as a person or a politician with no record of accomplishment in the Senate, but I also believe that the conservative voting bloc, which is latrge in Kansas, was hornswoggled by him and the Kochs and we really did not know what we were getting. Our fault? Perhaps, to an extent, as not enough of us voted to even think this administration is a "mandate for change". But Kansans should have seen through his rhetioric to the base fact that he had nothing but hate to sell, and that's where we went wrong.

Ann Hamil 5 years, 6 months ago

A little "less government" in my uterus would be nice. Seems we are so broke we can spend 500K (so far) to make it harder for me to get an affordable pap smear or contraception. +1 to the Judeo-Christian Sharia law comment.

verity 5 years, 6 months ago

I'm not just having a tantrum---I'm doing something about it.

BigAl 5 years, 6 months ago

This is a well written article. Both republicans and democrats should take off their tinted glasses and read this for what it is. Let's face it, Ronald Reagan, standing on his record, would not get elected today. He raised taxes and increased the debt. Moderates such as Bob Dole would not be supported by the Tea Party. I voted for Dole and Reagan but today, they wouldn't be able to appease the Tea Party and the far-right that has hijacked the Republican Party. The far-left and the far-right both need to go.

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