Archive for Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Republicans at war with each other over redistricting

May 15, 2012


— A Senate Republican caucus meeting on Tuesday exploded into a war of words between conservatives and moderates over redistricting.

At one point, state Sen. Tim Owens, a moderate Republican from Overland Park, who is chair of the Senate redistricting committee, stormed out of the meeting, saying, "I don't need to sit here and listen to this garbage."

Meanwhile, conservatives demanded that Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, and Senate Majority Leader Jay Emler, R-Lindsborg, be summoned to the meeting.

"We're in a political war," said state Sen. Susan Wagle, a conservative Republican from Wichita. She accused Morris and Emler of wanting to work more with Democrats than conservatives.

Later in the evening, the Senate reconvened, and Morris postponed the redistricting debate until Wednesday. He urged opposing sides to try to reach a compromise.

The fireworks came as legislators continued to meet in overtime with no resolution in sight on key issues, such as the budget, tax cuts and redistricting.

The once-a-decade process of redrawing political boundaries to adjust for population shifts has been particularly nasty, especially between the factions of the Kansas Republican Party.

Gov. Sam Brownback, a conservative Republican, and the conservative-led House have opposed Senate-approved maps that were approved by a coalition of moderate Republicans and Democrats.

State Sen. Pete Brungardt, R-Salina, said the process was poisoned by Brownback when the governor's allies made it clear they were going to try to defeat moderates in the Republican Party primary.

"This whole collision course was started by people not in this room," Brungardt said during the caucus meeting.

But conservatives pounced on the latest map that Owens planned to carry on the Senate floor. They said it would have hurt conservatives and helped Democrats. Sen. Pat Apple, R-Louisburg, said Douglas and Shawnee counties were over-represented. "It would seem, the Democrats basically got what they wanted," he said.

But Owens said it was impossible to draw a map that would satisfy everyone. Frustrated over the issue, Owens said the committee process had been a waste of time and that Brownback politicized the issue further.

"This is about politics," Owens said. "It is not about a logical map. This is a political war, and I'm tired of it," he said, adding that he didn't care if the issue was resolved in the courts.

State Sen. Jeff King, R-Independence, urged Owens to pull down the map, saying even if it passed, Brownback would veto it. "Why on earth are we doing this? We don't need to make a difficult week any worse," King said.


Orwell 5 years ago

If the conservatives have confidence in their principles why do they feel such a great need to stack the electoral deck? Don't they trust the voters?

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 5 years ago

I'd like to see just how much Tim Owens has cost this state in legislative overtime trying to draw maps that protect him from having an opponent, so no, Republicans don't trust the voters. The people of his district should have to pick up the tab for all of the overtime costs. It's his fault.

jhawkinsf 5 years ago

I'd ask you the same question. Do you trust the voters, the voters who brought you Brownback and Kobach? If you don't trust them, why should anyone else?

I have a theory. I think that more than half of eligible voters cannot correctly name the three branches of government. (they may say something akin to the President, the Senate and the House. Close with Executive branch, bifurcating the Legislative and forgetting the Judicial entirely.) I think half of eligible voters cannot name their two U.S. Senators and their Representative in the House. I think the voting public is not very well informed. So do conservatives trust the voters? Should conservatives trust the voters? Should anyone?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

Fox News devotees have been shown to be quite ignorant/misinformed in a wide range of topics. And they vote. Do you trust them?

jhawkinsf 5 years ago

Democracy is the worst form of government ever devised. Except for all the others. (Churchill, if memory serves).
No, the same voters that elect wonderful leaders also elect miserable failures. I think it's nothing more than a crapshoot. I also think that we give too much credit and too much blame to our elected leaders.
Do you recall in Junior High, when we all learned of the three branches of government. Then much later we learned of the Fourth Estate, the media. I propose a fifth, the bureaucracy. It feeds upon itself. It protects itself. It defines it's need to exist by making the definitions. And it is by far the largest branch of government. And like trying to turn around an aircraft carrier, it takes a great deal of time and energy to turn that big boy around. The bureaucracy is like an aircraft carrier that stretches from London to New York, docked in both ports simultaneously. Now try turning that bad boy around.

Patricia Davis 5 years ago

I grew up in a small town in Oklahoma. One student who basically slept through most of his education was asked by our 5th grade teacher what were the three branches of government. His reply was, "oak, elm and pecan."

Is now the time to bring up that quaint stranglehold called the electoral college? Regardless of the trees, I do think the electoral college is a blight on democracy.

kansanjayhawk 5 years ago

The electoral college protects smaller states. Without it candidates would simply spend all their time in large cities attempting rack up larger majorities! There would be no need to visit the smaller states.

jhawkinsf 5 years ago

The electoral college was a compromise made between the small states and the larger states. And as with any compromise, something was given and something was taken. Should the electoral college be removed, how shall we compensate what has been lost?

Paul R Getto 5 years ago

The electoral college is useful and if it goes away the Red States will be totally screwed.

salad 5 years ago

Well, they trust voters, but in the same way Regan trusted the Soviets: trust but verify. In this case, they need to verify that they will, in fact, control EVERYTHING in perpetuity. I guarantee that as soon as the crazies have a lock on everything, that they'll continue to simultaneously play the oppressed victim of various made up liberal plots.

Carol Bowen 5 years ago

The conservatives are at war. They are not really conservatives, they are radicals.

booyalab 5 years ago

What is a real conservative like?

Paul R Getto 5 years ago

I could count myself one in many ways: My take: Taxes as low as possible to provide adequate services; tax loads that are distributed throughout the population; keeping honest books with real numbers; having a humble foreign policy that concentrates on security, not enriching the MIC; and, where the current 'conservatives' seem to fall down, keeping government out of our lives, our doctors' offices and our bedrooms. Guess that's my Libertarian streak coming out.

Carol Bowen 5 years ago

And, not overextending. Monies should be identified and budgeted for all efforts. No betting on something that might bring in money. Leave that to the private sector.

kansanjayhawk 5 years ago

Balony...these are true conservatives and the moderates are the ones we should question as they have voted with liberal Democrats for years! Can you say RINO?

wastewatcher 5 years ago

Lets not let the LIBERALS get away with blaming Brownback, remember Graves vetoed a plan because he did not like it. Liberal Senator Owens is a disgrace to call himself a Chairman when he does not have the guts to face a filed challenger so he moves the challenger out of his district. Owens should accept his own failure and not blame others when speak the truth.

Bob_Keeshan 5 years ago

Graves vetoed a plan that passed with 21 votes, then the two sides made small changes and a compromise was passed. This was after they realized they did not have 21 votes to pass a map in the Senate.

Yes, the moderates compromised with the conservatives in 2002 after a Graves veto. Do you see the conservatives, who do not have the votes to pass a Senate map, compromising? Is the Gov compromising? They are the ones who do not have 21 votes to pass a map.

If you don't have 21 votes, you get there by compromise. It is Brownback and his partisans refusing to do so.

JackMcKee 5 years ago

Kansas is a mess right now thanks to Brownback and these radical right wingers. Just go away, please.

kansanjayhawk 5 years ago

Please Kansas already had financial problems ahead of 2010! We need all sides to work together.

jafs 5 years ago

All sides working together would be great - that's not what your view tends towards when you stress "conservative" credentials, and call moderate Republicans RINO's.

kansanjayhawk 5 years ago

The governor and house need to stand strong for conservative map which gives fair representation to places like Leavenworth county not just the liberals in Douglas.

kansanjayhawk 5 years ago

Name-calling is ridiculous. My point was about Leavenworth county having it's own Senate district.

kansanjayhawk 5 years ago

Never-ever, I doubt you are very conservative, some at least believe I make an occasional point, we just don do not agree on political issues.

average 5 years ago

Who in frank's name do you think drew the ('horribly unfair') maps after the 2000 Census? Some wildly liberal Democrat-controlled Kansas Senate that I was apparently unaware of at the time?

Frederic Gutknecht IV 5 years ago

Nut job Jihad! Nut job Jihad! They've already burned down the entirety of their credibility and are now building a fortress of insanity for their golden calf.

trinity 5 years ago

^what JJ said. I am just shaking my head in disbelief. Well, kind of. These tools are so busy screaming at each other about redistricting, that they're totally blowing off other very pressing issues that MUST be addressed during their "overtime" sessions-um, hello, budget anyone??? So here a buttload of State employees sit, gearing up for an impending TWO day furlough next week. Why don't these fools STFU and get on with the business at hand??? I am so disgusted.

billbodiggens 5 years ago

What JJ said !!!! What trenity said !!! amen

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 5 years ago

Not sure why journalists are so soft on these Republican "moderates". Even the people in their own party know they're crooks. If they were moderates, they'd switch parties and become Democrats.

The JW needs to sic Rothschild on guys like Owens and Vratil and see just how much their activities in the legislature are a reflection of their law firms' clients interests and how much is actually done for their constituents. Are journalists just soft on them because they're Republicans?

irvan moore 5 years ago

so far over 100k in overtime pay for these idiots

wastewatcher 5 years ago

For the record, the moderate republicans did not compromise in the 2002 map. The current districts were drawn and passed by a coalition od conservative republicans and all of the democrats. Yes politics does indeed make strange bedfellows And the moderates were just as stubborn and wrongheaded in 2002 as they are in 2012. Check the facts.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

But it's 2012, and it's moderate Republicans and Democrats who have the votes in the Senate to approve a new map, not conservative Republicans, and traditionally, it's been left to each house to approve their own maps.

So who is being stubborn and wrongheaded in 2012?

Bob_Keeshan 5 years ago

The current maps were passed by conservatives, moderates, and democrats after compromise. The map passed by the coalition got 21 votes. It was vetoed. The map that arose when the moderates compromised got 29 votes and was signed by the Governor.

Look, it is facts. Do you have facts? No, you just have your same old lies.

somedude20 5 years ago

"We're in a political war," said state Sen. Susan Wagle

Gov. Sam Brownback, a conservative Republican, and the conservative-led House have opposed Senate-approved maps that were approved by a coalition of moderate Republicans and Democrats

State Sen. Pete Brungardt, R-Salina, said the process was poisoned by Brownback when the governor's allies made it clear they were going to try to defeat moderates in the Republican Party primary.

Wow!!! Susan, you and your ilk are in a war with America. Everything that is good and that has been fought for, the rights and laws that took decades to make, are all being undone. This is very much like giving up the car for a horse or your cell phone for a tin cup and string. I really hope that what has been going on allows citizen republicans to rethink their affiliation with their party and maybe vote for the better candidate and not just the one with the R next to the name

Shelley Bock 5 years ago

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Kansas redistricting, budget and taxation are getting absolutely zero interest from the national media. Kansas doesn't seem to matter to anyone but Kansans. Well, some Kansans.

jafs 5 years ago

One of my concerns about this is the $2.5 million or so of taxpayer dollars that may be spent on court cases, if/when they can't get their jobs done.

Maybe we could fine them for non-performance of their duties?

yourworstnightmare 5 years ago

How embarrassing and damaging to Kansas.

Patricia Davis 5 years ago

It's time for the moderate republicans and democrats in Kansas to realize if Kansas is ever to be freed from the evangelical Koch addicted monsters, we must work together. I hope all Democrats in the "targeted" districts switch to republican for the primary and vote these Brownback kissed conservatives out and elect moderate voices who believe in Kansas and have the will to lead instead of these idiots who lockstep march to the conservative can't get enough government in our vaginas out of business.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 5 years ago

Talk to your Democratic legislators. The so-called republican moderates can't be trusted. The only reason they aren't following the hard right party line isn't because they disagree ideologically, it's all about them, if you get my drift.

kansanjayhawk 5 years ago

Good luck I believe the legislature is reflective of the people who are truly conservative.

tolawdjk 5 years ago

I believe the legislature is reflective of the people who voted their respective representative into office.

But I'm not surprised you think the way you do. Your type always does.

Paul R Getto 5 years ago

"I hope all Democrats in the "targeted" districts switch to republican for the primary " === Good point. I used to switch back and forth, but just stayed with the R's after a bit. Picking off the craziest of the bunch in August can sometimes help provide more rational choices in November.

ThePilgrim 5 years ago

For all the talk of free markets, state's rights, and freedom, the Republicans are remarkably paternalistic in their leigislative behavior.

They insult the freedom of the citizen and voter as much as they accuse the Democrats of doing.

Fascism by any other name...

tolawdjk 5 years ago

Kansas redistricting a failure because Obama's budget was defeated? I've heard of some conspiracies before, but this is pretty far out there.

cowboy 5 years ago

Liar or completely misinformed , you tell me

"Just as they did in March in the House of Representatives, Republicans forced a vote on a bill that was supposed to resemble the president's budget, but wasn't actually the president's budget. A Republican Senator submitted it, and called for the vote.

This vote, on a Potemkin "Obama Budget," is not intended to be taken seriously. It's a stunt designed to get a slag into the newscycle, and they tend to work. What happens is a Republican legislator presents a "budget proposal" that's designed to be a satirical presentation of an "Obama budget." Democrats don't vote for it, because they recognize that it bears no resemblance to their budgetary preferences. '

Commenting has been disabled for this item.