Archive for Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Editorial: Democrats’ dilemma

Even if most of their ideas fall on deaf ears, Democratic legislators owe it to the people of Kansas to propose some meaningful alternatives on state policy.

January 19, 2016


Simply serving as the loyal opposition isn’t the best role for Democratic members of the Kansas House and Senate.

It’s understandable that Democrats, who represent a small minority in the Kansas Legislature, don’t want to spend the time and effort to draft complex legislative proposals that are likely to be rejected by the Republican leadership without ever receiving a hearing. But if Democrats don’t put forth plans of their own, they often are reduced to sniping at Republican proposals without being able to point to meaningful alternatives.

How they approach this issue reportedly is causing some division among Democratic legislators. Last week, the party’s House and Senate leaders released a list of “core values” they plan to fight for this year, but no specific proposals for how to achieve those goals. Some Democrats disagree with that strategy, saying they should turn those “values” into legislation that states a specific direction even if those bills are quickly rejected.

Just as a matter of basic fairness, it seems wrong to simply criticize proposals without being willing to present a plan of your own. Even if Democrats believe their proposals will receive no attention in the Republican-controlled Legislature, they might be noticed by members of the public, which could start shifting popular opinion on some issues.

Putting together and publicizing those plans also could benefit the party politically. Some Democrats see little point to formulating policy plans until they increase their numbers in the Legislature, but people would be far more likely to vote for Democrats if they see them proposing positive strategies for the state. Republicans still hold large voting majorities in most parts of Kansas, and simply being against Republican policies without presenting solid alternatives isn’t likely to get many Democrats elected to the Legislature.

Democratic leaders apparently believe that there is no possibility that any major legislation they propose will have a meaningful impact on what is approved by the Legislature. They could be right, but even if they fail, they might make some points that resonate with fellow legislators or the people of Kansas. You never know unless you try.


Michael Kort 2 years, 4 months ago

If they had any guts they would stand for recall elections of brownie and others but that would open the door to their own recall elections and they don't have the stomach for it or the monies for that kind of head on .

So, they find BUSSY WORK and now the media asks for more of the same BUSSY WORK and in so many years they will ask "what did they do for the last ?#^*+}{<>€@$&£¥!!! years ? ".

After all, how can you govern by recall elections, when you have no government to begin with,.... but for the wishes of the 1%ers and their hand picked & paid deed doers in Topeka ?

Maybe the media should ask what they are doing, or suggesting, save for running handouts from the press secretaries in Topeka, that don't require any heavy lifting to run in each issue .

I fault the media for dignifying the nonsence that comes out of Topeka, as if they will be cut off from easy work, if they seriously question the press release powers that in, removed from the canned press releases, that they seem to run daily to someone (?) who is mindless, that "all is well in Kansas and you can all go back to sleep ".

Just what we need to hear ?.......not !

Mike Wasikowski 2 years, 4 months ago

To say nothing of the number of signatures you'd have to collect to recall Governor Brownback (more than 400,000), recall elections in Kansas are constitutionally limited to a handful of grounds:

1) Felony conviction, 2) Misconduct in office, meaning "a violation of law by the officer that impacts the officer’s ability to perform the official duties of the office," 3) Incompetence, 4) Failure to perform lawfully prescribed duties.

Further, the Secretary of State is the one who certifies that the grounds for a recall petition are valid. Can you see Kris Kobach certifying any grounds except for a felony conviction? I can't.

Michael Kort 2 years, 4 months ago

I doubt that Koback would take a felony conviction to act to remove brownie unless he would end up sooner or later as governor, himself .

However, incompetence is a charge on brownie that would stick,....even if it is deliberate !

Michael Kort 2 years, 4 months ago

In defense of the media, at least 15% of the voters are looking foreword to reading or hearing bits and pieces of the next great press release from Smiling Sam, based on recent approval poles of his job performance .

It is also possible that those in the 15% are incapable of or simply choos not to read or listen to the news and thusly don't have a clue as to what they approve of ?

Glenda Susie Breese 2 years, 4 months ago

The news media is a for proffit entity. If no one reads or watches no money comes. All news sources have demacrat or republican backed ideals. America is it not great? Educate yourself as whose ideals you want. My ideals aline with the demacratic philosphy. America the great! I would not live anywhere else.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 years, 4 months ago

I think the Democrats need to propose, propose, propose. Let the proposals get turned down, and make sure the media knows about it. Let people see you trying to do something about governing our state, and let them know who is stopping you. Don't be the Republicans at the national level. Come on. Go for it.

Richard Crank 2 years, 4 months ago

At least the Democrats' dilemna is one whose damage is only to the party and its members. Republicans have created a .... well, I'm afraid dilemna seems far too mild to me so I'll use ... crisis with far-ranging negative consequences for the majority of Kansas citizens of both parties (the wealthy of both need not concern themselves). That the executive and legislative branches are preparing to use the report on proposed "government efficiency savings" supposedly amounting to billions to further worsen Kansans' lives should lead to a revolt against the status quo within the Republican party. But only Republicans can bring that about. We Democrats still can only stand by and watch.

Bob Forer 2 years, 4 months ago

I don't expect much at all. Brownback and Company are duplicitous, intellectually dishonest, serial liars ripe for the picking. And they have been at it for several years now destroying this state. The democrats should be in the news everyday hammering and exposing the continuous lies and duplicity of the RINOs. Instead, they sit at their hands and meekly smile, and only politely speak when spoken to. They are a bunch of wimps, including the Lawrence delegation. Perhaps they are more concerned with holding onto their position and perks and the perceived "respect" they enjoy from holding power.

I don't understand it. If they think by "being nice" they enhance their chances of democrats being elected and re-elected, they are dead wrong. The democrats have gone from 13 to 8 seats in the Senate during the time that the rightwing, lead by Koch money, has been seizing power. Their mistake was a tepid and abysmal strategy to out-republican the republicans, and in a State full of yellow-dog republicans and folks who are slightly naive and tend to believe what those in authority tell them, it's a losing strategy.

It wasn't that many years ago that Dr. Bill Roy almost unseated a very popular Bob Dole for the U.S. Senate. He was bright and likable. And also very liberal. But his liberalism, contrary to conventional wisdom, did not hurt him. He simply told it like it is, and hit hard at Dole's record and how Dole was hurting the State of Kansas. Dr. Roy, who passed away at a ripe old age last year, played hardball in a polite but firm way. And he was very effective. .

I blog quite frequently on this site. And it seems that a week doesn't go by without at least three or four issues of state politics in the press that are great opportunities to speak out and expose the scoundrels in Topeka for who and what they are. And I am not the only one.

If we can do this, why can't they?. They have a platform that we don't have. They have the public's ear, and not just locally, but in the entire state. If the dems are too cowardly to speak when the people are listening, then they need to step down and let others pursue the fight.

The republicans plays hardball. The dems don't even play softball, nor wiffle ball. They are playing Tee Wiffle Ball and are half a team and pounds of courage and conviction short.

The RINOs are destroying the State, but they wouldn't be doing it wiithout the complicity of the silent minority. I have a lot more respect for good and decent repuoblicans like Sandy Praeger, Wint Winter, et al, who had the courage to stand up and oppose their own party when Brownback was running for reelection. That took a lot of guts and human decency.

There is very little difference in this state between moderate, thinking Republicans and the garden variety democrat. As long as the candidate shows show fight and decency, I don't give a damn what letter follows their name.

Carol Bowen 2 years, 4 months ago

"Simply serving as the loyal opposition ..." This describes the national level, too. We need to hear proposals, not anti this and that.

Chad Steele 2 years, 4 months ago

Blame-shifting the problems created by Brownback onto the Democratic minority is absurd. The Democrats in the statehouse should take a page from the congressional Republicans and do nothing but vote to repeal the Brownback tax cuts. Their answer to every question should be to repeal the tax cuts that created the problem. Congress has voted 62 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Kansas Democrats should vote to repeal the Brownback tax cuts 62 times.

Carol Bowen 2 years, 4 months ago

That's a start, but we still need to hear alternative proposals.

Bob Forer 2 years, 4 months ago

No one is blame shifting. Many of us are merely suggesting that Democratic complacency is part of the problem.

Chad Steele 2 years, 4 months ago

That is blame-shifting. Democrats did not create the problem. They are powerless to change anything. If they contested every proposal with Shakespearean quality alternatives it would still not matter. Republicans control everything. They created the mess. They should own it.

Bob Forer 2 years, 4 months ago

Chad, you are ignoring the word "shifting." have you ever heard of blame-sharing? Sharing and shifting are two completely different concepts.

And even if you have the numbers, it doesn't mean that you sit on your hands quietly and smile. You might not realize this, but every once in a while they do debate issues on the floor of the State House. That is why there is one chamber for both parties, and not separate Democratic and Republican chambers. You can't change the numbers, but as my Jewish grandmother once said, "don't let anyone piss all over you. Open up your mouth."

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 years, 4 months ago

While I agree about not being complacent, and the Democrats need to be more vocal, and take off the gloves, so to speak; it is true that Democrats have little power. Doesn't mean that shouldn't get nasty, especially before the elections. But they need to point fingers at each and every one of the politicians who voted for this, and they were all Republicans. And any moderate Republicans running against incumbents need to do the exact same thing. The blame needs to be pointed at those in power. Don't let them back out of the responsibility.

Bob Forer 2 years, 4 months ago

There is power in persuasion. Regardless of whether it is oratorial brilliance or a lot of hot air, you still gotta open up your mouth.

Michael Kort 2 years, 4 months ago

Does anyone think that the republicans won't go back to the well of press releases that have worked so very well before whenever the democrats propose anything ?

Buzz words like , LIBERALS, LEFT WINGers, TAX AND SPENDers,, JUDICIAL ACTIVISTS,.....they will be rerunning press releases from many years back and the media doesn't mind working as an agent to help the brainwashed to stay that way, by never really calling the republicans on that .

Of course, if the democrats aren't suggesting anything,........the cycle stops......and all of the news that is fit to be news, is then about the current and future budget short falls ...cuts to state services.....and the next expensive study that just adds to the deficit ........all of which leaves the brainwashed to wonder, if perhaps their was something going on for all of these years, that the media wasn't alerting them to .

Truthfully, the brainwashed in Kansas have brainwashed themselves but in a moment of political silence, they might begin to review their choices ? It's kind of like giving them a political "TIME-OUT" .

Who wouldn't suggest that the legislative and executive do away with their tax cuts and refund our government, at the rate that it was funded, plus inflation or the cost of reality, to the level that it was before their "tax experiment gone wrong" , refund the schools, leave the court system, how it runs and its' needed funding, alone ( and leave the appointment of judges, to judges, who know and respect the law - no more lobbyist errand boys, like Justic Stegall ).

Maybe the media should be going to the republicans with hard questions about why they insist on perusing failed financial policies here in Kansas and their unconstitutional meddling in the business of the state court systems ?

Michael Kort 2 years, 4 months ago

It would be great if they pushed for Medicaid expansion, to save the rural hospitals who treat the uninsured from going bankrupt, as well as to provide health care coverage to 130,000 uninsured poorer Kansan's, many of whom are rural voters .

If the republicans get tired of recycling their same old used press releases yet another time, perhaps they could steal a line from the Charles Dickens' obsessive 18th century Scrooge, that express their true feelings about the Medicaid issue; " then let them die...and decrease the surplus population ! " .

Bob Smith 2 years, 4 months ago

The Democrats best hope for a decent candidate next go around. Last time was a train wreck .

Bob Forer 2 years, 4 months ago

I agree, Bob. Davis turned out to be a very poor candidate. and pretty much ran a lackluster campaign. Nice guy, and I don' blame him personally, other than the fact that his choice of political advisers sucked.

Michael Kort 2 years, 4 months ago

Well, how about the democrats pushing for Medicaid expansion for 130,000 uninsured Kansans and the rural hospitals who are going bankrupt treating them ?

Of course will will have to listen to the same old republican excuses for not doing that ( corporat welfare comes create jobs that will materialize from the heavens with Jesus.....any day now,......and for some strange reason we just happen to be too broke financially as a state to consider that.....must be global warming, crop circles or something is bad in the states horoscope )

Of course they could really speak their hearts by saying " then let them die and decrease the surplus population ! " to continue welfare for the 1%ers and the want to bees .

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