Views from Kansas: Absurd claims about Bollier

Editor’s Note: Views from Kansas is a regular feature that highlights editorials and other viewpoints from across the state.

One ad paid for by the U.S. Senate campaign of Republican Rep. Roger Marshall superimposed the photo of his Democratic opponent, Kansas state Sen. Barbara Bollier, over a sky that’s black with smoke. “SILENT,” it says in giant letters. “Liberals like Barbara Bollier are silent as streets are ransacked and cities looted. Instead of backing our trusted police in Kansas, Bollier backs the Biden/Schumer agenda.”

No Kansas streets have been ransacked.

No Kansas cities have been looted.

And the only Kansas police we’re aware of having been criticized in any serious way are in Kansas City, Kan., where the Kansas Bureau of Investigation launched a 2019 criminal investigation into sexual assault and other allegations against retired detective Roger Golubski.

Bollier has not been SILENT, or even silent; on the contrary, she has spoken out against violence at protests elsewhere in the country.

Trying to paint the retired anesthesiologist, who until last year was a Republican, as the face of antifa in upscale Mission Hills is even more of a stretch than the unsuccessful but identical attack on Gov. Laura Kelly as the “far-left opponent” of Kris Kobach in 2018.

That’s the plan, though, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee last week launched a similar ad: “Say no to the mob, say no to Barbara Bollier,” the committee tweeted.

In an interview last Friday, Marshall tried his best to sell the risible idea that the top concern of suburban Kansas women is the threat posed by the “terrorist groups” who support police reform in their state.

“When I’m knocking doors, the No. 1 concern I’m hearing, especially from suburban women, is fear for their family,” Marshall said.

“You know, in Hutchinson, Kansas, a month or two ago, I got phone calls from concerned citizens that one of these terrorist groups were organized — were going to be in downtown Hutchinson breaking up windows and tearing up Main Street, and I think indeed there probably was some truth to that,” Marshall said. There was? There was no destruction at all, as it turned out.

“They must have got scared,” Marshall said of the peaceful protesters. In fact, it’s the rest of us he’s trying to scare.

Hutchinson Police Chief Jeff Hooper said, “All of our protests that we have had here — and there’s been a few — all of them have been peaceful.”

But hey, things could still go terribly wrong, right?

Asked for examples of Kansas police Bollier should have defended and did not, Eric Pahls, Marshall’s campaign manager, pointed us to a news story about the mayor of Lawrence supporting a reform agenda that includes “decriminalizing behaviors related to homelessness and drug addiction and establishing mental health and crisis response teams.”

“To do this,” the story Pahls cited said, the mayor “wants a percentage of city funds that go to law enforcement to be reallocated to partners or employees in areas that address those issues.”

So, has Marshall spoken out about this threat to police in Lawrence? Not specifically, no, but he “has been speaking out against defunding police for months.”

“We’ve seen all over the country our police come under attack either financially or violently,” Pahls said. “She hasn’t been bothered to say a word about it.” That isn’t so.

In a recent Facebook post, Bollier said, “As I stated back in June, I always condemn violence and the destruction of property of any kind. … I do not support efforts to defund the police. I have always supported law enforcement and worked to keep our communities safe. I pledge to continue that support when I’m in the U.S. Senate. I also pledge to listen to our communities of color who are crying out for help and support. … I can do both — support our police and support the need to always push toward a nation that lives up to its ideals to treat everyone equally.”

Pahls also cited some community activists who favor defunding police who planned to speak at a Wichita City Council meeting last month and a Salina Journal profile of a Topeka activist for police reform who does not actually support defunding at all.

Marshall’s whole campaign is based on trying to turn Barbara Bollier, who is barely a Democrat at all, into the Angela Davis of Johnson County. Which is not just cynical, but absurd.

— Originally published in The Kansas City Star


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