Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe)

Monday, April 30, 2018

Congressional Candidate Watkins Prepares for Matrimony with Planned Parenthood Award Winner

I have good news and bad news for fans of Second Congressional District candidate Steve Watkins. The West Point grad and former Airborne Ranger is getting married on May 12th. (Though a website at The Knot devoted to the couple has since been scrubbed, Google handily caches that stuff.)

Normally, I'd simply say, congratulations, and it's about time. Matrimony is awesome! However, there's something voters should know about Watkins' bride. It's something I would want to know as I considered the (overwhelming) number of Republican candidates for Congress in the Second District.

Fong Liu, Watkins' intended, is a Planned Parenthood award winner. Liu is an OB-GYN. When she was in medical school, she served on the board of Planned Parenthood Alabama, and won the 2004 Young Volunteer of the Year Award  (page 21) from the organization.

She earned the honor by being a "patient escort, lobbyist, educator and past president of her local chapter of Medical Students for Choice."

For me, this disqualifies Watkins as a viable Republican candidate for U.S. Congress. It's not uncommon for a candidate to have a spouse with differing political views, but this isn't a soft-sort of difference of opinion about something like tax policy. This shows a dramatic moral departure from what most Kansas Republicans demand from their Congressional candidates.

Looking the other way is unconscionable. Giving a Congressional platform that will allow a rabid abortion supporter access to lobby on behalf of Planned Parenthood is intolerable for me.

Liu is an obstetrician and gynecologist who has lobbied on behalf of Planned Parenthood, an organization that sells baby body parts. This is a woman who walked pregnant women in to meet their babies' executioners.

I can't find anywhere online in which Liu denounces her prior support or reveals a change of heart. If I were a voter in the Second Congressional District, I would need to see an Abby Johnson-sized turn in order to support Watkins' candidacy. I just can't stomach the potential damage of having her rubbing elbows with policy makers if her deepest political principle is ensuring abortion on demand and using taxpayer money to do it.

I don't live in Kansas' Second District, but I am happy to report there are a number of great candidates in that race. Pro-life voters have several choices so they can cast a vote that doesn't mar their conscience in any way.

I sincerely wish Watkins and Liu the happiest of marriages when they enter matrimony May 12, but if Watkins has an ounce of pro-life principle in his body, he will abort his campaign rather than provide his wife an opportunity to advance her favorite cause of abortion through his candidacy.

Side note: Folks should probably take a look at donors to Watkins' PAC and his campaign. I hear there are some politically savvy folks behind him, and this makes me wonder if they knew this and found it acceptable. 

Friday, March 23, 2018

Guy Who May Not Actually Know Any Republicans Attempts to Handicap GOP Race

Serious question: Have Steve Kraske or his affable side kick from Lawrence ever met an actual Republican voter?

My guess, based on a recent column, is no. I want to preface everything I'm about to say with this: Contrary to what you may have heard, I don't have a horse in the Kansas Governor's race. I really like the GOP candidates, and I have grave concerns about each of them. (And if you're all lucky, maybe I'll regale you with Deep Thoughts on the topic in the future.)

In the meantime, Kraske's most recent effort at handicapping the race is just laughable.  Kraske theorizes, accurately, that Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach was likely the man to beat in the GOP primary for Governor. 

"Suddenly, though, January morphed into March, and Kobach is looking nothing like King Kong," Kraske breathlessly tells readers.

Everyone with two functioning brain cells knew the race would tighten when Colyer became Governor, based on the advantages of incumbency. When some of the candidates dropped out of the crowded race, the field was bound to narrow further. That one is based on math.

Kraske quotes an old poll conducted on Feb. 13 and 14 that found Gov. Jeff Colyer with a lead within the margin of error of 23 percent to Kobach's 21 percent. The poll included other candidates like Wink Hartman and Mark Hutton who have dropped out. And it was taken at the height of positive coverage for Colyer. He had just taken the Governor's office less than two weeks earlier. Since then, Hartman, who polled at 5 percent, has become Kobach's running mate. Does Kobach pick up that 5 percent? It's tough to say, but my gut says probably. A more recent poll suggests that too. 

Kraske's other exhibits for his thesis is Kobach's last campaign finance report. Kobach was lighter on funds than other candidates. Here again, that's yesterday's news. Kobach just named one of the state's wealthiest people as his running mate. Hartman was willing to ply his own campaign with $1.6 million of his own money. Will he drop a cool million into a joint ticket? Who knows? It's a plot twist that shouldn't be overlooked by Kraske and his faithful professorial sidekick. The money game is different today than it was back in January.

Kraske's final point is that Kobach's recent trial versus the ACLU went poorly, and here is where it starts to become obvious that the columnist is just penciling a tome of wistful thinking: No one except a handful of journalists and the "resistance" paid any attention to that trial. (Full disclosure: One of the attorneys involved once represented me in a legal matter.) Most members of the "resistance" aren't voting in the Republican primary.

Republican voters weren't following along that trial trying to choose a gubernatorial horse in the race. Republican voters aren't breathlessly awaiting a verdict. They paid about as much attention to the media coverage of that trial as I pay to American Idol. (Is that show still even a thing?)

No matter how that particular event shakes out, it will be a tree falling in the forest with no one around to hear it save for Bryan Lowry. 

Why do I have this picture of a young Lowry? I don't know. Someone sent it to me a few years ago. 

The idea that a stampede of Republican voters is going to base their votes on it is ridiculous. It is, however, likely to be mentioned in every story about Kobach until the end of time. 

The Star columnist glosses over a recent poll, released by the Kobach campaign so grain of salt etc., that found 31 percent of likely voters choose Kobach to 18 percent for Colyer. Its margin of error is 4.4 percent. 

That poll was conducted between March 15 and 17. It's a lot fresher than the poll on which Kraske hangs his hat. It suggests that 36 percent of those polled are still undecided in the race. Those are the likely targets of Kraske's pitch, but most Republican voters--especially those who vote in midterm primary elections--don't pick up the Star all that often. 

Bottom line: It's a little early to make sweeping generalizations about the state of the GOP race, especially if you're someone who doesn't know any actual Republican voters.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

In Which Gidget Plays Fun Killer

Lawmakers are invited to Skinny's tonight for an annual drunken karaoke event. 

Yes, it's the middle of the session. Yes, half of them have families at home who they've barely seen, and no, they still haven't decided what they'll do about school finance.

But they're headed to Skinny's in Topeka tonight to drink and make merry with lobbyists who organize the debauchery. The event begins at 9 p.m., but the real fun starts much later when liquid courage draws them to the microphone.

It sounds fun, but the optics are awful.