Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): December 2012

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Poor Lynn

How embarrassing for Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins. As a member of party leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives she now constantly finds herself standing next to Speaker of the House John Boehner.

I'm not sure standing next to that jelly-spined Boehner as he helps the Democrats throw even more taxpayer money off the fiscal cliff is good for her career.

I pretty much only have to look at Boehner's spray tan to know that he's going to cave to the Democrats on the ongoing fiscal mess. Anyone who is so concerned with image that they'll spend thousands of dollars and hours of time to make their skin look that ridiculous color of orange is going to be too worried about the Democrats and media saying something bad about them to do the right thing.

Stand back, Lynn and duck out of those photo opportunities. I don't see how sitting next to that guy as he drives off the fiscal cliff gets you anywhere but on fire at the bottom of a precipice.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

As expected, it's Sciolaro

As  anticipated, Vicki Sciolaro will chair the Third District Republican Party. Gavin Ellzey will take be second-in-command. Arlene Krings will serve as Secretary and Shawn Shipp is treasurer. All candidates were elected via acclimation.

All told, there were more people at this re-organization meeting than I expected. It was a fairly packed house. Rep. Kevin Yoder and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer gave speeches and did some schmoozing, but it was otherwise largely uneventful. It was far less painful than the county party re-organization which dragged on for what seemed like a lifetime.

The Johnson County Republican Party released a list of delegates to the state committee this afternoon, so you've probably already seen this, but just in case:

This list is interesting for a variety of reasons, but I don't have the time right now to get into it. Stay tuned. Mostly, the list strikes me as slightly more conservative than in previous years. I think that's a good thing, but there are what I would call a few Todd Akin-types on here.

I have nothing against Todd Akin, but that guy's ability to talk to the issues in ways that didn't make most people shudder was legendary. There are several of that ilk on this list. I can't go much further into it without giving myself away, trust me, they're here.

And now I've laid down a marker so I can later say, See!

Third District State Delegates
alpha order
(Johnson County)
Chad Bettes
Bill Biollot
Mike Brown
Mary Kay Culp
Cynthia Daugherty
Jim Denning
Marearl Denning
Gavin Ellzey
Tim Golba
Beverly Gossage
Amanda Grosserode
Nancy Hanahan
Lloyd Hanahan
Karl Hansen
Leah Herron
Barbara Kriegshauser
John Dennis Kriegshauser
Arlene Krings
David Lightner
Earl Long
Michael McGovern
Ronnie Metsker
Susan Metsker
Kay O'Connor
Mike Pirner
Alex Poulter
Doris Riley
John Ruben
Leslie Schmidt
Charles Sciolaro
Vicki Sciolaro
Stephen Shute
Greg Smith
Missy Smith
Yvonne Starks
John Toplikar
(Miami County)
Jack Burcham
(Wyandotte County)
Thomas Barnes
Patricia Stoneking

Third District Alternate Delegates
alpha order
(Johnson County)
Nancy Beverage
Shenon Bone
Marla Brems
Kimberly Brown
Dale Chaffee
Shawn Cowing
Greg Cromer
Robyn Essex
Robert Gossage
Alice Hansen
Anne Hodgdon
Brandon Kenig
Maryteresa Kissell
Gary Krings
Patricia Lightner
Michele Lockwood
Craig McPherson
Michael Moore
Barbara Oakes
Mark Rinke
Roberta Rubin
Rachel Sciolaro
Lynsey Sciolaro
David Seldner
Stephen Sipp
Ken Smith
Linda Steinbrink
Chad Tenpenny
Thomas Treacy
Mary Ann Waldenmeyer
Carl Walston
Edna Wheeler
Larry Wolf
Milton Wolf
(Miami County)
David Miller
(Wyandotte County)
Shawn Shipp
Joe Ward

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Coronation Tonight?

Third District Delegates will elect delegates to the state GOP committee tonight.

I've heard very, very little about what will go down at tonight's gathering.

What I do know:

There will be at least two separate slates of delegates. As is typical, there will likely be crossover -- some individuals will make it onto both slates.

As for leadership, I only know of one slate -- that of Vicki Sciolaro and Gavin Ellzey.

The state committee assists in penning the state party's platform. I'm going to be repetitive, but I'll say these things again in hopes that maybe, just maybe, tonight's voters will take these things into consideration.

Candidates for all offices and delegates who are not already public officials should be given preference over those who already serve in public office. I personally believe the Republican Party should be a bottom-up party and not the other way around. Gov. Sam Brownback et. all should not be writing the platform. He should represent the platform as it is written by members of the party. Of course, his input, as well of the input of other elected officials, should be considered. (And ideally, we should all be on the same page, but realistically, there is room for discussion and disagreement on certain points.)

Candidates who will actually attend the state committee meetings should also be given preference. It's bizarre the number of people who end up on these slates and as delegates who rarely bother to show. As it's done today, I'm not sure there's anyway to account for who shows but voters tonight, it is something you should consider as you cast a ballot tonight.

Tonight's delegates will assist in electing new statewide party leadership. To date, I only know of one slate, but that could change. Those elected tonight will determine how partywide leadership shakes out. Will it be Kelly Arnold and friends or someone else.

P.S. If you know of another slate running for statewide leadership or for Third District leadership and would like to send me a message, feel free to private message me on Twitter, email me, or leave an anonymous comment.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Redistricting 2.0 -- This Time it's Even More Dumber

So this seems like a terrible idea.

Senate President Susan Wagle is open to attempting to redistrict the Kansas Legislature. The state is required to redistrict every 10 years two years after the decennial U.S. Census. They of course failed in 2012, and the courts did the job for them.

Redistricting was delayed and messy, and the Republicans still won in a landslide, despite district lines that I thought (wrongly, it appears) favored less-than-conservatives. The lines aren't perfect, and I'm not particularly happy with my own district.

It is unclear whether the legislature is legally able to redistrict more often than prescribed. It shouldn't be tested. This is Pandora's Box.

Right now, it seems like a grand idea -- conservatives swept the state of Kansas like a Colorado wildfire in July. BUT that may not always be the case. Less than six years ago, almost every statewide administrative office was held by a Democrat.

If in the future there is some anomaly that sees the Democrats take a majority of the state legislature, do we want them redistricting in an off year just to give themselves an added push down the road? The answer is no.

And let's not forget what people in power tend to do with power: Abuse it. I can see a future in which every legislature redistricts just to shore up their power. Why run in a district that is +7 Republican when you can redraw the lines to give yourself an even greater advantage in two years?

I am not impressed with this discussion and if members of the Legislature have one single wit amongst them, they will shut it down quickly. 

Bob Dole in a wheelchair

Just because Bob Dole advocates for something, that doesn't mean it's right or that it can't be questioned. Or that the opposition is extreme. And the fact that he's in a wheelchair doesn't mean his support of an issue deserves additional credence.

I do not know why this is so, so tricky to understand. But this is the world we live in. If someone has a sob story, we're supposed to just fall to our knees and agree with them. A cancer patient thinks the government should raise a sales tax solely for the purpose of cancer research? Well, if you oppose that on the the grounds of, and I'm just spitballing here, that cancer research really isn't the appropriate role of the government, you really just hate people with cancer and hope they die.

The vicious, stupid memes I've seen today in my Facebook feed, tell me that a whole lot of people deserve a sharp slap with a wet fish.

Here are a few reasons why not approving the U.N. Treaty on disability rights was the correct decision:

1. The treaty did not include a definition of "disabled." This means the term would be defined by a bunch of U.N. bureaucrats at a later date. These are the same fools who regularly call Israel a "terrorist nation" for having the gall to protect itself. We can't trust their judgment.

2. The treaty declares that the state is in charge of determining what is in the "best interests of the disabled child." Because that's worked sooooo well here with IEPs. (Ask the parent of a disabled child in the public schools how those IEPs are working out for them.) Now, instead of having some local person who you can sit across the table of in charge of the welfare of your child, you get some U.N. bureaucrat who may not even understand your culture making the decisions. This sounds like a real bang-up plan.

3. Speaking of cultures, one section of the treaty involves the "economic, social and cultural rights" of the disabled. I shudder to think what "social and cultural" rights even means.

4. The U.S. is already the worldwide leader in rights of the disabled, and this treaty does not bring other nations up to our standards. It just gives other nations a say in what we do. No thanks.

These are just a few of the concerns with the treaty. But there are also fiscal concerns. The treaty has some financial obligations that again, will do NOTHING to benefit any person in the U.S. -- except I guess the lucky chosen few who get to travel to Geneva once a year for a "conference" on the topic.

I apologize for the ranting nature of this post. It's here, because I just know the people blasting the Republicans for not falling to their knees in the presence of Kansas' Bob Dole have not read one single thing about what's in the actual treaty. Their knowledge is based solely on the fact that a man in a wheelchair advocated for it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Give Huelskamp a medal

Don't believe the rumors the mainstream media are spreading about Kansas Congressman Tim Huelskamp.

He was dropped from the House Budget Committee today by U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner. And local media is prepping to tarnish Huelskamp as a crazy zealot who isn't a team player.

Huelskamp should wear that like a badge of honor. The very last thing the U.S. Congress needs is more "team players."

That is code language for the unprincipled.

I don't know Huelskamp, but I have a great respect for him. Because he isn't afraid to speak the truth -- even at tremendous personal cost -- we should be prepared to stand behind him. Here's what Newsmax had to say about Huelskamp's unceremonious dumping.

Here's what the Congressman had to say:

"It is little wonder why Congress has a 16 percent approval rating: Americans send principled representatives to change Washington and get punished in return," Congressman Huelskamp said. "The GOP leadership might think they have silenced conservatives, but removing me and others from key committees only confirms our conservative convictions. This is clearly a vindictive move, and a sure sign that the GOP Establishment cannot handle disagreement."
"I am not at all ashamed of any of the principled, conservative stances I took in the past two years, including:
  • "Efforts to hold Republicans to the "Pledge to America" – a promise Washington Republican leadership made before I was even elected – to cut $100 billion in 2011 and to restore transparency and openness in the legislative process;
  • "Voting against and publicly criticizing the 2011 debt limit increase that lacked substantial limits on Washington's spending and borrowing powers – a bill that failed to avert the nation's credit rating downgrade - and led to the current "fiscal cliff;"
  • "Attempting to curb the explosion in food stamp spending and other entitlements;
  • "Ending handouts to big business;
  • "Refusing to withdraw key pro-marriage and pro-life amendments when requested by members of the GOP leadership; and
  • "Just recently issuing a public challenge to all 238 GOP colleagues, including every member of Leadership, to reaffirm their pledges to oppose tax increases."
"Kansans who sent me to Washington did so to change the way things are done – not to provide cover for Establishment Republicans who only give lip service to conservative principles. If the rest of America is anything like the 700,000 Kansans I represent, then they know that the fiscal and cultural crises facing our nation require drastic changes to the way things are done in Washington – not just symbolic gestures or more of the same."

The Noobs

 Although not yet sworn-in, the members of the 2013 Kansas Legislature started swinging for the fences yesterday. (I apologize for not getting to this sooner, but time waits for no man. Not even Gidget, and Gidget was super, super busy with all the Topeka happenings and what not.)

As you're all aware, the newbies elected leadership for the upcoming term. I can't say there were any major surprises, but we learned a few things yesterday.

As expected Sen. Ray Merrick (and Rep.-elect Merrick, odd, no?) will serve as Speaker of the House. There was never any doubt whether the new speaker would be from Johnson County as all three candidates are from the Golden Ghetto. I had heard Merrick had the votes to win the thing, and he did. However, it wasn't exactly a run-away.

In the first ballot, which included Lance Kinzer, Arlen Siegfried and Merrick, Siegfried escaped with the most tallies -- 41. Merrick had 38 and Kinzer accumulated 13. (I have to assume these were sympathy votes?? Or favors owed, because as much as I like Kinzer, he's not up to the job.) Once Kinzer was eliminated, there was very little doubt, at least in my mind, of who would walk away with the prize -- Merrick.

An interesting tidbit, Olathe's Bob Montgomery, of the 15th District, finally publicly admitted he will not serve in the upcoming session. He dropped the worst worst kept secret in the history of Kansas, as he was nominating Arlen for the Speaker's job. Weird nomination speech, but OK.

Meanwhile, over in the Senate, Sen. Susan Wagle of Wichita handily defeated Sen. Steve Abrams of Arkansas City. The final tally was 23-9. 

I'm kind of grossed out about all of the fawning over the first woman elected to serve as Senate President. Haven't we moved past that? Kansas has had a women in the Governorship, in the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House -- everywhere. This tiny historical post script is unlikely to make little girls dream big. So, can we get over ourselves? K, thanks.Also, an small icky factor in the "cancer survivor" schtick. This was mentioned repeatedly and it's not really relevant to the role of Senate President.

Also of note in the race -- Sen. Pat Apple, partially of Johnson County, nominated Sen. Abrams, who was defeated, kind of, in epic fashion. I have Apple pegged as one of the last holdouts of the Kansas RINOs, and his speech on behalf of Abrams suggests I might be correct.

Back in the House, I was disappointed that Amanda Grosserode did not win the job of Majority Whip. She is an excellent legislator. Although deeply principled (and conservative!) she walks the line between going along to get along and advocating for the conservative positions extremely well. People like her, even when they disagree with her. That's a skill that so, so few principled people possess. The House was stupid, stupid to overlook her for the job.

Rep. Brian Weber of Dodge City got the bid. I know nothing about the guy, but I have trouble imaging he will be better at the job than Grosserode.

While we're on the topic of individuals -- I'd like to nominate Rep. Marvin Kleeb for least original nomination speech. Kleeb gave a speech on behalf of Rep. Marc Rhoades for Majority Leader. Kleeb used each letter in the word "leadership" to make the case for Rhoades. Meh. It sounded like a speech I once wrote in junior high. (Rep. Kleeb, I'm a pretty good writer and will write future speeches for you for a very nominal fee! Just let me know!)

Finally, my least favorite thing about leadership elections: They are done by secret ballot. Legislative leaders are extremely important with the power to kill or move legislation in a way that your average representative, committee chair or senator can not. I personally believe every vote cast as a public official should be public.

Senate Leadership
President - Sen. Susan Wagle, Wichita
Vice President - Sen. Jeff King, Independence
Majority Leader - Sen. Terry Bruce, Hutchinson
Assistant Majority Leader - Sen. Julia Lynn, Olathe
Assistant Majority Whip - Sen. Garrett Love (R-Montezuma)

House Leadership
Speaker - Rep. elect Ray Merrick, Stilwell
Speaker Pro Tem - Rep. Peggy Mast, Emporia
Majority Leader - Rep. Jene Vickrey, Louisburg
Assistant Majority Leader - Rep. David Crum, Augusta
Majority Whip - Rep. Brian Weber, Dodge City
Majority Caucus - Rep. Kyle Hoffman, Coldwater

Mods are up again

Last week, I theorized that the new political group deeming itself "Moderate Kansas" was the brain child of liberal Republicans disappointed in the decidedly conservative turn of events during last August's Republican primaries. (The mods lost, overwhelmingly.)

A handy, anonymous researcher posted here that error of my thinking. It appears "Moderate Kansas" was created to raise the Kansas Democrats from the ashes. The group's website is registered to Aaron Estabrook, a Manhattan Democrat. You can find a little more about him here. (Long story shorter -- he's for women's rights, education and fair taxes. These are all code words for raging liberal.)

But, not to despair, you Democrats in Elephants' Clothing, err RINOs. It appears the Kansas moderate Republicans are doing some planning on their own. I can't take the credit for this find either. I got the information via email from an informant. (Not sure if he'd like to be named or not, so I'll maintain his anonymity.)

He learned that political action committee, Kansas Traditional Republican Majority Political Action Committee, is essentially made up of the players for the Senate Republican Leadership  Committee. (SRLC)

The SRLC was chaired by Stephen Morris, the former President of the Kansas Senate, in 2009. Last November, the group's statement of organization was amended to make Ryan Wright of Topeka the chairperson and treasurer.

Two weeks later, the Kansas Traditional Republican PAC amended its statement of organization to name Ryan Wright the chairperson and treasurer.

I have not had time to really do my due diligence on either of these groups, so I can offer no opinion on what any of it means. But, I'll say this: I'm sure meaning exists there.

The RINOs will be back, though their numbers were decimated in the last election, there are still a few in the Kansas Legislature.