Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): Le sigh. Roberts vs. Guy Related to Another Politician

Monday, September 16, 2013

Le sigh. Roberts vs. Guy Related to Another Politician

Word on the street, and in the Huffington Post: Milton Wolf will take on Sen. Pat Roberts next year. The duo will vie for the U.S. Senate seat that Roberts has held since before I entered grade school.

Everything about this story makes me feel all sick and queasy inside.

 I'm not even sure where to start with this so I'll just dive right in. Pardon the flighty nature of this post. It's Monday, and (see above) I'm fighting nausea. 

First, why is the Huffington Post breaking this story? (Maybe it ran somewhere else, but I read it on the Huff Post first.)

There are dozens of newspapers and media in Kansas and not one of them, like say, the Hays Daily News or the Dodge City Globe got this story first? Roberts was once the editor of the Globe. Shouldn't they be slobbering all over any Roberts-related news? Don't they have a reporter on Roberts like full-time. (That's rhetorical. Of course they don't. Newspapers are dying and they probably don't have a single full-time reporter left, let alone one devoted to all things the Singing Comedian Senator from Kansas.)

And what about the news media on the eastern end of the state? Wolf is from Johnson County, I think. Shouldn't he have called KSHB or Fox 4 News or something? I don't know. I don't like having the liberal Huffington Post breaking news in my backyard. It's icky and speaks to federalization or the centralization of everything and I don't like it.

OK. The politics of it all.

Milton Wolf, for those who don't know (and why would you?), is the second cousin twice removed of President Barack Obama. 

That's his claim to fame. I don't think the pair ever met before Obama was running for president, so it's hardly as if the two played in the sandbox or waited together for Santa's arrival on Christmas Eve. Apparently, all that's necessary in politics these days is a connection to someone political via ancestry.com. 

Setting that aside (for now), Wolf is a conservative who cut his teeth as a surgeon who opposed Obamacare. I can get behind that, although being the cousin of some guy shouldn't be the line on the resume that gets you noticed. But whatevs. That's where we are. I'm sure if I got on ancestry right now and discovered I'm a distant relative of the Kardashians, I'd be given my own talk show. So...

As soon as Wolf announced his quasi-intention, Republicans of all stripes started falling all over themselves to pledge their undying love for Roberts. For starters -- there's Rep. J.R. Claeys (the Huffpo's go-to source) slobbering all over Roberts in the story.

Claeys is quoted: "Pat Roberts has represented me and my family since I was two years old, and I don't see that changing anytime soon. Pat Roberts is not only an excellent representative of the people of Kansas, he is one of us. His history shows that he represents the people, the ideology. Frankly, he is beloved in Kansas."

Just so you all know, I had to clean up vomit under my desk after reading that quote.

"Beloved?" That's a bridge too far. 

I guess I can't speak for all Kansans (ahem. Neither can Claeys.) But, speaking for myself, I do not "love" or "belove" Roberts. He's tolerable. He seems like a nice enough guy. But it isn't like he's doing the Lord's work in Washington. He's going along to get along and doing the bare minimum required to retain re-election. I mean, good on him, but we can do better.

Our country deserves better than life-long politicians who refuse to give up the throne. And make no mistake: That's what's happening here. Roberts has been in Washington too long. He hasn't lived in Kansas since before I was born, and I am no spring chicken. He's lived in Washington. I actually take offense to the suggestion that he's a Kansan. If you don't think the filth of Washington washes off onto the people who live there, you  haven't met many of them. That's not being mean. That's just the truth. The elitism oozes from their very pores, and that's not just from the pores of Congressman and public officials. Spend a few days with anyone who was as staffer there for more than five years. I dare you. (Aside: Ironically, Roberts is one of the few people who has local staff members that appear to be actual regular people. His staff includes a small number of people who don't wear power suits, actually talk to the "little" people and aren't all under the age of 30. So he has that going for him.)

So, every single one of Kansas' Congressional delegation is fawning all over Roberts and making public statements of support for his re-election. I don't think for one second that it's due to their undying love for Roberts. It's that in Kansas politics, we have a certain way that we do things. (Actually, this is true of Republicans in general). And that way is simply: Wait Your Turn. (See John McCain/Mitt Romney nominations for GOP presidential candidate. Better yet, see Bob Dole's nomination circa 1996. New GOP Slogan: We.Never.Learn.)

Kansas' delegation (and party loyalists) believe that when Roberts decides to leave Washington, whoever is "next" in line should have Roberts' seat. 

That could be Congress woman Lynn Jenkins, now the senior member of our state's Congressional delegation. Or it could be Todd Tiarht, whose supporters will argue should have been the one to take Brownback's Senate seat. But Moran stepped out of line and "stole" it. The party activists will have to sort it out, and no matter what happens, there will be a nasty blood bath when Roberts decides to step aside.

I'll be honest. I'm going to do what I do every election and take a few shots (whiskey? vodka? 'Twill depend on my mood.) before I head to the polls next November. Without a doubt, I'll be voting for the lesser of two sub par candidates who I probably wouldn't vote to represent me on the local sandwich shop board. That's certainly the case between Roberts and Wolf.

My perfect candidate is a down-to-earth person who didn't start running for political office the day they entered pre-school. (Yeah, I'm talking to you, Sam Brownback, Kevin Yoder, and Mike Pompeo). They earned their way into the spotlight based on more than their last name (Ahem. Kathleen Sebelius. Milton Wolf.) Unfortunately, those folks are few and far between, and most of them decide to use their talents for good -- not for evil, like politics. 

All of that said, if given the option to vote for someone that isn't Pat Roberts, I'll probably take it. So Wolf would theoretically score at least one vote. So there's that.

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