Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): 2014

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Libs do work conservatives should be doing

 Yesterday, I wrote about how conservatives should take a page from the Mormons, sending conservative evangelists out into the world.

Look who is doing that already? The ad below is on Craigslist.


 Start Your Progressive Political Career! Apply to be a Director

compensation: $24,000 + Healthcare & Benefits!

Grassroots Campaigns is a progressive organization that specializes in running face-to-face campaigns for political parties, candidates, and advocacy groups. By running campaigns on behalf of groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union, Democratic National Committee, the Nature Conservancy and the Sierra Club we can focus on building up their membership and base of support. Also, through running field campaigns for candidates and other political organizations we can mobilize citizens to be more actively engaged and involved in politics.
Since 2003, Grassroots Campaigns has worked with many of the most progressive organizations and political candidates to date.  Our campaigns have been on the front line of a variety of social change movements and historic elections.  Our goal is to grow the progressive movement through face-to-face outreach.
Canvass Directors and Assistant Canvass Directors manage one of our 30 grassroots fundraising field offices across the country, with bottom-line responsibility for all local operations.
Job Responsibilities:
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Strong communication and motivational skills, work ethic, and desire for political change are essential.  Candidates must be able to work within a team, have proven leadership ability and experience handling a lot of responsibility. Strong self-direction and the ability to take initiative are also necessary qualifications. Previous field or canvassing experience is a plus, and may qualify candidates for additional leadership positions.
Newly hired directors will typically spend three weeks doing field training, working intensely alongside experienced directors and will also attend week-long national classroom training.  Additionally, directors receive support from regional management staff throughout their time on staff.  After one year in the position, staff will have learned the basics of running a successful grassroots campaign, including, but not limited to, fundraising and donor recruitment, hiring and supervising staff and/or volunteers, and turf management.
Campaign hours can run 60-80 hours per week, including work on weekends.
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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Conservatives should take a page from the Mormons

Republicans are falling behind in the battle to win the hearts and minds of the American people.

We ceded a big part of the fight when we handed over all of our school children to the nearest indoctrination centers, but now it's time to fight back.

Once this election is over, it will be time to turn our attention to the long game. And I don't mean winning the 2016 presidential election, although yeah, we should probably work on that too. 

In the meantime, however, we need to go about winning more of the electorate, not because we want power, but because we want our country to be the very best it can be. It's time to return this country to the Shining City on the Hill.

We're not going to do that through internet advertising and television commercials. Changing the culture requires personal, one-on-one attention.

And here's where we take a page from the Mormons: If I were in charge of the Republican Party, I think I'd open and staff small offices in communities that we can slowly turn to our side.  I do not mean an office in Leawood. Johnson County is red -- bordering on deep red. Paul Davis lost Johnson County. The conservative evangelists preached the message in the Golden Ghetto and it stuck. This county doesn't need to be brought to the Republican table. We're already there, pouring the drinks and refreshing the snack bowls.

I am going to use the Third District as an example, however. Though if this Mormon-like outreach is to be on a national scale, Kansas is probably not where I would start to evangelize conservative ideas. Someone with more data (and time to parse it) can probably name the right place.

We need to reach people on their turf, rather than expecting people to come to us. In the third district, Republicans need to move the needle in Kansas City, Kan. There's a large minority population. Many of the families there are headed by a single parent -- this is not the traditional Republican demographic. But Republicans need to reach both are demos -- minorities and single-parent households -- if we're to be successful as a party in the future.

So, in these small offices, likely in urban, under-served communities, we staff the Republican-equivalent of Mormon missionaries -- without the bicycle helmets. Their mission is a campaign that never ceases. Ever. And the job of these missionaries is more than just winning people to our side -- it's winning hearts and minds one person at a time.

The Republican evangelists, if you will, will continue to go door-to-door even when it isn't campaign season. They'll meet three or four times a year with church leaders in their station. They'll meet with community leaders in their station, and they'll use the off time to determine what it is exactly each community needs, and then they'll work to solve those problems.

For example, they land on a doorstop and learn that the neighborhood park is on the verge of condemnation. Our fearless Republican missionaries will work to solve the problem, primarily using private donations and regular, everyday citizens. (They should know a few of them by now, because they've been hitting doorsteps and community meetings regularly.)

There is a mantra among writers: Show, don't tell. If you have a character who sings well, you don't write "Shelly had a voice like an angel." Instead, you write that "The audience rose to its feet cheering when Shelly finished her solo during the school play." Show, don't tell.

That's the point of private citizens solving the park problem with little help of the local government. The people who live in those neighborhoods often have never witnessed what the private sector can do. We need to be catalysts to show them.

Often when a politician comes to the door and listens to a problem, they offer government solutions. They'll sponsor a bill or get in touch with Government Program A. It's job security, I guess, but it "shows" people that government is the solution. We need to do better.

In addition to going door-to-door, these conservative evangelists should be identifying the next generation of conservative leaders. These are the folks they'll call on when they learn about the dilapidated park. Their also the people they'll recruit to run for school boards and city councils. 

I know it sounds insane, but if I were in charge, conservatives would have people out knocking on doors every single day, and organizing massive canvassing projects every few months, instead of once every few months.

Fortunately, there are groups doing some of this. I notice Americans for Prosperity is hiring part-time field directors all over the country. And they organized several efforts during this last election cycle. I really hope they plan to continue that meaningful work.

The DailyKos figured this out in late September: Democrats were spending money hiring professional staff to oversee volunteers and efforts, while Republicans were spending their war chests on television ads and mail. That's so 1985 of the GOP.

I regularly notice help wanted ads on Craigslist for liberal activist paid jobs. Circa 2001, I would have laughed and said their support is all astro-turf. After 2008, I've had a major change of heart.

Republican candidates and organization raise millions and millions each cycle. We need to be wiser about how that money is used. It just makes sense that a paid staffer is going to be more reliable than a volunteer. (Duh. It's like Democrats figured out the principles behind capitalism as it relates to campaigns before Republicans. Frankly, it's an embarrassment.)

Mormons are the fastest growing faith group in the United States. And it probably isn't because their faith -- no offense -- makes the most sense. It's because when people are soul-searching and seeking answers, Mormons are actively engaged in leading people outside their faith community to the answers. 

Many, many of those outside of the typical, GOP demographic must be seeking political answers in today's world. Consider the minority business owners in Ferguson, Mo., who have probably always voted for Democrats. They've got to be doing some political soul-searching these days. 

Sadly, conservatives don't appear to be stepping in to provide some of the answers. I am not bashing the likely Republican-donors who have given to Ferguson business owners online. That's all well and good, but handing a business owner a few bucks doesn't do the same in terms of changing hearts and minds as a personal relationship. 

Imagine the good a set of conservative evangelists who had been in Ferguson for a few years could do in that community. 

Someone needs to study how the Mormons do it, and take a page from their book. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

It's Merrick

Republicans elected Ray Merrick as Speaker of the Kansas House. There are 16 people who voted for Peck. I don't get it.

Monday, November 17, 2014

I don't think so, Virgil

I'm sure Rep. Virgil Peck is a super nice guy. He probably leads his church youth organizations and organizes golf tournaments for orphans.

But he's said some monumentally stupid and embarrassing things in public. So naturally, he's thrown his name in to challenge Rep. Ray Merrick for Speaker of the Kansas House.

I don't have any insider-y knowledge about this race, but if the vote for Kansas Speaker isn't 97-1 in favor of Merrick, we've got problems.

Unfortunately, the votes for House leadership aren't public. So, say Peck somehow manages to win or even come close, we won't know how members of the Republican Caucus voted. 

That drives me bonkers. 

Leadership roles are critically important, and as a constituent, I'd like to know that my Representative uses that vote in an appropriate manner. With anonymous voting, I really can't say that. The secret ballot certainly allows politicians to promise favors in return for leadership votes with absolutely no transparency. Not cool.

Anyway, Rep. Peck is infamous for saying Kansas could solve its illegal immigration problem by shooting illegals from helicopters like feral pigs. A very low moment for conservatives. I know it was a joke, but it wasn't funny. He said it in public, and Peck will never again be mentioned in the news without the information about his notorious gaffe seeing print. 

Conservatives don't need to be painted with that brush every time the Kansas Legislature gets a mention in the Topeka Capitol Journal or the Kansas City Star.

It's damaging enough that people are calling Peck's decision to seek the job a "challenge from the right." Just stop, media. It's a challenge from a guy who dresses like a clown. As far as I know, no conservatives are rallying to Peck's side. (I sure hope they aren't anyway. Peck hails from way, way down south. I'm from way, way Johnson County, so I have no idea what happens out by the Oklahoma border.)

Anyway, others seeking leadership roles include Randy Garber, Kyle Hoffman and Mario Goico, who each hope to serve as Assistant Majority Leader. They're all old white guys -- not that there's anything wrong with that. Garber is from Sabetha. Hoffman is from Clearwater, and Goico is from Wichita.

Travis Couture-Lovelady, so far, is the only person seeking to be Caucus Leader. Ron Ryckman, Jr. is the only person, so far, running for Majority Whip. (For what it's worth, Travis is young. Ryckman, Jr. is young-ish.)

Rep. Peggy Mast, Emporia, faces a challenge from Rep. Don Schroeder, Hesston, for Pro Tem. 

GOP will select its legislative leaders on Dec. 1.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Pat Roberts sees the light

Fresh off a tight election, Sen. Pat Roberts appears to have seen the decidedly conservative light.

I was alarmed on Nov. 6, when Roberts reportedly said he wanted to "fix" Obamacare and end gridlock in Washington.

That's not what he's saying today.

Yesterday, he penned an editorial to The Kansas City Star promising to:

• Repeal and replace Obamacare, "lifting the burden on our job creators and lowering costs for patients;

• Stand up to unconstitutional attempts to imposed undocumented immigrants by executive order; ("undocumented immigrants" -- Roberts' language, not mine. They're "illegals.")

• Open the Keystone Pipeline, "shed the yoke of the EPA and finally become energy independent."

Roberts told Breitbart that he supports a strategy that would cut off funding for President Obama's planned executive amnesty.

On Election night, Roberts promised to be bold and conservative. His words suggest that's true. Let's hope he follows through with actions.

Someone's already worried about 2016

And her name is Air Claire McCaskill, who owes her Senate seat to the breathtaking stupidity of Todd Akin.

Anyway, Claire told reporters today that she will not vote for Sen. Harry Reid for Senate Minority Leader. He hasn't done enough to reach out to Republicans.

Riiiiiight. It's because she wants to work with Republicans.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Dem autopsy a cautionary tale for Republicans

This guy at the DailyKos is probably onto something.

I really hope the Kansas Democrats never put him in charge. Although on second thought, I think I have met this guy one time, and I'm not sure they want him in front of a television camera. Behind the scenes, he could be dangerous.

His autopsy of what he calls the "error brigade" rings true to me, anyway. 

He writes: "The pressure it seemed was on Democrats: Stick to our message and our message is... unfortunately in March of 2014, the message remained: 'Not Sam Brownback.' This message, 'Not Sam Brownback' resonated only as far as a race with Sam Brownback in it of course, but even in that race, Democrats knew that it needed something else."

Obviously, they needed to define Paul Davis. They never did. They also failed to capitalize on issues the writer says would have resonated with voters, choosing instead to focus only on education.  They relied on big data rather than actually talking to people.

"Kansas Democrats simply assumed that education was the top issue for voters," he writes. "It resonated with them."

It didn't, thankfully. (Of course, we know that some of Dems' complaints about education funding in Kansas were simply inaccurate. Being honest is generally helpful when you're trying to reach people on a personal level.)

The Dems needed an edge in Johnson County, but the author said the education issue was always going to be a hard sell in this end of the state.

"...the new plan in Johnson County -- a place that Democrats had to win -- to provide middle school students with free iPads and high school students with MacBooks would completely destroy an education argument. Parents simply wouldn't accept the idea that schools where (sic) if their kids were coming home with free technology no matter how rural schools suffered," he wrote.

But that, he said is the fault of Democrat schemers for using data rather than actually talking to people. 

He suggests that residents in the southwest Kansas, specifically Hispanics, had concerns about the minimum wage. In western Kansas voters wanted to talk about water conservation, ag policy and wages.

But, he notes, Democrats don't recognize these issues when they're running statewide campaigns from Topeka and Lawrence. (He also mentions the detrimental challenges of having a communications director who calls some parts of Kansas, "crapholes." D'oh!)

Republicans should learn from these conclusions:

1. An effective political party should be a bottom-up organization. 

"A state party is almost never built top down. A governor doesn't suddenly build up a party full of county commissioners and state house members. The reverse is almost always true."

Gov. Brownback started building the Kansas GOP machine long ago. Unfortunately, I believe once he reached the pinnacle, he quit listening to the grassroots. The Governor famously got involved in selecting delegates to the state party. The state party writes the platform and is typically includes precinct people and party volunteers. These are the people who do the entirely selfless work of campaigning. And for the Governor to deign to attempt to control who lands in those slots is just tacky and disgusting. This election was scarier than it should have been, and I suspect that is in part because Brownback appears to be somewhat of a narcissist, surrounded by yes people who will not allow a sliver of discord. It worked this time, because the electorate in Kansas is truly conservative, but I don't think that's a long-term plan for success.

2. A wise party encourages local candidates to run provides them active support, the DailyKos author writes.

The writer gives too much credit to the idea that Republicans are doing this in the way we should be. We aren't, but it's solid advice.

3. Talking to voters is far more effective than relying on polling.

The national GOP earned its comeuppance on this one in the 2012 election. The Dems, it seemed, had a magical turnout machine and the Republicans had one had technical problems on Election Day in 2012.

My fear is that we could go the way the Kansas Dems did this year in the future. Our tech and data did what it was supposed to do in 2014, but we cannot be complacent. They should never, ever replace actually talking to people one-on-one. 

4. Finally, the author makes a plea for Kansas Democrats to get out of their bubble in Topeka and Lawrence. 

"If the Kansas Democratic Party hopes to survive, it must fumigate it's (sic) office and realize it doesn't belong in Topeka. Or Lawrence. It must move to Salina. Tomorrow. Immediately."

The Kansas Republicans have done a fairly decent job of getting out of Topeka, but we aren't working hard enough on the ground in places like Wyandotte. And I am continually baffled at the echo chamber where most party faithful spend their time. Our echo chamber is great right now, but the demographics long term are not in our favor. We must do the work now of engaging minority voters, WHERE THEY ARE;  and of engaging single women voters -- fewer and fewer people are getting married these days.

We're going to need to peel off larger and larger of segments in those two populations if we hope to succeed 10 years from now, and possibly, if we hope to have continued success even in 2016. 

The voters in the graphic above, they'll be back in 2016. If we don't start educating them now, they'll be at the polls, woefully ignorant, and likely to vote with the Democrats.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Eating Crow

I was wrong, and like I expect my elected officials to do, I am taking responsibility.

I anticipated that Gov. Sam Brownback would lose. He pulled through, and I am grateful. It should be noted, he had far fewer votes than Sen. Pat Roberts and far less than Kris Kobach. I also expected that Brownback and Roberts may be a drag down ticket. They were not.

I had misconstrued concerns about Congressman Tim Huelskamp. He wrapped up the Big First handily.  I should know better than to believe the media narrative. 

I was so, so wrong about Johnson County, and I'm embarrassed. I live here and pride myself on being of the people. It's possible I'm not as down home as I think I am. I expected Laura McConwell would win a seat on the Board of Commissioners. Didn't happen. I also expected Rep. Paul Davis and candidate Greg Orman to do much better in Johnson County. They didn't even win the county. 

Johnson Countians deserve much more credit for their conservatism. We aren't a bastion of Democrat-lite anymore, and that makes me happy.

Roberts helps take the Senate: What it all means

So what does this election mean? What's the message?

The message was not that voters want the parties to work together to "get stuff done."

If the goal of the voters was to get Congress working, they would have sent as many Democrats as possible. Democrats NEVER have a problem working with one another, but they draw the line at working across the aisle. 

Anyone who reads the election tea leaves and believes the message is anything other than a complete and total repudiation of Obama and his policies should lay off the drugs.

Listening to pundits and politicos wax philosophical I am troubled that they are continually saying there will be no effort to overturn Obamacare. Twenty-five Senators who voted for Obamacare are vanquished from the national scene, and 100 percent of the newly-elected GOP Senators -- Sens.-elect Cory Gardner of Colorado, David Perdue of Georgia, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, James Lankford of Oklahoma, Steve Daines of Montana, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Shelly Moore Capito of West Virginia, and Ben Sasse of Nebraska -- campaigned on repealing Obamacare.

There may be a message there. So when I hear Mitch McConnell concede that repeal is impossible, I feel like slapping a kitten. Conceding defeat before mounting an effort is so, so stupid. (That's a message for real life, kids. Don't ever, ever concede defeat. Ever. Ever. When you stop trying to win, you lose -- unless you're a professional football team playing the Oakland Raiders.)

I am also concerned that Jerry Moran's group -- the National Republican Senate Committee, or whatever they're calling themselves now -- is parroting lines about "crushing the Tea Party" by finding electable candidates.

I do not know how you look at what appeared to be a terrifyingly close race in red Kansas and draw the conclusion that you found the most electable candidate and stamped out the Tea Party. Please, please make no mistake, newly-electeds, you are riding a red wave of victory today, because the Tea Party went to the polls this time.

But as a self-proclaimed Tea Partier, I will tell you right now, I am done being a battered wife. I did it this time to keep the marriage together until the kids are grown. But I am done. If you, newly-electeds, think you're going to go to Washington, reach across the aisle and give the Dems great, big bear hugs, I am finished voting for you. I don't know if that means third party or staying home, but I'm done getting punched by you all. Done.

Back in the old days, the Establishment at least did the Tea Party the favor of only hitting us where the bruises won't show, but now? McConnell, Cochran and others have NO compunction with punching us right in the eye.

I sincerely hope the old white guys who were gifted a return trip to Washington take a sliver of humility with them. To his credit, Roberts seemed to hear the message. He promised supporters last night that he would be bold and conservative.

However, he told the crowd he wasn't dragged by his feet to victory, he charged up the hill (or some such nonsense). And I would argue, no. That's not what went down. Tea Party conservatives did what needed to be done. And no matter who gets out front and attempts to take the credit for that win, that truth will remain. We went to the polls and did what needed to be done. 

For my part, I will be watching, and I will not go quietly into the night just because the election is over. I helped send Pat Roberts back to Washington, and I expect him to be a thorn in the President's side. Anything else is a punch in the face.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Wrap Up

There's a good chance we don't know who controls the Senate before bedtime tonight. If we're lucky, we'll know early, early tomorrow morning. Worse case scenario, we don't know until December or even January.

The DailyKOS has a handy map showing when polls close across the country. (Their times are listed in Eastern, so think one-hour earlier, Kansas friends.)

We need three of toss-ups, in addition to pick-ups in West Virginia, Montana and South Dakota -- currently held by Democrats, but likely to swing. That's assuming we're able to hold Kansas and Kentucky. If we lose those we need five toss-ups from Alaska, North Carolina, Colorado, Arkansas, Iowa, New Hampshire (!!), Georgia, and/or Louisiana. 

Things don't get all that interesting until 6:30 p.m. when North Carolina polls close. If Kay Hagan loses, I think the Senate is officially ours. The Real Clear Politics average gives Hagan the tiniest edge, a .7 advantage. 

Voters' part in the Sunflower State Showdown ends at 7 p.m. I told you my predictions yesterday, but I am re-thinking everything today. Several poll watchers, election workers and voters have called to tell me their polling stations were packed this morning. That's not unusual, but there's a polling place across the street from where I work, and into the afternoon, I am watching a continuous line. Most of the voters appear to be of the gray-haired variety. Make of that what you will. JoCo election commissioner Brian Newby told the Kansas City Star today that turnout looks high. I can't decide if that's good for our team or bad for our team. We should know some results within an hour of poll closing, but there is a western sliver of the state in which polls close at 8 p.m. 

At 8 p.m., Colorado polls close. The RCP average and the most recent polls appear to give Republican Dan Gardner the advantage. But it's Colorado. The people there are super, super weird, and half of them are probably high. 

Louisiana also closes at 8 p.m. All of the Important Pollsters and Pundits (IPPs) are calling the Pelican (Bayou??) State a toss-up. Doesn't matter. It is highly unlikely this race is decided tonight. If no candidate gets 50 percent of the vote, the runoff election will be Dec. 6. 

Another toss-up state, Georgia, is also likely to require a runoff election. The runoff isn't scheduled until January. JANUARY!! The good news is all of the smart people believe that we win it in a run-off election. The bad news is that everyone who lives in Georgia is going to wish for an electromagnetic pulse to knock out all communications between tomorrow and the Jan. 6 election. I can't imagine the prospect of having to listen to more campaign garbage for two more months. Sorry, Georgia. Really, really sorry.

At 9 p.m. Iowa polls close. The race there is about as much of a must-win for Republicans as I can remember. If things go badly in the evening -- say, heaven forbid, Kansas has been called for Orman (who VP Joe Biden has now outed as "with" the Dems. Huge shocker.) -- Iowa could look like a do-or-die.

And here's why political watchers aren't getting any sleep tonight: Alaska is a toss-up. In the worst case scenario for Republicans, the Senate is effectively tied with a supposed Independent from Kansas awarded a Senate seat, Louisiana and Georgia up in-the-air, Arkansas or Kentucky go wonky. Alaska polls close at midnight, waaaaaay past my bedtime. 

Long story short: I'm probably skipping the parties this year. (I don't really like them anyway -- too country club, too social climbing, etc.) I am going to try to peel myself away from the television and Twitter and spend some quality time with the people who matter to me.

I advise you to do the same. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Gidget's predictions

I don't know how anyone in a position to be taken seriously makes political predictions. The polls are too close, the Democrats cheat too much, and far too many people who harp about the candidates won't even bother going to the polls.

All that said, I'm going to make a few predictions. They are based on nothing but my gut. However it all turns out, I am very anxious to have the discussions that MUST occur when this is all over.

U.S. Senate: I think Sen. Pat Roberts squeaks this one out. Do I think he deserves to? Probably not. What a disastrous, embarrassing showing from start to finish. 

When he wins, I hope he takes it with a large grain of humility. He won't win based on Kansans' love and support. If he manages to pull off this election, it will be because the voters had limited choices, the worst president in several generations -- perhaps ever -- and the fact that every politician this side of Canada rushed in to campaign for Roberts. Off the top of my head -- the women who had 19 kids and a reality show, Pat Boone, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Bob Dole, Chris Christie, Mike Lee. Everyone I know is receiving between three and five calls per day in support of Roberts. 

Roberts will also owe part of the win to the fact that Kansans do not want a Democrat-controlled Senate. The immediate stakes are very high and very clear, even to low-information voters with I.Q.s just above vegetables.

It will be very, very close --  much closer than any race in red Kansas should be. 

Kansas Governor: This hurts to say, but I think Paul Davis wins this one. While I think the stakes are high in this race -- the national media will try to paint this as a loss due to Brownback's conservative fiscal policy -- but the stakes aren't obvious to the vast majority of voters.

It's ironic that the media will attempt to use the Brownback loss to push against fiscal conservatism since those of us on the ground in Kansas can attest that the loss is in large part due to the exact opposite. The base in Kansas is not fired up. AT ALL. There may be people just hopped up on the opportunity to go and vote for Sam and Pat, but I don't know any of them.

To a man, all of the conservative voters I know are very reluctantly going to fulfill their civic obligation, but they aren't out telling their friends how great Sam has been. If they're admitting at all that they are voting for him, they're telling their friends, well, he's better than the other guy.

Brownback is better than the other guy, but I don't see it happening for him. I think most voters recognize that if Brownback loses, a mostly-conservative Kansas Legislature will prevent the worst-case scenarios.

Davis may win by as much as four points. 

Secretary of State: Kris Kobach gets more votes than Brownback and Roberts. The most "controversial" candidate gets votes because he is a conservative, and he's unapologetic about it. That's not wishful thinking. It's reality. People respect Kobach's relentless pursuit of advancing his principles.

Derek Schmidt holds Attorney General. I don't even know who is running against him. Ken Selzer probably pulls it off in the insurance commissioners' race. This is, after all, Kansas, and no one has heard of the Anderson guy. I have heard a radio advertisement for Selzer and seen Selzer signs. I almost forgot to mention the Kansas Treasurer's race. Ron Estes wins.

Congressman Kevin Yoder is going to walk all over Kelly Kultala. I hope she didn't spend all that much money in the race. I did see a commercial alluding to Yoder's unfortunate skinny-dipping incident, so she spent some. That was money wasted.

I know there was some concern about Lynn Jenkins' race several weeks ago. Things look better for her now. (I really hate that commercial she's running about supporting women and being against rape or whatever. It's awful.) Jenkins will coast to a win.

I can't say how things are shaking out in other Congressional races. I'm mildly concerned about Congressman Tim Huelskamp. I have seen a few polls with favorable numbers for his opponent Jim Sherow. But we are talking about western Kansas, where Huelskamp's brand of conservatism is an easier sell than it would be around here.

The Kansas Legislature: Some of the people who should win, won't. And they can blame their losses, partially, on the incredible headwinds at the top of the ticket. 

I won't go down the list of every House race in Kansas, but I think some otherwise safe seats may be in for a rude awakening. Many conservatives will stay home, because they aren't happy about voting for Roberts and Brownback. This will cost some representatives down ticket. 

Johnson County Commission: I hate to say it, but I think Ed Eilert retains his chairmanship. This shouldn't happen, but it will. He's been a pretty feckless leader. But the moderates will continue to come out for Ed. He is a former Mayor of Overland Park, which gives him a name recognition advantage in the county's largest city. As much as I like Patricia Lightner and as hard as I have seen she and David Lightner working, I don't see her pulling it off. I hope I'm wrong. 

Laura McConwell wins in the first district. This race is a battle of two mayors -- McConwell is of Mission and Ron Shaffer of Prairie Village. Both are liberals. Prairie Village (pop. 22,000) has more than twice the population of Mission (9,500). But Mission is Mission. There doesn't appear to be that much difference between McConwell and Shaffer. McConwell is the more polished candidate. 

In the fourth district, Jason Osterhaus will retain his seat. He faces Curt Skoog. Skoog hasn't done much campaigning. Osterhaus hasn't been too terribly objectionable on the commission, and he's visited some doorsteps.

Regardless of how tomorrow's election shakes out, I sincerely hope there's a reckoning on the other side of Nov. 4. Republicans can't continue in our current fashion and hope to win the Presidency. 


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Bill Snyder Political Wizard

This morning, I am laughing about this DailyKos piece suggesting that Kansas State University officials are in a rage about the football Coach Bill Snyder "endorsement."

Yesterday, the Pat Roberts' campaign unveiled an ad showing a not-all-that-ringing Snyder endorsement of Roberts. In the ad, someone off camera appears to ask who Snyder will vote for, and the coach responds that he's voting for Roberts, his friend, who Snyder says is the best we can do in Kansas. 

I actually laughed when I saw the ad, because it's so not a ringing endorsement. 

But anyone who honestly believes that Snyder was flabbergasted by the commercial, needs to check themselves. (For starters, you're taking as gospel things written in the DailyKos, but that's a story for another day.)

When the Snyder ad was first released, I was as surprised as anyone else that the famed football coach was taking such a stance. (And just for a moment, while we're on the topic, I think it's unbelievably unwise to make heroes of people for things like winning football games. ahem. Joe Paterno. I don't for a minute believe that Snyder is Joe Pa, but lionizing football coaches is just not smart.) Anyway, back to it -- I was surprised to see Snyder, who to my knowledge has never publicly endorsed anyone, essentially stumping for his friend, Pat Roberts.

But that advertisement was no accident. Anyone who watches ESPN's College GameDay can tell you that Snyder is probably the most difficult coach in all of college football to interview. He keeps his thoughts, his game plans, injuries, everything close to the vest. Snyder is famously cautious about which athletes he allows to talk to the media. If you're one of Snyder's players, you either learn to say what Snyder wants you to say in an interview, or you are never put in front of a camera. 

Bill Snyder is not some doddering old man caught unaware. He's savvy. When someone has a camera in his face asking for whom he'll vote, Snyder knows that information will get out. He knows it will land on YouTube.

You'll note, the DailyKos "article" said university officials requested that the ad be removed. Snyder didn't make the request, and he has been unavailable for comment. If Snyder wanted it gone, the ad would be gone.

For its part, the university sent a letter and Sue Peterson, KSU lobbyist, to request that the ad be withdrawn, and the university also issued a statement essentially reiterating Kansas Board of Regents policy which says, "Employees do not speak for the university when they endorse candidates. Employees should also avoid using their university affiliation in any endorsements or statements."

And while we're on the topic of the board of regents, there appears to be a (teeny, tiny) Twitter campaign to get Snyder fired. (Bwahahahhaha.) For what it's worth, the regent policy clearly says "individuals are free to express opinions speaking or writing as individuals in support of or in opposition...," blah, blah, blah.

The ad itself doesn't say Kansas State University. It simply calls him Coach Bill Snyder. The viewer has to try to guess just what it is Snyder coaches and where he does it. Snyder is wearing a suit -- not even a Wildcat lapel pin -- and there's one photo of Roberts and Snyder together, in which the Powercat on Roberts' jacket is blurred. Other than that, nary a stitch of purple.

A thinking person can and should assume that Snyder knew exactly what he was doing when he made that not-exactly-ringing endorsement. His carefully crafted, off-hand appearing statement, allowed the university and Snyder to take cover when the "controversy" erupted.

That may be one reason the endorsement was released so close to Election Day. Call it a late, positive October surprise for the Roberts' campaign. This will all blow over very, very soon.

Many sports writers call Snyder a football wizard. I would safely call him a public relations wizard, too. The coach managed to make an endorsement in a way that gave himself and the university cover. 

If liberals want to bathe in faux outrage over the issue, then by all means, stew in it. And if they need to believe that Snyder is a doddering old man who made a mistake just chatting to some young Republican in a parking lot, well, I'm sure Snyder doesn't mind being underestimated.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/government-politics/article3505227.html#storylink=cpy

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Stop the presses!

Better late than never.

Milton Wolf has decided he'd like to have a future in the Kansas Republican Party, and finally via Facebook, publicly endorsed Sen. Pat Roberts today.

I admit. I voted for that dud in August. And I voted for that other dud, Roberts, last week. I'm sick of the lot of them.

All reasonable conservatives had already made the (wise) decision to support Roberts in the general, but Wolf's endorsement may swing the dumb remaining few.

If that doesn't help, there's always the endorsement from Kansas State University head football Coach Bill Snyder. (I always suspected Snyder was a Democrat, but we'll take it.)

Well that's not right

So, this can't be right.

The Kansas GOP is sending mailers in support of Greg Orman? So says some guy at the DailyKOS

I haven't seen the mailer. It would be helpful to see the back. 

And if that actually is a pro-Orman mailer with KS GOP on it, that was probably an intentional "accident" from whoever produced the mailer.

No bueno.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Typical Dems

So, some Democrats in Salina were stealing Republican political literature off of doors, and they were caught red-handed. That's actually illegal, by the way, but that's what Dems do.

It's pretty clear in the video that these Dems, wearing Paul Davis t-shirts,  know what they were doing was wrong. They were taking J.R. Claey's literature from door knobs. 

The thieving couple look like your typical liberals -- white, middle aged and angry. But the best part is when they get in and drive off in their Prius.

Bwahahahahaha. I'm sorry. That's just funny. They couldn't look more like caricatures if they tried.

That race in Salina may be a tight one. I've written of it once before here. (Gary Swartzendruber is trying to take ground in the War against Women.)

If you live out that way, you should vote for the guy who isn't out stealing campaign literature, and that guy is Claeys.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I don't even... Pat Boone?

Surely there's some mistake.

Pat Boone is doing a robo-call for Sen. Pat Roberts, and my face is red with embarrassment.

Honestly, I had to ask my mother who Pat Boone was. A Baby Boomer, my mother explained: "Someone my mother used to listen to." 

My MOTHER'S MOTHER WAS A FAN. Probably during World War II. 

Attention Roberts campaign: Your battle right now is proving that you aren't out of touch. Voters have a legitimate concern that you only come to Kansas when you have an opponent and that you don't have your finger on the pulse of what's happening now.

You know what's not happening now? Pat Boone.

I have nothing bad to say about the guy, really I don't. And it's not about age. Well, maybe a little bit. I note that my reaction would be exactly the same if the Roberts campaign rolled out a Justin Bieber robo call. 

Seriously, Clint Eastwood has to be nearly as old as Pat Boone and if Clint was doing a Roberts robo call, I wouldn't think much of it. (Well, I'd think why should I care who Clint Eastwood thinks I should vote for, but other than that...) Or maybe that Golden Girl, whatsherface? Rose? She's kind of an 'it' girl now. If she was doing a Roberts robo call, I'd think weird choice, but I hope it helps.

Pat Boone isn't going to help. He was popular in the 1950s. (According to Wikipedia. I don't know this stuff intrinsically, because my parents weren't even born when he was popular!!!!)

Truly, I am embarrassed for the Roberts campaign. Personally, I don't care for celebrity endorsements, but I recognize that this is the world we live in. If you are a candidate and can get Marky Mark to take time from his busy pants dropping schedule to endorse you, then by all means. You probably should. (See what I did there? That's a popular culture reference. But if I said it to anyone under the age of about 30, it wouldn't work.)

I'm rambling because I'm so disturbed by how very, very out of touch the Roberts camp obviously is. Despite the hefty diatribe above, I'm kind of without words.
So help me if they roll Pat Boone out on a campaign stop somewhere dressed in his white patent leather shoes... Yes, that's what Wiki says Boone is famous for -- white, patent leather shoes.

Dear Roberts campaign staffers: At any time in the next week you are thinking about making any decisions at all related to the job of getting Roberts re-elected (as opposed to laughed at) please, please use one of your lifelines. Email me. Phone a friend. 

My sincerest hope is that this robo call went to only voters 50 and older. And even those voters are probably thinking, what in the world? But at least they're not getting all their information about Pat Boone from Wikipedia. 

Ugh. Just ugh.

One More Reason to Cheer the Royals

Mother Jones theorizes, and some studies agree: The Kansas City Royals' winning streak may help the GOP win the U.S. Senate.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The thing about GOP has-beens

So another "moderate" has been has decided to weigh in on the U.S. Senate race in Kansas.

Former Republican Gov. Bill Graves announced his endorsement of Sen. Pat Roberts. I am glad that Graves has decided to show an ounce of loyalty to the party that helped elect him to office.

That said, everyone sees through this, right?

Graves has waded into the fray in hopes of maintaining relevance. Had he done so much sooner, I wouldn't think anything of it. But waiting until the political tide has turned is awfully convenient for Graves.

He's wasted no political capital in the endorsement and has collected a future political favor in return.

When Rachelle Chronister and whoever those other Has Beens decided to endorse Paul Davis and Greg Orman, they were sticking their necks out. (They were also probably attempting to remove the tastes of sour grapes from their mouths.) 

Graves, on the other hand, appears to have made a calculated decision to stick with the winner. I guess conservatives should be pleased. The Graves endorsement may help, but please, don't think the movement owes Graves any favors. He was paid in full when he was twice elected Governor of Kansas.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Women support Yoder

So, yesterday -- two days ago-- whatever, Rep. Kevin Yoder announced his Women for Yoder coalition.  So, he's rounded up more than 100 women "leaders" of the third district who have pledged their support to the Congressman. I use air quotes, because some on the list and "leader" kind of a stretch. That's not to belittle them. That's just the truth.

One of only two common denominators from the list of names: They're Republicans. The other, they have ovaries. (Or I guess had them at one time. Do they remove them sometimes? I guess I just outed myself as Not A Medical Doctor.)

I hate this sort of thing. It's divisive. It makes the subtle suggestion that women in general need to hear from other women to know what to think. That's a little misogynistic. 

Yoder's press release explains that he has a wife! and a daughter! And for the love of all things holy, there's the nine billionth mention of his grandmother. Come to think of it, it's a little weird that he doesn't mention his mother.  I'm positive he's got one.

While I recognize and celebrate the women are different than men, it seems like mindless pandering to a special interest group to send out a list of people with extra estrogen as a campaign centerpiece.

I realize everyone does it, especially Democrats. But they are disgusting, and I would hope we have no desire to be anything like them.

It would be ever-so-slightly less offensive to see Black People for K-Yo. (I can't begin to imagine how you write that press release without the media attempting to make Yoder the modern-day equivalent of Simon Legree, but I'd sure be interested in hearing how that shook out behind the scenes. But I digress.)

Ever, ever, so slightly less offensive, and only because Democrats have actually cornered the market on the black populace. When your best candidate only manages to garner less than 10 percent of the demographic, well... there may, possibly maybe, be a need for such a coalition. 

I'm not sold on it. I'm simply suggesting it could be a possibility for the right campaign somewhere. Yoder's campaign isn't that campaign.

And there's no campaign that needs to play along to the media idea that Republicans oppose women. It's not true, and even the half-wits among us - I'll call them liberals -- know this. It's just something they say to score political points. Every liberal, especially every liberal in Kansas, knows several women who are Republicans. 

How dumb do they think the general population is if it seems necessary to remind voters that the candidate has a mother. Sorry, Yoder. And Brownback. (Did I mention the Governor has one of these coalitions too?) I think this "coalition" is dumb. 

Here's how those coalitions look when liberals do them:

Pretty ridiculous, right?
Wake me up when someone forms the Testicles for Huelskamp, or whatever. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Dems can a guy

Dakota Loomis needs a job. (Probably.)

The Kansas Democratic Party kicked the communications director to the curb. Loomis called several southeast Kansas towns "crapholes" on a college sports message board. He used his real name. Has he never used the Internet before? You can be totally anonymous here!!

Anyway, the Dems will now commence a grand apology tour. They're sending KDP Chair Joan Wagnon.

Meanwhile, executive director Jason Perkey is handling calls from the press. Perkey lists a phone number from Louisville, Kentucky, BTW. I just think that's weird, if you're taking phone calls as the executive director of the Kansas Democratic Party, shouldn't you have a Kansas phone number?

Anyway, the Dems could obviously use a communications person. The press release has misspellings.

It reads: "Kansas Democratic Party Executive Director Jason Perkey issued the following statement regrading the termination of Communications Director Dakota Loomis." 

And then Loomis apologizes profusely:

"I must first and foremost apologize for me callous, insensitive, and frankly asinine comment.
I also realize as an employee and representative of the Kansas Democratic Party that my actions reflect not just on myself, but on all Kansas Democrats.
I would ask that you not hold my own immaturity and stupidity against the great Kansas Democrats who are working every day to restore Kansas, especially those in Southeast Kansas.
It is a privilege to work for such incredible candidates and party members and it pains me deeply to know I have insulted them and undermined their tireless effort.
Again, I am sorry for my inappropriate remark and apologize to all Kansans I let down."

AFP does the work party insiders should be doing

God bless Americans for Prosperity.

They are doing the work that Establishment Republicans -- and their dope-y staff members -- won't: Actually talking to voters.

In this election cycle, the organization is taking a page from the Obama for America operation. They're fielding paid volunteers rather than blowing their political capital on television commercials and mail pieces.

Republicans have long criticized (and somewhat rightfully so) Democrats for their astro-turf, paid grass roots organizers. Instead of criticizing, we should have been paying attention.

It's pretty sad liberals figured out that paying campaign precinct walkers and organizers yielded better results. Aren't we the party of capitalists?

I am not suggesting that conservatives hire ACORN to walk precincts. But I have no problem suggesting that it's not a terrible idea to hire organizers who in turn also do some of the walking -- rather hiring a college student to sit in the office and try to direct the retirees who want to volunteer to the streets to walk.

AFP is doing important work. They're not doing it perfectly -- they have plenty of establishment-types on staff. But they're attempting to do things in a new way. The organization deserves our support.




Wednesday, October 15, 2014

That's not what I would do

Dakota Loomis shouldn't lose his job for this, but everyone should question his decision-making ability. 

That is all.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Orman. A weird Democrat

Lawrence Dems -- just the crapholiest people

Dakota Loomis doesn't like your crap-hole town.

The Kansas Democratic Party Communications Director used his own name on a KU message board commenting on  a thread about the most "craphole small towns.

Loomis has a lengthy list of ahem, not-so-nice Kansas towns. He wrote in a post that has since been deleted:

 “Gotta be more reminiscent of Missouri than the plains: BYE everyone but SE Kansas and Jetmore. Gotta be big enough to count as a city: BYE ELGIN, CHAUTAUQUA, TREECE. Can’t be too close to any cultural center/points of interest: BYE Crawford County. Gotta be poor, depressed, and getting worse: well, that doesn’t really help exclude folks in SE Kansas. Here are the top three contenders: Cherryvale, Columbus, and Galena.”

Honestly, he among us who has not poked fun at small towns on a college message board, raise your hands. OK. He among us who has poked fun at small towns using your own name when you're the communications director of a statewide party, quick show of hands.

Yeah. That's Dakota Loomis sitting all alone with his hand raised. It's a-OK to make a joke, but Loomis' posting on a public page shows a stunning lack of judgment.

Here's the link in the Pittsburg Morning Sun. 


KS GOP Insider at Gmail

That's not me.

This afternoon, I received an email from someone called "KS GOP Insider." (Yes, I'm irritated. I feel like my name has been hijacked. But whatevs.)

Just so we're all clear, that isn't me. You can email me at gidget.southway@gmail.com. 

I don't know anything about Stacy Schlimmer. Craig McPherson was my guy in the district 8 race. 

So, feel free to buy whatever that email is selling. Just know, I'm not the one selling it.


No one likes League of Women Voters, but...

I'd been hearing rumors that conservative lawmakers and candidates were turning down Meet the Candidate events to be sponsored by the League of Women Voters. 

Looking at a quick list of LWV events at a few branches of the Johnson County Library, I am pretty certain the rumors were true.

So, the crazy liberals known as the League of Women Voters will host candidates at five different library branches over the next few weeks.

Some conservatives obviously accepted the invitation, but there are several library branches not represented on the list. There are 14 branches of the county library. Of those, five will host candidate events. House candidates for districts 17 and 18 will be at the Shawnee Neighborhood branch; House candidates for district 21 and county commission candidates for the first district will appear together at the Corinth Neighborhood branch; House candidates of district 29 will be at the Leawood Pioneer Neighborhood branch; Commission chair candidates and district four county commission candidates will appear at the Central Resource Library and House candidates for the 25th district will appear at Cedar Roe Neighborhood in Roeland Park.

With 14 library branches and countless candidates and races in Johnson County, it's incredibly disappointing that more aren't taking the opportunity to appear. I generally conclude that people who are unwilling to appear at such engagements are too stupid to speak reasonably in public.

I recognize that the League of Women Voters is vile, but this sort of event could serve as outreach to constituents that may hear the term, LWV, and assume this group is a non-partisan group with only the best interests of women in mind. If a candidate has the ability to speak publicly without sounding like a ding bat, there's absolutely no risk in attending. 

There are very few organizations sponsoring meet and greet events for lower ticket races these days. If conservative candidates are uncomfortable attending those set up by (gross) groups like LWV, maybe it's time for conservatives to start their own organizations to sponsor debates and greet events.

At some point in the near future, I will write here about outreach to voters who aren't old, white men and their wives. It is imperative that conservatives (and Republicans) learn to reach new audiences. Changing demographics require it.

Attending LWV and incrementally reaching even one disaffected member of that group is a huge start. And too many conservatives -- out of fear? pride? -- refused to take the opportunity.



Friday, October 10, 2014

A Less Malignant Tumor

Jim Geraghty fears that "the disappointment of 2012 persuaded a lot of conservatives that their efforts don't make a difference," which he says may become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I'm sure thousands of conservatives will explain to the National Review writer exactly why conservatives feel that way. And I'm going to add my voice to the chorus.

First, the 2012 election was a huge disappointment, but that in itself isn't what has discouraged the conservatives I know. We aren't disenchanted because the Democrats win some. We're frustrated that even when we win, Republicans don't move the needle.

Putting a Republican in office rather than a Democrat is basically replacing a virulent, malignant tumor with a slightly less malignant tumor. It slows the disease, but it's still fatal. Even when we win, we lose.

Spending slows slightly and expenditures are re-adjusted, but enormous deficits remain. I have little faith that if Republicans somehow manage to win the Senate and maintain the House that they will do what is necessary to rein in Obama's relentless overstep of Presidential authority.

As a Kansan, it is extraordinarily frustrating to me that our federal legislators, arguably some of the most conservative in the nation, will vote once again to retain John Boehner as speaker.

Boehner, the orange for brains, intends to support President Obama's plans for amnesty. The House Speaker says he'll only support some form of amnesty if the President agrees to shut down the border, but anyone who hasn't damaged one too many brain cells in a tanning bed knows that the President is highly unlikely to do any such thing. Obama enforces the parts of laws that he likes and completely ignores the parts he doesn't -- or he just changes them on the fly.

Members of the House theoretically hold the purse strings. Already, the Republican majority could have stopped the flow of federal dollars to Obamacare, but nope. They don't even have the political will to fight a wildly unpopular program that passed with the bare minimum of votes from only one side of the aisle. The American people -- not just conservatives -- hate it, but our jelly-fish House Republicans tremble in fear that Obama will say something not-nice about them. Um. He does that everyday. At a minimum they could  least score a point in return for the bashing.

It's probably not appropriate to bash our federal legislators right before an election, but I would sincerely like to know which members of the Kansas delegation are going to support Boehner for speaker. (Hint: 75 percent of them will without question.)

If Republicans take the Senate, the same question goes for the Kansas Senate delegation. Will they support Mitch McConnell for majority leader, assuming McConnell pulls his head out of the dark pit of his behind in time to win re-election? 

I think it's a safe assumption that McConnell will receive the votes of both Sen. Pat Roberts and Sen. Jerry Moran. 

McConnell is an awful, horrid human. (This is the very worst insult I can lob at anyone. There are lots of good people with whom I disagree. That's not McConnell. He's disgusts me.)

Anyway, McConnell, brags about being "with" Joe Biden. He's campaigning as the penultimate insider. McConnell is a porker who, along with his wife, a former Secretary of Labor, earned $110 million in earmarks. In short, he's human garbage that smells only slightly less offensive than Sen. Harry Reid. (And there rests the sole political statement of Orman's with which I agree.)

Even in Kansas itself, we're dealing with a somewhat tepid Republican Establishment that does an embarrassing amount of pandering to liberals.

We have a conservative legislature and a conservative governor and the best we can do is a sliver of income tax cuts balanced with a sales tax increase. 

And don't even get me started on education policy. We've seen limited moves toward more local control -- which really means just shifting some school funding authority from the state to the locals -- no actual policy or actual educational programming shifts. We've essentially given local school boards more opportunity to increase property taxes. Fine, I guess.

In the realm of policy, Brownback is advocating for MORE public education -- not less. His all-day kindergarten proposal is maddening. 

Gov. Brownback, you should take note, that despite your somewhat liberal approach to education --  MORE money, MORE children under the auspice of the education establishment -- the media and liberals STILL call you anti-education. If you're going to pander, maybe you should pander to your base. 

Here's what that looks like: Use your crazy, half-cocked David Kensinger and friends to advocate for things like school choice instead of all-day kindergarten and sales tax increases. How 'bout that?

Our legislature is woefully terrified of the dramatic changes that must be made if we're to save the culture. We need to change the way our judges are appointed. We need to make serious changes to the school finance formula. We probably need to restructure or at least re-examine the power our State School Board has over curriculum. (That's what probably needs to happen to defeat Common Core). And we desperately need to slow our roll where spending is concerned. The tax cuts are awesome, but they need to be paired with spending cuts.

None of those things is going to be easy, but if not in 2010 or 2012 with a conservative legislature, a conservative governor and a political wind blowing decidedly right -- then when?

If you're a conservative who has invested blood, sweat, tears and cold hard cash to get these people elected only to see them move hard left the second their office is secured, it seems like a waste of time and resources to even bother. 

Grassroots conservatives have been bailing water over the sides of the Titanic that is the U.S. for many years. Our arms are tired, and the water continues to rise. Like many conservatives, I'm beginning to feel as if I should put down my bucket and enjoy the soothing music in the waning moments of liberty.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Poll tipping is unsurprising

Solid coverage of the Kansas race for U.S. Senate from the Washington Examiner.

Editor Byron York attended yesterday's debate between Greg Orman and Pat Roberts. Roberts was a little-bit of a one-hit wonder, repeatedly noting that Orman is a Democrat. 

His one-note appearance was necessary -- Roberts will only win if Kansas recognize Orman for the jackass in sheep's clothing that he actually is. 

It's beginning to work. FINALLY. (Side bar: The Kansas Republican Party is claiming the poll turnaround can be attributed in part to a full-court press including a ground game. Um. Where is this Roberts' ground game? I guess maybe the grassroots people in Harper, Kan., are knocking it out of the park, but here in most-populated Johnson County? Yeah. OK.)

Here's the important takeaway from the York article:

"The bottom line is this is still Kansas, which has not sent a Democrat to the U.S. Senate since the 1930s. If the polls are indeed tipping back to Republicans, no one should really be surprised."

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Orman bubble?

And now a second poll shows U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts leading challenger Greg Orman.

A Fox News poll that collected data between Oct. 3 and Oct. 7 shows Roberts leading Orman 44 percent to 39 percent.

The same poll shows Gov. Brownback opening a lead on Rep. Paul Davis.

A semi-sigh of relief

Finally, some halfway decent news.

Sen. Pat Roberts is up in the latest poll from CNN. The poll of likely Kansas voters gives the Senator a 1 percent edge over independent Democrat Greg Orman.

It's still too close to break out the champagne, but it's a screaming cry better than 10-points behind, which is where other polls suggested Roberts was.

I believe the same poll shows Brownback down by only 1 percent to Davis as well.

If the two Republicans atop the Kansas ticket manage to pull this one off... 

Who gets the blame?

The Nov. 4 election may be a garbage storm for Kansas Republicans. 

National Review's Jim Geraghty suggests the outlook for U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts is "darkening." The latest polls suggest Gov. Brownback is inching closer to Paul Davis, though Davis still holds a polling lead within the margin of error.

If Kansas Republicans lose the Governorship, or worse but more likely, a U.S. Senate seat, who gets the blame?

Commence Circular Firing Squad Sequence:

There will certainly be plenty of blame to go around and the autopsy of Kansas general election 2014 will be gory.

I'll share who I believe deserves some heavy helpings of blame, but I am curious friends. Who do you think deserves the lions' share? 

I'm not looking for an ugly argument. That's already happening and is only going to get uglier if things go badly on Nov. 4.

Here's my short list:

1. U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts

He should never have run again. I've said that from the very beginning. One of the reasons is that he's definitely been in Washington too long. But more importantly, he wasn't in a very good position to win.

I know his long-time supporters and his trusted confidantes believe differently. They needed to take off the rose-colored glasses circa 2012. Former Sen. Dick Lugar's 2012 campaign should have sent a shiver down the spine of the Roberts apparatus. Lugar, you'll recall, was the longest-sitting U.S. Senator in history (I think). From Indiana, Lugar's tenure in the Senate began in 1976. (1976!!) He lost re-election in the 2012 Republican primary. The biggest campaign issue? Lugar didn't actually live in Indiana, and his opponent said Lugar had lost touch with his Hoosier State roots.

Sound familiar? His Republican replacement, Richard Mourdock, went on to lose the general election to a Democrat. 

Roberts also deserves some blame for never establishing any sort of ground game. He's had it way too easy in previous elections. Showing up was all it took to win the seat. That simply isn't today's political landscape. Had Roberts really worked at maintaining a real connection to Kansas -- and I don't care about his stupid recliner -- I mean actively, regularly attempting to engage the people he represents, he wouldn't be fighting for his political life today. He'd have supporters on the ground in Kansas, as opposed to flying in some Republican consultants from the East Coast. 

Roberts has been in the U.S. Senate for longer than I have been of voting age. True story: As a very eager college student, I once sat next to him on an airplane. He very obviously didn't want to talk. An engaged Senator would have welcomed the opportunity to spend a few minutes with an informed constituent and voter. Until this summer, that was the ONLY time I have ever seen Pat Roberts outside of when I once visited his office in Washington, D.C. (And note, that plane ride wasn't going to or from Kansas.)

These days a Kansan can't swing an elbow without hitting Kevin Yoder or Jerry Moran. They are simply always, always, around -- either hosting town hall meetings, attending library openings, hosting office hours or whatever. They are available -- in person -- regularly.

I hate to kick a man when he's down, but I just think it's disappointing that Roberts dialed it in for so many years. Just because you can take the easy road doesn't mean you should. Roberts has had ample opportunity to connect with Kansas voters during his 18 years in the U.S. Senate. He's chosen limited contact. For many years, it was good enough, but had he done the hard work years ago, he wouldn't have to work so hard today.

2. Party Insiders/Roberts political advisors -- (i.e., the grassroots people who encouraged Roberts to seek re-election in 2014. I am assuming Roberts does in fact have some trusted advisors in Kansas. Those are the folks of which I speak here.) 

I'm told Republican Party insiders (Establishment) and leaders encouraged Roberts to run a bazillionth time in order to avoid a nasty primary, as it was rumored an open seat would have drawn several candidates, including Tim Huelskamp, Kris Kobach, Kevin Yoder and Todd Tiahrt. Everyone wanted to avoid the possibility of losing those office holders' seats to a Democrat and no one wanted a filthy primary that may have tarnished everyone involved.

Well, guess what? We got a filthy primary anyway, and now we're looking perilously close to losing the U.S. Senate. I would much rather have a fair, honest fight with the very best and brightest candidates battling it out for coveted offices. I would hate the lose any of those office holders' seats, but you know what will be worse? Losing the U.S. Senate with two years left of the Obama Presidency.

Any one of those candidates listed above would be running a better, more engaged, intense race against independent liberal Greg Orman. And a fresher face eliminates one-half of Orman's arguments. 

Please don't misunderstand me. I'm not bashing Roberts exactly, and if I haven't said it already, Roberts deserves our vote in the Nov. 4 election. I'm very disturbed by the political movers and shakers who think they can control the Republican electorate. Their hubris is damaging to the Republican Party and may be damaging to the entire country come January 2015.

3. Milton Wolf

I was a mild Wolf supporter in August, but my tank of patience is on empty. It's well past time that he get over his damaged feelings and endorse Pat Roberts. 

It was an ugly primary campaign, but surely, that was expected, right? Wolf didn't throw his hat into the ring to become Secretary of the local Rotary Club. He was running for membership in a very elite organization -- one of the most powerful groups on the face of the planet. 

Even if Roberts had played 100 percent positive -- only running ads about why he's great, not doing any opposition research -- Wolf should have known and expected that someone, a PAC or a Roberts-supporting individual or what-have-you, would run negative ads on the Senator's behalf.  To think otherwise, is well, stupid.

Wolf should have expected it. Sure, be mad about it. But don't take your ball and go home. This is the big leagues. If Wolf wants the slightest hint of a political future, he needs to host a press conference, donate a few thousand and endorse Roberts. 

And while we're on the topic, has Wolf endorsed Brownback yet? A week ago, the Washington Examiner reported that the endorsement was forthcoming. I haven't seen it yet. Memo to Wolf: If you wait until Nov. 5, it's too late.

4. Ardent Wolf and Roberts Supporters 

You know who you are, and you know how you've behaved. Please, please grow up and act like adults. Stop throwing flames in the social media sandbox. 

Rabid Roberts supporters were really gross during the primary election. (I won't tell you what one of them said to me in person. Seriously, some old man I didn't even know personally attacked me at a party event, all for the simple crime of admitting to him that I would be voting for Wolf. Earth to you people: Attacking the other people who are generally on your side doesn't exactly harbor warm, fuzzy feelings. Have a debate, sure. But if your debate skills range from calling someone an "idiot" to calling someone a "moron," you're doing it wrong.) 

Meanwhile, Wolf supporters need to get on the Roberts train, ASAP. It's no secret that I personally want to slap the taste out of the mouths of those so-called "Tea Party" negotiators. I still feel slightly, OK, crazy enraged, when I think about last week's story in The Hill. Just stop it already, and either cast your vote for and vocally offer support to Roberts, or please, please do the world a favor and stop talking until Nov. 5. You're not helping. You're hurting the country's chances of having a Republican majority in the Senate.

 5. Sam Brownback

Dear, dear Governor: Please, please start listening to members of your own party. I'm not saying you should stop listening to your advisers, but you can overrule them, correct?

The bizarre thing about Brownback is he has governed far more from the center than necessary. It's quite baffling, honestly. He's pandered to special interests -- just not conservative special interests. (see, his grand American Indian apology tour. What was that? I'm still scratching my head.) 

In his quest for I guess, mediocrity, he's done a fine job of alienating conservatives. The moderates liberals are never, ever going to join Brownback's cause. Ever. So Brownback should be spending his time in office rallying conservatives and moving the state to the right. That's not what he's done, despite the media storyline.

If I think too long about it, I can still get fired up about that sales tax increase. 

You would be hard-pressed to find many conservatives just chomping at the bit to cast a ballot for Brownback this year. I'm not worried that they'll vote for Davis, but everyone should worry about the conservatives who just won't vote in the Governor's race. I've talked to them on doorsteps, and so have state House and Senate candidates. And I know for a fact, some of those very candidates have tried repeatedly to tell the Governor and his people that. It doesn't appear that Brownback is listening. Will conservative voting be depressed enough to drag down races lower on the ticket? 

The most rabid (in an awesome way) conservative officeholder (maybe second to Huelskamp) is Kris Kobach. He's going to get more votes than Brownback. 

Just let that sink in.

5. Jerry Moran

Moran is the head of the NRSC, and if Republicans lose the U.S. Senate in this election, he should be immediately removed from that duty. Sorry. 

I like Moran, but the NRSC has one job. If they fail to win the Senate because Moran's home state sends a liberal to Washington, Moran should be canned from that role.

Who am I missing? Are there others who deserve some blame? Shoot me an email or comment anonymously. Let's keep the discussion halfway civil and clean.