What got me started down this path were a couple of communications that stood out as examples where pushback is needed to add some truth. The first is what I’m hearing from some outspoken far-right conservative Republican legislators. They were certainly no help in correcting the disastrous Brownback tax experiment in the 2017 Legislative session. Now they are attacking Governor Brownback as if they had never gone along with his plan. Rep. J.R. Claeys, a Salina conservative was quoted in the Topeka Capital calling the budget “short-sighted.” He accused Brownback of throwing all his allies under the bus. They want us to forget how they voted and simply buy the rhetoric that re-elects the incumbent. If you think for a moment these ultra-conservatives criticizing Brownback have had a total conversion, please return to reality. Americans for Prosperity and the Koch Brothers do not change stripes. They just double down.
The second example comes from the message that Independent Greg Orman put out to jump start his effort to be the next Governor of Kansas, a bid which officially launched today. Let me say first, I admire and like Greg. He is a fine man who made a valiant effort to unseat Senator Pat Roberts in 2014. But this is 2018, and at best, all he can do is help elect Kris Kobach or possibly soon-to-be Governor Colyer. This would simply extend the Brownback misery for up to eight more years.
Orman’s a spoiler, but what really gets me is the message he is putting out that both Kansas and Washington D.C. are essentially political cesspools that only an independent can fix. I understand that has some fit with D.C., but to include Kansas with no effort to be fair or tell the whole story, I take serious exception. Democratic and moderate Republican legislators, backed by four former Governors of Kansas, made huge positive changes in the 2017 legislative session. As a word of advice, Greg, this only reinforces those who believe your real goal is a U.S. Senate seat, not serving as Governor. Those invested in Kansas politics know that both our history and our recent success proved Kansas isn’t Washington, and bipartisanship can—and does—exist.
Words used do matter, and the truth can make a real difference. I close with a personal experience to end on a softer note. When I was Speaker of the House and home for a weekend, I attended a Chamber legislative lunch. The death penalty was a frequent topic, and although I opposed it, I said little if anything. The Sunday Salina Journal really got my attention. Page two headline was “Carlin says the death penalty will only pass over his dead body.” With a tape of the lunchtime session, I was in the Journal office the next morning to share the record of what took place. In the Tuesday edition, I made the headlines again. “Carlin claims he did not say the death penalty would only pass over his dead body.” Clearly it was my personal lesson on not fighting with someone who buys printer’s ink by the barrel.