By Salina Journal, July 22
When Sam Brownback returned to Kansas to take over as governor and launch his next presidential bid, he and his allies probably weren’t worried about those moderate Republicans they kicked out of the Legislature.
After using the proven economic strategy of deep tax cuts to give the state’s economy a shot of adrenaline, happy days and national acclaim would be sure to follow. As for the moderates, other than slinking off in humiliation, what options did they have? Join up with the Democrats?
Ha. Ha. Ha.
This past week, a number of those high-profile, Bob Dole-type Republicans — or as Salina GOP Rep. J.R. Claeys likes to call them, nursing home residents — announced they were backing Democrat Rep. Paul Davis for governor.
Among those who signed on for Davis, the presumed Democratic nominee, were some from Salina, including former Sen. Pete Brungardt, former Reps. Charlie Roth and Jayne Aylward, former and current Salina School Board members Carol Brandert, Nedra Elbl, Gary Denning, Larry Michel, Pat Grimwood and Mary Ann Trickle; former mayors Kristin Gunn and John Vanier, and city Commissioner Randall Hardy.
Kansas Republican Party Chair Kelly Arnold responded in part with this statement:
“The Kansas Republican Party is disappointed these former elected officials, many of whom were thrown out by the Kansas voters, have decided to endorse the Obama agenda.”
Classy. Can’t win on the issues? Blame Obama.
This split in the Kansas GOP shouldn’t be news to anyone. At least in Saline County, it started decades ago when the God-and-guns wing of the party tried to take over at the precinct level.
The only surprise is that the moderates’ anger has reached the point that they’ve done the formerly unthinkable, join with Democrats to try and oust a sitting Republican governor.
If Brownback hadn’t been so ruthless in his takeover of the state party, so nakedly ambitious in his political aspirations, then maybe this could have been avoided. But he wasn’t subtle or accommodating, and now he faces a formidable opponent bolstered by group of Republicans largely of his own making.
What goes around ...