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Delaying the day

It's a sign of how far our state's leaders have lurched to the right that someone who once worked with then state senator Tim Huelskamp is trying to form a third party because he can't believe how conservative his Republican Party has become.

According a recent Hutchinson News story, Aaron Estabrook, Manhattan, wants the Moderate Party of Kansas to be more of a centrist option for voters. Probably something more akin to the Bob Dole and Bill Graves GOP.

In addition to working with Huelskamp, now Kansas' 1st Congressional District representative in Washington, Estabrook is an Afghanistan war veteran and voted for George W. Bush in both of his presidential elections.

Estabrook said after he returned from Afghanistan, he couldn't believe what he was seeing.

"Our legislators were spending so much time restricting rights that it almost felt like they envied Afghans."

He supports expanding background checks to cover gun purchases, giving a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants and providing equal protection for gays.

We, too, disagree with the Kansas GOP's move to the right. But if turning back the hard-right GOP is the goal of the Moderate Party, then further fracturing Republicans and the Democratic Party isn't the answer.

We can't see moderate GOP voters flocking to join a new party or the Democrats. They are, after all, Republicans, and proud of it. But given the big money backing social conservatives, it won't be easy for them to reclaim their party.

What it will take is time and attractive candidates.

Kansas hasn't always been governed from the hard right, and the day will come when it won't be again, especially if Gov. Brownback's tax cuts fail to produce the economic miracle he's seeking to launch his next presidential bid.

A new party will only delay the day when the conservatives no longer have a grip on the state.

Editorial by the Salina Journal