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Time to replace Huelskamp

Published on -7/30/2014, 9:00 AM

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Time to replace Huelskamp

The 2020 census is not yet underway, so it is hard to tell what congressional reapportionment will mean for Kansas, and ultimately the number of members of Congress who will represent the state. In one sense, Kansas already is the victim of reapportionment. In 2010, we had four congressman, but today we effectively have only three.

Tim Huelskamp not only has marginalized himself in Washington, he has marginalized the state of Kansas. Both through his sanctimonious condemnations of fellow Republicans (which culminated in his expulsion by his own party's leadership from the influential agricultural and budget committees earlier this Congress) and through his intransigence on issues that demand both compromise and flexibility, if we are to move forward as a country, he has proved to be one of Capitol Hill's most ineffective legislators. And in today's Washington, that is quite an accomplishment.

He is an utter embarrassment to Kansas, and to the people he purports to represent. He is a laughingstock in Congress, especially within his own Republican conference -- where he could not be less influential. Huelskamp's endorsement of a policy idea or political strategy widely is viewed as the kiss of death.

But perhaps even more embarrassing than his utter ineffectiveness and incompetence as a legislator is his sad attempt to explain all of this away by playing the "victim" card, something he has turned into an art form during his relatively short political career in Washington. Everything that happens to him, according to him, is always someone else's fault. He just is representing his values and his voters, he will argue.

He hopes to dupe the voters in his district with this childish reasoning, but as one of his colleagues, Lynn Westmoreland's spokesman, said of the congressman, Huelskamp lost his committee assignments because of the "A-hole factor." Hardly the victim of some grand conspiracy by his colleagues, he is just someone who can't work well with others and almost universally is despised. I only can imagine the report cards that must have been sent home to his parents whilst the congressman was in grade school -- "doesn't play well with others." But while this personality disorder might have been addressed successfully when Timmy was making enemies on the playground, it is a little too late at this point to hope he will learn how to make friends and influence people "on the job."

In other words, Huelskamp has not earned the respect and admiration of his colleagues, he has earned their disdain and mistrust -- and for that, they have put him in the timeout corner.

It's time to replace Huelskamp in Congress. This year, Republicans in the First District have a choice, and that choice is Alan LaPolice. LaPolice can make the district proud again.

Rob Wasinger served as chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback and also served on the staffs of Gov. Bill Graves and Jerry Moran.

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