Ominous warning

8/5/2012

Edward Flentje's trenchant commentary (The Hays Daily News, July 29) describes in stark terms the plans of Gov. Sam Brownback to consolidate absolute power in his administration. Flentje, an iconic intellectual of the "traditional" Republican Party, defines in unambiguous terms the disturbing policy implications of Brownback's power play.

As observed by Flentje, the Kansas Republican Party has been hijacked by a coalition of Koch-Brownback plutocrats and radical social conservatives bent on establishing a plutocratic oligarchy whose governing ideology consists of social Darwinism, moving more wealth to the top one percent, and imposing their moral convictions on the rest of us by governmental edict.

The coalition in question intends to consolidate its power by deposing three to five moderate traditional, i.e., thinking, Republicans in the state Senate. Eight moderates have been targeted for defeat. The prospect of a Koch-Brownback oligarchy is so ominous that several prominent Democrats are encouraging Democrats to change their party affiliation to vote for moderates in the Republican primary. We view this suggestion as a recipe for relegating the Kansas Democratic Party to permanent minority status.

We have a better idea. An idea that is rooted in shared values of Democrats and traditional Republicans -- economic opportunity, economic security, social justice, responsibility, a clean environment and a safe workplace. These are values that most Kansans embrace. They are not, however, the values of the Koch-Brownback Republican Party. That coalition's values, as manifested by its policy positions, consist of greed, bigotry, parsimony, duplicity and an insatiable appetite for power.

The most fundamental difference between Democrats and traditional Republicans, on the one hand, and the Koch-Brownback crowd, on the other, relates to one's view of the role of government.

We believe that government has a responsibility to improve the human condition. They reject that view.

So we invite the traditional Republicans, as well as all thoughtful Kansans, to unite with our party in repudiating the values of the Koch-Brownback political machine and to join us in the struggle to improve the lives of all Kansans.

Joan Wagnon, chairwoman, Kansas Democratic Party

Lee Kinch, vice chairman, Kansas Democratic Party

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