Changing Republicans

I was raised by Republicans in the time of exemplary Kansas Republicans. Ike was idolized in my household, and Bob Dole sat more than once at our kitchen table. I was a Rooks County Young Republican with Jerry Moran, and Keith Sebelius nominated me for the service academies.

Sam Brownback ran as a Republican. But the first thing he did was to attack, with great success, Republicans in the state Legislature and replace them with those who shared his ideology. He installed operatives in Topeka who cruised the Internet seeking (and finding, in the case of one high school girl) those who would disparage our governor. Retribution was swift and strong.

Next, he attacked the state constitution when he and his now-compliant state Legislature altered it, again with great success, to take judgeships out of the hands of the citizens, and put them under his -- the governor's -- purview. The consolidation of the power of all three branches of government, intended as a constitutional scale of checks and balances, was complete. Many of the judges holding these positions were Republicans.

Next, he went after the public education system, denying certified teachers due process while eliminating the educational requirements that have historically determined the bottom-line requirements for those who would teach our children. In Kansas, teachers are our next-door neighbors, our nieces and nephews. And, being Kansans, most of them are Republicans.

Brownback had to be forced by the Supreme Court to fund the schools and still managed to insert into the spending bill a tax credit for corporations that donate to private, religious schools. This seems like a wonderful thing, until you realize somebody has to make up that money when it's diverted from the treasury. Who do you suppose that is?

These attacks, I feel, are ample reasons to question if Brownback is really a Republican. One thing is clear from his attacks on the tax/public education structure, and that is he doesn't consider the farmers, the teachers and the wage-earners to be his constituency. These Kansans are bearing the brunt of his tax realignment.

Remember also that Kris Kobach ran as a Republican. He ran against the specter of voter fraud and illegal aliens -- and ultimately, illegal aliens committing voter fraud. None such had ever been recorded, but that was his platform and he was elected.

He recently went all out in an attempt to block the resignation of the Democratic candidate in our senatorial campaign. He claimed confidence in the law he was enforcing, and his interpretation of it. Yet, when it was scheduled to be heard before the Supreme Court, he maneuvered to have it pushed to a lower court, rather than plead it before the highest court in the state. Why would he do this? There is only one reason. To delay the final decision on the matter until after the deadline for ballot printing had passed. This was the highest election official in the state using his office to try to tilt the field in favor of the candidate for whom he was a state campaign chairman. If this wasn't illegal, it was at least an abuse of his elected office and impeachable under our state constitution.

Finally, there's Tim Huelskamp, a state embarrassment without equal, pushing Vern Miller and Phill Kline far down the totem pole. He spent his early congressional years writing bills exempting shoe imports and certain chemicals from U.S. tariffs. Who, exactly, was he representing? Lately, a flurry of fetus and marriage/religion related propositions, endless prattle on cable, and a steady source of fodder for the comedians. He voted against farm bills that are the lifeblood of the small Kansas towns. He pushed for a government shutdown in retribution for congressional refusal to repeal a bill he didn't like. It didn't matter his constituents in these small towns -- the farmers, the FSA and USDA employees (almost all Republicans) -- would lose. Again, it was his ideology that mattered more than the citizens he was supposed to represent.

As election day approaches, I ask you to remember these things we have witnessed with our own eyes. Don't vote for a party or an ideology, but for the good of our state. Vote for Kansas.

Randall Baughman,

Manhattan