Saturday, May 2, 2009

Elections Have Consequences: JoCo Dems, RINOs Stop Balanced Budget

This post is a first in a series called "Elections Have Consequences".

Last week we discussed the importance of turning the tea parties into a real political movement. To follow up on this point, Kaw & Border is starting a new post series entitled "Elections Have Consequences". This was quite apparent in legislative action Friday during the wrap-up session in the Kansas House of Representatives.

On Friday, the Kansas House, by a vote of 62-53, rejected a compromise budget proposal by Kevin Yoder and Mike O'Neal. Kansas Liberty has the story here. It's important to note that four reps who would have likely voted yes - Bethell, Landwehr, Neufeld, and George - -were not present, but that would not have made the difference.

What's most disturbing about this vote is that the measure, which would have balanced budget without either a tax increase or state-employee tax hike, failed because of a coalition of Democrats and "Republicans In Name Only" voted no. This despite the fact that Kevin Yoder, Chairman of Appropriations and widely considred as a more moderate Republican, was one of the main proponents of the bill.

One would think in a legislature with nearly 80 Republicans, that a budget such as this could be passed relatively easily. However, as anyone who follows politics knows, a lot of the Republicans are only that by label only, and often side with Democrats on big issues both economically and socially. There is no bigger issue than the budget this year, and when enough so-called moderates and liberals get together, it's enough to get to that magical number of 63, though barely.

This is Exhibit A of "Why Elections Have Consequences".

What's even more dissapointing is that it is actually Johnson County's own delegation that caused the defeat of this bill. If one assumes that at least Bethell, Landwehr, Neufeld, and George would have voted yes, that would have brought the yes vote to 57, 6 short of a majority.

There are 22 State Representatives in Johnson County, roughly divided into the following camps:

Republicans (10): Kinzer, Siegfreid, Brown, Kiegerl, Schwab, Donohoe, Merrick, Olson, Yoder, Kleeb
RINO's: (6): Quigley, Worley, Spalding, Huntington, Wolf, Colloton
Democrats (6): Neighbor, Benlon, Slattery, Furtado, Talia, Rardin

Now, one could further subdivide the 10 "Republicans" into groups, but most of these people are reliable votes on most big. Republican legislation. In this case, all 10 voted Yes. Hats off to them.

Of the second group, the RINO's, these are all Republicans who are rarely reliable Republican votes, taking liberal stances on both economic and social issues. Of this group, only 1 (Colloton), voted yes on the final bill.

Of the third group, the Democrats, all six voted no.

So, it is fair to say that it is Johnson County's RINO's and Democrats caused the defeat of a balanced budget. Their reasons?

First of all, they objected to one approved amendment by Lance Kinzer of Olathe R which said that Kansas' four Planned Parenthood clinics would not recieve federal funding through Title X. According to Kansas Liberty, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment currently distributes about $2.4 million in federal funds through the grant program to state health offices and clinics for family planning. Planned Parenthood also receives the funding which, Kinzer said, amounted to more than $260,000 last year.

In the wake of Friday's explosive revelation by Senator Tim Huelskamp and Rep. Lance Kinzer that Planned Parenthood is covering up sexual abuse, one would think that this would be reasonable. Not to Democrats and RINO's apparently, as all of the above representatives who voted no on the budget, plus Colloton, all also voted no on Kinzer's amendment. If that doesn't show you where their priorities are, nothing will. Interesting how they often say it is conservatives who are attempting to shove their values down the throats of the public -- in this case, by wanting funding to continue to a group which hides sexual abuse of under age girls -- it seems that it is the other way around.

Second of all, it was opposition from the teachers' unions. According to Kansas Liberty, the state's teachers' union was delighted with the vote, however. In an email statement sent to members, the union called on its members to contact those who voted against the budget bill and tell them, "thank you for standing up for schools, for social services, for public safety, for universities, and for state employees."

So, apparently, RINO's and Democrats want to continue to side with liberal teachers' unions and ignore the budget situation -- and apparently all support the further growth of and reliance on government. Apparently they don't have a problem with continuing the reality of Kansas losing private sector jobs while growing government-sector jobs.

Another interesting vote on the budget was the rejection of an amendment by Rep. Forrest Knox to remove in-state tuition breaks for children of illegal immigrants. This amendment, which was defeated with 67 votes against it, also included all twelve Johnson County RINO's and Democrats, again making the difference when taking into account the absent legislators who would have voted yes/

Moral of this story? Elections have consequences. Let's do a little history lesson.

In the last 15 years, the following RINO/Dem-held seats were once held by a Republican who likely would have voted the other way on the three above votes:

District 16 - held by Dem. Gene Rardin, previously held by Tim Carmody and Karen DiVita until 2002. Gene Rardin defeated conservative Dennis Kriegshauser in 2006 by 2 votes.

District 18 -- held by Dem. Cindy Neighbor, previously held by conservatives Phill Kline (8 years) and Mary Pilcher Cook (4 years). Cindy Neighbor defeated conservative John Rubin in 2008 by a narrow 52-48 margin.

District 21 -- held by RINO Kay Wolf, previously held by Dean Newton, who was much like Kevin Yoder and Marvin Kleeb in his legislative approach. Conservatives have not fielded a candidate since Wolf won in a special election by precinct committemen several years ago.

District 23 -- held by Dem. Milack Talia, previously held by conservatives Cliff Franklin and Judy Morrison, all the way up until 2008. Talia defeated August Bogina in 2008 by a 57-43 margin.

District 28 -- held by RINO Pat Colloton, previously held by Doug Patterson.

District 29 -- held by RINO Sheryl Spalding, previously held by Dennis Wilson, Patricia Lightner and Patricia Kilpatrick, until Kilpatrick opted not to run just before the filing deadline in 2006. This seat was a reliable conservative seat until this point.

In addition to these six seat flips, the other seats are:

District 17 -- held by RINO Jill Quigley. Conservatives have tried here before, but didn't put up a candidate to the unknown Quigley in 2008.
District 19 -- held by Dem Delores Furtado -- conservatives James Walker was narrowly defeated in a primary against moderate John Skubal, who then was defeated by Furtado.
District 22 -- held by Dem/former RINO Lisa Benlon. Actually this seat was held briefly by conservatives from 1994-1996, but hasn't since. Joy Bourdess put up a heroic effort here.
District 24 -- held by Dem. Jim Slattery. Ronnie Metsker held this seat for 2 years, but was not a reliable vote, but certainly would have been better than Slattery.
District 25 -- held by Terrie Huntington. Conservatives have never put up an effort here.
District 30 -- held by RINO Ron Worley. Conservatives have tried in this "borderline" seat before but with only limited effort.

Now, is it reasonable to say that all 12 of these seats could be flipped? Perhaps not. But certainly some of them are within reach. Point is here that those 10,000 people who attended the tea party at JCCC and the many other folks, both Republicans and independents, who are fed up with the misplaced priorities and lack of leadership in state government need to look no farther than their own back yard.

If the voters were to restore a Republican dedicated to the rule of law and sound economic principles the six previously-held seats plus two of the other seats, we would have had a vastly different outcome on the budget and immigration votes, and a much wider margin on the Plannted Parenthood vote.

The good news is that this problem is not permanent. What must happen is a conservative resurgence -- good candidates must be recruited and supported with both time and treasure. We've seen in very localized cases in both the De Soto School Board and several northeast JoCo Mayor races that the public is willing to turn out elected officials who are not standing up for the taxpayer nor the rule of law.

Tea party goers everywhere, are you paying attention?