Monday, May 11, 2009

Elections have Consequences Update: Mods, Dems Still Control Kansas

This post is third in a series entitled "Elections have Consequences".

Last week, in two separate pieces, we touched on the issue of Democrats and "moderate" Republicans controlling Kansas government.

To recap:

In the post "Steve Rose's Straw Man Sam", we rebuffed Steve Rose's column "Time for the right wing to rule", in which he claimed that if Sam Brownback were elected Governor, "goodbye moderate voices at the top. Gone will be the agendas of the moderate Republicans and Democrats who have ruled Kansas. Gone are the checks and balances. The time will soon come for the far right to rule, whether you like it or not."

Our claim was that this was ridiculous, that currently, and for most times in recent Kansas history, the mods and Dems have essentially controlled every part of Kansas government -- the Governorship, every other statewide office, the court system, the Kansas Senate, and arguably the Kansas House -- and that it was Sam Brownback who would be the check.

In an earlier posted entitled Elections Have Consequences: JoCo Dems, RINOs Stop Balanced Budget, we touched on the point about the supposedly right-wing Kansas House, where liberal Republicans and Democrats banded together to defeat a balanced budget.

Our points in both posts were proven late last week, as both the Kansas House and Senate passed an unbalanced budget that will require "revenue enhancements" (a.k.a. tax increases) to balance the budget. Kansas Liberty has the story here, discussing how Democrats and moderates drove over Speaker O'Neal and approved the budget on a 65-56 vote. There was a similar narrow vote in the Senate.

As the article discussed, this band of RINO's and Democrats has been in control now for several years in Kansas. Conservatives may be able to get a majority for some bills, but the fact remains that on issues such as the budget, the liberals still have control, no matter what the party makeup tells you.

To the Republican Party image, this is embarassing. In a state where Republicans have over 75% of the seats in the Kansas Senate, and nearly 2/3 in the House, we get stats like these (from the same Kansas Liberty article):

Kansas Chamber of Commerce figures, reported in the Linn County News, show state spending increased 48 percent between fiscal years 2004 and 2008, while inflation increased only 13 percent over the same period. The paper reported that "had the state only spent what it took in FY2007 and FY2008, there would be over $900 million in the state coffers today."

This in a red state. This in a state where Steve Rose claims that we need a check on conservatives!

Yet, despite the current economic climate and budget constraints, the left was able to still force its agenda through.

There are a couple of key points to be made here:

1. The Republican Party must mean something besides a mere political label.
Right now, in Kansas, the word "Republican" means little to a significant portion of the party -- only a means of getting elected. While a strong majority of Republicans voted in opposition to the poor budget passed Friday, a sizeable chunk went to vote for a liberal budget. This isn't a case of moderation on social issues, either -- "moderate" would imply conservative on some issues and not as conservative on other issues. Being liberal on everything doesn't make one a moderate -- it makes one a liberal. In this case, a sizeable group of elected Republicans, particularly in Johnson County, voted for a liberal FISCAL policy.

2. Republicans must field Republicans in elections!
This is where "Point #1" is meaningless unless action is taken. In 2008, none of the six moderates (Spalding, Worley, Wolf, Huntington, Colloton, and Quigley) faced opposition from a conservative. It's like the lottery -- you can't win if you don't play. When you add in the 6 Democrats (Talia, Rardin, Neighbor, Slattery, Furtado, Benlon), only half of them faced a reliable conservative -- unfortunately, none were successful.

This is where the Tea Parties come in and where the grassroots matters. A few political activists and the best campaign managers can't turn water into wine all by themselves. Every entity from grassroots organizations to churches to neighborhood groups need to be aware of what's going on and then turn it around by getting involved, donating, and telling their neighbors and friends. The left is on the march and if conservatives simply remain in their pews and homes, nothing will happen and our nation will be further driven into moral and financial bankrputcy..

The good news is that those who believe in fiscal responsiblity are not far away. In the Kansas Senate, conservatives got within 2 or 3 votes of stopping the budget. One only need to point to the close races against Kelly Kultala and Pete Brungardt for two shining examples of where seats could be flipped -- as both candidates barely won their 2008 election (Kultala in the general, Brungardt in the primary). In the House, 7 more votes would have meant passage of a balanced budget -- and that's something we could take care of in Johnson County alone.

So, we're not talking about some 20 seats here. We're talking about a few on the edges, in many cases, seats at one time held by a fiscal conservative.

This is why 2010 is so critical for the conservative movement in Kansas. Kansans can elect that check and balance that would be Sam Brownback. Bad budgets like the one passed last Friday could be vetoed. A few more arms of spineless Republicans could be twisted. More so, when a fiscally conservative budget was passed, it would actually be signed.

Ladies and gentlemen, elections have consequences, and there is no more shining example of that than the FY 2010 Budget.