Thursday, October 19, 2006

What's The Matter With Kansas ... Republicans?

Thomas Frank's groundbreaking 2004 book, What's The Matter With Kansas, explored the apparent disconnect between a populace with a history of populist values and a habit of voting for "populist" Republicans who don't reflect their values.

As Frank noted: "What we are observing, then, is a populist movement that has done irreversible harm to the material interests of the common people it professes to love so tenderly -- a form of class animosity that rages against a shadowy 'elite' while enthroning a new aristocracy of bankers, brokers, and corporate thieves. "

But that may be changing, and rapidly.

Polls released today by SurveyUSA show Gov. Kathleen Sebelius holding a 13-point lead over her Republican challenger and Democrat Paul Morrison maintaining a nearly identical lead over the incument Attorney General Phill Kline.

But there's more to the story than just a couple of Kansas Democrats running strong campaigns.

As the Washington Post notes reports, "Nor is Morrison alone [as a longtime Republican politician now running as a Democrat]. In a state that voted nearly 2 to 1 for President Bush in 2004, nine former Republicans will be on the November ballot as Democrats. Among them is Mark Parkinson, a former chairman of the Kansas Republican Party, who changed parties to run for lieutenant governor with the popular Democratic governor, Kathleen Sebelius. ...The spirit of the attempted Democratic comeback in Kansas, set by Sebelius, is a search for the workable political center."

Can Kansas go from bright red to purple? Stranger things have happened. As MyDD.com notes, Oregon and Vermont were once Republican strongholds, but now are among the bluest states in the nation.

Kansas Republicans have succeeded by being cultural populists, convincing voters that being against abortion rights, the estate tax and labor laws was in the best interest of working families. It's the same sort of logic that has allowed wealthy politicians -- including Steve Forbes and George W. Bush -- to spin themselve as "populists" who share the same interests as unemployed union laborers and minimum-wage workers at the local Wal-Mart.

Meanwhile, Kansas has over the past 25 or so years become one of the poorest states in the country, with one of the bleakest economic futures.

Perhaps a move to the center will lead to more attentive leadership, caring as much about working families as the tiny minority of Americans who would benefit from a repeal of the estate tax.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Snoop said...

Kansas is one of the most educated states in the country. A high percentage (approximately 40%) of the adult population of the state hold bachelors degrees.

Kansas, Rank in Hottest States Southern Business & Development ranked Kansas 10th “Hottest States for Top Deals and Hot Markets.” Kansas was noted for its superb business climate. Spring 2003

JRH Biosciences Ranks in Top 10 Small Companies for Scientists The Scientist magazine recently ranked the top 10 “Best Places to Work in Industry” and Lenexa-based JRH Biosciences took the No. 6 spot for small businesses across the country. The Scientist surveyed employees from life sciences corporations and asked them to assess their working environment according to 46 criteria. www.the-scientist.com

Young, Educated Moving to Kansas City Area from Coast In a recent census study, Kansas City ranked 10th among major metropolitan areas in the migration rate of newcomers who were single, college-educated and 25 to 39 years old. The Kansas City area had a larger net gain of young workers than St. Louis, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, and Nashville, Tenn., as well as some much larger cities including Philadelphia and Boston. The majority of the newcomers moved to Kansas City from the Los Angeles area because of its diverse job base, close families, good schools and relatively low cost of living. November 2003.

Kansas City Area Ranks No. 2 for Business Expansion, Relocation Expansion Management ranked Kansas City the second-best place in the country to expand or relocate a business. The magazine’s annual ranking of 329 metropolitan areas measures such items as access to and affordability of health care, quality of life, education, transportation and availability of technically trained workers. August 4, 2003

Kansas Ranks in Top 10 for Education, Employment and Business Success In the Development Report Card for States compiled by Corporation for Enterprise Development, Kansas ranked in the top ten for basic educational skills, high school and college attainment, short-term employment growth and the number of businesses continuing to operate. It also ranked high in air quality, highway conditions and number of technology jobs.

Why do I bother, I know that your blogs only objective is to find some way of demonizing Republicans and it’s all good, but adding this line; “Meanwhile, Kansas has over the past 25 or so years become one of the poorest states in the country, with one of the bleakest economic futures.”
Glaring proof that you clearly don’t know what the hell you are talking about.

I like our Governor, yes she is a Democrat, I know many on her staff, yes the Republicans have issues here and the Democrats take advantage of it. And believe it or not, I will vote for many of them, including Congressman Moore but make no mistake these Democrats are centrist and govern right leaning. It is solidly a red state, we just happen to have a lack of leadership in the GOP side outside Roberts and Ryun.
Both governing entities are solid Republican always has been, always will be. Make no mistake about it.
See for me it's quality of the individual and whether or not these people have my interest in mind. I a (hard core, flame throwing, liberal hating conservative) have no issues with many of these Kansas Democrats, so what does that tell you.
I frankly believed that a Mark Warner and Sebelius ticket was possible and the only Democratic ticket I would consider voting for.
BUT
If these Democrats show any idiotic liberal leanings they will be run out on a rail.

Bottom line on this dude you should do your research and know what the hell you are talking about besides ignorant liberal commentary.

But feel free to spread the Kansas sucks mantra, I like it just fine. Maybe it will keep those crazy ass California liberals from moving here.

1:14 PM  
Anonymous rob of wilmington, del. said...

One of the points made in the book is that while the state has done an exceptional job of creating a pro-business environment, companies like Boeing have given Kansas short-shrift.

but the success or failure of corporate america isn't really what Frank or JABBS is getting at.

kansas also has a lot of poverty, and for those people, there isn't a bright future. yes, the overland park area has become a country club set. but in central and western kansas, the best jobs have been downsized or outsourced. family farms have been boxed out by agricultural empires.

meanwhile, you have these republicans, dole, brownback, etc., preaching a cultural populism, much different than the economic populists of yesteryear. low taxes for the rich is the answer. being against abortion is the answer.

and against their own economic interests, the impoverished of kansas have voted in lockstep with the country club set.

so snoop, i'm not disagreeing with the list of things you've produced. i just don't think you're talking about the same set of kansans as Frank.

3:00 PM  
Anonymous Snoop said...

"Meanwhile, Kansas has over the past 25 or so years become one of the poorest states in the country, with one of the bleakest economic futures."

please don’t tell me what you “think” he means. That fact is flat bullshit, period.


And I don’t give a damm what that book talks about because it’s a joke and much of what the book talks about is overstated.
Would it make sense to you for me to get on my blog talking about Delaware politics, with facts from a book written by a Republican dude or someone who “thinks’ he knows about Delaware politics without giving you the ALL the facts.
If you read up on Kansas history you would understand our politics.
When I went to yearly KOS, I was asked countless numbers of times about the book, every liberal apparently had read it and gawked about the contents as if the information provided talked about the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Let me remind you, I live in Kansas, was intimately involved in state and local politics in Sedgwick County where Wichita is located.
I was asked numerous times to run for state wide office and for Congress many years ago by some very prominent individuals because of the trend that was noticed that the state Republicans were losing ground with average Kansans. This was what 1995-1996.
When they discovered that this outspoken black dude was Republican they thought wow what an opportunity, but I basically said screw that because I would not be a pimp for the radical anti-abortion movement.
The proverbial straw was during the summer of mercy, I was interviewed as to my opinions about the protests at the abortion clinics, my exact words:

“ f these people. Yesterday a little black girl was shot on her front steps dude to gang violence, the 7th child to die in recent months due to random violence, but Wichita police officers have to spend taxpayers money defending these idiot protesters while black children get killed, when they start showing concern and marching and protesting on the behalf of black children, I’ll show support for them, what makes it worse is the Wichita Eagle (newspaper) puts this garbage on the front page and the little girls death is a byline in the news briefs section, what is wrong with this picture ”

As conservative as I am even I recognize the stupidity of these crazy right wing bastards and the damage they have done to the party.

Bottom line is the people in Kansas are a lot smarter than books written by the likes of Frank portray.
“republicans, dole, brownback, etc., preaching a cultural populism,”

Dude in case you are not aware Dole retired from the Senate in 1996 and does not live here and Brownback in a non entity here.

Ah hell it’s Saturday, and I was bored. I just don’t know why I bother.
You are gonna think with facts no matter how many keystrokes are attempted.
Carry on with the misinformation.

3:14 PM  

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