Competition is tough for No. 1

By Rod Haxton, editor

The Governor Brownback Administration has begun damage control in response to a new poll which ranks the Kansas governor as the least popular in the nation.

“It’s all a matter of how you choose to look at the numbers,” said an anonymous spokesman from the governor’s office.

“As members of the media, you are choosing to say that the governor is No. 50. But, if you look at it another way, he’s actually No. 1.”

It’s not just that he has a 23 percent approval rating among Kansans, but even more noteable is who Brownback has beaten in the race to be No. 1.

He narrowly defeated Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy (26 percent) who is under fire for possible campaign finance violations and for eliminating thousands of government jobs.

No. 3 on the list is Gov. Chris Christie (29 percent approval) who verbally attacks the media and constituents when he’s not retaliating against mayors who don’t endorse his candidacy. He’s also being investigated for his role in “Bridgegate.”

Next is Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder who poisoned an entire city’s drinking water supply in order to save a few bucks.

And No. 5 is Maine Gov. Paul LePage who claims that black men come into the state to sell drugs, impregnate Maine women and leave the state’s taxpayers to take care of the consequences. Afterwards, LePage explained that he was “going impromptu in my brain, didn’t catch up to my mouth.”

Yes, it’s hard to believe that LePage isn’t any higher on the list, but it also speaks to the quality of the field that’s ahead of him.

While they aren’t pleased with the governor’s 71 percent disapproval rating, spokespeople within the Administration say it has led to intense discussion as to how Brownback can move a little lower on the list.

“It would appear that poisoning the drinking water for a city isn’t near the negative that we originally thought,” says a spokesperson. “We’ve begun putting together a list of potential cities. Actually, it’s a very short list. The only city on the list right now is Lawrence.”

When asked why Lawrence, the spokesperson reminded reporters of the jeers that greeted Brownback when his image was shown on an arena screen when Wichita State University and KU played against each other in the NCAA basketball tournament in Omaha.

“We knew it wasn’t about the shirt he was wearing,” admits the spokesperson. “The governor has a very long memory.”

As for overtaking Gov. Malloy on the list, the spokesperson said that plan is in effect.

“We’ve already slowed job and economic growth in Kansas to a snail’s pace. We thought that would be enough, but apparently we have to actually eliminate thousands of jobs,” the spokesperson said.

The Administration feels it is already on the road to higher approval numbers with funding cuts to KDOT that are cutting road construction jobs and by cuts to school funding that it hopes will force teachers to go outside the state for employment.

“The policies are already in place, but people can’t expect to see results overnight,” the spokesperson insisted. “It takes people awhile to realize that when we cut funding for road projects or schools, we’re serious. If they’re waiting around for us to start funding them again and bring more jobs, or higher pay, then they are sadly underestimating the resolve of this governor and his administration.”


There are even more plans in place by the governor and Republican leadership in the legislature to improve Brownback’s approval ratings.

“Lawmakers have already assured us they are prepared to introduce a bill that will make I70 a two-lane highway. If New Jersey wants to know what a traffic bottleneck really looks like, let them come to Kansas in another year,” the spokesperson said. “That should improve the governor’s approval rating by at least two, maybe three, percentage points.”

While Administration officials are optimistic about plans to improve Brownback’s ranking among governors, they also caution against expecting too much to happen too quickly.

“That’s like expecting people to change their thinking overnight about broccoli or of having a radioactive storage site in their backyard,” says a spokesperson.

The bigger problem, continued the spokesperson, is that the media is ignoring all the good things that this Administration has done.

“We’ve prevented the state’s constitution from being replaced by Sharia Law, but you don’t hear the media giving us any credit,” says the spokesperson. “Instead, all we hear about is tax revenue and the budget. People complain that we don’t have enough money for schools or highways or the poor. You’d think that’s all we have to worry about.”

Not to say there aren’t some concerns within the Brownback camp.

“Despite our best efforts, there’s no guarantee that we can accelerate our budget deficit at a faster pace or lose jobs fast enough,” says the spokesperson. “And, in a worst case scenario, maybe we won’t be able to contaminate Lawrence’s water supply.”

What then?

“If nothing else works, then at least we can say we’re No. 1 at something,” the spokesperson conceded.

Rod Haxton can be reached at

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