GOP’s easy path to governing

By Rod Haxton, editor

Conservative lawmakers in Topeka and Washington have a very narrow view of what it takes to govern.

Listen to any member of the Kansas Congressional delegation or far right wing conservatives in our state legislature and there’s no mistaking what they’re against - Obamacare, big government, activist courts, higher taxes, gun control of any kind, healthy school lunches, public education, Social Security, immigration reform . . . well, you get the picture.

That’s like a football coach saying he’s opposed to his players being out of shape, fumbling the ball and committing penalties.

Just saying you’re against something isn’t going to get your team into the playoffs. A team doesn’t win a state championship unless a coach has a plan to fix those things which keep them from being better than their opponents; to take what’s good and make it better.

That same principle applies to politicians who are focused only on what they’re against. And we have too many low-information voters for whom that’s good enough.

Solutions require thought - not mindless rhetoric.

Sarah Palin - who is second only to the Kardashians for the title of Queen of Nonachievement - calls for President Obama’s impeachment and suddenly it becomes a cattle call for the Republican right wing.

And, for the sake of argument, what would it accomplish?

Will it improve medical care for our military veterans? Erase the national debt? Stop the flow of immigrants across our border?

Of course, not.

Those problems would still exist if Obama had never been elected president and, regrettably, will continue after he’s left office.

Impeachment, or lawsuits against the President, are only meant to distract people from more pressing issues. It’s part of the GOP’s bigger strategy of being opposed to everything and doing nothing. The problems don’t disappear because that would require leadership.

Then again, Sen. Pat Roberts, Rep. Tim Huelskamp, Gov. Sam Brownback and their cohorts have never been mistaken for leaders.

Sen. Roberts spends equal time trying to figure out where his residence is in the state and ducking debates with Tea Party challenger Milton Wolf who finally caught up with the incumbent on the streets of Emporia earlier this week. That, apparently is as close as Roberts will get to the debate platform to back up his record of non-achievement.

That’s been indicative of the Roberts campaign. During his only visit to Scott City in at least four years, the Senator didn’t subject himself to a single question from voting-age constituents. Instead, he had a reading session with fourth graders and quickly hit the road before being asked to tackle really tough question like, “Why are Smurfs blue?”

Roberts has a well-earned reputation for being one of the least productive, anonymous Senators in Washington.

You won’t hear Roberts offering a possible solution to the rising cost of health care and unaffordable health insurance. But he’s against Obamacare.

Okay, Pat. What would you do that’s better?

(Crickets chirping).

Kansans can take pride in knowing that Congressman Huelskamp is equally inept. The only difference is that Huelskamp’s not afraid to showcase his ignorance in front of a national audience on Fox News, MSNBC or the other cable talk shows.

 

Huelskamp proudly touts his reputation as someone who is opposed to everything that “big government” stands for, especially Obamacare. Yet he has offered no alternative that would make health care more accessible and affordable to millions of Americans.

Like so many other Republicans, he has spent weeks condemning the waiting time for veterans at VA Hospitals. No one disagrees that it’s a bad situation that shouldn’t exist. Now work for a solution.

You want to strengthen the family unit, great. Then tell us Tim, how does that happen when you want to cut food stamps and programs which provide assistance for children? Being opposed to spending doesn’t make life better for them or their family.

Gov. Brownback and his conservative allies in the legislature are opposed to more spending for public schools, children, highways, senior citizens, Medicare, the arts and more. So, tell us again how this makes people want to move to our state and how it improves our quality of life?

And when conservative lawmakers, including Brownback, are finally forced (again) by the Supreme Court to do more than say no to school funding, what is their response? They choose to manipulate appointments to the Supreme Court in order to get more favorable school finance decisions.

That is what passes for leadership.

Unfortunately, the underlying problems don’t go away. Too many Kansas children still go to bed hungry, too many people are on waiting lists for Medicaid assistance and public education is suffering from lack of money.

On top of that, we have a major water crisis in Kansas that threatens to dramatically alter the future of agriculture - and our economy - and Gov. Brownback has, so far, chosen to take a passive approach. He’s calling for a grassroots solution so that he can avoid the heavy hand of “big government.”

What conservative lawmakers refuse to acknowledge is that there are times when big government is the only solution. There are times bold leadership calls for offering plans that won’t be popular with everyone - or anyone. There are times when, believe it or not, tax cuts don’t solve anything.

Rest easy, Kansas. We don’t have to worry about those radical ideas taking hold here.

We make sure of that every time we go to the polls.

Rod Haxton can be reached at editor@screcord.com

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