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The Failure of Sam Brownback's Kansas Experiment

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  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Heather Digby Parton, AlterNet, July 31, 20154: What Happened When an Extremist, Christian Fundamentalist Got to Run a Whole State

    This is a good article. It discusses how Sam Brownback brought his Koch brand of Christian fundamentalism to Kansas as governor

    But prior to his governorship, his tenure in the Senate was characterized by his "righteous absolutism" and "ultra-conservative voting pattern"..."tax cuts and military adventures".

    As governor of Kansas, a compliant Republican legislature and a strong mandate, he engaged in a right-wing experiment full of promises that did not materialize. As Parton states:

    "Unlike other Tea Party governors around the nation who have tried out a handful of their more extreme policies, Brownback went for broke. First he and his Koch brother allies (they are Kansas homeboys too, you'll recall) engineered a full-blown Tea Party takeover of the legislature with a well-funded primary strategy in 2012. It is now the most conservative legislature in the nation (and that's saying something considering how conservative Republican legislatures have become). In their minds, they are on a mission from God.

    "He went after the teachers' union, in one particularly clever move creating what he called "innovation zones" which allow districts to circumvent existing state law regarding curriculum and teacher salaries. He slashed education funding, including cutting the arts programs entirely. He privatized Medicaid. (It goes without saying refused the Medicaid expansion under the ACA.) He defunded Planned Parenthood and signed one of the most far reaching anti-abortion laws in the land, declaring that life begins at "fertilization" and forcing the last remaining Kansas providers to read an anti-abortion script filled with frightening misinformation to women seeking the procedure. (He doesn't even try to hide his religious motives—he wrote the words Jesus + Mary on top of the bill when he signed it.)"


    Brownback slashed taxes to the bone except for the bottom 20 percent. They ended up paying more. See the graph in the link to the article. His mentor, the discredited Arthur Laffer, made promises for "enormous prosperity" that turned to crap. Now Brownback's Democratic opponent for governor is being endorsed by several prominent Republicans. Even Republicans can recognize shit when it affects their pocket book.

    Read more about the failed experiment at the AlterNet link above.
  • Center Left Democrat
    Democrat
    Flagstaff, AZ
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    Brownback slashed taxes to the bone except for the bottom 20 percent. They ended up paying more. See the graph in the link to the article. His mentor, the discredited Arthur Laffer, made promises for "enormous prosperity" that turned to crap. Now Brownback's Democratic opponent for governor is being endorsed by several prominent Republicans. Even Republicans can recognize shit when it affects their pocket book.

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    Schmidt:

    It's actually more than a few Republicans who want to dump Brownback. Even the ultra conservative Breitbart acknowledges that there are 104 of them:

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/07/15/104-Liberal-Establishment-Kansas-Republicans-Sign-Letter-Supporting-Democrat-Gov-Candidate

    Since "enormous prosperity" turned to crap, and even Republicans can recognize shit when it affects their pocketbook, I guess it's very appropriate that his last name is Brownback

    As of last June, Kansas was faced with a deficit of $700 million, which Breitbart claims is an "utter lie".

    http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Tax-VOX/2013/0611/Is-Kansas-on-the-path-to-financial-crisis

    If you read the "hometown newspaper" (the Kansas City Star), you'll quickly realize that Brownback is not afraid to fudge on the facts on his state's financial condition:

    http://www.kansascity.com/news/government-politics/article673701.html

    If you're wondering why the folks in Kansas continue to vote for people like Brownback, I'd recommend reading " What's the matter with Kansas?", by Thomas Frank:

    http://www.amazon.com/Whats-Matter-Kansas-Thomas-Frank/dp/0965511707/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1406945094&sr=1-2&keywords=what%27s+the+matter+with+kansas
  • Center Left Democrat
    Democrat
    Flagstaff, AZ
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    Schmidt:


    To no one's surprise, there are a LOT of legislators in the Kansas legislature who have ties to ALEC. By my count, there are 33 people in the House of Representatives, and 17 people in the Senate:

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Kansas_ALEC_Politicians

    Ray Merrick, the State ALEC Chairman, was named "legislator of the year" in 2010, and is on the ALEC Board of Directors.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Arizona -- Thanks for all the links...enlightening.

    I read What's the Matter with Kansas several years ago. What is interesting is how through culture wars, Kansas as a whole, and Wichita in particular can go from pink or blue in some cases (Kathleen Sebelius) to deep red so quickly. There have been several articles written about how the Koch brothers know how to influence public opinion. Sam Brownback is just another stooge for the Koch brothers to drive their Libertarian agenda..

    Media Matters: The "Pugilistic" Way The Koch Brothers Handle The Media
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    Very informative thread. I've been surfing the web this afternoon and this forum has really brought the issue of Brownback and where things stand. What a terrific website, I'm glad this came up in google.

    The only other place I found a concentration of info like this, dated today. The words in color are links to a variety of articles about the Governor who has trashed the state I love.

    pepluminous.blogspot.com/2015/07/whats-...

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    I may even register as a Democrat again. :)
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    Well said.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    thepointedhill -- Thanks for the comments and welcome to the Democratic Hub. We cover local, state and federal government politics, and particular like to highlight those where Republican leaders like Brownback in Kansas have made a mess of things. We hope you find the dialogue useful, but note that we also have many disagreements amongst ourselves. Anyone sharing well researched opinions on issues of the day will get a response from someone here.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    ThePointedHill -- I forgot to thank you for the additional website link, The Timeless Process of Ephemeral Culture. The Koch article referenced contains links to several other sources that are not complimentary to the Koch brothers. Despite all this documented knowledge on these brothers, people are either not paying attention or they are so taken in by their propaganda that they cannot think critically.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    I'm not too worried; the whole "clown car" will implode anyway; Brownbacks or "Greenbacks" make the circus only funnier. I just wonder on how "Jesus" got involved; this guy never ran a State and was only a "water walker" and milked goats as a hobby on a "flat" world.
  • Liberal Democrat
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    Colorado Springs, CO
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    From the Addicting Info website article of June 15th, Brownback does have feelings. He cried!

    Kansas Governor Sam Brownback Cries During Meeting About State Budget He Destroyed

    "According to unnamed legislators who spoke with the Tokpeka Capital-Journal, Brownback choked back tears during the session when it became abundantly clear that there was simply no good way to pull Kansas out of the truly massive budget deficit it finds itself in. Even worse, Republicans — who control both the state’s legislature and Sam Brownback’s brain — have repeatedly taken the one thing that could help the economy off the table: raising taxes on the wealthy.

    "Instead, the group of conservatives are struggling to find money elsewhere. So far this has meant taxing things like cigarettes and liquor, slashing the budgets of many state governmental agencies by 4 percent, taking money away from infrastructure funds and closing many schools in the state early to save cost on education. The budget is still in dire straits."

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    There is more in the article, but Brownback is really feeling bad, or as one of his fellow Republican legislators put, "he got emotional." His colleagues took Brownback’s tears to signify his “passion for Kansans”.

    But the article now says he is "hated in Kansas". Really? All these budget problems were known before he got re-elected by the good people of Kansas just eight months ago. And like Florida, the voter turn-out was only 43 percent in Kansas, meaning of course that the passionate faithful voted in large numbers while Dems went fishing. The people of Kansas and Florida and other states like Maine keep reelecting these guys. They bitch about them before the elections and then go ahead and reelect them again and again...and then they bitch some more. But whoa, electing a Democrat to replace a bozo? No way in those states. Tribalism? I just don't know.

  • Independent
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    Schmidt Wrote:

    From the Addicting Info website article of June 15th, Brownback does have feelings. He cried!

    Kansas Governor Sam Brownback Cries During Meeting About State Budget He Destroyed

    "According to unnamed legislators who spoke with the Tokpeka Capital-Journal, Brownback choked back tears during the session when it became abundantly clear that there was simply no good way to pull Kansas out of the truly massive budget deficit it finds itself in. Even worse, Republicans — who control both the state’s legislature and Sam Brownback’s brain — have repeatedly taken the one thing that could help the economy off the table: raising taxes on the wealthy.

    "Instead, the group of conservatives are struggling to find money elsewhere. So far this has meant taxing things like cigarettes and liquor, slashing the budgets of many state governmental agencies by 4 percent, taking money away from infrastructure funds and closing many schools in the state early to save cost on education. The budget is still in dire straits."

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    There is more in the article, but Brownback is really feeling bad, or as one of his fellow Republican legislators put, "he got emotional." His colleagues took Brownback’s tears to signify his “passion for Kansans”.

    But the article now says he is "hated in Kansas". Really? All these budget problems were known before he got re-elected by the good people of Kansas just eight months ago. And like Florida, the voter turn-out was only 43 percent in Kansas, meaning of course that the passionate faithful voted in large numbers while Dems went fishing. The people of Kansas and Florida and other states like Maine keep reelecting these guys. They bitch about them before the elections and then go ahead and reelect them again and again...and then they bitch some more. But whoa, electing a Democrat to replace a bozo? No way in those states. Tribalism? I just don't know.

    Laziness, thinking that it doesn't matter, tribalism, buying into particular narratives, voting for one interest (anti-abortion) over another (economic) and so on. Citizenship in a representative democracy is difficult. One wonders how many people have "freedom isn't free" or similar bumper stickers yet can't be bothered to vote or simply vote the way their parents did or the way they always do without bothering to study issues or candidates. What a sorry excuse for a democracy.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    lonely bird Wrote:
    Schmidt Wrote:

    From the Addicting Info website article of June 15th, Brownback does have feelings. He cried!

    Kansas Governor Sam Brownback Cries During Meeting About State Budget He Destroyed

    "According to unnamed legislators who spoke with the Tokpeka Capital-Journal, Brownback choked back tears during the session when it became abundantly clear that there was simply no good way to pull Kansas out of the truly massive budget deficit it finds itself in. Even worse, Republicans — who control both the state’s legislature and Sam Brownback’s brain — have repeatedly taken the one thing that could help the economy off the table: raising taxes on the wealthy.

    "Instead, the group of conservatives are struggling to find money elsewhere. So far this has meant taxing things like cigarettes and liquor, slashing the budgets of many state governmental agencies by 4 percent, taking money away from infrastructure funds and closing many schools in the state early to save cost on education. The budget is still in dire straits."

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    There is more in the article, but Brownback is really feeling bad, or as one of his fellow Republican legislators put, "he got emotional." His colleagues took Brownback’s tears to signify his “passion for Kansans”.

    But the article now says he is "hated in Kansas". Really? All these budget problems were known before he got re-elected by the good people of Kansas just eight months ago. And like Florida, the voter turn-out was only 43 percent in Kansas, meaning of course that the passionate faithful voted in large numbers while Dems went fishing. The people of Kansas and Florida and other states like Maine keep reelecting these guys. They bitch about them before the elections and then go ahead and reelect them again and again...and then they bitch some more. But whoa, electing a Democrat to replace a bozo? No way in those states. Tribalism? I just don't know.

    Laziness, thinking that it doesn't matter, tribalism, buying into particular narratives, voting for one interest (anti-abortion) over another (economic) and so on. Citizenship in a representative democracy is difficult. One wonders how many people have "freedom isn't free" or similar bumper stickers yet can't be bothered to vote or simply vote the way their parents did or the way they always do without bothering to study issues or candidates. What a sorry excuse for a democracy.
    Lonely, absolutely true; however all the "church" birds vote for what the preacher tells them, otherwise they may end up in a non-existing hell. Brains are optional in this country; follow the rest of the sheep; bleeeeeeeeeeeeh.