Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Friday November 5, 2010

Political attacks on tap at Pachyderm. Wichita State University political science professor Mel Kahn will be the presenter at today’s (November 5) meeting of the Wichita Pachyderm Club. The always-interesting professor will speak on the topic “Do Political Attacks Help or Harm our Republic?” This seems like a timely topic given the recent general and primary elections. The public is welcome at Wichita Pachyderm meetings. For more information click on Wichita Pachyderm Club.

Hold the celebration “A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds, in fact, that 59% of Likely U.S. Voters think it is at least somewhat likely that most voters will be disappointed with Republicans in Congress before the next national elections. That includes 38% who say it is Very Likely.” More at Most Voters Think House GOP Likely To Disappoint By 2012. Is this evidence of a deeply-ingrained cynicism by American voters? I hope not — but I can’t blame people for thinking so.

We understand, that’s why we resist. The incredibly insightful George Will discusses in the Washington Post what he calls the “nationwide recoil against Barack Obama’s idea of unlimited government” and explains why progressives (the people who used to be called liberals) are so confused and unable to accept the political reality of the day: “The progressive agenda is actually legitimated by the incomprehension and anger it elicits: If the people do not resent and resist what is being done on their behalf, what is being done is not properly ambitious. If it is comprehensible to its intended beneficiaries, it is the work of insufficiently advanced thinkers.” I added the emphasis to make sure we grasp the essence of Will’s description of the progressive mindset: that we regular people are just not capable of understanding what is in our own best interests. That is the working belief of Obama and the progressives. As an aside, it’s amazing the the Post can have a columnist as good as Will and as corrupt as Dana Milbank at the same time.

Obama really doesn’t get it. In a preview of a 60 Minutes interview to be broadcast on Sunday, CBS News reports: “After a [sic] suffering a ‘shellacking’ in the midterm elections, President Obama acknowledges what many have seen as his chief weakness — failing to sell the importance of several legislative milestones to the American people. … ‘Making an argument that people can understand,’ Mr. Obama continued, ‘I think that we haven’t always been successful at that.'” In other words, it’s a marketing problem for Obama. Others have said the same. Recently Jonathan Alter wrote “It’s a sign of how poorly liberals market themselves and their ideas that the word ‘liberal’ is still in disrepute despite the election of the most genuinely liberal president that the political culture of this country will probably allow.” But I think that people understand perfectly well the liberal or progressive agenda — if not at a deeply intellectual level than by instinct — and I agree with George Will: “Is political power — are government commands and controls — superseding and suffocating the creativity of a market society’s spontaneous order? On Tuesday, a rational and alarmed American majority said ‘yes.'”

Kansas Republicans a spry bunch. After January, ten of the 12 Kansas statewide or federal offices will be held by people under the age of 55. Exceptions are Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger and Senator Pat Roberts. Roberts has indicated he’ll run again in 2014.

Kansas Senate after the election. The Kansas Senate, unlike the House, was not up for election this year, although there were two special elections. In one, the appointed incumbent was elected, and in another, a replacement for Jim Barnett was selected. While the composition of the Senate remains 31 Republicans and nine Democrats, not all the Republicans are conservatives. Quite a few — including the Senate leadership and two Wichita-area members — have voting records indistinguishable from many Democrats. A good guess at the number of conservative-voting senators is 17, short of a majority. Upcoming: There will be at least three new senators selected. In two cases — to replace Tim Huelskamp and Jeff Colyer — the likely replacements will be conservative, as are the two resigning members. In the third case, to replace majority leader Derek Schmidt, it is likely that the replacement will be more fiscally conservative, although Schmidt did vote against the big-spending budget and sales tax increase this year. With a conservative governor taking office and the House controlled by conservatives, might a few senators decide to adopt a more conservative view? Those left-leaning members who are looking to run for reelection in 2012 have a decision to make.

Kansas City Star on Parkinson’s pollution. The Kansas City Star laments outgoing Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson‘s decision to fire Kansas Department of Health and Environment chief Rod Bremby. The issue is Parkinson’s desire to get a coal-fired electricity plant in Kansas permitted before new rules come into effect. There are several problems with the Star’s editorial. First, cabinet secretaries like Bremby serve at the pleasure of the executive. If they don’t do what the boss wants, they’re gone. Second, the Star refers to the “tons of new pollution” that will “drift eastward across Kansas.” The editorialist should remember that Bremby denied the permit for the plant based on its carbon dioxide emissions, not for emissions of actual pollutants like sulfur dioxide. To the extent that carbon dioxide is harmful, it is because of its (alleged) impact on global warming, and that impact is disputed. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant in the sense that it is poisonous or harmful to those who breath it, as it is naturally abundant in the atmosphere. By the way, Bremby’s decision to deny the permit was entirely political, as he was apparently willing to approve a permit for an oil refinery that would emit 17 million tons of carbon a year, when he denied the power plant solely because of its emissions of 11 million tons. See Rod Bremby’s action drove away the refinery.


2 thoughts on “Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Friday November 5, 2010”

  1. And why will voters be disappointed with the Republicans within 2 years?

    Because they actually think changes — removing government interference in their lives — can be done quickly.

    Or that then new Congressmen are actually interested in ending government interference.

  2. Hi 43,

    The new Congressmen had better be VERY VERY serious about ending government interference, and doing it both visibly and quickly, or they’re be the FORMER Congressmen…

    They’re politicians, which right off the bat, indicates a serious character flaw, and I too expect to be disappointed. I would love to be wrong…

    Mike?

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