Front Page » Table of Contents » Archive: Politics: November 2009


TOPEKA, Kan. - Mark Parkinson, Kansas' 45th Governor, is the tallest Governor we've ever had, and possibly the brightest. And he's proving, during his short tenure, to be one of the best. During the worst state budget crisis in memory, Parkinson is being praised by both sides of the aisle for stepping up to the plate and making unpopular budget cuts.

Parkinson seems to be the consummate anti-politician. He's not running for anything, so he's not asking for, or taking, campaign donations. He has his own money, so he doesn't panhandle for freebies like some politicians. He doesn't make wiseacre remarks to belittle the opposition. He just wants to fix things.

Parkinson's deepest roots are Democratic. His family in Scott City, Kansas was always active in Democratic politics. Parkinson's father chose the Republican party---perhaps just to be a maverick. And his father grew to a powerful position in Washington in Republican politics. Growing up, Parkinson saw both parties up close.

As a WSU student, Parkinson threw down the gauntlet and challenged longtime Republican State Representative Ben Foster in the Republican primary. Foster no doubt scoffed at the young upstart. But Parkinson walked. And walked some more. And knocked on more doors, and more doors----the Wichita Eagle called his efforts "indefagitable". He barely lost to Rep. Ben Foster. And Parkinson now acknowledges that had he won that race, it would have "ruined his life."

I'm with Joe

n75336892920_1753803_2013536KANSAS CITY, Kan. - This is a piece I've been wanting to write for awhile now, with Joe's name appearing as a possible candidate for the KS-03 race I figured there is no better time to do so.

Before I start I want to make it clear that I do not know if Joe will jump into the race or not, I have no 'inside' information on this and think that this is a big decision for him to make with his family. With that being said if Joe is to jump into the race I am completely behind him and I think he would be great. I've wanted to write this because I feel that Kansas City, KS/ Wyandotte County often are left to handle themselves both by state politics and the state party. Candidates in KCK often run their own campaigns and don't get much support from outside the city. Over the past 7 years KCK has had a rockstar candidate, Joe Reardon.

donkey-and-elephant.gifGREAT BEND, Kan. - While some believe the announcement that six-term Democrat Congressman Dennis Moore will not run for reelection is another nail in Kansas' Democrats 2010 coffin, it is far too soon to say anything definitive about next year's election.

The only certainty in politics is uncertainty. And with almost a year to go before the election, one must remember that things may look a lot different a year from now. The two wild cards in the equation are, to wit: 1) How will the heavily Republican Kansas legislature handle the budget crisis in the 2010 session, and, 2) Will President Obama's be viewed differently a year from now?

Regarding the state legislature, all 125 Kansas House of Representative seats are up for grabs. Governor Parkinson deserves a "profile in courage," for stepping up to the plate and making the difficult budget cuts. That puts the ball back in the Republican legislature's court. For the first time in years, the Kansas budget crisis is affecting real people in greater numbers than ever before. And there may be lots of new political activism among the disaffected. The last off-year (non-Presidential) election (2006) resulted in five new Democrat house members in Topeka.


OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - Deputy Communications Director, Megan McClendon confirmed this afternoon that, "He (Moore) is indeed stepping down."

U.S. Congressman Dennis Moore, 64, now serving his 6th term, will become the first member of Congress to retire without seeking another public office.

The official statement released today by Moore's D.C. Communication Director Brandon Naylor gave confirmation to Moore's retirement.

It has been an honor and a privilege to have been elected six times to represent the people of the Third District in the U.S. House of Representatives. I have decided not to seek reelection in 2010. It is time for a new generation of leadership to step forward.

GREAT BEND, Kan. - Fredonia native Tom Wiggans' entry into the Kansas Governor's race came this week as I was reading a remarkable book about the brain drain that afflicts states like Kansas.

Hollowing Out the Middle: The Rural Brain Drain and What It Means for America, by Patrick J. Carr and Maria J. Kefalas classifies small towners like Wiggans into four categories: The Achievers, The Stayers, The Seekers, and The Returners.

The problem with small towns is that their #1 export is their "Achievers" like Tom Wiggans. Born and bred in Fredonia, an Eagle Scout and KU graduate, Tom Wiggans personifies the achiever who leaves the state due to limited opportunities. Wiggans went on to make great contributions in producing life-saving medicines.

Wiggans' recent return to his home state of Kansas puts him in a second category, according to Carr and Kefalas: Tom Wiggans is also a "a Returner," and a particular type of returner: a "High-Flyer" - one who succeeded elsewhere but returns to Kansas with a wide list of accomplishments.

Raising the Rent at the C Street House

WASHINGTON - A few months ago I did an interview with Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family. Jeff and I spoke about the C Street house and the involvement of certain Kansas elected officials, Sen. Sam Brownback and Rep. Todd Tiahrt, Sarah also did a piece about the involvement of Rep. Jerry Moran.

Well, months later, more has come to the stage about C Street. The C Street house recently lost their tax exempt status that allows these Kansas lawmakers (and many others) to live there so cheaply.

kansas-postcard.jpgGREAT BEND, Kan. - Sunday November 22 marks the 46th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas. On this anniversary many in America and around the world remember JFK's idealism, accomplishments and style. Kansans have good reason to remember JFK, as he considered Kansas to be more than just a "flyover state" to be conceded to the opposition party.

In today's world, no Democrat presidential candidate would even consider "wasting time" to campaign in Kansas two weeks before a Presidential election. So what was JFK doing holding a large rally in Wichita, Kansas just days before the general election?

He was doing two things. First, although he ended up losing Kansas to Nixon, he considered Kansas to be a state he had a chance to win. Second, he was appearing in Kansas to support Governor Docking and the entire Kansas Democratic ticket. His speech at the downtown baseball stadium in Wichita (now called Lawrence-DuMont stadium) was a barn-burner.

The Kennedy's had no greater friends than the Docking family in Kansas. Governor George Docking's key role in helping JFK snare the Democratic nomination in 1960 was recalled by Robert F. Kennedy at Allen Fieldhouse during his 1968 visit there. This time, another Docking was Governor, as Kennedy said...

LA CYGNE, Kan. - Linn County Democratic Party hosted a potluck Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday to welcome U.S. Senate candidate Charles Schollenberger from Prairie Village.

Schollenberger believes the next U.S. Senator should not be a career politician, rather one who is both visible and accessible to the people.

"We still have two conservative Republican U.S. Senators who have acted indifferently after the stock market crashed last year due to Republican deregulation of the financial industry, causing Americans to suffer a $5 trillion loss in household wealth. Our two U.S. Senators are not attuned to the needs of working Kansans, nor are the two Republican Congressmen who want to be elected to a Senate next year. It is time to send a U.S. Senator to Washington who is going to represent the true interests of the working people of Kansas, their children and grandchildren, and our senior citizens," Schollenberger said.

After getting tough on KS - Senator's Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback; and his two "far right-leaning opponents, Jerry Moran, and Todd Tiahrt, Schollenberger made the announcement...

OLATHE, Kan. - Kansas Democrats are on their way to presenting the strongest slate of candidates in years with respected businessman Tom Wiggans' announcement that he will run for Governor. Wiggans, a native Kansan, will run against career politician, and well known right-wing Republican, Sam Brownback. Check out this video...

From his bio:

Tom is committed to applying his vast business experience to Kansas state government as our next Governor. By utilizing his common sense business practices to bring people together and solve problems, Tom will work with both Democrats and Republicans to pull our state out of the economic recession, ensure we have a stable state budget, and create 21st century jobs for our future.

More about Tom and his campaign below the fold.

tom-wiggans.jpgTOPEKA, Kan. - Today, Tom Wiggans filed paperwork with the Secretary of State to establish his campaign committee in the race to become the next Governor of Kansas. Kansas Democratic Party Executive Director, Kenny Johnston released this information:

Tom Wiggans was born and raised in Fredonia in Wilson County, Kansas where his father and grandfather operated Wiggans Drugstore. Growing up in a town like Fredonia gave Tom a clear understanding of the importance of hard work, personal sacrifice, and community values. Tom's grandfather ran the drug store everyday from 7 am until 11 pm. Oftentimes, families were unable to pay for their medicine and the Wiggans family simply kept track of the charges, knowing they would be paid once the harvest season arrived. The Wiggans family belonged to the First Methodist Church, where Tom was baptized, sang in the youth choir, and received his God and Country award and Eagle Scout Award. Beginning at age 13, Tom always held a summer job including mowing lawns around town, working for the city and local cement plant, hauling hay, and being a life guard at the Fredonia City Pool.

lynn-jenkins.jpgEMPORIA, Kan. - According to a report on the Huffington Post weblog, The New York Times has uncovered a highly successful coordinated attempt by lobbyists from the mega biotech corporation, Genetech, to have statements they drafted read into the Congressional Record. Lynn Jenkins was one of approximately 40 congresspersons to read statements into the official reporter of congressional action which praised various provisions of the recently passed health care bill.

The lobbyists provided different statements for both Republican and Democratic members of Congress. In many cases the members read verbatim portions of the lobbyists' talking points from the floor of House of Representatives!

Justice

BASEHOR, Kan. - For a thought-provoking, multi-part series on justice, morality, and political and personal choice, take a look at a video course taught at Harvard University, which is free and open to the public.

Justice is one of the most popular courses in Harvard's history. Now it's your turn to take the same journey in moral reflection that has captivated more than 14,000 students, as Harvard opens its classroom to the world.

In this twelve part series, Professor Michael Sandel challenges us with difficult moral dilemmas and asks our opinion about the right thing to do. He then asks us to examine our answers in the light of new scenarios. The results are often surprising, revealing that important moral questions are never black and white.

This course also addresses the hot topics of our day--affirmative action, same-sex marriage, patriotism and rights--and Sandel shows us that we can revisit familiar controversies with a fresh perspective.

LAWRENCE, Kan. - As a member of the activist community in our fair state, I've been privileged to meet many activists of varied ages throughout the last few years. Many of the activists I've met write for blogs, such as this one, attend rallies, attend conferences, and gather at social events meant to network activists with each other. However, at a good number of these events, and in some of my political science classes at KU, I hear something disturbing quite often.

The older, often more experienced, members of the community seem to think that they can't rely on the younger generation to make a difference. They don't think they can be relied on to show up or to really care. Now, I may be straddling the line between seasoned old warhorse and youth activist at the age of 30 but I can assure you that if there is one thing I know about the activist community in Kansas it is that you can count on the younger activists to be there.

david-and-goliath.jpgGREAT BEND, Kan. - In the Civil War, the Republican party was the Union party and the Democratic party the Confederate party. Kansas was a Union state, and with that came the Republican party of Abraham Lincoln. Kansas has always been Republican because of it's ties to the Union.

If you ask most people, "What political party are you in, and why?" most will say, "Well, my Dad was a Republican, and his Dad was a Republican, and that's just the way it was." The Republican party of the Civil War was an anti-slavery party, and Lincoln it's first President.

The thing is, it didn't take long before the Republican party forgot about abolition and focused it's energy on helping big business. The decline in abolitionist zeal was quite
apparent. In fact, by 1890 the Republican party was "a closely held institution largely managed by railroad lawyers who made little attempt to conceal their control of Republican state conventions." (Lawrence Goodwin, Democratic Promise: The Populist Movement in America, p. 187)

After the Civil War, Republicans could win the vote of the "common man" easily by "waving the bloody shirt," referring to the blood of the martyrs and heroes who helped the Union win the Civil War. Former Union soldiers were admonished to "Vote how you shot," in the Civil War. And it worked, for a while.

MOUND CITY, Kan. - "Abort Obamunism," "Proud to be the Party of Know," and "Spay and neuter Democrats," were only a few of the mean-spirited signs hoisted by the "Tea Bag" attendees Thursday in front of the steps to our nation's Capital.
David Koch linked to
TEA Party funding

Another popular phrase, "Water board Congress," could be read on several signs and buttons.

Instigator of the "Tea Bag" protesters, Michele Bachmann, received the loudest cheers. Speaker and author Mark Levin suggested that Democrats are illiterate.

Thursday's GOP rally at the Capitol was technically a "press conference." According to a Capitol Police spokesperson in one report, lawmakers did not have a permit for a protest. However, speakers at Thursday's "press conference" took no questions. Rather, they repeatedly shouted to the "fired up" crowd, "Kill the Bill."

SHAWNEE, Kan. - No matter where you live in Kansas, the Kansas City Young Democrats are hoping that you will join in their March for Health Care Reform, on Saturday morning, November 7. The marchers are meeting at 9:45 at the northeast corner of Johnson Drive and Cody, at Blue Jacket Park / Old Shawnee Town in Shawnee.

Organizers are asking that progressive activists from elsewhere in Kansas, regardless of age or affiliation, join them in this demonstration. A member of the group, Benjamin Lindner, told us, "We need all Kansans who care about real health care reform to come and show their support."

The purpose of this march is to drive home to U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore that Kansans want a strong public option included in the health care reform in Congress - and, to stand up against Kansas State Senator Mary Pilcher-Cook's Health Care Freedom Amendment being considered in the state senate. Cook's state amendment would make it possible for the state legislature to prevent the public option, if passed in the U.S. Congress, from being made available to citizens of Kansas.

The Young Democrats are opposed to Pilcher-Cook's amendment. They don't want any Kansans to be left out of the health care reform that passes in Washington.

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Over 150 people filled Congregation Beth Torah in Prairie Village on Tuesday 3 November to hear Jeff Sharlet author of The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power. The event was sponsored by the MAINstream Coalition.


Sam Brownback
Sharlet writes about the intersection of religion, politics and culture - an area of keen interests to many Kansans as we have "a bumper crop of politicians who do it wrong."

In 2006, Sharlet wrote God's Senator for RollingStone magazine, which was one of the first in-depth looks at the religious fanaticism of Sam Brownback. Brownback was raised a Methodist, but has gone from that tradition to evangelical Protestantism to Roman Catholicism (he was baptized into the Roman Catholic church by members of Opus Dei, but is not himself a member of that organization). His affiliation with "The Family" goes back to his days as an aide to Senator Bob Dole and as such is longer than any of his affiliations to a particular religious group.

TOPEKA, Kan. - The state will have about $235 million less than the legislature had planned on in passing the state budget in May, 2009, says the estimate from the Consensus Estimating Group and released today by the Governor's office.

The $235 million deficit amounts to about 4.2% of the budget for the current fiscal year, which began July 1, 2009, and runs through June 30, 2010.

Governor Mark Parkinson promised last week that he would take executive action to cut the budgets of state agencies to keep state spending in line with the declining revenues. This line of action is in contrast with the actions of former Governor Kathleen Sebelius, who--when faced with revenue shortfalls a year ago--preferred to have the legislature take action when it returned to session in January.

PetitonPhotoTOPEKA, Kan. - Today's focus is on the important elections happening all across the country but we wanted to take a few moments to update you on our campaign at KansasDeservesReform.com.

Last week, extremist Republicans in the Kansas legislature were quick to propose a bill opting our state out of benefits of health insurance reform, and we wasted no time responding. Over the last week we've been collecting the names of thousands of Kansans all across the state who deserve to participate in the same reforms as every other state.

I'm happy to report that in just six days nearly 8,000 Kansans signed the petition -- and that number continues to grow by the day! We just delivered the initial names to legislative leaders in the state legislature. Because of the hard working efforts of thousands, there is now no denying that here is a strong pro-reform movement in our state -- and our leaders know it.

GREAT BEND, Kan. - When 28-year-old Great Bend Democrat Randy Yowell threw down the gauntlet and challenged longtime Republican First District Congressman Keith Sebelius, it led to what Yowell now calls "the wildest congressional campaign ever by land, sea or air."

No Congressional District has been tougher on the Democrats than Kansas' Big First. And Keith Sebelius (father-in-law of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius) seemed to have an unshakable grip on the District in 1976. Somebody forgot to tell Randy Yowell.

Yowell had no money. Although he had been a star athlete at Great Bend High School, he had no political experience, but made up for it in guts, blasting Sebelius at every turn.

GREAT BEND, Kan. - Sam Tanenhaus' book The Death of Conservatism is a scholarly and academic view of classical conservatism, and how today's self-described conservatives are far removed from classical conservativism.

Tanenhaus considers Edmund Burke and Disraeli as the definers of what conservatism really is. Politicians and writers like Dwight Eisenhower, Whittaker Chambers, William F. Buckley, Jr. and Nancy Kassebaum would be considered "classic conservatives."

Classic conservatives basically believe that government can be used to make a better society. They aim to keep what's good about government, and discard what the government doesn't do well. Classic conservatives believe that big corporations should be supervised, and that government is a benign force, if supervised and pruned back properly. Classic conservatives embrace our country as it is, but may want to make some adjustments here and there.

The "movement conservatives" of today believe that government is a malignant tumor that should be killed off in toto by cutting off the blood supply - tax dollars. The new conservatives believe in no real supervision of big business, that "the market knows best." The new conservatives believe "we've lost our country" and must find it.

We have more! This page only lists entries in a particular month. We encourage you to look back through our archives in this same category.

The previous archive is Politics: October 2009. The next archive is Politics: December 2009.

If you want to browse other topics, you can also check our Table of Contents. The most current posts can always be found on our Front Page.


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This is an archive page containing all of the stories posted to Kansas Free Press in one particular topic in a particular month. These stories were published in the Politics: November 2009 section.

The previous archive is Politics: October 2009. The next archive is Politics: December 2009.

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