If you don’t live in Kansas, be glad. It’s political quirkiness can drive you crazy and sometimes be downright scary. Thomas Frank wrote a whole book about What’s The Matter With Kansas? which has recently been made into a new film by Laura Cohen and Joe Winston.
Take our Senator Sam Brownback. In an article by Nicholas Kristof, the Senator is said to have lived at 133 C St SE while in Washington and is a member of the “Fellowship” or the “Foundation.” The house is owned by a “secretive religious organization” according the US News and World Report.
It is an international organization. One of its members, David Bahit of Uganda, introduced legislation with the blessing of the Fellowship that would increase punishment for homosexuals in Uganda from life in prison to death.
By invitation of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, Senator Brownback spoke to the Knesset in 2004 expressing his and his countries support of Israel against ‘this war of terrorism’ but would the Knesset be so supportive if they knew that The Fellowship to which Mr. Brownback belongs, is in their words, “an invisible believing group of God-led politicians who get together and talk with one another about what God wants them to do in their leadership capacity.”
Senator Brownback has said he will not run again for the senate but does plan, I hear, to run for Governor.
Senator Pat Roberts voted against the stimulus package (as did Senator Brownback) but is now taking credit for millions in stimulus money coming to Kansas to build highways.
He was the Chairman of the Intelligence Committee. As such, he blocked questions about Iraq concerning pre-war intelligence. He did not sanction investigating cover-ups concerning post invasions, and stymied questions regarding the outing of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame by “using targeted leaks and artfully deflecting blame from the White House.” He vigorously opposed any investigation into how the Bush administration used CIA intelligence and blocked his committee from asking further questions.
He voted against the $24 billion proposed allocations to the Veterans affairs administration.
Senator Roberts and Senator Brownback held up the appointment of well-qualified Representative John McHugh as Secretary of the Army until the highly rated Federal Prison at Leavenworth, from which no one in modern times has escaped, was taken off the list of prisons where Guantanamo detainees could be sent. (In 1898, twelve prisoners did escape and were quickly recaptured)
Representative Todd Tiahrt’s ethics are under investigation by the powerful House Ethics Sub-committee. Even the NRA has a problem with his pro-gun amendment.
Tiahrt and fellow Congressman Jerry Moran have been connected to C Street family and have purportedly referred to themselves of the Christian Mafia.
“Of all the important studies of the American right, The Family is undoubtedly the most eloquent. It is also quite possibly the most terrifying. “ –Thomas Frank.
Both Congressmen joined Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts in voting against healthcare. Why can’t they at least agree on forcing health insurance companies to insure people with pre-existing conditions and allowing everyone to compare insurance across state lines? Their votes blocking even reasonable legislation say they really don’t care about the Kansans who voted them into office.
Meanwhile, who can blame Congressional Democratic Representative Dennis Moore for not running again?
I love Kansas – its waving wheat and Flint Hills – but I’m thinking of becoming an Independent.