What Matters in Kansas

What’s the Matter With Kansas? is the title of a book by Thomas Frank which argues that working-class voters in the American heartland have been duped into voting against their own financial interests by a clever and tactical appeal to so-called “values” issues.

Well, here’s a straw in the wind, one that suggests the winds have changed. Via Daily Kos, a look at an editorial by Steve Rose in the Johnson County Sun in Overland Park, Kansas:

As we prepare ourselves to make political endorsements in subsequent issues, I can tell you unequivocally that this newspaper has never endorsed so many Democrats. Not even close.

But I could not help but put in perspective a more global phenomenon that has led us to re-evaluate our traditional support for Republicans….

The Republican Party has changed, and it has changed monumentally.

You almost cannot be a victorious traditional Republican candidate with mainstream values in Johnson County or in Kansas anymore, because these candidates never get on the ballot in the general election. They lose in low turnout primaries, where the far right shows up to vote in disproportionate numbers.

To win a Republican primary, the candidate must move to the right.

What does to-the-right mean?

It means anti-public education, though claiming to support it.

It means weak support of our universities, while praising them.

It means anti-stem cell research.

It means ridiculing global warming.

It means gay bashing. Not so much gay marriage, but just bashing gays.

It means immigrant bashing. I’m talking about the viciousness.

It means putting religion in public schools. Not just prayer.

It means mocking evolution and claiming it is not science.

It means denigrating even abstinence-based sex education….

But everything else adds up to priorities that have nothing to do with the Republican Party I once knew.

Abraham Lincoln was right?

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One Response to What Matters in Kansas

  1. elliottg says:

    Johnson County is the suburban part of Kansas City and has always been moderate Democratic. Steve Rose was never right wing. I’m not surprised to see him turn away from the Republicans. BTW, the appeal to Christian fundamentalism would always fall totally flat with Mr. Rose seeing as how he is Jewish (publisher of the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle). His issues were Israel and economics.

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