December 22, 2011

WaPo’s Gowen Hits Hard at Kansas Governor Brownback’s First Year in Charge

In her profile of Kansas Governor Sam Brownback on Wednesday, the Washington Post’s Annie Gowen went through the predictable leftist checklist of things that should supposedly cause the rest of America not to like him. A state taken over by “tea party fervor”? Check. “Slashed” funding for “schools, social services and the arts”? Check. Imply that his predecessor, radical proabort and ObamaCare implementer Kathleen Sebelius, is a “moderate,” and that he is somehow breaking a tradition of moderation? Check. Finding an old-line Republican who thinks he’s going too far? Check. Oh, and mentioning that the eeeeeevil Koch brothers, who like the guy and have given him money (that might have something to do with the fact that Koch is headquartered in Wichita)? Check.

Here are excerpts from Gowen’s report (HT Norma at Collecting My Thoughts, whose reaction is “Something good is happening in Kansas”; bolds are mine):

In Kansas, Gov. Sam Brownback puts tea party tenets into action with sharp cuts

If you want to know what a Tea Party America might look like, there is no place like Kansas.

In the past year, three state agencies have been abolished and 2,050 jobs have been cut. Funding for schools, social services and the arts have been slashed. The new Republican governor rejected a $31.5 million federal grant for a new health-insurance exchange because he opposes President Obama’s health-care law. And that’s just the small stuff.

… in Kansas, as nowhere else in the country, tea party fervor is reshaping government. The same political forces of the Republican Party driving the confrontation over taxes and spending in Washington are now completely in charge in Kansas.

The GOP now controls the state’s House of Representatives with the biggest majority in half a century. Emboldened by this power shift, Brownback — the state’s former two-term U.S. senator — has embarked on his overhaul at a breathtaking pace.

… The governor has said his main concerns are creating jobs, cutting taxes and bringing new businesses to the state, which has been losing population to domestic migration over the past decade and ranks near the bottom in private-sector job creation.

at the state level, Kansans have routinely elected moderate Republican governors. More recently, the state elected Democrat Kathleen Sebelius, now President Obama’s secretary of health and human services.

… “For 40 years, we had this moderate Republican-Democratic coalition running the state, and suddenly it’s pretty much gone,” said Burdett Loomis, a political science professor at the University of Kansas.

… The Kansas Policy Institute, where Brownback delivered his recent speech to warm applause, is funded by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.

The Kochs “have been handed the keys to the governor’s office,” said state Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Democrat.

“I think a lot of people don’t realize the role government plays in their lives until it’s gone,” (said Bill Kassebaum, a Republican former state representative and son of former U.S. senator Nancy Landon Kassebaum). “They may not be happy with what’s left.”

Gowen also treats Brownback’s personal faith-driven efforts to reduce abortions and strengthen marriage as something out of order and unusual, but of course says not a word about how Sebelius went to extraordinary lengths to defend even practitioners of late-term abortions when she was governor.

Even the writer of the article’s picture caption tried to get in on the act, but the best that person could come up with as a criticism was: “Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas is a career politician.” Brownback spent several years as an attorney before he began his career in politics as the Sunflower State’s Agriculture Secretary. When is the last time the WaPo or any other establishment press outlet called New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who really has never done anything except hold political office, a “career politician” in a supposedly straight news piece?

Make no mistake what Gowen is up to. She is laying down a marker for future reference by the rest of the press so they can drum up a “far-right extremist” theme for Brownback should he ever try to return to national politics or even run for President.

Cross-posted at



  1. Hah, her “story” makes me *like* him not hate him. And notice how she pulls the old stunt of mentioning “slashes” in funding to “schools, social services, and the arts” without being specific. That way, it is more likely to be interpreted negatively. Government should not be funding the ‘arts’ at all, as for the other two if Kansas and other states don’t make cuts to them they’ll be no money left for them at all. She also does not even bother to tell us the names of the three state agencies that were removed. Wonder why? Maybe because people would find the cuts and the removal of those agencies proper and good, hmmm?

    Sloppy, sloppy hit piece. Also, I always love when they drag out some old GOP crow who nobody has ever heard of to attack conservative politicians.

    Comment by zf — December 23, 2011 @ 12:18 am

  2. #1, to be fair to her, she did name some cuts, but they were relatively small $. He did zero out the arts, but as you mentioned, it’s not the govt.’s role.

    I also didn’t get a chance to get to the fact that KS is starting to show overall seasonally adjusted job growth (22K since February) after losing 89K from April 2008 to Feb. 2010 under Sebelius and her short-term successor.

    You’re right that the real howler is Kassebaum’s claim about how we don’t know what we’re missing from our wonderful government until some of its precious programs are gone.

    Comment by TBlumer — December 23, 2011 @ 12:39 am

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