What’s No Longer The Matter With Kansas
Today’s WaPo reports on at the defection of high-profile GOP moderates in Kansas to the Democratic ticket in this year’s election season:
Paul Morrison, a career prosecutor who specializes in putting killers behind bars, has the bulletproof résumé and the rugged looks of a law-and-order Republican, which is what he was until last year. That was when he announced he would run for attorney general — as a Democrat.
He is now running neck-and-neck with Republican Phill Kline, an iconic social conservative who made headlines by seeking the names of abortion-clinic patients and vowing to defend science-teaching standards that challenge Darwinian evolution. What’s more, Morrison is raising money faster than Kline and pulling more cash from Republicans than Democrats.
Nor is Morrison alone. In a state that voted nearly 2 to 1 for President Bush in 2004, nine former Republicans will be on the November ballot as Democrats. Among them is Mark Parkinson, a former chairman of the Kansas Republican Party, who changed parties to run for lieutenant governor with the popular Democratic governor, Kathleen Sebelius.
Kansas–despite being a solidly Republican state–may nonetheless be the place where the GOP’s social conservative wing has most overplayed its hand, perhaps most notoriously in recent years during the fight over the composition of the state school board. The ethical issues dogging the House GOP and profligate spending in Washington aren’t doing a lot to hold together the post-Goldwater coalition of fiscal and social conservatives that brought the Republican majority to Congress in 1994, and in Kansas–and many other states–the cracks are definitely showing this year, Karl Rove’s optimism notwithstanding.