Laura Kelly has less than a year to make Kansas look like the kind of utter disaster Joe Biden can be proud of, and she’s looking for help to get the job done.
Turning Kansas into a Bidenesque hellscape won’t be easy, thank goodness. When the laughter died down last summer after the announcement of Kelly’s “Middle of the Road” political action committee aimed at tossing out Republicans and turning the Kansas Legislature back toward the groove Kelly’s worn in the far left lane of Kansas politics, Republicans in Kansas pointed to Biden’s handiwork on the national stage so fast you’d have thought you were watching a Jackie Chan fight scene.
It’s obvious everywhere outside of Lawrence, Topeka and Johnson County, after all. The realization of the U.S. Presidents’ sinking approval rating and his similarities to the Kansas governor echo in the distance like a train whistle growing ever closer. A fast lane open border for illegal immigration; a world in peril with wars on two fronts; a domestic mess of an economy and social upheavals spanning girls sports to public school classrooms. How much more “moderate” policy from Democrats can Americans survive?
And like the railroad crossings that Kansas voters traverse to vote for their state senators and representatives, they know a warning when they hear one. Kelly’s version of “Middle of the Road” portends impending disaster for those in Kansas who aren’t smart enough to vote against the “middle.”
The problem that blares far ahead of Kelly’s falsely branded image as a “moderate” is that like Biden, she’s never governed from the middle and she’s never been called on that point by anyone in mainstream Kansas media. Only in the newsletters of the GOP legislators and in a handful of independently owned rural newspapers across state have the facts and impacts of Kelly policy been laid bare; from her theft of your Trump income tax refund early in the 45th president’s new term to her opposition to a law to keep men out of your daughter’s restroom and off her volleyball team.
One thing is for certain: had it not been for Republican majorities in the Kansas Legislature since Laura Kelly became governor, the Sunflower state would be a far, far different place.
We need only glance back to March 2020, when Lockdown Laura disavowed actual medical findings for Covid and pushed a debilitating mask mandate and the economic coma of a statewide shutdown on Kansans, despite miniscule threat to most residents from the virus. Other states tempered caution with facts, eased restrictions almost immediately, and properly ranked the treatment of the virus below the rest of its economic, educational, religious and social priorities. Had it not been for the action of the Kansas Legislature to thwart Kelly’s shutdown of the state’s economy, end Kelly’s stay-at-home rule, force the reopening of our schools and let county elected officials determine their own policy on mask requirements, Kansans might even now still be gripped by paralyzing but unproven fear.
If that’s the output from a more “moderate,” government, most Kansas will likely pass. They’d have done so more fully during Kelly’s re-election bid in 2022 if not for Republicans insistence on a circular firing squad aimed at some of their own candidates and an anti-abortion amendment worded like the disclaimer on a car finance commercial.
The quest for more “moderates” by the Kansas Left has even revived the shriveled husk of Steve Morris, former president of the Kansas Senate, ousted in the great liberal purge of 2012, whose photo was once used by KDOT as the silhouette for its RINO crossing signs and who always gets misty at the sight of Vote Bernie bumper stickers in Lawrence. Morris has his own organization to encourage “moderates” called Kansans First, but the obvious question is ‘first for what?’
These Lefty assertions of stocking the legislative pond with more moderate fish have poorly-veiled intentions. More moderates in the pool last session would have succeeded in putting an end to the Kansas Women’s Bill of Rights. They’d have helped Kelly thwart a GOP plan to fund crisis pregnancy centers in opposition to the Sunflower State’s new reputation as the abortion capital of the Midwest. Kelly knows she can enlist moderates to again stop real tax relief for Kansans like she did in 2023 – afterall, the more of that $2.8 billion surplus that goes back to the Kansans who paid it in, the less that’ll be available to expand Kansas government.
But the goose Kelly wants to lay the golden egg will be trying to ram through the most expensive medical welfare initiatives in Kansas history in true keeping with the mantra of big and bigger government. She knows more “moderates” would help her mass enough votes to pass Medicaid expansion in the state – the issue that’s become the true illustration of the federal localization of socialism state to state.
Kansans – particularly Republicans interested in preserving the Kansas we know – would be well served to listen to the warning being sent by Kelly’s quest for more “moderates.” When a proven disaster of a governor tells you she’s not done screwing up your state – believe her.
Dane Hicks is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and the United States Marine Corps Officer Candidate School at Quantico, VA. He is the author of novels "The Skinning Tree" and "A Whisper For Help." As publisher of the Anderson County Review in Garnett, KS., he is a recipient of the Kansas Press Association's Boyd Community Service Award as well as more than 60 awards for excellence in news, editorial and photography.