Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Ron Paul "Non-Factor"

Tom Tancredo has dropped out of the presidential race while throwing his support behind Romney. The only viable (i.e. candidates to watch) are Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and John McCain. Ron Paul, Fred Thompson, and Duncan Hunter are interesting if not entertaining non-factors in this race.

Speaking of Ron Paul, much has been made of ability to raise large sums of money. On social and economic issues, he strikes the right chord with the party faithful, but I believe he is gravely wrong on the greatest issue of our time. Superficially, his greatest liability and roadblock to the nomination remains his staunch rejection of a proactive military and intelligence approach to the war on Islamic terrorism and his unrealistic reliance on an isolationist foreign policy.

Beneath the surface, he has another liability. While trudging through rush hour traffic near Oak Park Mall last week, I noticed a Taurus in front of me with a "Ron Paul for President" sticker on the left bumper and on the right bumper, a sticker declaring "9-11 was an inside job" with a website address providing more info.

The fanatical and almost cult-like behavior of some of Ron Paul's followers was disturbing enough, including their intimidation and gestappo tactics they utilize when infiltrating even non-political events. But the fact that many buy into these deranged 9-11 conspiracy theories dooms Paul's candidacy--since he has failed to directly refute their claims. That type of lunacy has no place in civilized political discourse.

I'll handicap the race in Iowa in the next few days and make some predictions as to who will endure the chaotic primaries and caucuses on both sides.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

"Charlie Wilson's War" a rare holiday treat

Take a break from the ham and cranberry sauce to see "Charlie Wilson's War," in theaters nationwide. The movie details the real-life story of how a playboy Texas congressman (played by Tom Hanks) was moved and persuaded by a Houston socialite (Julia Roberts) to use his position in the foreign operations and appropriations committees to increase the budget and funnel millions of dollars to buy weapons to help the Afghans in their defense against the invading Soviets. Wilson's passion for helping the Afghan people became a major impetus for the dissolution of the Soviet Union, since the Soviets suffered their first major setback when they were forced to withdraw from Afghanistan.

The movie exaggerates Wilson's contribution (even leading the viewer to believe that Wilson provided THE catalyst for the fall of the Soviet Union--apparently, containment, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and other key figures and events such as the Solidarity movement in Poland had little or no effect).

However, the movie is solid and presents a glowing example of America minus the political slant of the slew of anti-Iraq war movies that have been featured recently (Lions for Lambs, Rendition, Redacted). No one doubts that this congressman made a huge contribution to the Soviet defeat while demonstrating America's commitment to self-determination, justice, and human rights. An argument can also be made that this interference had a direct effect on 9/11, Osama bin Ladin was one of those Mujahideen who was supplied with high-powered weaponry by the CIA through this covert action. Of course, hindsight is 20/20 and the motives of all the key players in this movie were pure: back then, the perceived threat was the Soviet Union, not radical Islam.

Also to watch for: Wilson faces a crucial test when he is investigated for doing cocaine with a group of exotic dancers. The "little-known" (according to Wilson) federal prosecutor from Reagan's Justice Dept. investigating Charlie? Noneother than Rudy Giuliani.

The best line in the movie, which also serves as a parallel to the current conflict in Iraq: Wilson says "we go in there with our ideals, then we leave. But the ball keeps rolling." How true--winning the war can be easy sometimes--but providing stability, creating infrastructure and democratic institutions--these test our patience and committment to the cause. Americans can learn how the failure to stay engaged in Afghanistan and negotiate a stable transition for a new government after the Soviet withdrawal had consquences--the same type of consequences that we cannot afford if we were to yield Iraq to the dangers of a premature withdrawal.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

KS Weekly Political News Roundup

Three different sources (two elected officials and one Topeka lobbyist) have indicated that based on what they have heard, Chris Biggs will be the next AG.

This is mere rumor and speculation, but it comes from knowledgable sources.

Roll Call has reported that Nick Jordan raised over $100,000 at his fundraiser with VP Dick Cheney two weeks ago. This blog reported a conservative amount of $30,000 raised, based on the minimum required donation and an approximate count of attendees. We always knew that the fundraising total would be much greater. All of the Democratic blogs who misjudged the success of this fundraiser will look foolish now for their attempts to downplay this event as a failure. Raising $100,000 in a low-key, small, and private fundraiser at a personal residence shows that Jordan has the momentum. Dennis beware!

Also, in the race to replace Nick Jordan in the 10th Senate District (covering most of Shawnee and Lake Quivira), Shawnee real estate agent Patrick Regan has dropped out on the GOP side. This leaves former 18th District state rep. Mary Pilcher Cook and Board of Ed. member Sue Gamble vying for the seat. Is Regan considering running in the 18th district against Mary? If anyone knows, feel free to drop a line in the comments section (you can post anonymously now)!

Who do you support in the 10th Senate District GOP primary? Now that the field been narrowed down to two candidates, vote now!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

New Rudy ad airs in Iowa

Rudy’s new intro ad is a savvy and sophisticated piece of political marketing. Very positive, patriotic, and professional. The ad has a Reaganesque quality and tone--it will remind voters of the Gipper’s famous 1984 TV ads.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

KS Weekly Political News Roundup

Paul Morrison Fallout Scandal
Morrison may have resigned, but this story isn't over yet. Our sources say that there is MUCH more to this than your typical sex scandal--ethical and illegal acts convinced Democratic leaders in Topeka to confront Morrison last Wednesday and Thursday with the evidence and convince the once resolute Morrison to give up and resign. We believe more details will leak out over the next few months, especially since the Johnson County Commissioners approved Phill Kline's request for a special prosecutor.

Rumors swirl that Sebelius will appoint either Chris Biggs (who was defeated by Kline for the AG spot in '02), Dennis Moore, or Mark Parkinson. The Konnection highly doubts that Sebelius would handover the 3rd congressional district seat to Nick Jordan on a silver platter by appointing Moore, so our best logical guess is Parkinson--he has the name ID and funding to run a successful re-election campaign in 2010. And Sebelius doesn't want to take a chance on an unknown candidate--the Dems' pool has been reduced greatly by Morrison's departure.

This scandal has scarred the KS Democratic Party and halted their momentum. The ramifications of this scandal are still unknown, but at the very least, this helps Steve Howe, who is running to replace Phill Kline as DA. His Democratic opponent, Rick Guinn, is a close confidante of Morrison, donated to his campaign, and works for him in Topeka. Howe had also solified his status as "favored to win" by uniting both wings of the county GOP behind his candidacy, and the fallout from the Morrison scandal serves to boost him even more and severely damage Guinn's chances.

As for the attorney general's race, could this be the opening for a bright, well-versed and energetic, constitutional attorney who currently serves as chairman of the Kansas GOP. No one can dispute that Kris Kobach is one of the most qualified individuals for the job.

3rd District--Dennis Moore vs. Nick Jordan
Jordan for Congress has revamped, redesigned, and re-ignited their website ( with a slew of interactive features and links to user-generated content, as well as direct ways for citizens to become involved with the campaign. The website will receive further developments and additions in the upcoming weeks.

2nd District GOP primary--Jim Ryun vs. Lynn Jenkins
Jim Ryun is ready--his sleek website ( includes video links, a "training blog" highlighting Ryun's travels around the district, and user-generated emails to family, friends for fundraisers and events. Ryun has begun to energize grassroots supporters and has sent out consistent email updates to supporters for the past year, showing that he is engaged and ready.

Lynn Jenkins has updated her site as well ( Like Jordan's site, it features user-generated content, links to social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace.

Jenkins is heavily courting conservatives--she pledges to vote to make the Bush tax cuts permanent and has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, promising to hold the line on taxes. Jenkin's has also taken a firm stand against illegal immigration and against ANY form of amnesty. Jenkins' campaign theme: cut taxes, cut spending, reduce the expansion of government, and stop illegal immigration. Focusing on these core principles and less on some of her social views will help her garner conservative support.

Our sources say that Jenkins remains confident in her ability to win the primary and beat Boyda in the general, and that she has raised as much as Ryun so far and has spent very little with most of the money remaining in the district.

As with most Kansans, the Konnection has a clear preference in the 2nd District race, but we would like to reiterate that BOTH Jenkins and Ryun are well-qualified and impeccable candidates to defeat Nancy Boyda--wherever you happen to fall in the party, BOTH candidates share similar core views: limited government, lower taxes, and fiscal responsibility. The Konnection is glad to see both candidates refrain from attacking eachother and focus instead on defeating Boyda. Ryun is running a positive campaign, highlighting Boyda's bad votes. Jenkins is also highlighting Boyda's deficiencies and taking on Nancy Pelosi and the entire Democratic-led congress. We simply ask they keep this up--we don't need a bloody and bruising campaign--a positive but aggresive primary focused on the general election will go a long way towards helping the 2nd District GOP nominee secure victory in November.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

GOP adds big wins in VA, OH

Two off-year congressional elections were held today, one in Virginia and one in Ohio. Due to the national mood, the supposed anti-Republican mood in Ohio and the Democratic trend in Virginia, Democrats had confidence they could contest and win both these seats, and they poured in thousands of dollars and plenty of resources. Many of the pundits predicted doom for the GOP--Stuart Rothenburg stated that the Ohio contest would be the Democratic upset of the century (in a seat that has been held by the Republicans since the 1930s), citing the "toxic environment" for the GOP and the "spending advantage of the Democrats.

Well the results are in and they're not even close. Both Republicans won landslide victories. Despite having popular Dem. Gov. Kaine and former Governor Warner stump for him, Democratic candidate Phillip Forgit couldn't pull out a win. Republican Rob Wittman won with 61% of the vote in Virginia's 1st house district and Republican Bob Latta won in Ohio's 5th house district with a resounding 57% of the vote.

The voters are clearly in an anti-government mood. They are clearly unhappy with Bush but they are also unhappy with the Democratic congress. This bodes well for Nick Jordan and and the 2nd District Republican nominee who hope to take on KS' only Dem. incumbents.

Summing up the year, the Republicans gained the governorship in Louisiana (Jindal avoided a runoff by winning a historic 54% of the vote in the first round), they came within 5 percent of winning an open Massachusetts house seat, lost the governorship of Kentucky, and barely lost control of the Virginia state senate (by just 3 seats) while retaining control of the Virginia state assembly. Overall, a positive year for the GOP and net gain. Republicans have shown that they can successfully compete across the country, even in the bluest of blue states, while Democrats still have much work to do in the midwest and south.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Jordan Fundraiser a Success

The Jordan for Congress campaign held a fundraiser this past friday at the Leawood home of Daniel and Diane Henry. Vice President Dick Cheney was on hand, and there was a $200 minimum donation required to attend the campaign kickoff. Sources tell the Konnection that at least 150 persons attended, meaning that the campaign raised at least $30,000+ for the event.

Well-known Kansas elected officials in attendance included Johnson County state representatives Ronnie Metsker and Sheryl Spalding, and 2nd District congressional candidate Lynn Jenkins, who is running in the primary against former congressman Jim Ryun to take on Nancy Boyda.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Earmarking: the Gift that Won't Stop Giving

A recent CBS story highlighted D.C.'s finest: the top spenders of our tax dollars on pork (pet projects and constituency-defined appropriations). Since our government wastes millions a year on everything from research on the mating habits of fruit flies to a Woodstock museum (nice try Hillary and Schumer!), due to new laws, these expenditures are becoming transparent.

No party has a monopoly on "pork," but the Democrats clearly have an advantage. 6 of the 10 top Senate earmarkers are Democrats, as well as 6 out of the top 10 House earmarkers. And what about those 12 courageous and principled U.S. senators out of 100 who did not request any earmarks? 10 of the 12 are Republicans--which leaves only 2 fiscally responsible Democrats out of 51 in the senate. Missouri's own Claire McCaskill is one of those two, and while the Konnection agrees with the senator on few issues, we give her kudos for following through on her campaign pledge. Most of her Democratic colleagues have not, just over a year after the Democrats pledged to restore fiscal responsibility. Apparently fiscal responsibility means spending more than the previous party in power. It's especially ironic that the Speaker of the House--Nancy Pelosi--ranks in the top 10 spenders, having requested a whopping $87,096,000 this year alone!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Greg Orman gives Roberts a Sigh of Relief...

Despite winning an extra congressional seat, the Attorney General's office, and retaining the governorship, the Kansas Democratic Party has clearly reached the peak of their electoral success. They failed to recruit former Rep. Jim Slattery, now a D.C. lobbyist, and must now settle on what I term a "placeholder" candidate--someone who can fill the blank space next to the "D" on the state ballot, but has no chance of winning.

Greg Orman is a young Johnson County millionaire. Other blogs mentioned his failure to vote in Kansas in 2004 and 2006, his voter registration in Florida and subsequent donations from there, and his donations to Hillary Clinton, Tom Harkin, Harry Reid, and Al Franken. In fact, in an embarassement for KS Democrats, Johnson County Elections still has Mr. Orman listed as having registered as an Independent--he's not even a Democrat!

Yet no one has mentioned that Orman donated to the National Republican Congressional Committee for the past 6 years--including a donation made just in 2001. Orman also donated $250 to Taff for Congress in 2002. Are the Democrats this desparate that they have to run with an unknown, registered Independent who has only recently began to support Democratic candidates? Here is a guy who spent 6 years donating to the Republican Party and even supporting their nominee for the congressional district in KS where he now lives.


Taff, Adam

National Republican Congressional Cmte

Considering that KS' junior senator received 69% of the vote in 2004, Pat Roberts, who enjoys greater popularity and is well-respected by members of both parties, including many Kansas Democrats and Independents, should receive 72-75% of the vote, now that we know he faces little to no opposition. Orman may have immense personal weath to invest in a campaign, but he will likely receive a cold shoulder from western Kansans (and by that, I mean all Kansans west of Johnson County). Orman's lack of experience and unfamiliarity with the state will not sit well with Kansans.