Thursday, April 30, 2009

Who will Mark Parkinson pick as Lt. Governor? Probably not a Democrat who likened Tea Party protesters to Nazis

Mark Parksinson was sworn in yesterday as the 45th governor of Kansas. Now, speculation swirls as to who he will pick as Lt. Governor, although the bench is relatively thin now without Mr. Morrison, and the choice will make little difference in next year's gubernatorial race, where Sen. Sam Brownback is virtually assured of becoming Kansas' next governor with little Democratic opposition. The names being mentioned are State Sen. Laura Kelly, Kansas Securities Commissioner Chris Biggs, Board of Regents member Jill Docking, and Wyandotte County State Senator Chris Steineger.

Now, Steineger had long been mentioned as a Democratic candidate for governor, and the only Democrat who could give Brownback an iota of competition in what will still be an uncompetitive race. Steineger is a centrist Democrat who is relatively fiscally conservative and appeals to culturally-conservative, blue collar Kansans as well as some Republicans, although he does propose foolish and questionable legislation at times, such as his universally derided proposal to combine Johnson and Wyandotte counties into one county--WyJo--which was disliked and mocked by officials from both counties.

Steineger suprised Republicans and outraged some in his party by attending and speaking at conventions and summits sponsored by the tax reform group Americans for Prosperity, and appearing at a recent anti-tax tea party earlier this month.

Feeling the heat from his liberal base, Steineger sought to alleviate concerns that he's going soft on his party and ideology by providing a response on the blog Kansas Jackass. Here is an excerpt of Steineger's response:

When Democrats don’t show up to compete with right wing hate mongers, we forfeit the chance to win over the many Americans who ARE NOT hard core right wingers, but more precisely, are economically and financially

During WWII, Eisenhower, Churchill and the other Allies knew that we couldn’t beat Hitler and the Nazis by staying at home. They knew that the only way to win was to invade the Nazis’ turf and take it from them and that’s exactly what happened. Indeed, on the campaign from Normandy to Berlin, the Allies also learned that thousands of German troops no longer believed in Hitler’s message, were willing to surrender, and find a better system to live by. Those who changed their minds built the modern Germany which provides universal health insurance at a sustainable price, and will soon be the first nation to close all coal-fired power plants and make the upgrade to clean, renewable sources of electricity.

Barack Obama has reached out to Cuba and Venezuela by having conversations with Castro and Chavez. Barack Obama reached out to Iran by delivering a congratulatory message on a recent Iranian holiday. Indeed, certain partisan extremists label him a traitor for doing so. As a follower of American foreign policy, I am glad Obama reached out to countries and leaders who previously were thought of as “off limits”. Obama understands that people don’t always agree with their leaders. Although seen shaking hands with leaders who have spoken hate towards us, Obama shows their followers, their people, that we Americans are likeable people and that we would like their friendship.

Wow, where to begin? Steineger seeks to express solidarity with average Kansans concerned about taxation, rising spending, and the amount of debt placed on the shoulders of their families and children, and Steineger has the audacity to call them "right-wing hate mongers"? Even more disturbing, he draws an analogy between engaging tea party attendees with the Allies invading Europe and combating Hitler and the Nazis. But he doesn't stop there--after comparing thousands of average Kansans to Nazis, he compares engagement with these citizens to engaging Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, and Ahmadinejad in diplomatic relations--all are draconian dictators responsible for the deaths of thousands and the loss of freedoms of millions of their citizens. Yet engaging peaceful, concerned Kansans of all political stripes is equivalent to engaging Hitler's Nazis and some of the most totalitarian and extremist dictators currently in power?

Steinger's comments failed to placate liberal outrage, and the state senator now faces the wrath of those in the middle and right whom he libeled in his blog response, those who took him for an honest and credible voice of reason when attending these events.

In a rare event, Steineger has angered his base and offended the moderate-conservative Independents and Republicans he would need to win over in a statewide election to remain semi-competitive.

This abominable, offensive rhetoric has now damaged Steineger's prospects of being the Democratic standard bearer for Governor and wiped out any chance that he would be a relevant, slightly-competitive candidate against Brownback in next year's gubernatorial race on the rare chance he is the Democratic nominee.

No comments: