Political Fracas 2012: Nothing but the naked truth
The Kansas City Star
Kris Kobach, phone home
The Kansas secretary of state seems to be everywhere these days except for Kansas.
Kris Kobach showed up in Tampa, Fla., successfully urging Republicans to deal harshly with undocumented immigrants in the party’s official campaign platform.
Then he materialized as the lead attorney in a lawsuit filed in Dallas by 10 immigration officers, who are challenging President Barack Obama’s directive allowing young undocumented immigrants who meet certain conditions to remain in the country.
Meanwhile, news organizations keep describing Kobach as “an unofficial adviser” to Republican Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.
That can’t be great news for Romney, who needs to convinces Latino voters that he’s working on a sound and flexible policy regarding immigration. That’s an uphill battle for any GOP nominee, without being tied to Kobach, who never misses an opportunity to put his name on a legal action aimed at harassing and deporting illegal immigrants.
Meanwhile, the state of Kansas has a big election coming up. We’d like to see Kobach spend more time making sure voters are able to comply with the photo ID requirement he insisted the state enact.
When up is down
Politicians of all stripes discount polls that show them trailing their opponents. But arguing with a 10-point lead? Believe it.
This week U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, facing the nationally derided Republican Rep. Todd Akin, tweeted that a Rasmussen poll — which had her up 48 to 38 percent — was bunk. Or as she put it: “If anyone believes that, I’m 29.” For the record, she’s 59.
Rasmussen is known as a Republican pollster, and McCaskill has — dare we say — legitimate reason to suspect shenanigans. Major Missouri and national Republicans consider Akin unelectable and want him to step aside.
Republicans have been hemmed in by questions about abortion policies proposed for the party platform that would exclude exceptions for rape or incest victims since Akin uttered the offensive and biologically inaccurate explanation that “legitimate rape” victims can magically avoid pregnancy, or as he put it, “shut that whole thing down.”
Expect to hear more on this subject. Democrats won’t be the ones to “shut that whole thing down.” And we don’t need a poll to know it.
Campaign going swimmingly
The American Association for Nude Recreation isn’t the most sought-after endorsement in politics, but U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder owns it.
“Obviously, Congressman Yoder is a typical American who enjoys skinny-dipping, like over 50 million other Americans,” the association said in a news release, and followed up with a list of beaches where Yoder could splash around in the altogether without getting in trouble.
It’s doubtful the Republican from Overland Park will be visiting any of those places. Clearly, he’d like the story about his naked swim in the Sea of Galilee while on official congressional business in Israel to, well, dry up.
Fortunately for Yoder, he needn’t worry that his unwise skinny dip will become a campaign issue. Democrats failed to find a challenger to take him on, though he does have a Libertarian Party opponent.
This is another reason major parties should always strive to be represented in important races. You never know when an otherwise well-positioned opponent is going to be exposed for swimming naked in the Sea of Galilee. If nothing else, it would have made for some unique campaign ads.
Look at what I did!
Elected officials such as Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon love to take credit when good things happen — even if they don’t deserve it.
But if you’re going to claim the glory, it’s courteous to show up on time.
Nixon appeared 20 minutes late this week for a Sporting Innovations business announcement, keeping a room of business executives, state officials and others waiting.
The governor was eager to reap positive publicity from the high tech firm’s decision to move its headquarters to the old Hanna Rubber building in downtown’s Crossroads area.
Nixon is in a re-election race with Republican Dave Spence, who has criticized the slow job growth in Missouri. So Nixon made it clear that Sporting Innovations would be adding dozens of jobs, thanks in part to millions in public assistance from the state.
Of course, most of the real work was done by local politicians and economic development experts, working with company executives and a few state officials.
But Nixon, who has been known to show up for the announcement of a single new job, made sure he parachuted in to grab some attention.