Sunday, August 28, 2005

Connie Morris to patrol the border

This is a couple days old, but it's too much fun. An AP piece says that Connie Morris' race is one to watch:
Morris, a St. Francis Republican, wants a second four-year term representing the western half of the state. A former teacher, she won her seat by defeating 14-year incumbent Sonny Rundell, of Syracuse, in the 2002 primary.

She said during an interview her campaign will stress helping rural schools and containing educational costs -- as well as discuss concerns that the nation's borders aren't protected.
Can someone explain how border security factors into education policy? Or is this another example of conservative Republicans running on issues that they have no power to influence? This may well be a textbook example of the phenomenon Thomas Frank described in What's the Matter With Kansas?

I'll have more to say about this quote in a little while. It's time to start thinking about electoral politics, and I'd like to use this blog as a mini-think tank on strategies for winning back the Board of Ed, gain some seats in the legislature, and keep the existing Democratic leaders in place.
Asked whether evolution would be a major issue, Tim Cruz, a former Garden City mayor who's running against Morris as a Democrat said, ''God, I hope not.''

''The main issue should be what can we do to make our kids successful,'' he said.
It's worth noting that 4 of the 5 seats up for election this year are controlled by conservatives. That means we only need to beat one incumbent and protect one incumbent.

There's been a lot of attention on Connie Morris, but I don't frankly think she's the most vulnerable. The west of Kansas has no patience for foolishness – and she's been plenty foolish – but it's also quite conservative.

The conservatives up for re-election in addition to Connie Morris are, Steve Abrams, John Bacon, Ken Willard and Iris van Meter. Each should be opposed by qualified and interested candidates. It's not enough that the candidate oppose teaching pseudoscience. They need a real plan for improving Kansas schools and educating children. Evolution is a litmus test I'll be applying, but I'm hoping for competitive primaries and a real debate about the future of Kansas schools. I'd hate to see intramural fighting among the moderates, Republican or Democratic.

In the general election, each incumbent conservative should be forced to answer serious questions about their connections to Connie Morris. Do they agree with her characterization of evolution as a "fairy tale"? Do they think it was appropriate for her to spend about as much per night for her family visit in Florida than I spend on rent in a month? Do they think it was appropriate for her to attack her colleagues on the Board in very personal ways?

Then ask them questions about the procedure. Why did they overrule the science standards and recommendations of the science standards committee? Why did they substitute their judgment for that of professional science educators and scientists? Why did they keep changing the rules for their special subcommittee? And if questions aren't raised about contributions by John Calvert, I'll scream. He is the advisor to the conservatives, author of the minority report, and the "counsel" for the "prosecution" despite not being licensed to practice law in Kansas.

Don't spend too much time worrying about their roles in this nonsense, since they can try to explain away their own actions. Make them either distance themselves from the rest of the conservatives or tar them with their colleagues' mistakes.