Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Petty debate

FDM starts criticizing Steve Rose's column on Dennis Moore's moderation by arguing about fairly meaningless sentences.

“Take out Olathe, and Moore won by a comfortable majority in Johnson County”

“In fact, if it weren’t for the heavily conservative votes in Olathe and surrounding rural communities, one could argue that this is a very moderate community”
They dispute the first by arguing about whether a 52% victory is comfortable compared to 50%.

As for the second, they calculate that Moore would win JoCo with 52% excluding Olathe (but not excluding the rural communities, however one selects them), and Bush won JoCo-Olathe by 60%.

If you rank the counties by percent of vote for Bush, Johnson County (including Olathe) is the 11th worst county in Kansas for Bush. The fact that only 10 out of 105 counties gave less than 61% of their vote to Bush tells you a lot about Kansas.

Removing Olathe moves that slightly more towards Kerry, putting JoCo at number 10.

But I think that this is not what Rose meant. It think he meant that, barring Olathe and environs, JoCo elects moderates to statewide office, and prefers candidates with moderate positions.

Let me tell you a story about a JoCo Republican. Dave Adkins was a Republican state senator from Leawood, in JoCo.

The first time the gay marriage amendment came up, he killed it. The State Senate only allows a certain number of recorded votes on an issue. Adkins burned those amendments up on small proposed amendments, and when the recorded votes were used up, the senators could vote their conscience on an amendment without worrying about public opinion. The proposal failed 16-17 in a chamber with 24 Republicans. By allowing the amendment through, opponents could vote against it while claiming they just wanted different language.

The Republicans voting no on the final constitutional amendment came from Leawood, Overland Park(2), Olathe(2), Salina, Wichita(2), Lawrence, Towanda, Wamego, Hanston and Parker.

By my count, most of the "no"s came from JoCo. That sounds pretty moderate, at least for Kansas.

Rose's point was that Moore's politics are pretty close to those of his district, including Johnson County. Arguing about what defines "moderation" or a "comfortable majority" hardly addresses that argument.