Monday, July 24, 2006

Gubernatorial debate

227840578132My persistent complain (and clearly the Eagle's) about the Republican candidates for governor is that they seem uninterested in differentiating themselves. If you didn't know beforehand what the ideological gradient was, it would be impossible to figure out which was which from almost anything they say. So I was hoping for clarity in the Journal World's report that the 3 GOP candidates clash in televised forum. The heat comes from the segment where the candidates could ask each other questions:
Canfield, of Overland Park, questioned Barnett’s support earlier in his legislative career for a tax increase.

Barnett asked Jennison to explain his support of expanded casinos, and Canfield asked Jennison why he supported embryonic stem cell research. Barnett and Canfield said they opposed both expansion of gambling and embryonic stem cell research.

Barnett also questioned Canfield’s $1 billion bond proposal to provide venture capital, saying that would deepen the state’s debt. Canfield said those funds would be raised privately, although when he rolled out the proposal, he had said it would be a combination of private and public funds.

Meanwhile, Jennison’s questions to his fellow candidates were big softballs — one asking Canfield to answer why it would be better to have a Republican governor, and one asking Barnett to give examples of Sebelius’ “lack of leadership.”
So Jennison is looking for some sort of appointment from the winner, and the attempts by the other candidates to distinguish themselves hinge on taxes, science and gambling. Bear in mind that in recent years, the legislature has only considered two ways of raising funds: taxes or increased gambling. Other ways exist, but most require some sort of investment, which means raising money. And if you oppose raising taxes or increasing gambling, you're opposing any sort of response to rising educational costs, increasing costs from Medicaid, road maintenance, or any response to unexpected disasters or opportunities.