The notorious flag of the Confederacy, yet an idiot’s delight at select political gatherings and some southern football games, acquires new relevance in Kansas each day of the Kobach campaign.
When he gets going at especially fiery rallies, Kobach peels off his hood to make louder his cries to lynch the government. Kobach resurrects a familiar bellow from the Brownback era – bash the government, smash all taxes and slash the budget – in hopes that it will again take hold with voters.
Kobach has sharpened Brownback’s old plan to replace a unified state government with a loose-knit Kansas confederacy in which the gilt-edged counties survive and thrive, and the other 100-mark time, or dry out like prunes.
The Kobach-Brownback way is for the state to shed as many costly obligations as it can; if citizens need or want a government program, the courthouse or city hall must assume the cost.
In the early Brownback years, McPherson and Douglas Counties were among the first entities to pay for welfare offices that had been a state responsibility. In other counties without a state office, the poor and the infirm or the disabled were told to find help elsewhere. The plan was later changed, but not before lives were ruined.
The state’s commitment to public education faded dramatically. The Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly since 1972 that the quality of education in a school district must not depend on the wealth of that district. Subsequent reforms and rulings were, for Brownback-Kobach, of no matter.
Brownback’s vision for finance reform started with a plan to abolish the income tax and a scenario straight out of a lunatic asylum. This would force higher property levies and sales taxes. School districts, cities and counties ‒ rich, poor, in-between ‒ would live on less and pay their own way.
Them that has, gets; them that don’t, won’t.
Kobach would revive the asylum and, no doubt, let the inmates run it. It has worked in Washington for his friend Trump, why not in Topeka for Kobach?
In the past decade, Topeka has slashed or abolished state revenue sharing for city and county property tax reduction, for transportation, and public safety – all derived from taxes collected locally. The taxes remain but the state hoards the revenue.
Remember the days when certain counties were known for their awful roads? Or when the local ambulance was an undertaker’s station wagon? We nearly returned to that with Brownback.
We have started the long road to recovery, thanks to fresh legislators who brought a majority of colleagues to their senses. Kobach would have Kansas take a U-turn, and along the route backward he would throttle those pesky courts that persist with obstructions such as laws that are constitutional.
Kobach’s Kansas would mean that streets, roads and bridges, law enforcement and public health, be among local obligations. For many areas, dialing 911 would be a crap shoot. (Don’t look for help in Washington, our federal asylum.)
In a Kobach Kansas, quality of life would no longer be a shared aspiration, but a local afterthought. The best places will be the rich places, and for the less fortunate, tough. The Kansas of Kobach’s confederacy holds fast for independence, local control, freedom and self-reliance.
A Kobach Kansas is a confederate Kansas, left to itself without government interference. Counties and cities would make a fine patchwork quilt, each square separate and unequal, left to its own privilege or poverty. Help for the old, the poor and infirm is for liberals. Justice, voting rights and civil rights are for communists. Smooth roads, clean air and water and great schools are for sissies.
A Kobach Kansas is a free Kansas – an asylum free for the inmates to run as they choose.