Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Earthquake in Kansas


Did anyone notice the earthquake in Kansas on Tuesday? I'm not talking about a tremor I'm talking about a 9.0 on the Richter scale. What am I talking about?

Paul Morrison, a solid lifelong Republican who has been the Johnson County district attorney for almost 17 years, will switch parties and run in 2006 as a DEMOCRAT to unseat Republican Phill (yes, two "L"s) Kline as the Kansas Attorney General. In 2002, Kline won against a no-name Democrat (sorry Chris Biggs) by around 4,000 votes out of over 800,000 votes. This time it's probably a sure thing Kline will lose. This is big news not only for Kansas, many shocked people upon hearing the news didn't believe it at first, but for the country as well.

Morrison is a tough as nails prosecutor born in Dodge City and grew up in western Kansas. He has a 98% conviction rate and has personally tried over 100 difficult criminal cases many of them murder trials. Of course, within minutes of his announcement, Kline issued a statement suggesting Morrison was "soft on crime."

Why is Morrison switching parties and challenging Republican Attorney General Phill Kline? The public line is it was time to put the office of attorney general in the hands of a prosecutor and not a politician. Morrison said, “As attorney general, I’ll insist we get that office back to the basics: safety, security, and the kind of independent approach Kansans ought to be able to expect from the state’s chief law enforcement officer.” Morrison said he believed the focus of the Democratic Party in Kansas was better on the issue of public safety “and I feel most comfortable with it.”

Read between the lines and the real reason is probably that Phill Kline has been trying to create a religious theocracy in Kansas and that he and the Republican Party had gone too far for Morrison. Kline, as attorney general, a staunch opponent of abortion, has demanded the complete unedited medical records of nearly 90 woman and girls who had late-term abortions, saying he needs the material to investigate crimes. The clinics argued that unless the Kansas Supreme Court intervenes, women who obtained abortions could find government agents knocking at their door. The records sought the patients' "sexual history, birth control practices, prior medical and personal history, notes from the physical examinations, and a number of other things that the clinics contend are protected by the patient-physician privilege."

In 2003, Kline began pushing to require health care professionals to report underage sexual activity. Kline contends state law requires such reporting, but a federal judge blocked him. The case has yet to be resolved.

Currently, the Democratic Governor of Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius is seeking the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Phill Kline against state-financed abortions for Medicaid recipients, something the law requires. Matt All, the governor's legal counsel, said federal law requires states to pay for abortions of Medicaid recipients in cases of rape or incest, or to protect the life of the mother. Medicaid provides health care for poor and disabled people. "If we fail to do this, one of the consequences would be the state would have to pull out of the Medicaid program," All said. "We are following the law as Congress dictates to us and are just trying to be good stewards of state dollars."

Another gem from Kline's religious jihad in Kansas, after a federal judge in Georgia recently ordered the removal of stickers in biology textbooks telling students that "evolution is a theory, not a fact," Kline told conservative members of the Kansas Board of Education that he would back them if they put similar stickers on textbooks — a move the board had not even considered when the attorney general brought it up. Kline is vague on how he would overcome the legal objections raised by the Georgia judge, but he insists he could.

This may be the beginning of moderate Republicans realizing the social conservatives in their party have gone too far promoting and forcing their religious beliefs on the electorate. They have a choice of switching parties or simply voting Democratic because the Republican party, now firmly in control by religious conservatives, has gone too far for their comfort.

Believe me this is a huge shock for Kansas and Morrison is a name you'll hear for a long time. Let's just hope this earthquake is contagious.

1 Comments:

Blogger Birdy said...

You know, theres so much crap that goes on in politics - it's like trying to pay attention to a whole world that I'm not a part of, every day. I have a hard enough time trying to get my head around my office politics let alone some other office politics, some other series of names and gossip and truths and lies and responsibilities and...you get it.

7:56 AM  

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