Sunday, October 31, 2010

This should be a fun 4 years

Kris Kobach is running to be Secretary of State in Kansas.  I don't think he actually wants to be Secretary of State, but he's probably going to win.  You might not realize it, but you've heard of Kris Kobach.  Arizona's new immigration law?  Kobach wrote it.  A Nebraska town passed an ordinance about renting to and employing illegal immigrants.  Kobach wrote that, too.  He made headlines a few years ago for his lawsuits aimed at stopping illegal immigrant college students from paying in-state tuition rates.  Pretty much any law or lawsuit in this nation targeting illegal immigration, Kris Kobach has had a hand in.  Around these parts, we like to call him Krazy Kris Kobach.  (There have long been rumblings that he has some kind of ties to white supremacists, too.)

In the past, he has run for Congress.  Happily, he lives in the one Congressional district of Kansas that has consistently been represented by a Democrat, so he has not been successful.  He took some time off from campaigning after his last defeat and focused on making a name for himself on the illegal immigration front.  And then he waited for an elected office, any elected office, to open up so that he could run again and win this time.  So he settled on Secretary of State.  And somehow, even though the Kansas Secretary of State oversees elections and the registration of businesses and corporations, he has managed to run on an illegal immigration platform.  And he will probably win in this Republican crazy state.

His only real campaign point has been voter fraud, which seems to be code for "illegal immigrants are taking over our state."  Somehow, even though there have only been about 7 documented allegations of voter fraud in this state in the past decade, he's managed to make an entire campaign about the need to stop this epidemic.  He even has a radio commercial railing about out-of-control spending in Washington, that triumvirate of evil (Pelosi-Reid-Obama), "Obamacare", and all those other Republican talking points.  But he's running for Kansas Secretary of State, so that's all relevant how?  Well, because of voter fraud, of course!  He actually claims that all of those evil things can be cured if we elect him to be our Secretary of State so he can stop voter fraud.  (Never mind that this state hasn't voted for a Democratic presidential candidate that I can remember, has two strongly conservative Senators, and 3 of our 4 Representatives are quite conservative.  And the 4th spot should go Republican on Tuesday, too.  So it's pretty illogical to claim that voter fraud in Kansas contributed to Obamacare.) 

His most recent dire warning about the reality of voter fraud in Kansas was to claim that 2,000 names on the voter rolls in the state appear to match federal death records.  He didn't do much research on how many of those apparent matches really are names that should be removed from the voter rolls because the voter is dead.  This became obvious when he cited the specific example of a man who died in 1996 but miraculously voted in this year's primary.  This made for a great story when the Wichita Eagle called up the alleged dead man and asked him if he intended to vote on Tuesday.  (He does.  And it was his father who died in 1996, which is why this alive and well man was not removed from the voter rolls.)

I'm really excited about having to pay this guy's salary for the next 4 years.  Sigh.  You would think that Kansans would have learned not to allow ideologues to use an ill-fitting elected state office as a vehicle for pursuing their own crusades.  We let Phill Kline use the Attorney General's office in his single-minded pursuit of putting the state's abortion providers out of business and we're still dealing with the fall-out.  That office's other duties were badly neglected, most notably consumer protection.  I wonder how badly the mundane, very non-sexy, actual day-to-day duties of the Secretary of State's office will be neglected while this nut tilts at his voter fraud windmill and fills his free time with his anti-illegal immigration crusade.

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