Ed Kilgore thinks it would be a great thing if Kansas governor Sam Brownback loses his reelection bid:
If the Republican governor of a very Republican state loses for undertaking a conservative political and policy revolution, complete with a purge of party "moderates" and reactionary legislation on just about every front imaginable, it may remind Republicans everywhere that there are limits to a meta-strategy of moving to the right, polarizing the electorate, and then winning on money and pure dumb luck. As a huge bonus, among the injured in a Brownback loss would be the Koch Brothers, right there in their Wichita lair.That sounds wonderful, and it should happen -- but it won't. Yes, as this Mother Jones story reminds us, Brownback slashed taxes, promising economic renewal, but instead created a big budget shortfall, and slashed education spending, among other nasty surprises to the residents of this state. It's all done according to a Koch blueprint, and it's wildly unpopular. It should be an object lesson to Kochite Republicans everywhere.
... Brownback has very publicly made his state a conservative "experiment station" and sought to stamp out any dissent in his party, all in the pursuit of a sort of intellectual rogue's gallery of bad ideas, from supply-side economics to the harshest attacks in the country on reproductive rights. He not only deserve to lose, but his regime needs to be remembered with fear and trembling by Republicans everywhere.
But Republicans are already finding ways to explain Brownback's woes away. The principal argument on the right is that Brownback backed primary challenges to Republican moderates, and now those moderates are exacting their revenge -- you see that argument at the end of this Wall Street Journal op-ed by Kimberley Strassel. Yes, 100 or so Republicans have endorsed Brownback's Democratic opponent -- but this is being described as the cause of his electoral woes, not as a reaction to his unpopularity, orto the failure of his economic plan to deliver prosperity. Strassel writes:
Most of the blowback Gov. Brownback has received for his tax cuts has come from big-spending Republicans who preferred the status quo and have resisted the party's reform wave. Mr. Brownback rolled them during the tax fight, and their revenge now has been to unite with Democrats to cause him political mischief.But wouldn't the voters would reject that anti-Brownback effort if they thought Brownback was actually doing a swell job? Strassel wants to bamboozle you into thinking that everything was just fine for Brownback until a group of disaffected RINOs betrayed him, and then voters just blindly followed those RINOs despite their previous delight with Brownback's sucessful governorship.
That makes no sense. It makes no sense, but that's the story Repblicans are going to tell themselves if Brownback loses.
See also this post at Right Wing News, which says that the 100 moderates betrayed Bronback because they want better coverage from the liberal media:
Somehow, in their teeny-tiny RINO minds, getting a liberal Democrat into office is better than having another Republican. And hey, it makes sense -- the media is far more likely to give you a verbal tongue-bath if you're a RINO than if you stick to your principles, and come on… principles are hard in the face of fawning media coverage.Remember, to right-wingers, conservatism can never fail -- it can only be failed. If Brownback loses, Republicans will just tell themselves that he was sabotaged. It's never, ever conservatism's fault.