The Kansas Senate Republicans came out with their proposal to fix the mess they made with Governor Brownback. They call it the “B.E.T.T.E.R.” Plan. They’ve got a nifty acronym (Budget, Education, Taxes, Transparency, Economy, Regulations), had a press conference, created a website, the works. My opponent signed off on it. SPOILER ALERT: It’s not a plan. I am not making this up: the first bullet point of their plan is to make a plan. Seriously. Wait, it gets better (or B.E.T.T.E.R.). They will make a plan to follow a law that’s already on the books. I am not kidding. I could just stop there. But I won’t.
Because that’s what they’re betting on. They’re betting on voters not paying attention. Brownback’s allies are betting on citizens not reading the fine print. They’re betting that you don’t read the part where they haven’t given up on their “march to zero” on corporate income taxes. They’re betting you don’t read the part where they want the State to take over for OSHA when we can’t even manage Medicaid enrollment. Those hardcore conservatives are betting on a lot… maybe that’s why they call it the B.E.T.T.E.R. Plan. Not because it’s going to make things better, but because they’re betting the voters won’t pay attention to it. They’ve gotten along just fine with that bet for the last four years, so I understand why they feel safe making the same bet now.
Better than B.E.T.T.E.R.? BEST
As you may suspect, I respectfully disagree with the proposal put forth. I was never asked to agree with it, either. This whole exercise is a No-Democrats-Allowed political stunt cooked up to show moderate candidates that the Brownback Allies are still in charge of the Statehouse. As you may also suspect, the Senate Democrats have a better plan. What’s better than B.E.T.T.E.R., you ask? The B.E.S.T. Plan:
B. Balance The Budget Without Resorting To Accounting Tricks.
E. Ensure Every Student Can Get A Quality Public Education.
S. Stop Stealing From Our Roads, Seniors, Retirees, And Poor.
T. Take Back Control Of Our Government From Consultants And Think Tanks.
In four lines, you know exactly where I stand. I challenge any Republican candidate to publicly disavow any of these goals. Every Democratic candidate I’ve spoken with supports them. 26 Republican Senators and Senate candidates signed off on the B.E.T.T.E.R. Plan. I’m pretty sure we can get all 39 Democratic Senators and Senate candidates to sign off on the B.E.S.T. Plan. I’m pretty sure we can get some of the 14 Republicans they missed to sign off on it, too.
The Truth Hurts
Don’t misunderstand me. I have some sympathy. Clearly, the Senate Republicans are going through the five stages of grief. They’re deeply hurt over the loss of face caused by the death of Governor Brownback’s signature economic plan. They’re in denial right now. Then, we’ll see anger after the fall elections. But after the dust settles, next session, comes the bargaining. That’s where they will have to negotiate a reasonable, fact-based solution to the crisis they caused in 2012. If we’re lucky, they won’t pull the state into a depression with them. And then we’ll hopefully see some acceptance. Acceptance that governing via ideology is never a good idea.