Questionable material

Questionable material

Jason Probst

Sen. Pat Roberts just can’t seem to figure out what happened to his Kansas.

After years of enjoying a cushy job in Washington D.C., with little threat from challengers, the senior senator from Kansas now finds himself in a pickle, with attacks from all sides.

After successfully convincing voters he is truly conservative, Roberts dispatched tea party challenger Milton Wolf and has now launched an offensive assault against independent challenger Greg Orman. Naturally, that’s best done with a series of misleading campaign commercials designed to paint Orman as a liberal akin to President Barack Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, whose name was mentioned ad nauseam during the debate at the Kansas State Fair.

In one Web video, Roberts’ camp paints Orman as a liberal in independent’s clothing and at the same time took pains to edit video from the debate to make it seem that Orman also was posing as a conservative who agreed with Roberts on nearly every issue.

Another commercial completely misses the mark by citing various news articles to show that Orman supports that evil Obamacare and would oppose efforts to repeal the health care law. The ad also claims that Obamacare means massive tax hikes for families and massive Medicare cuts that kill Kansas jobs.

Trouble is, the source material cherry-picked by the Roberts camp also explained that Orman said he wouldn’t have voted for the Affordable Care Act. Instead, he thought that repeated efforts to repeal the signature initiative of the sitting president were a huge waste of time.

And the Kansas Insurance Commissioner’s Office explained that the ACA did not include a massive tax increase, nor did it cut benefits for Medicare recipients.

Also disappointing is Roberts’ effort to hold up the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility as his crowning achievement as senator from Kansas – a project that is good for Kansas and should bring Roberts pride.

But Roberts tarnished his work on the project when he voted against the spending bill that included NBAF when hating the government became all the rage and he needed to prove he was just as conservative as Wolf.

Also contained in Roberts’ commercial is an interesting and comical irony in Kansas politics: Roberts must convince Kansans they’ve suffered and are struggling at the hands of Obama and company, while Gov. Sam Brownback must convince Kansans that his road map is working and that the sun really is shining on the Sunflower State.

There’s nothing new, or even unusual, about politicians skewing the truth or repeating misleading statements to voters. But the level of misinformation from the Roberts camp – and the sophomoric way in which it’s being doled out – reeks of a campaign in the throes of fearful desperation.

What’s more, it’s only September. October is certain to bring more mudslinging, misdirection and more “be deathly afraid of Obama” to all of the big political races in the state, in the hope that fear, not facts, will cast voters’ ballots.

In the meantime, Kansans will have to rely on their ability to smell out half-truths, and recognize that no matter how many times their names are invoked, Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton aren’t running for office in Kansas.


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