VIEW FROM AFAR- Common-sense Kansans spoke clearly

I was wrong. I predicted that Karl Rove, the Svengali of the Right, would keep American voters sufficiently distracted with issues like abortion and stem-cell research so they would never notice the war in Iraq and growing Republican corruption.

Indeed, I predicted that Rove’s little slight of hand tricks would work for decades.

He had promised the Republicans a Permanent Republican Majority-otherwise known as A Thousand-Year Reich.

But my track record for prophecy is poor. I recall arguing the new-fangled video stores renting movies to watch on TV were only a passing fad.

The Chicago campaign commercials got very nasty. My friend Rich is planning to have the parish priest come over this weekend and perform an exorcism of his TV set to remove the spiritual debris from the campaign ads. He figures this will make it safe for his little boys to watch cartoons again.

What I had not counted on was the greed and sleaze of Republican office holders along with their ability to alienate Hispanic and middle class voters. The Democrats didn’t win this election-the Republicans lost it.

Bush said he would stay the course in Iraq if his only remaining support was his wife Laura and his dog Barney. Tuesday night his dog Barney ran away. In the morning his wife Laura was checking out prices for Allied Van Lines.

By afternoon the president had fired the secretary of defense and replaced him with one of his father’s team. The current president has succeeded in making his father look good. Sort of odd that
he picks a native Kansan to try to bail him out. Or is he just trying figure out how his father did things?

Democrats ran against Herbert Hoover for the past 50 years-and now it looks like they will run against Bush Republicans for the next 50 years. I can imagine Republican candidates running in the stripe of Reagan, Goldwater or even Eisenhower-but after last Tuesday, no sane Republican candidate will claim to be a “Bush Republican.”

The national press overlooked Kansas. They missed the story that common-sense Republicans can correct madness by changing parties and running as Democrats.

Maybe it is time for the Kansas City boy, Thomas Franks, to write a new book-only this time he can title it, “What’s Right with Kansas?”

Mr. Franks theorized in “What’s Wrong with Kansas,” that Kansans would vote for any corporate lobbyist provided he carried a big black King James Bible and waved it in the air every so often.

He overlooked that folks who live on the prairie survive because they have common sense. Maybe a little slow to catch on to things-but they do figure things out.

On Tuesday, voters in Kansas started to figure things out.

The problem is that issues of the war in Iraq, a fair tax policy, providing good schools, writing a reasonable immigration policy are tough issues.

There is plenty of room for disagreement. But one can hope and pray more reasonable elected officials with fewer nut cases running around will now do this.

All this is a run-up to the next presidential election. I can imagine a debate between Republicans such as John McCain from Arizona or Rudi Guliani from New York against Democrats such as a Barak Obama from Illinois or a Bill Richardson from New Mexico.

The prospect of thoughtful persons speaking in complete sentences about issues that affect us all is exciting to consider.

But what do I know? My predictions usually go awry.

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