Sam Brownback has done the unthinkable: he’s made himself — an incumbent Republican governor in Kansas — the underdog in this year’s gubernatorial election. And he’s done it by giving his home state a terrible, horrible, Koch-fueled makeover, handing out massive tax cuts for the wealthy that have decimated the state’s economy, gutted education funding, and alienated his constituents across the board.
But there was at least ONE issue where Sam Brownback seemed he would stand up to the Koch brothers for the good of Kansas. That issue was his career-long support for wind energy in the form of the Renewable Portfolio Standard. Well that’s no more.
For background, RPS is extremely popular in Kansas. So popular, in fact, that despite advertisements from the Kochs’ Americans For Prosperity urging lawmakers to vote for a bill that would have repealed the bipartisan initiative, the Kansas House shot down that attempt with a decisive 77-44 vote. Keep in mind that about three-quarters of Kansas House members are Republicans, many of whom had the courage to reject the Koch brothers in favor of what was best for their home state.
But not Sam Brownback. He knows that if he is to pull off the upset and win a second term as governor, his only chance is to be propped up by the Kochs’ dark money. So he reversed his long-held position, threw Kansas under the bus, and held out his hands for the Kochs’ reward. But he’s playing Kansans for fools, and it’s not going to work.
State Sen. Anthony Hensley summed up Brownback’s fold the best: “This means thousands of Kansans and many rural communities will be pawns in Sam Brownback’s power game. To that, I say: Game over, governor.”