When Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) cut taxes far beyond what his state could afford, he sounded a surprisingly cautious note on msnbc. "We'll see how it works," the Republican governor said. "We'll have a real-live experiment."
Two years later, the experiment isn't going well. Brownback's economic plan has failed miserably
on practically every possible front. Kansas' finances have been left in such a mess that the state's bond rating was downgraded
, and soon after, was downgraded again
. Several recent polls show the far-right governor trailing
in his re-election bid -- a prospect that seemed impossible just a few months ago.
But Brownback thinks he knows
what's going on here, even if it's not obvious to everyone else.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) said the left and liberal media is far too focused on crafting a narrative that shows his policies failing before those policies actually start working. "I think they so desperately want what's happening in this state to fail that they're shopping for a factual setting to back that up because it's working," Brownback said of his critics in an interview with CBN News' The Brody File.
In his comments to TV preacher Pat Robertson's news network, Brownback added that "the left" wants his far-right economic agenda to "fail so bad that they can't wait for it to and they just want to get me electorally before we get on through this and prove that this is working."
It's a bizarre argument. Brownback said his experiment would produce amazing economic results. Those predictions were discredited, not by "the left" but by reality, leaving the governor to argue "this is working," despite all of the evidence
to the contrary.
I half expect the Kansas Republican to make "Don't Believe Your Lying Eyes" his new campaign slogan.
Of course, this is about more than Kansas.
John Judis' recent report
on Brownback included a tidbit I hadn't seen before.
Other Midwestern Republican governors had attempted similar experiments, but they were hemmed in by reluctant legislatures and restive electorates. Brownback had Republican majorities in Topeka, which became more decidedly right-wing after the 2012 elections. This gave him near-complete freedom to create a conservative utopia. And Republicans cheered him on. "This is exactly the sort of thing we want to do here, in Washington, but can't, at least for now," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told Brownback.
Got that? As far as the top Senate Republican is concerned, Brownback's radical experiment is "exactly" what GOP lawmakers want to impose on the entire country -- according to McConnell, they're just waiting until Republicans control Washington to approve Brownback's vision on a national scale.
The governor said this week that liberals are feeling "desperate" about the Kansas race. By all appearances, he has that backwards -- it's the right that needs Brownback to succeed as a way of validating Republicans' discredited economic platform.
That the governor has failed so spectacularly is awful news for Kansans, but they're not the only ones discouraged by Brownback's results.