Lots of numbers in a new statewide survey of Kansas from Fort Hays State University, but here’s the stunner: Only 18 percent of state residents said they were “very” or “somewhat satisfied” with GOP Gov. Sam Brownback. Kansas, in case there’s any misunderstanding, is a heavily Republican state. President Barack Obama, long a punching bag for Republicans, rated higher. Some 28 percent of respondents expressed satisfaction with the Democratic chief executive.
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.