Thursday, October 28, 2004

October 29: Congressional District 3 revisited

The race between Democratic Congressman Dennis Moore and his challenger Kris Kobach to represent Kansas Kansas' Third Congressional District is expected to be extremely close. It is also extremely important, with implications for the future of the national Republican Party, as well as for our state and its already-fractured GOP.

This is also the only race in which this program will endorse one candidate over another. The views presented on "Politics with Rachel Robson" do not represent those of KJHK radio or Student Union Activities.

In this episode, "Politics with Rachel Robson" is breaking with its neutrality and strongly endorsing Rep. Dennis Moore for re-election. This program will revisit our earlier interviews with Rep. Moore and Mr. Kobach, and will replay clips from their October 17 debate at Johnson County Community College, which aired on KCPT on October 18. We'll also be joined by Mary Ca Ralstin, who helped found Republicans for Moore and asked a question at the KCPT debate, and by Josh Rosenau, a KU student who has been fact-checking the claims made in this race.

Mr. Kobach claimed on the KCPT debate and elsewhere that Rep. Moore merely jumped on an already-crowded bandwagon in his support of a bill to pay the Rest & Recuperation travel expenses of deployed troops, and that Rep. Moore was not instrumental in getting this bill passed. Mr. Kobach's claim is demonstrably false, as can be seen here, where it is clear that Rep. Moore is the main sponsor and original author of an early (October 1, 2003)resolution on this issue. While it is true that the version of this bill that eventually passed was later (January 27, 2004) sponsored by Rep. Jim Ramstad of Minnesota and not by Rep. Moore, Rep. Ramstad's office, in a phone conversation, confirmed Rep. Moore's version of this story--i.e., that Rep. Moore and Rep. Ramstad worked together to get this bill passed. Note also that Rep. Moore is one of only three original co-sponsors of this bill, not one among "hundreds" as Mr. Kobach claimed on the October 17 debate. Contrary to Mr. Kobach's repeated assertions, Rep. Moore clearly deserves the credit he claims in getting deployed troops travel expenses back home paid for. Proof of Rep. Moore's additional claim, similarly contested by Mr. Kobach, that he sponsored a bill to increase the military death gratuity from $12,000 to $50,000, can be found here.

The Lawrence Journal-World piece cited by Mr. Kobach on the KCPT debate as if it were an unsigned staff editorial expressing the considered opinion of that paper's editorial board was in fact written by Journal-World publisher Dolph Simons, well-known locally for his very conservative views. Ironically, the Simons column, written more than a year ago, highlights the importance of a positive race, free from name-calling, in the Republican primary. "It will be a tight horse race between Taff and Kobach, but if they can avoid serious name-calling and if the rift between Johnson County Republican moderates and their Republican cousins who call themselves staunch conservatives does not become too deep, there is a good chance the Republican primary winner could defeat Moore," Simons then wrote. Mr. Kobach ignored this other bit of advice from Dolph Simons' October 2003 column, repeatedly calling his primary opponent Adam Taff a "liberal" who supported the "radical gay rights agenda," although he denied that he had ever called Taff such names on his October 1 interview on this program.

More information on Mr. Kobach's extremism, with links to supporting documentation, can be found here.

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