August 06, 2014

Mad Scientists: Kansas under an extremist Christian fundamentalist governor is an experiment waiting to implode

Sam Brownback is a good Christian fundamentalist. And the governor of Kansas.

Like most Tea Party supported Republicans, Brownback has supported some significant changes in his home state. Lower taxes. Spending cuts.

Heather Digby Parton explains for Salon:
Evidently, he really wanted an executive position, so he set his sights on the governor’s seat in Kansas and in the Tea Party wave of 2010, won decisively. Brownback’s Kansas has turned out to be a perfect petrie dish for every right-wing policy proposal he’s championed for the past 20 years. With a Republican legislature and a strong mandate, he quickly established his tenure as the right-wing experiment to end all experiments. The results are in and they are amazing. And not in a good way. 
Unlike other Tea Party governors around the nation who have tried out a handful of their more extreme policies, Brownback went for broke. First he and his Koch brother allies (they are Kansas homeboys too, you’ll recall) engineered a full-blown Tea Party takeover of the legislature with a well-funded primary strategy in 2012. It is now the most conservative legislature in the nation (and that’s saying something considering how conservative Republican legislatures have become). In their minds, they are on a mission from God. 
He went after the teachers’ union, in one particularly clever move creating what he called “innovation zones” which allow districts to circumvent existing state law regarding curriculum and teacher salaries. He slashed education funding, including cutting the arts programs entirely. He privatized Medicaid. (It goes without saying refused the Medicaid expansion under the ACA.) He defunded Planned Parenthood and signed one of the most far reaching anti-abortion laws in the land, declaring that life begins at “fertilization” and forcing the last remaining Kansas providers to read an anti-abortion script filled with frightening misinformation to women seeking the procedure.  (He doesn’t even try to hide his religious motives—he wrote the words Jesus + Mary on top of the bill when he signed it.)
So what has the result been?

Slower job growth than the national average--and far shorter than that paradigm of liberalism that is California.

Extreme cuts to educational spending, especially compared to the national average.

And of course, tax cuts...but look at who they benefit the most.

It's worth noting a few statistics about Oklahoma, I think.

  • It's ranked 36th in the nation for education.
  • It had 22,000 more children living in poverty in 2012 than in 2008.
  • It's ranked 44th overall for poverty in the nation.
  • It's ranked 48th for maternal mortality, with 20.1 deaths per 100,00 live births (the goal is 3.3).
So...all in all, this is a state, a grand experiment in conservative politics, with a mad scientist at the helm.

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