The ability to cast your ballot for the candidate of your choosing is one of the most important pieces of American democracy we have. Over the last two years states all across the Nation have spearheaded voter ID legislation all in the name of “putting an end to voter fraud.” In reality these laws establish barriers for large amounts of elderly, low income, and minority voters from being able to vote. There have only 13 actual cases of voter fraud since 2001 Nationwide, nearly 1,000 bills that would tighten voting laws have been introduced in 46 states and 24 voting restrictions have passed in 17 states since 2011. The Kansas Secretary of State has had some type of role in pushing this legislation all across the Nation.
Even as a Kansan it's hard to keep up with Kris Kobach as he travels from state to state cashing in on his status as the premier star of the nativist movement within today's Republican Party.
So the fact that he brought the circus back home to Kansas caught our attention yesterday. After all, this is the man who is responsible for running Kansas elections but manages to keep popping up in headlines around the country for comparing gay marriage to drug abuse or polygamy and authoring laws that promise that by making life so unbearable for undocumented workers they will self-deport rather than spend another day in the United States.
Indeed, he even has found time to advise Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney - who was proud to receive Kobach's endorsement - on his magical self-deportation schemes and is no doubt counting down the days until he is appointed Attorney General by a hypothetical President Romney.
Thursday, September 13th, was a big day for Kobach. He had a chance to really show off his Birther bona fides by taking on the long-since-settled issue of President Obama's citizenship after a Manhattan man objected to Obama's citizenship. The State Objections Board was the venue for the show trial, and Kobach came prepared to show that he is the Birther-in-chief. And let's get this out of the way: Kobach's command of Birther lore is truly impressive.
What’s the easiest way to make sure Obama doesn’t win in Kansas? Well he sure as hell can’t win if he isn’t allowed to be placed on the ballot in November.
Governor Sam Brownback was ably represented by Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer - by conference phone.
Attorney General Derek Schmidt - mindful of his own somewhat sketchy reputation among the growing base of the Republican Party - was careful to never commit to a firm position although seemed to suggest that since President Obama has already served almost four years as President, then he must be eligible to be President.
You will be shocked to learn that the President Obama didn't think it would be worth the effort to go out of their way to feed the ego of Romney advisor Kris Kobach, who noted that Obama has routinely contested similar Birther claims in Hawaii, Arizona and Mississippi.
So Kobach is giving Obama the weekend to provide more information. Just in case the President doesn't have anything more pressing to do this weekend. Schmidt, showing his famous backbone, seconded the motion and voted with Kobach to keep the circus going a few days more.
It will be interesting to watch what happens next. If Kobach, Schmidt and Brownback vote to allow Obama onto the Kansas ballot they may well face a revolt within the Republican Party.
And if they play out the ultimate fantasy of Birthers everywhere and vote to remove the sitting President from the ballot in Kansas you can bet that Mitt Romney will wish that he could outsource or offshore Kansas Republicans. Six of the easiest electoral votes on his map will have just caused undecided voters in the other 49 states to choose 'not crazy' on their ballot, costing Republicans not only the Presidential election but legitimacy as a mainstream political party.
So stay tuned. Grab some popcorn and watch the show as Brownback (who has presidential ambitions of his own to protect), Kobach and Schmidt try to thread this needle. How can three supposedly conservative leaders keep their conservative credibility if they don't follow through here?