Opinion from KawandBorder.net: 3rd District Congressional Race Turns Rose-ier for Patricia Lightner

Kaw and Border: 3rd District Race Turns Rose-ier for Lightner

Thursday, September 17 brought significant news to the 3rd District Congressional race when Johnson County Sun Publisher Steve Rose announced his decision to run for Congress. While analysts throughout the metro area debate and discuss the ramifications of Rose’s decision, the quiet but undeniably true reality is that the Rose decision immensely helps the sole major conservative candidate in the race, Patricia Lightner.


Before we examine that, however, we need to take a step back and review what’s transpired the past few weeks leading up to yesterday. Several weeks ago, Patricia Lightner launched her campaign website at http://www.patricialightner.com/, complete with a campaign video. Since that time, while rumors circulated — and continue to circulate — about other candidates getting into the race, Patricia Lightner, as we discussed just last week in this post, has actually been out talking to the 99% of voters who do not care about back-channel political kingmaking, but actually want a candidate who is ready and willing to talk to them at their doorsteps, tea parties, town halls, and other events throughout the 3rd District. She was running to win.

In that intervening period, others noticed what she was doing. They noticed the fact she had launched a website with a video. They noticed that she or her staff was at tea parties outside Dennis Moore’s office and at town halls and other events throughout the district. They noticed she was the only candidate in the mega-event known as Johnson County Old Settlers, planting herself at the Olathe Republican Party booth for three straight days. They noticed she had launched radio ads. They noticed she was doing all the things that winning candidates do that are actually interested in victory for a cause rather than cleverly trying to discern what the right time is to make a career advancement.

One of the people who noticed Lightner’s activity was Steve Rose. In his column “It’s Too Early to Write This”, Steve Rose clearly let the public know which candidate he was afraid of when he labeled Lightner a “hard right conservative” (false, but what does Rose care about the facts?) and a candidate that could not win because Moore has a history of trouncing right wing candidates. (false, but what does Rose care about the facts?)

Just a few weeks later, Rose proved Kaw & Border right when he demonstrated his fear over Lightner defeating Moore by getting into the race himself. After all, in his very column referenced above, he named Yoder as one of the two candidates that, in his opinion, could possibly defeat Moore. Yet, despite strong indications Yoder is still seriously thinking about the race, Rose entered the race himself, thereby making a Yoder victory near impossible should the Republican State Representative from District 20 decide to enter the race too. The fact is, in order for any plausible mathematical scenario to occur in which a moderate wins in the primary, they need every possible moderate vote out there and two well known moderates in the race renders such a possiblity impossible.

So what is Rose thinking? Right now, there are about a dozen conspiracy theories floating about, everything from the view that Rose will switch to being an independent, that Rose will switch parties once Moore gets out, to other sorts of Machiavellian theories which frankly, while interesting to talk about, conservatives should avoid for concern over looking like Steve Rose is their bogeyman or something, when in fact he is the Pontificater-in-Chief and Publisher of a infrequently-read, failing newspaper whose influence is largely limited to spring elections where the 9% of people who actually vote in those elections actually still pay attention to what “The Memo” says.

The fact is, as we’ve demonstrated before at this blog in reviewing Rose’s columns, that he doesn’t really have a clue about the reality of politics in Kansas. He will get a basic underlying theory right — in this case, that Dennis Moore is vulnerable — but his further analysis of a situation will get so caught up in strawmen-creation and “thou protest too much” kind of writing, that when combined with the obvious errors in his fact checking that he has, over the years, become a giant caricature to the people of the Third District with an ego the size of the Big First District.

Such a combination can be a deadly combination — not for victory, but for Steve Rose himself.

As such, it is our view that Rose’s thinking here is pretty straight forward: He has seen all of the activity in the 3rd District by Lightner and recognizes, despite his stated public opinion, that conservative candidates with grassroots campaigns actually typically win the 3rd District Primary – -and now thinks his name is the only name big enough that could possibly defeat Lightner as she continues to build support. There is also a possibility that he knows he will probably lose to her — but that in the process he will damage her so much that she will lose to Moore. That’s a little conspiratorial for our tastes, but we recognize that the possibility exists in the mind of the Man Behind the Memo.

What’s absolutely hilarious about this whole situation is that Rose’s thinking here is going to play out like one of his columns: one underlying correct theory but then a big strawman, mistaken facts, and a devastingly ridiculous conclusion that makes him look like a fool.

Here’s what we mean:
Rose is correct when he believes that his name ID is huge and that the voters will instantly know who he is. He is also correct when he says that Moore is vulnerable. His strawman is that Lightner is a right wing candidate and can’t win. His incorrect facts are that just that — that conservative candidates always, in his words “get trounced” (guess he missed 2000 when Kline nearly beat Moore), and that simply because he has name ID that he will be able to win.

The problem for Rose is that because his name is so public and so controversial through his decades of columns ripping on everything and everyone, that he will have a solid lid on the amount of support he can get — again, not from the insider hardcore mod crowd that still worships the ink he puts out — but from the rest of the people who think he’s a big blowhard. They may love him for the laughter he provides on a weekly basis, but the reality is that his columns are hardly a basis on which to run for Congress.

Rose also seems to ignore the fact that his columns may come back to haunt him. In addition to Lightner, he’s already well known for his name calling, including two candidate currently on the ballot — shoo-in Governor Sam Brownback (remember “Sam the Sham”?) and Kris Kobach (“Kobach the Fanatic”). Not only that, just two weeks ago, he came out for mandatory private health insurance for very American, as well as mandating the fact that businesses with over 25 employees must carry insurance coverage for their employees. So much for that whole limited government, free enterprise and individual liberty theme, eh?

The most hilarious part of the initial day of the Rose roll out was the interview he had on Shanin and Parks, where he claimed he was a “fiscal conservative” and that he was a “social moderate” but that he “respected those who disagreed”. We have one reaction to this: ROTFLMAO.

Rose must think voters will not be reminded that there is a stack of Memos the size of the tax code dating back some two decades ripping on tax cuts, attempts to reign in spending, not to mention all conservative Republicans, represented by mainstream groups like AFP and the Kansas Chamber — who as, he actually said back in April “want to eliminate all taxes” and “take us back to the stone age.” On the social issues front, Rose has worn out the keys on his laptop slandering social conservatives for twenty years. We could show you the columns, but we’d kill Blogger’s servers doing so.

However, the most entertaining yet most important part of Rose’s decision is that he does not realize that he actually just made things, dare we say, much Rose-ier for the candidate that inspired him to get in the race in the first place — Patricia Lightner.

First of all, in the next few weeks, we expect the conservative base and establishment, who has still been a little slow to unite with no hard core RINO n the race, to get behind the one candidate who actually has been campaigning, Patricia Lightner. This is due to two factors — her hard work and the “negative motivation” factor that Rose will bring given how unpopular he is with conservatives.

Second, by being a big name in the race along with Lightner, he will create a ton of free media for Lightner that would have otherwise cost thousands of dollars for her to create, which when coupled with her continued aggressive activity and the anti-Rose factor above, will make Patricia Lightner’s name ID as high as his. Essentially, primaries force a candidate to campaign….not to mention the fact that Lightner will get a huge positive story resulting from her defeat of Rose next early August.

Third, because of his entrance putting her on equal footing due to those factors, she will clean his clock come next August due to the reality that the 3rd District primaries are generally go with a conservative. Even “lightning rods” like Phil Kline and Kay O’Connor got 40 and 44% in Johnson County against names (Howe and Thornburgh) a lot less controversial than Steve Rose. Indeed, this time it is not the conservative that is the lightning rod — it is the moderate. That itself puts, as we talked about above, a likely hard cap on Rose’s support.

Fourth, due to the fact Rose has endorsed Moore six times in the past, his mere entrance into the race and sharp criticism of Moore (he’s been using Patricia’s talking points) will so damage Moore come next August and September that Lightner will be well positioned to win and possibly by a margin previously thought impossible. As Lightner herself said yesterday in her press release, when a liberal newspaper columnist who has endorsed you six times jumps ship, your days are numbered.

Of course, some will adopt for conventional wisdom and say that Rose will deplete Lightners funds and that even if she wins, she’ll be so damaged and depleted that she won’t be able to beat Moore. Wrong. People act like the August primary exists in a vacuum, and that once it happens, everything that has just happened goes away and all the activities the winning candidate just performed are forgotten. The reality is that any kind of successful grassroots campaign to take back the 3rd District — and hold it — will require MONTHS AND MONTHS of campaigning and yes, spending money. So what Rose has done to the already active and campaigning Lightner is simply force the spotlight onto her efforts.

So, as long as conservatives get behind Lightner quickly and stop flirting around with other candidates, and as Lightner’s campaign message stays primarily focused on Moore, all that Steve Rose did by getting in was create a very clear path for her election by motivating conservatives, creating instant free media for what otherwise could have been a boring primary, created an even higher interest in Lightner’s campaign since she is his chief opponent, and delivered a huge devastating blow to the already wounded Moore.

So, in the end, all Steve Rose did yesterday by getting in the race was make it much easier for the very result to occur that he’s trying to prevent — Patricia Lightner winning the 3rd District.

Re-printed with permission. Original article can be found at KawandBorder.net.

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