Kansas Republicans Show How Far Conservatives Will Go to Support Their Economic Fantasy

KANSAS CITY, KS October 31:  Kansas Governor  Sam Brownback talks with supporters  during the 'Vote the Kansas way bus tour'
KANSAS CITY, KS October 31: Kansas Governor Sam Brownback talks with supporters during the 'Vote the Kansas way bus tour' at the Kansas Speedway on October 31, 2014 in Kansas City Kansas (Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Kansas, that nirvana of conservatism, is trying to pass laws which would nullify the state's judiciary. Apparently the state's radically right legislators resent the temerity of judges ruling their legislation unconstitutional and are attempting to make such rulings grounds for impeachment. According to an article in the Daily Kos written by Dartagnan:

"Senate Bill 439 is currently set for debate before the state's GOP-stacked Judiciary Committee. If it is approved and signed by Governor Brownback, it will permit impeachment of any Judge who acts contrary to the wishes of the legislature. In other words, any Judge who strikes down or modifies any law the legislature passes, for any reason-- whether the law is blatantly Unconstitutional, violative of existing laws, or otherwise, is thereby subject to impeachment proceedings by the state Legislature. A previous law threatening to cut off all Judicial funding was declared unconstitutional by the state's High Court...."

"The Kansas Bill here is unique, however, in providing an explicit measure for one branch of government to nullify another branch's authority completely as a form of "punishment' for not yielding to partisan ideology. It's a measure purely designed to intimidate and threaten the Judiciary into accepting the dictates of a Republican legislature. Which is exactly what the GOP-dominated Kansas legislature has in mind."

Kansas, the home of Koch Industries and the base for the Koch brother's usurpation of the Republican party, undertook an experiment in radical conservatism with the election of Governor Sam Brownback in 2010. He turned the state into the usual conservative Lord of the Flies-type dystopia with tax cuts for the rich followed by cuts in government services and education budgets only to be followed by more tax cuts for the wealthy.

One branch of government, the courts, stood in his way ordering funding for education to be restored to minimal levels in order to pass constitutional muster. However, the modern brand of authoritarian conservatism, though always claiming allegiance to a literal interpretation of the constitution, really has little respect for the constitution together with its messy implicit checks and balances. The constitution is perceived as an impediment in an otherwise relentless pursuit of unbridled power. And what is this power used for? Perhaps some biblical purpose like found in the teachings of Jesus such as comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable? No, quite the opposite!

Setting aside the morality of conservative policies, the failures of supply-side economics are highly predictable. The policy is based on fallacious economic assumptions. As David Atkins explains in the Washington Monthly:

"In all but the most extreme cases, cutting taxes on the rich does nothing to create jobs, but slashing the salaries of teachers and cutting welfare benefits means less consumer demand, which in turns drives the economy into recession. The immorality would at least be somewhat tolerable if the ideology functioned at a broad utilitarian level, but it doesn't."

And the economy of Kansas has suffered even while neighboring states are doing comparatively well without the huge tax cuts engineered by Brownback and his co-conspirators. As Atkin's writes: In August of last year "a separate report showed Kansas is missing out on the growth in manufacturing employment, which is happening across much of the rest of America. One key statistic: Kansas lost 39,000 manufacturing jobs during the recession but has added just 4,000 since it ended."

Brownback and his conservative minions, backed by Koch brothers funding, are succeeding at destroying the economy of the state without the necessity of introducing anti-democratic measures to speed their efforts along. Besides what apolitical appellate or Supreme Court Justice would be able to make principled, objective rulings on the constitutionality of legislation given the inevitability of impeachment? The judicial branch is not intended to be a rubber stamp of the legislative branch, no matter how strong the authoritarian leanings of radical conservatives.

What kind of an unprincipled political party attempts to nullify an entire branch of government? For that matter, what kind of political party wants fewer people to vote? What kind rejects science? Anti-intellectualism is one thing, but the imposition of anti-democratic measures intended to support policies which are proven failures and serve the one percent at the expense of the common good are indicative of a dying political party clinging to life on support systems alone and unworthy of a once grand political party.

"They recognize no limits to their power, no curbs to their desire. There are few frontiers in democratic government that they will not work to violate, or to twist to their own purposes. And they absolutely will not stop. Ni shagu nazad, as Stalin said to his army. Not one step backwards."