What’s up in Kansas?

ACORN Community Organizing

1508993_imageNew Orleans Thomas Frank wrote a well received political book a couple of years ago entitled, What’s the Matter with Kansas?, and the answer seems to be:  a lot!  More evidence was in the headlines and story from Salina, Kansas this week when the ex-head of the Republican Party in that state, Kris Kobach, announced he was running for Secretary of State, and when asked why, answered – in one word – according to the reporter, Duane Scharg:  “ACORN.”


This is all too unbelievable, but don’t take it from me, I’ve included the text below.

The article notes that now, unfortunately, there seems to be no current activity for ACORN in Kansas with neither the telephone nor email addresses working for the offices in Kansas City, Topeka, and Wichita.  Having been gone from ACORN for a year, I’m not sure what’s up with that, but if you think Kobach is running because he wants to help get ACORN back on the ground and in good shape in the Sunflower State, then think again.  Kobach seems to have figured that if ACORN is now weak to non-existent in Kansas, it is the perfect time for the hater brigade to mount an election campaign to stop an invisible and non-existent enemy and campaign vigorously against a silent and absent opponent.

This must be what is passing these days for Republican electoral strategy.  Perhaps they figure they can win an election when they attack on fake issues and empty chairs, a little bit like shooting and scoring on an empty goal.  Wild and unbelievable!  Of course a real live person may run against this guy, and that may make it a harder election than campaigning against ACORN and the fact that it is threatening democracy in Kansas even though it seems there is hardly an organizational heartbeat there now.

Last note:  Kobach seems to have gone to Harvard and then Yale Law School before tying up with former US Attorney John Ashcroft (yow!) during the bus years.  There was a famous line in the great Clint Eastwood movie, The Outlaw Josie Wales, where he looks at the leading lady and says, “What are they teaching young women in Kansas?” or words to that effect.  This dude makes all of us ask, “What are they teaching at Harvard, Yale, and Washington, DC that is ruining a fine state and the citizens of Kansas?”

ACORN prompts Kobach to run
By DUANE SCHRAG Salina Journal

Kris Kobach’s desire to be Kansas Secretary of State can be summed up in one word:

“ACORN,” he told a modest audience that gathered Thursday for lunch at Salina’s Western Sizzlin restaurant.

Salina is one of eight cities Kobach, who until recently was chairman of the Kansas Republican Party, is visiting to announce his desire to be secretary of state.

ACORN — the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now — is an aggressive get-out-the-vote organization that represents low- and moderate-income people nationally. “Since 1970, ACORN has been building community organizations that are committed to social and economic justice,” its Web site says.

Kobach describes it differently.

“ACORN is a criminal enterprise,” he said Thursday.

He said 12 ACORN workers in Missouri were convicted of violating voter laws in connection with 2006 elections.

Voter fraud was the central theme of Kobach’s campaign stop. He warned of the “rise of ACORN” and said it was only after the November election that he learned ACORN has three offices in Kansas.

“We didn’t find out until after the election how busy they have been in Kansas,” he said.

ACORN’s Web site lists offices in Kansas City, Topeka and Wichita. None of the telephone numbers listed works, nor do the e-mail addresses.

Kobach said he plans to push for a photo identification law, which would require voters to present an approved photo ID before they vote. He also wants to require that people prove they are citizens before they are allowed to register to vote.

Kobach teaches constitutional, election and immigration law at the University of Missouri Kansas City law school. He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard in 1988 and received his law degree from Yale. From 2001 to 2003 he was chief adviser on immigration law and border security in the office of U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft.

He is married, has three children and lives in Piper.

Reporter Duane Schrag can be reached at 822-1422 or by e-mail at dschrag@salina.com.