What’s the Matter With Kansas?


58 replies
  1. 1
    max says:


    [‘So what have they done now?’]

  2. 2
    Pogonip says:

    John, we would like for your mother to be a front pager.

  3. 3
    Baud says:


    Because conservative economics doesn’t actually work. It is a faith based program untethered from reality. The numbers don’t add up and it is destructive to societies.

  4. 4
    chopper says:

    they’ll just figure it isn’t working because they haven’t cut taxes enough.

  5. 5
    Cacti says:

    If low taxes and a lack of regulation were the keys to innovation and economic prosperity, Silicon Valley would be in Mississippi.

  6. 6
    kindness says:

    Where has Oliver Wendel written before? I like his easy style.

  7. 7
    docg says:

    But, but Bengazi, Obamacare, Kenya, collectivists!! Kansas’s economic problems are clearly Obama’s fault.

  8. 8
    Hunter Gathers says:

    And Brownback and his lackeys will be re-elected. Because of ‘The Blacks’ and their super secret welfare that only ‘The Blacks’ have access to.

    Cliven Bundy is the President of ‘Real America’.

  9. 9
    Anoniminous says:

    Holy hell:

    Boeing, one of the city’s iconic manufacturers, said it will close its sprawling facilities in south Wichita by the end of 2013.

    I am actually shocked.

  10. 10
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    Republicans have a disastrous reign in Kansas, for everyone who lived there. Sadly for all who live in Kansas, Republicans have free rein to destroy the state.


  11. 11
    Biff Longbotham says:

    Somehow they’ll manage to blame coastal elites, the MSM, or some sodomitic sin smiting by a vengeful deity punishing the deserving. Everybody/thing but themselves. Mirrors (and self-awareness) will be in scarce supply in Kansas.

  12. 12
    trollhattan says:

    Ahem: did not say “Please. “

  13. 13
    Comrade Jake says:

    I don’t think it helps that most thinking people left the state a long time ago.

  14. 14
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Obama made Boeing close the Wichita plant to make Brownback look bad! Pass it on.

  15. 15
    trollhattan says:


    Autocorrect funneh. It’s Willis and he had a great blog that I completely lost track of. Great to read him again.

  16. 16
    amk says:

    As a result, the most recent polling there shows Brownback’s approval rating down to 33%, while he’s slightly behind the Democratic challenger.

    ’nuff said.

  17. 17
    Debg says:

    @chopper: Sadly, that’s how they think. I’ve lived here since late 2000, and since KS is usually a few years behind the rest of the country, we were “late” votiing in a TP legislature, and they won’t be voted out for a while yet. Their mantra is “give it time! it’s bound to work!”

  18. 18
    Punchy says:

    The only comment currently at that linkis bigger news, IMO. They’re KILLING public schools in every concievable way. What corporation wants to move here when the workforce will consist of almost exclusively undereducated bible-bangers?

  19. 19
    trollhattan says:

    They want to shove as much as possible to South Carolina. Or is it the other Carolina?

  20. 20
    scav says:

    Shouldn’t they be out dancing in the streets at all these opportunities to prove how bootstrappy and ‘mercan exceptional self-levitating individualists they all are?

  21. 21
    Betty Cracker says:

    And this is true wherever hardcore wingnuts (which = Republicans these days) have absolute power. Petrocracies can flourish briefly under wingnut rule, but soon enough it all comes to shit. It’s almost as if societies require things like tolerance and shared commitment to the common good to flourish or something…

  22. 22
    Belafon says:

    And it’s going so badly that Missouri wants a piece of it.

  23. 23
    Mike in NC says:

    @Hunter Gathers: Same goes for Pat McCrory and his teabagger legislature in Raleigh.

  24. 24
    ruemara says:

    The same thing that’s wrong with most of America. Not “republicans”, but idiots who disagree who somehow think politics doesn’t affect them, both sides do it, the whole thing is corrupt and voting doesn’t work. That’s actually the only bipartisan party that works together. Sadly, it works to destroy democracy, piece by piece.

  25. 25
    Anoniminous says:


    According to the article, Boeing is moving production to Oklahoma City and San Antonio. Which I guess makes sense because Tinker and Lackland.

  26. 26
    Steeplejack says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):

    It’s not pedantry. It’s just correct.

  27. 27
    Walker says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):

    Free reign is an eggcorn that has become so common that it is now accepted usage. Language changes.

  28. 28
    MikeJ says:

    Republicans are uninterested in outcomes. If you follow the proper philosophy, actual results are irrelevant to them.

  29. 29
    Unabogie says:

    Duh. It’s Obama’s fault. His heavy jackboot is standing on the throats of God loving states. What, are you people dense? Everyone knows this if they watch Fox News five hours a day.

  30. 30
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Walker: Not accepted by me.

  31. 31
    p.a. says:

    The obvious solution for Kansas is to start drilling for all that abiotic oil.

  32. 32
    trollhattan says:

    Good grief. Boeing has never been the same since moving HQ to Chicago. They’re now all about union- busting. Oklahoma, here we come!

  33. 33
    Citizen_X says:

    What’s the Matter With Kansas?


    What? Don’t you care about FOUR DEAD AMERICANS?!?

  34. 34
    Zam says:

    Wasn’t obamas mother from Kansas? I’m certain that will somehow factor into their spin.

  35. 35
    BBA says:

    This is all the Democrats’ fault for being partisan. If only they’d come together with Republicans and pushed for bipartisan solutions, then we wouldn’t have whatever problems we’re talking about.

  36. 36
    marcopolo says:

    As Belefon mentioned above, Missouri just jumped down the rabbit hole after Kansas…because…I’d love to say I have no effing clue but a lot of it has to do with Rex Sinquefield

    PS Sinquefield is one of the major reasons Kansas is the way it is as well.

  37. 37
    Anoniminous says:


    Boeing has been a shit company to work for since MBAs took over in the 70s.

  38. 38
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Anoniminous: It won’t be any more stable in Oklahoma than it was in Kansas. Boeing is an engineering company, and there’s no meaningful engineering happening in Kansas and Oklahoma that benefits them. The appeal of low taxes and cost of living is fleeting – cutting costs helps, but in order to be competitive you need to invest in talent and strategic advantages.

    States like Kansas and Oklahoma are so adverse to investing in their own state that they offer nothing. The education systems are uncompetitive. There’s no meaningful R&D. There’s no talent pool. Long Beach is pretty fucking expensive but Boeing can’t manage to close that facility because there is a lot of talent in the area that they can’t relocate to Oklahoma, and the talent is more valuable than the tax breaks.

  39. 39
    Fluke bucket says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    It’s almost as if societies require things like tolerance and shared commitment to the common good to flourish or something….

    Kind of like, “Give and it shall be given to you” or something…

  40. 40
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Anoniminous: Lackland may be an Air Force base, but it’s training(BMT) and medical. Lackland has no actual runways.

  41. 41
    Suffern ACE says:

    @🌷 Martin: Yeah. Although I’ve heard California’s public education system is kind of crappy, too. I’m thinking the only thing keeping the large employers there is white collar recruitment issues. It’s not as if there is this glorious public education system producing a blue collar labor force ready for the challenges of making planes because they had this excellent vocational training in school.

  42. 42
    FDRLincoln says:

    I live in Lawrence, KS, a college town which Obama won easily in both 2008 and 2012. We are an isolated island of Blue in an ocean of Red. Most of the rest of the state hates us, but that’s been true since 1856.

    Well that’s not quite fair….the capital city of Topeka is actually somewhat purpleish and the parts of the Kansas City KS area are blue. But almost all the rural areas are deep Red and most of the cities are, too. Wichita is ultra-right wing…interesting that they lost the Boeing plant despite a “business friendly” environment.

    Lawrence is a good place to raise children. The rest of the state, not so much. I’m advising my 15-year-old to get the hell out when he can.

  43. 43
    joel hanes says:


    Oliver Willis … had a great blog

    “Like Kryptonite to stupid”

    IIRC, for a while back in the day, Oliver was the proprietor of the Pandagon franchise.

  44. 44
    joel hanes says:


    almost all the rural areas [of Kansas] are deep Red

    Out by Salina, the little colony of deep-environmentalists at The Land Institute are busy saving the world, quietly; Wendell Berry stops by a couple times every year to cheer them on.

    And whoever it is that saved the Konza Prairie was probably not a Tea Partier.

  45. 45
    Roger Moore says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    Although I’ve heard California’s public education system is kind of crappy, too.

    It’s a mixed bag. There are plenty of really great school districts and some really awful inner city ones. The public universities are still fantastic in terms of the quality of education you can get there, but they’ve gotten expensive enough that they don’t offer a way up for poor but hard working people. IOW, the public education system is not as good as it could be from a citizen’s standpoint, but it may be perfectly good from an employer’s standpoint. I get the impression that it’s especially good for an employer who wants to do design and marketing work here and farm out manufacturing to China.

  46. 46
    danielx says:


    The corollary: if the wrong philosophy produces desirable results, the results must be wrong too. This is why we must do away with Social Security and Medicare. And bank regulation. And the Food and Drug Administration. And the Securities and Exchange Commission*.

    *Not that the SEC has done anything worth mentioning over the last two decades or so…

  47. 47
    Jebediah, RBG says:

    No! On that one I will never give in!

  48. 48
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @ruemara: Implicit in that is that the impact of elections will never touch them, white privilege at its finest.

    But let’s not forget the other type of white voter, the spite voter, who’d rather poke his neighbor in the eye a thousand times than see them both prosper.

  49. 49
    Stuck in Brownbackistan says:


    Rural Kansas is deep red. But much of Suburban Kansas is comprised of people who don’t turn out for primaries and generally pull the R lever in November as a matter of habit. The reactionaries have been taking over the KSGOP since about 1990, I’m a little amazed it took them until 2012 to complete the purge.

    The Kansas Democrats have been running on empty for years, relying on popular figures who happen to be Democrats (Dennis Moore) and people with locally familiar names (Kathleen Sebelius) to carry their banner, instead of building anything resembling a bench or making any real effort to run on issues. Paul Davis is a breath of fresh air, but let’s see if he can be heard above the inevitable Koch money wave.

    But, like you, I’ve told my children to get out of this state when they can. At this point, we’re just waiting for the younger one to finish high school (and possibly follow her brother to KU) and my wife to hit her magic KPERS retirement number in six years to get out of here ourselves.

    Which stings, because her family has been in this state for well over a century.

  50. 50
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Walker: language and usage may change, but idiotic spelling mistakes are forever

    Tell me more about lose and loose, oh wise egg-head.

  51. 51
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Zam: My grandparents were from Kansas. ‘Course they got out of there when the gittin’ was good, as did most of their siblings.

  52. 52
    Steeplejack says:


    I think they still fly out of Randolph AFB, also in San Antonio.

  53. 53
    Anoniminous says:


    The impression I got from the newspaper article was the people at Lackland were liaison and paper-shufflers.

  54. 54
    Thoughtful David says:

    @Stuck in Brownbackistan:
    My wife grew up in western Kansas. She’s got a PhD now, and aint never going’ back.
    Which brings up an important point: States like KS, and even within those states, the rural parts, are suffering a tremendous brain/ambition drain. Imagine yourself as a bright, ambitious high schooler growing up in rural KS. When you graduate and leave home, why would you ever return? You’re going to Kansas City or Lawrence or New York or LA, where you can make a good living as a lawyer or physician or other professional and enjoy decent amenities, and you’re never going back. There’s nothing there for you.
    So, what’s left? The not-so-bright, unambitious. The average IQ and ambitious-ness just keeps going down. And the average age keeps going up. It’s a positive feedback loop, too.
    Of course, not 100% of the smart, ambitious ones leave. Some return because of family, they inherit the business or farm, but nonetheless, the average keeps slipping downward. Kansas is in a death spiral. Already, the only decent places to live are Lawrence, KC, Topeka, and Wichita.

  55. 55
    Lee says:

    Texas is also run by Republicans but our state finances are significantly better. I’m guessing the difference is in Texas Dems, while not in power, do have enough of a voice to at least influence some legislation and more importantly (to me) keep the education system from going full derp.

  56. 56
  57. 57
    TooManyJens says:

    @joel hanes:

    IIRC, for a while back in the day, Oliver was the proprietor of the Pandagon franchise.

    No, I’m pretty sure you’re thinking of Jesse Taylor, who founded it.

  58. 58
    thalarctos (not the other one) says:

    I grew up in Manhattan KS, where the picture is similar to Lawrence. When I left in 1980, the state was definitely conservative, but not bugnuts crazy the way it is now. Sadly, Manhattan, with a population of about 55000, is the _biggest city_ in the 1st Congressional District, “represented” by Tim Huelskamp, arguably the biggest jerk on Capitol Hill.

    As I now live in that Marxist hellhole called the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, neither love, nor money, nor wild horses could drag me back to the Sunflower State. Which is a pity, because there are a lot of perfectly nice people there.

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