The facts, faces and hum of local politics with Steve Kraske and Dave Helling
Throw out all of Congress? But how?
10/26/2013 12:18 AM
10/26/2013 12:18 AM
Throw the bums out.
Every single last one of ’em.
Look out, Congress: This time, voters are really, really mad. Right?
Apparently. A recent Rasmussen poll laid it out: A whopping 78 percent want to get rid of the entire Congress — all 435. Let’s start over, they say, with a whole new crew.
If only it were so easy.
Look around Missouri and Kansas. Nary an endangered incumbent in sight, save for a possible primary skirmish in southeast Missouri next year between conservative Republicans Jason Smith, a House freshman, and Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder.
In Kansas, three-term Sen. Pat Roberts is still seen as a shoo-in against an upstart tea party challenger.
But the authoritative Cook Political Report calls everyone else a lock. Kevin Yoder. Emanuel Cleaver. Sam Graves. All stand in don’t-break-a-sweat territory.
Missouri and Kansas are hardly aberrations. Hardly a soul in Congress these days has a political care in the world. Cook points out that of the 435, precisely 13 are in the toss-up category heading toward the 2014 midterms. Some 364 Republicans and Democrats are ranked as “solid” shots for re-election.
But why? In an era of tea partiers and shutdowns and out-of-balance budgets and trillion-dollar debts, why do the right honorables saunter right through one election after another?
One man who has a lot of theories is Greg Musil, an Overland Park attorney who ran for Congress in 2000. First, Musil said, there’s the question of incumbency. If you run against an incumbent, you need your head examined. Beating one is nearly impossible.
Incumbents have such a huge leg up with interest groups, such as Americans for Prosperity or the public employees unions.
Then, there’s money. Musil set a Republican primary record for the 3rd District in 2000 by raising $345,000. Now a race would take a million, he said. That means harassing a lot of people in a lot of phone calls.
Here’s a question: Even if you win, can you make a difference? After all, life’s infinitely easier if you toe the line and do exactly what’s wanted by House Speaker John Boehner or Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.
If you win, you’re scrambling to get to Washington each week, then racing home to jam-packed weekend schedules to fend off the eager-beaver looking to take your job. And, hey, you’ve got to maintain two households — one at home and one in D.C.
No wonder Musil isn’t as bullish on running again — or even recommending it to anyone else.
Any takers? I thought not.