The ultra-conservative group known as the Tea Party Patriots this week endorsed U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts in his race against independent Greg Orman.
Here’s who also is backing Roberts: Last week, four top Johnson County mayors along with about 60 other people from the county recommended sending the cranky, unproductive 78-year-old Roberts back to Washington, D.C., for a fourth term.
Among the signers were mayors Carl Gerlach of Overland Park and Mike Copeland of Olathe, the county’s two largest cities, plus two other long-time mayors, Mike Boehm of Lenexa and Peggy Dunn of Leawood.
The mayors signed a letter that contained all kinds of glowing praise for Roberts, which turns into political pablum when you look a little deeper at it.
What, exactly, has Roberts done for Johnson County in his 18 years in office? And this is a county that backed him 58 percent to 39 percent over Democrat Jim Slattery in 2008.
You won’t find much in the letter to support the thought that Roberts is a hard-working senator on the county’s behalf.
Instead, the letter pumps up Roberts as someone who has worked for “solutions where bipartisanship is necessary and possible” (this silliness about a senator ranked as tied for the fourth most conservative members of Congress in the entire country by Heritage Action for America).
He also has worked for “strong and effective advocacy for the KU Cancer Center, the National Bio-Agriculture Defense Facility, which is a key part of the Animal Health Corridor, road and bridge funding that is fair to Kansas and Johnson County,” blah, blah, blah.
Check The Star clips, however, and you find hardly any mentions of Roberts and these projects, with the exception of the defense facility, which is far from Johnson County.
Oh, and one of the last big votes taken on that very project? Roberts earlier this year voted “no” on funding it, to buy support from the ultra-right wing of the Republican Party, supposedly to send a message that spending is out of control in the country. Fortunately, the rest of the Senate voted responsibly to keep government open and to try to keep the Kansas project moving forward.
The Star clips also show Roberts helped get some road money for Kansas for the huge Gateway Project that will expand the intersection of Kansas 10 and Interstates 435 and 35 in south Johnson County. But that was certainly not a Pat Roberts special; plenty of other people worked on it.
Finally, Roberts’ name does show up in a story about the KU Cancer Center, as just one of the dozens of people who tried to put together private and public funds for that important project. The heavy lifting was done by a lot of local politicians, KU officials and others in Kansas who wanted to support the endeavor.
Roberts was pretty much along for the ride, doing what politicians do when special interests are involved, trying to bring a little bacon home for the local community.
Could Greg Orman do that as well, if he’s elected on Nov. 4?
Sure, and let’s hope he gets the chance.