Happy post- 4th- we certainly hope everyone had a fine time (and that you all still have all of your fingers still intact.
With the Republican primary now only one month away, it's good (for Congresswoman Nancy Boyda) to know people in Kansas are still in basically the same place they have been since both Lynn Jenkins & Jim Ryun announced they were running for Congress: They still don't want Jim Ryun back and they still think Lynn Jenkins is just a little to far down the weight scale to be able to be even at all effective in the United States House of Representatives.
A column from Thursday's Topeka Capital-Journal paints the "oh, not again" to Jim Ryun sentiment, along with the "really, if only Lynn Jenkins knew...anything" vibe, too.
When Jim Ryun lost his congressional seat to Nancy Boyda in 2006, the defeat was a crushing blow. Most politicians deal with devastating voter rejection either by finding another line of work or running for a different office.Sing it, sister!
Ryun, however, believes voters got it wrong and wants a do-over. His logic on this one is puzzling.
Ryun was defeated in 2006 in a voter backlash that handed Democrats control of Congress. Polls and political wisdom suggest Democrats will do even better this year. Anti-Republican sentiment and a growing sense that America is headed in the wrong direction are sharply higher now than two years ago. As George Bush's approval ratings fall over the edge, Ryun is on record voting with the president 89 percent of the time.Can we get an "amen"?
The issues also have shifted since 2006, and not to Ryun's advantage. After a slew of weather-related disasters and media alerts about the melting ice cap, more Americans think maybe there's something to this global warming business. However, Ryun's voting record during five terms was rock bottom on environmental issues.
Additionally, more voters now believe the Iraq war was a mistake, and Ryun, as a strong supporter of Bush's initiative, finds himself on the wrong side of that one, too.
To regain his seat, Ryun must persuade voters he is a different candidate than the one they booted two years ago. So far, he hasn't gone there. A campaign ad emphasizes Ryun's career as a track star and his traditional values, credentials that weren't compelling enough last time around.We'd call Ryun's ploy (I'm a track star! Ignore the fact I was in office for 10 years!) "moronic" but that'd be a smidge to harsh. How about "desperately out-of-touch" or "pathetic"? Better?
Now, on to Ms. Jenkins:
Moreover, in this election cycle Ryun must clear a hurdle before he can have his rematch with Boyda. He has a primary opponent in Lynn Jenkins, a moderate who hopes to trace Joan Finney's steps from the state treasurer's post to higher office.Honest to God this writer laughted out loud with the comparisson between Jenkins & Joan Finney. Governor Finney was a wonderful, wonderful woman, but her trajectory frpm Treasurer to Governor to one-term failure isn't one we'd imagine Jenkins would like to be compared.
Jenkins purports to offer voters "new leadership" and fiscal accountability in a time of soaring national debt and economic anxiety. Though Jenkins embraces the GOP, she recognizes that Democrats aren't the only scoundrels in Washington, a more realistic approach this year.Keep the brand while rejecting the brand. Not an easy tight-rope to walk in a party primary.
The pivotal question is whether Jenkins will be willing to take a page from Hillary Clinton's playbook and attack Ryun's vulnerabilities. To defeat Ryun, she will need a pointed message that portrays Ryun's 10 years in Congress as part of the problem.And on such logic died the "clean campaign" pledge- though we haven't yet see Lynn actually, you know, attack Ryun in any way more than a handfull of voters could digest.
Name recognition carried Ryun, the track star, through three re-election campaigns, despite an undistinguished performance in office. Jenkins must introduce herself to Republican voters in a meaningful way to offer a clear alternative.Nope, it sure won't do. And, honestly, the longer Jenkins just sits on her haunches and lets Ryun control the message & the airwaves in the vast majority of the district, the more and more likely it is she's going to get her hat handed to her in exactly one month.
On her Web site, Jenkins touts herself as a relative of the man who wrote the lyrics to "Home on the Range." That won't do it. This year, voters are hungry for substance and won't settle for less.
Get ready for the home stretch, folks- here's hopin' for a barn-burner!