All hail Sam Brownback, the imperial governor of Kansas.
It is not enough for Brownback to serve the Sunflower State as chief executive. He aims to rule, and he's not about to let lawmakers, judges or tradition stand in his way.
His Imperialness came to the province of Kansas from the mighty capital of Washington, D.C., and it shows.
On the night the Kansas House was scheduled to vote on the budget, Brownback gathered Republicans and told them to pass it with no Democratic votes. Reaching across the aisle, he told his troops, "is not the way you want to go."
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Forget bipartisanship. Take no prisoners. How very Washingtonian.
Enough members of Brownback's party teamed with the Democrats during the session to nix the governor's plan to do away with the Kansas Arts Commission. No matter. Brownback used his line-item veto to override the Legislature. He cut off the commission's funding and fired the staff. The Kingdom of Sam does not use public funds for things like community theater.
Nor does it want any legal abortions to take place in its territory. His Department of Health and Environment wrote onerous regulations for the state's three abortion clinics. Then it gave the clinics a few days to comply.
Lawyers in the Kingdom of Sam are scrambling to respond to lawsuits brought by the abortion providers.
Brownback did not take on the abortion clinics alone. Many legislative minions had tried for years to write draconian anti-abortion laws. They waited out two Democratic governors before getting an ally who was willing to sign any bill they sent him.
Brownback brought other causes to the province of Kansas. He believes deeply in God and the free market, and he aspires to supplant government as much as possible with those two forces.
Hence we see the strange goings on in the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, where Rob Siedlecki, a faith-based guru from Florida, is firing long-term staffers and replacing them with out-of-state bureaucrats who share his philosophy that department functions should be contracted out, preferably to groups with a Christian orientation.
Brownback also instructed his Department of Corrections to work with Prison Fellowship. That's a group started by Chuck Colson, the Watergate conspirator whom Brownback admires for his conversion to Christianity while serving time.
Only a couple of groups stand in the way of the Utopia that Brownback hopes to establish in the Kingdom of Sam.
One is the statewide judges, who have ruled that unconstitutional actions attempted by lawmakers and a certain overreaching former attorney general are, well, unconstitutional.
As a result, Brownback pushed the Legislature to empower him to appoint Kansas Court of Appeals judges with approval from the Senate.
The governor was foiled, however, by the other group standing in his way. That would be moderate Republicans, especially the group that still holds power in the Kansas Senate.
Hence, a group called the "Union of Patriots" recently threw a "RINO retirement dinner" to raise money to rid Kansas of "Republicans in name only."
Some say Brownback's end game is another run for the U.S. presidency. But all we know right now is that big changes are happening in the Kingdom of Sam. It's almost as if we're not in Kansas anymore.