Kansas senator and presidential candidate Sam Brownback said Tuesday that he would focus his campaign on issues that have a bipartisan consensus, a break from his trademark social conservatism.This is a fascinating move for a guy who has made a name for himself with his advocacy for socially divisive issues. Remember this gem?
"The political discourse automatically goes to the most difficult issues, and then we can't talk about them," said Brownback, in Iowa for the first time since announcing his bid on Jan. 20.
"I'd rather work on a core set of issues that we can agree on."
Stem cell research is not a divisive issue, especially if more than 60% of the country is in favor of expanding stem cell research (scroll down for numbers). It is surprising that Sen. Brownback did not get the memo from his neighbor, former Missour Senator Jim Talent, who lost his seat (and therefore, arguably the Republicans lost the Senate) in large part because of his opposition to state funding of stem cell research, which Missourians approved. Sen. Brownback is only hoping to get a sound bite or two that attemp to make him palatable to non-extremist voters. But his true positions are easy to find, and any support he initially garners for supporting efforts to combat climate change, human trafficking and poverty will evaporate when voters remember his bread and butter.
On his website and in his platform, he still repeatedly supports a variety of divisive issues, from banning abortion to "defining" marriage to the completely arbitrary "activist" judiciary. Is he positioning himself as an attractive VP candidate to moderates like Romney, Giuliani or McCain (not that he is a moderate, he's just palatable to the voters), a la the West Wing?
The point is, 24 hour cable news and more importantly the internet, will not allow candidates to pander to all corners of the political spectrum for much longer. Candidates will be eliminated from contention much more quickly during this cycle strictly because of YouTube. Need proof? Look at what is happening right now in Virginia. I'm sick of politicians, particularly Republicans, harping on and on about accountability for everyone but themselves. When the pefect medium for providing accountability comes along, why are Republicans the first to be against it?
Just because Brownback put out a carefully scripted press release doesn't erase his viciously partisan, divisive behavior. I'm sure he's just triangulating based on the results of the midterms, finally realizing that the Christian Right is not a majority in this country even if Christianity is the largest religion. In either case, I'm glad he's running because he will only divide the Republicans even further and the resulting furor from the losing side will probably produce a split ticket and it will be 1992 all over again.
We need statesmen who talk about poverty and health care and education and human rights and foreign relations and have little time to waste on the "debates" over abortion and gay marriage and torture. Politicians who waste their time obsessing on those issues don't care to tackle important, pressing problems.