Republican Pat Roberts has represented Kansas for so long in Washington as a congressman and a senator that he no longer feels a need to actually own a residence in the Sunflower State. And yet the three-term senator is trailing an independent challenger by double digits in a state that has only elected Republicans to the Senate since the 1930s. How can that be?
Here's a snippet of what Roberts told a crowd in Dodge City:
"There's a palpable fear among Kansans all across the state that the America that we love and cherish will not be the same America for our kids and grandkids, and that's wrong… One of the reasons that I'm running is to change that. There's an easy way to do it. I'll let you figure it out. But at any rate, we have to change course because our country is headed for national socialism. That's not right. It's changing our culture. It's changing what we're all about."
As Politico notes, Roberts didn't specifically reference Germany's Nazis (who were technically known as the National Socialists German Workers Party), so maybe the 78-year-old legislator was just free-associating or rambling incoherently. That might help explain part of his campaign strategy of appearing with 91-year-old former Sen. Bob Dole. As described by the GOP-friendly Washington Times, "Roberts' appearance with Mr. Dole is believed to be his way of casting himself as a more moderate candidate to the younger voters."
Roberts' record is classic big-government conservative stuff: He voted for the George W. Bush stimulus but not the Barack Obama version, is happy to wage war and buy military toys, is socially conservative, etc. That's probably not what is turning off voters in Kansas, which he's represented in Congress in one form or another since 1981. Coming across as out of touch—which the "national socialism" bit certainly suggests—and trying to cast himself as a brave opponent of the government that he's been part of for the past 30-plus years is more at play.
Being out of touch isn't just for wizened senators who prefer not to own homes or have serious residences in the state they claim to represent. D.C.'s Heritage Foundation recently hosted a panel on what liberals really want. According to the writeup of the event by MSNBC, that song goes something like this:
"Give up your economic freedom, give up your political freedom, and you will be rewarded with license," said Heritage's David Azerrad, describing the reigning philosophy of the left. "It's all sex all the time. It's not just the sex itself—it's the permission to indulge."…
Given liberals' fixation with pleasure, "I fear the next great frontier for the left will be trying to lower the age of consent," said Azerrad, head of Heritage's center for principles and politics.
Of course, having sex with minors is very, very important to libruls, but we all know what the real end game is:
When an audience member pointed out that Americans had elected Democrats in times of war, too, Azerrad replied that the priorities of modern-day liberals had changed. "Woodrow Wilson and FDR were not fighting for gender-neutral bathrooms," he said.
That positive invocation of Wilson and FDR by a conservative brings us back to Kansas actually. Back in 1976, Bob Dole was running for vice president on the GOP ticket with Gerald Ford. One of his talking points in a debate with Walter Mondale was something that seems light years away from today's bombs-away Republican Party. A propos of nothing (literally) Dole, a wounded World War II veteran, promised viewers that a Ford-Dole administration wouldn't be starting all those "Democrat wars" like Wilson, FDR, and LBJ had done.
Between candidacies such as Roberts' and comments such as those coming out of the Heritage Foundation's Azzerad, it's no wonder that Republican chances to take over the Senate have slid from a lock a few months ago to more of a toss-up these days. As godawful as the Democrats and liberals generally are, they've always been lucky enough to have Republicans and conservatives as their opponents.