Martin Hawver
Guest Columnist
Now would be a good time for life insurance sales folk to turn to another page: It is likely that Gov. Sam Brownback did a little political bungee-jumping last weekend.
Chances are excellent that he survived.
Last weekend, of course, Brownback took a day off—presumably without pay, but then, he’s on salary and doesn’t punch a time clock—to journey to Houston to give a brief prayer during a conservative Christian rally called “The Response.”
It’s not like there was a big emergency in Kansas, and had it not been for the press coverage—and a rally outside the Kansas Statehouse the same day—it’s doubtful anyone would have known that he was out of state instead of maybe just wandering around the mall trying to find more plaid shirts.
That Statehouse rally, which featured an attractive brunette in a bikini hula-hooping for the full hot hour of the rally, criticized Brownback for signing some anti-abortion legislation and not appearing too interested in equal rights for women, lesbians, gays, bi-sexuals and the trans-gendered.
Basically, the prayer and fasting rally that Brownback spoke to briefly—not nearly as long as event headliner Texas Gov. Rick Perry—was sponsored by folks who don’t have much in common, or want much in common, or want anything to do with the Topeka rally crowd.
The Topeka rallyists were consistently saying what your mother said: You are defined by the friends you hang out with.
But, all that aside, it was a political bungee jump for Brownback, one that Kansans haven’t seen in a governor for decades.
Kansas’ Republican primary voting crowd—and it’s extremely unlikely Brownback will have a primary race if he seeks re-election in 2014—generally isn’t going to care about his Texas foray. And those “regular” Republicans—you know, the ones who see “R” behind a candidate’s name on the November ballot and figure he/she is probably OK—probably won’t recall last weekend’s fuss.
That’s unless Democrats, pro-choice Kansans and the sexual orientation and lifestyle groups and…oh yes, the Arts Commission crowd and SRS office preservationists (and landlords)…can spend the next three years relentlessly reminding Kansans about their issues and how Brownback deals with them.
Three years is a long time, and the anti-Brownback movement is going to put together some strange partnerships: Democrats, moderate Republicans and every tiny piece of the electorate that might add a percentage or two to the pot. There could be some subtle changes in how Brownback governs, what bills he signs and what bills he is willing to veto as he measures the political winds.
There’s another factor here that makes things chancy: If the economy gets better and taxes can be cut, well, those individual liberties champions and moderates may be talking to potential voters who are driving nicer cars and who have more natural fiber in their clothes.
Is last weekend a turning point for anything? Hard to say, could be, but it’ll take a lot of work for anti-Brownback activists. And Brownback?  Well, if he does have any second-thoughts about the Texas rally, he’s got three years to not talk about it.
But…have you ever noticed that people who have bungee-jumped tend to find ways to mention it?
Syndicated by Hawver News Company LLC of Topeka; Martin Hawver is publisher of Hawver’s Capitol Report—to learn more about this statewide nonpartisan political news service, visit the website at