Esquire blogger Charles Pierce has answered the question “What’s the matter with Kansas?” and, unlike Thomas Frank, didn’t take a whole book to do it. In a Wednesday post, Pierce opined that the state’s Republican governor, Sam Brownback, was re-elected last week by “clodhopping, drooling yahoos” (i.e., voters) who “bought this fantastical drivel” (i.e., liked Brownback’s conservative economic policy) that has made Kansas “a basket case for which you would need a basket the size of a container ship.”
“Right now,” concluded Pierce, “Jon Gruber of MIT is getting roasted on the Intertoobz [sic] by the right because he called American voters stupid. Go to Kansas, and tell me how wrong he is.”
From Pierce’s post (emphasis added):
[Brownback] apparently presides over a state full of clodhopping, drooling yahoos who looked at the undeniable fact that [he] has turned their state into a lab rat for the most extreme applications of conservative economics and, thereby, into a basket case for which you would need a basket the size of a container ship. Then, last week, they went to the polls and voted to give him another term to see how closely he could re-create in Kansas the quality of middle-class life now available in this solar system only on the surface of Mercury.
They voted for him again, on the grounds that the prosperity he promised from his statewide construction of a living Laffer Curve is just around the next bend...The voters bought this fantastical drivel because they apparently have gone around a far different bend. And then, yesterday, a week after reinstalling Brownback, the Kansas City Star reported that things are even worse than the clodhoppers thought they were.
The new revenue estimates released Monday revealed that Kansas would burn through about $380 million in reserves and still need to cut $280 million to balance its current budget for fiscal year 2015, which ends next June 30. The problem continues in 2016 when revenues are projected to run $436 million short of expenditures, the estimates show…
I hate to say it, but I'm really out of sympathy here. There was an entire campaign just passed that centered almost completely on Sam Brownback's stewardship of the Kansas economy. The people of Kansas decided en masse that said stewardship should continue…In the case of Kansas, I decline any more to blame Fox News, or the Koch Brothers, or Citizens United or any of the other factors that merely profit from the fact that the re-election of Sam Brownback to be the governor of Kansas, in the face of his public record in that job, is a profound abdication of the responsibilities of self-government on the part of the citizens of that state. Or they're asking for more misery. There's no third alternative.
Right now, Jon Gruber of MIT is getting roasted on the Intertoobz by the right because he called American voters stupid. Go to Kansas, and tell me how wrong he is.