Monday, July 26, 2010

Jim Barnett: Does the ad match the record?

With just over a week until election day, more and more voters are beginning to pay attention to the candidates in the first district and compare their rhetoric to their past actions. So I thought it was prudent to do a small recap of the major candidates as they stand today, and point out some lesser known facts about them. Let's start with Jim Barnett.

As I noted last week, Jim Barnett has a habit of going which ever way the political winds happen to be blowing. This chart is an excellent illustration of Barnett's political career and how his votes have changed depending on the type of office he's seeking.

It's also a lesser known fact that as a member and President of the Emporia school board in the 1990's, Jim Barnett voted to join the original Schools for Fair Funding lawsuit that eventually cost the taxpayers a billion dollars and helped put our state in its current financial troubles.

Barnett has asked to be excused for this vote, but the fact is when someone doesn't have a moral, or at least some kind of philosophical compass, it's easy to be pulled into this kind of special interest scheme. Barnett talks a good talk on the campaign trail this year, but what about in two or four years when the political winds have changed? What other kind of scheme will he join in Washington at our expense?

Barnett's tone has gone south with his latest ad, telling the voters Tim Huelskamp has gone negative when he hasn't. I'll address that later, but first let's take a look though at his first ad and see how it ads up to his record.

Here's the highlights:
  • "Conservative" Count = 4. The word "Conservative" was plastered on your screen for 14 seconds of the 30 second spot. I guess the thought is if you repeat a lie often enough it'll stick.
  • Throwing money at a problem doesn't make sense to you Jim? What about when you voted to sue the state for more money, did it make sense to you then?
  • Jim cut spending to balance the state budget? Last time I checked the state just passed the largest sales tax increase in state history to fund new spending. And back in 2002 when Jim was new on the political scene in Topeka, he voted for what was then the largest tax increase in state history to fund more state spending. That's when he scored a dismal 8.3% with the Kansas Taxpayers Network.
  • Barnett proposed the largest tax cut in state history? Well, isn't that interesting considering just four years prior he voted for the largest tax increase in state history. Who says you can't please all of the people all of the time? I'm sure the fact he proposed this cut when running as a conservative for governor has no connection what-so-ever.
  • NRA "A" Rating Jim? What about during your first senate term when you opposed conceal and carry? What about the NRA's endorsement of Tim Huelskamp? Nothing like telling half truths, huh?
It's interesting to note how stagnant Barnett's poll numbers have been. The first public poll February 23rd had Barnett at 23%. Since then he's gained a whopping 2% to make it to 25%. Now with his political future hanging in the balance, Barnett has dumped a quarter of a million dollars into the race in an attempt to buy a vote, any vote, that he's been unable to secure so far.

It's also interesting to note Barnett's political consultant, Jeff Roe with Axiom Strategies, is also the consultant for Wink Hartman in the fourth district. Hartman's campaign also seems to be in a freefall, with him polling at numbers below what he had in February. This is also in spite of him dumping more than a million dollars of his own money into the race. It seems no matter how much Roe may spend, he just can't get any traction for his guys. I can't speak to the fourth, but in the first it's likely due to Barnett's poor performance in the Governor's race and his back and forth stances on the issues.

Later we'll take a look at Barnett's latest ad and also Tracey. He's a Mann with a Plan, but does it match his Johnson County tan?

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