Somewhere, over the rainbow, a blog is born. A blog for Kansas. A blog for America. A blog by a reporter with a difficult-to-pronounce last name. But most importantly, a blog that is AMERICA'S ONLY PLACE dedicated to the vital intersection of politics and Sunflowers. The Heartland gods nod in wise approval.

Sunday, August 22, 2004


You know those little things you buy at Christmas, the little towns in glass with all the snowflakes inside that you can make fall if you turn it upside-down and shake it?

Imagine the CIA in a glass, and Pat Roberts as the shaking hand, and you'll get a sense of what happened on "Face the Nation" today, when the chairman of the Select Senate Committee on Intelligence proposed spinning the CIA's major divisions into three agencies. The Roberts people say reception from members of the 9/11 Commission are encouraging, but public resistance was immediate and, like anything involving Washington turf, it will be fierce.

Roberts also commented on the Swift Boat contoversy on the appearance, but didn't go as far in criticizing them as his colleague on the show, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., who meanwhile expressed skepticism over the Roberts-CIA plan.

Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry (via his national security adviser, Rand Beers), on the other hand, seemed initially warm to Roberts's idea -- sounds a lot like what Kerry's already been saying, Beers said.

Meanwhile, back in Wichita, it's official -- Lee Jones will run against Sen. Sam Brownback for Brownback's U.S. Senate seat. In the Second District, Rep. Jim Ryun and Democratic challenger Nancy Boyda are campaigning in private homes, reminiscent of urban warfare tactics. But that's nothin' compared to what'll be happening in the Third District, where Vice President Cheney is scheduled to campaign for Republican challenger Kris Kobach on Tuesday. And House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., appeared for Kobach on Saturday

(When I found the link to that story on the KC Star Web site, the article about Hastert's pitch for Kobach appeared under a re-elect Rep. Dennis Moore ad. That, in a nutshell, is the story of the Third District campaign so far.)

The New York Times had a big piece on life as a Democrat in red states on Sunday, and The Washington Post had a piece on Republicans heading to a blue state -- New York -- for the convention. Red state, blue state, me state, you state -- it could be a Dr. Seuss book, except the concept's too simplistic for children's lit. But that's what passes for discourse in 50-50 America, and the phrase itself has become part of the political calculus. And until America figures out what to do about it, it's gonna last for some time to come -- at least 'til voters take this tidy political town into their Constitution-granted hands and shake out the all the snowflakes. (What color is the sky in your America?)