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.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

The vampire draft

The copy editors cut this from my column last weekend -- which I just found out about now -- so Ozblog readers get this item first:

First President Bush has to win reelection. Then U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman would have to step down. But if those things, happened, a Washington-based agricultural firm thinks the next secretary could be ... Rep. Jerry Moran.

World Perspectives Inc., which does global agricultural research, handicapped possible Veneman successors in a recent paper. While the group didn't see a Veneman stepdown as likely, it mentioned Kansas's First District congressman, who is seeking reelection, as a possible replacement.

"A popular name off the Hill - the guy has a chalkboard in his office displaying daily commodity prices," the paper states. "Taking Moran from his seat doesn't risk that seat - it is safely Republican. He's a Kansan and could work with likely Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts; he knows the nuts and bolts from his Subcommittee assignment as Chairman of General Commodities, and with his affable style and experience (former Majority Leader in the Kansas Senate), he has the skill to shepherd a farm bill through Congress."

That item was supposed to run last Sunday. Sorry. Now, on to today's news.

The House of Reps is expected to vote this evening to defeat a pesky revive-the-draft bill, HR 163, offered by NY Dem Charles Rangel last winter. The bill was introduced to make a point -- that if the Iraq war was worth serving in, everyone should serve. But it's taken on a new life as an urban legend -- the Bush administration's plan to revive conscription. Now, there are scenarios where a draft could happen, but nobody's planning it now, and defeating this bill is kind of like digging a vampire out of the ground to drive a stake through its heart -- Republicans are sick of it rising up at night to suck the blood out of their candidates.

(If only sentences like that appeared in the newspaper.)

Sen. Sam Brownback continues to quietly shape the agenda of Senate conservatives, leading the Values Action Team group within the GOP. ... Jim Ryun's being questioned for using an Osama bin Laden image in an attack ad on opponent Nancy Boyda. ... And tomorrow's the first Moore-Kobach debate.