Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Editorial: When Experience Really Matters

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Editorial: When Experience Really Matters

Article excerpt

In American politics, candidates often present themselves as political "outsiders" -- regular folks who will bring a common-sense perspective to Congress, the state Legislature, the White House, the governor's mansion, etc. This is why Kris Kobach has announced that he wants to "drain the swamp" and dismantle the "culture of corruption" in Topeka. But if you ask him what "corruption" he's talking about, he'll tell you Sen. Anthony Henlsey has been in office a little too long -- proof that the emotional impact of the word matters more to him than its definition.

Meanwhile, the "swamp" is just a particularly disparaging term for the establishment -- a group of lawmakers, lobbyists and bureaucrats who are, the insinuation goes, desperate to maintain a fetid and stale status quo. Despite his long career in public service, his high-ranking role on one of the most high-profile commissions in Washington, and his constant appearances on CNN, Fox and other national news networks, Kobach wants you to think he's just gliding over the swamp. In reality, he's completely submerged.

President Trump used the "swamp" imagery all the time. For example, at a rally in October, he told the crowd: "It is time to drain the swamp in Washington, D.C. This is why I'm proposing a package of ethics reforms to make our government honest once again." Trump also touts his defiance of the establishment as evidence that he has brought a new ethos to Washington. At his commencement address to graduates of Liberty University, he said, "Relish the opportunity to be an outsider ... It's the outsiders who change the world."

While Kobach's swamp-draining credentials are extremely dubious, another gubernatorial candidate can actually claim to be a genuine outsider. Wink Hartman's campaign spokesman, Austin Gilpin, recently made this point about his boss: "He is a businessman who has a lifetime of experience creating jobs and is the only true outsider running for governor. …

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