Kansas soon will lose its disastrous, unpopular governor. Sam Brownback on Wednesday was nominated for a job in the incompetent Trump administration.
Brownback was one of the worst governors in Sunflower State history. Now he’s going to become the nation’s ambassador at large for international religious freedom.
It’s a pretty much meaningless, low-profile job for Brownback, exactly what he deserves. (Fun fact: Brownback and I both will be working for the State Department once I join the Peace Corps in August, bound for Namibia.)
His critics on Wednesday quickly pointed out the governor’s tremendous failures, while his supporters gave some outright loony reasons for saying he’d done great things.
Brownback’s reckless income tax cuts starting in 2013 almost bankrupted the state, damaged funding for roads and education, and made Kansas into a laughingstock across the nation. For good reasons, Kansans made Brownback one of the most unpopular governors in America in a few polls.
Brownback promised that deeply slashing tax revenues would create more employment and then lead to increased public dollars. His policy failed miserably to deliver on this promise.
Kansas in June had the second worst jobs growth rate in the nation over the last year, and has been in the bottom 10 much of the last two years.
Brownback’s social policies weren’t any better. He refused to help expand Medicaid to take care of the poor and he pursued discriminatory policies against those who don’t look like him.
As governor, Brownback rallied to put ultra-conservative lawmakers into the Kansas Legislature in 2012. But in 2016, as the state sank deeper into debt, Kansas voters had seen enough. They elected more Democrats and more moderate Republicans to serve in Topeka.
Finally, in the 2017 session, the Legislature properly repealed large parts of the Brownback tax-cut “experiment” that had devastated the state in so many ways.
Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer will take over for Brownback, but he’s not going to be a big improvement at all, as I wrote earlier this year.
And Kansans in 2018 still have to make sure they don’t select sleazy Kris Kobach to follow Brownback as governor, given Kobach’s recent claims that the tax cuts were working. (They weren’t.)
It will take years to rebuild the institutions that Sam Brownback badly damaged as governor.
Good riddance to him.