During the course of a protracted and contentious campaign, every candidate will invariably flub a media interview or make a public gaffe. However, nobody has mastered the art of the Freudian slip this cycle like Pat Roberts.
Pat Roberts has spent the past year – ever since Milton Wolf announced his intention to challenge him – remaking his political philosophy and his voting record. Much like Orrin Hatch in 2012, Roberts has forged a shot-gun marriage with conservatives. He has even touted his A score from Heritage Action in a TV ad. He’s moved so far to the right that those who are susceptible to political amnesia are scoffing at our effort to replace him.
Last week, Roberts let down his guard on two occasions in a way that even the most gullible conservative will see straight though his election-year conversion. First he retweeted a message from one of his supporters suggesting that Milton Wolf is a racist. Unless Roberts or one of his staffers had itchy fingers, this retweet is quite revealing, especially given what just happened in Mississippi. We all know that deep down and in private settings, the GOP establishment politicians express these sentiments about their own base on a daily basis.
That same day, when challenged on a radio show about his tenuous connection to the state he represents, Roberts reassured the listeners by saying “every time I get an opponent, uh, I mean every time I get a chance I’m home.”
Even his opponents could not have given a more apt description of the Roberts modus operandi. Throughout his tenure, Roberts had been a typical establishment Republican who views his base as nothing more than a bunch of racists who need to be pandered to before election time, especially when there is an opponent.
As we noted last year when we endorsed Milton Wolf:
More importantly, even the foxhole conversion is a result of Milton’s bold and articulate voice in Kansas as a primary challenger. Just weeks before he signed the Mike Lee letter, Roberts expressed his skepticism of the strategy at a tele-townhall. He noted that “it’s a lot harder than it used to be but, my hand is still out there stretched out across the aisle.” At the same event on July 29, Roberts referred to the Fair Tax as a “scheme.” After Milton announced his candidacy, Roberts became a supporter. Most interesting, Roberts has called for Sebelius to resign. This is an unambiguous admission that his 2013 voting record is a form of pandering, not principled leadership.
It is quite clear that if we fail to rally behind Milton over the next few weeks, the next six years of Pat Roberts will look a lot different than this past year.
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