Sam Brownback

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Sam "Reverse Robin Hood" Brownback (1956–) is a former Republican Senator and former Governor of Kansas. He retired from the Senate in 2010, due to self-imposed term limits. This meant he promptly became Governor.

He used to be a pure opportunist. Then he became a zealot.[1] However, nowadays, he's bitter and believes the things he says, if only to be stubborn. He failed at becoming President, so he's going to make his mark however he can. If that means driving the state off a cliff, so be it.

As a mouthpiece for the Tea Party, his views on immigration are considered to be at odds with the general conservative view; apparently, he likes them because of what the Bible said about welcoming strangers. He also tried to pass measures to allow Republicans to impeach Kansas judges who oppose his laws.[2] He had to be ordered by them to fully fund K-12 education; he would never do it, unless at gunpoint.


For some wondering how Brownback got reelected, Brownback essentially ran solely against an old, white housewife's image of Obama.[3] Because elderly voters make up so much of the population, it is nearly impossible for Republicans to lose. They don't run on records; those don't appeal to Kansas voters. Instead, they use the word "liberal" a lot and run all sorts of bullshit negative ads:

Paul Davis frequented a STRIP CLUB 16 years ago[4]

Paul Davis wants to appoint MORE JUDGES that LOVE BLACK MURDERERS and let these BLACK men GO FREE in YOUR HOME TOWN where YOUR DAUGHTER goes to SCHOOL.[5]

Informed voters know that Brownback gutted public education and crashed the economy, but old white Republicans have nothing to balance it out. And who can blame them? The news, ads, newspapers, radio, TV all work against them, and they'll never get exposed to another viewpoint in small-town Kansas. The Koch/Murdoch-backed candidate has a massive lead in every election.

Economic policies[edit]

This is exactly the sort of thing we want to do here, in Washington.
Mitch McConnell[6]

He is a strong proponent of Reaganesque supply-side economics which implemented in Kansas in the form of extensive tax cuts, resulting in extremely high deficits due to tax revenues being approximately cut in half, which have resulted in not just one, but two debt rating downgrades.[6][7] Brownback responded to this situation by blaming Obama[8] and proposing to double down on the hot mess he created. He appeared to be headed towards doing this after being reelected in 2014 and claiming a mandate, though some Republicans showed resistance.[6][9] If he had his way, the doubling-down was going to include raiding $95 million from the state highway fund, raiding $41 million from the state teacher pension fund, and cutting agency budgets by 4%.[10][11]

The Kansas Experiment[edit]

Brownback's economic policies under his governorship, which chiefly consisted of supply-side economics style tax cuts, are today known as the Kansas experiment.Wikipedia It is widely regarded as a massive demonstration of how implementing hard-line supply-side economics policies is a sure path to failure, and how the supposed benefits of supply-side economics preached by its advocates are a mirage.[12]

The "Kansas experiment" ended up producing the following results:

  • Sluggish economic growth, even compared to neighboring states[13][12]
  • Slashed government revenue, in contrast to what proponents of trickle-down economics would tell you.[13] The Koch-funded[14] libertarian Kansas Policy InstituteWikipedia predicted that Brownback's tax cuts would generate a windfall of $323 million in revenue. In fact, by June 2014, the tax cuts produced a staggering loss in revenue — $687 million, or nearly 11 percent of the budget.[15]
  • As a result of the revenue loss, brutal cuts to government programs were made.[13]
  • As schools consume roughly half of Kansas' budget, education was hard hit. Brownback cut $200 million in the state's spending on education — the largest such reduction in the state’s history.[15] This meant that multiple schools were closed or were consolidated.[16] Missouri capitalized on Brownback's educational system disaster by placing giant recruitment billboards in Kansas encouraging teachers to leave the state.[17]
  • Multiple credit rating downgrades (for example, FitchWikipedia downgraded their debt rating on Kansas from AA+ to AA in August 2014, then from AA to AA- in 2016).[18]
  • A significant amount of tax dodging (by people re-characterizing income from labor to business in order to take advantage of the 0 percent income tax rate for businsesses).[13][12]
  • To make up for some of the lost revenue, Kansas raised their regressive sales tax to the second highest level in the nation.[19]
  • As a result of the above, by 2016, Brownback was the most unpopular governor in the nation.[19]

By 2017, even Kansas Republicans had enough of Brownback's crappy economic policies. After an election where many hard-line supply-side legislators were swept out of office,[19] on June 6, 2017, the Kansas state legislature overrode Brownback's veto to repeal much of the "Kansas experiment".[12] In the 2018 Kansas governor elections, in what was seen as electoral blowback for Brownback's economic policies, Democrat Laura KellyWikipedia defeated the Donald Trump endorsed[20] Republican and former secretary of state Kris Kobach.Wikipedia[21]

Despite the clear disaster caused by the Brownback tax cuts (and other supply-side disasters like the failed tax cuts of British prime minister Liz Truss), supply-side true believers like Arthur Laffer still insist that their pseudo-economic theory is correct. (In fact, according to Laffer, the problem with Kansas was that Brownback didn't cut taxes enough.)[22]

God as his co-pilot[edit]

Back in 2007, he wrote a less than stellar editorial for the New York Times about how he thinks evolution is false.[23] Here's what he had to say on man's origins.

While no stone should be left unturned in seeking to discover the nature of man's origins, we can say with conviction that we know with certainty at least part of the outcome. Man was not an accident and reflects an image and likeness unique in the created order. Those aspects of evolutionary theory compatible with this truth are a welcome addition to human knowledge. Aspects of these theories that undermine this truth, however, should be firmly rejected as an atheistic theology posing as science.[24]

One might retort that this was a bit of dogmatic theology posing as reasoning.

Although he is very pro-ID, he still maintains a "teach the controversy" view in the political arena. Brownback is a Young Earth Creationist and supporter of the microevolution but not macroevolution argument.[25][26][27] He is also afraid that those evil atheist geneticists will create man-animal hybrids and, by golly, he's going to put a stop to that.[28]

Brownback resigned as governor of Kansas for a post in the Trump administration as Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Chestbeating Freedom.[29] Doing so saved him the embarrassment of being a Republican and losing an election in Kansas to a Democrat.[30][31]

Stopped clock moments[edit]

  • In his presidential campaign, he supported a stalled immigration-reform bill unpopular among conservatives.

External links[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. Schieber, Noam, "The many conversions of Sam Brownback: The Apostle", New Republic December 2006.
  3. "Paul Davis is LITERALLY Obama"
  4. "Paul Davis wants strip clubs near churches!", Republican Governor's Association.
  5. "Remember the Carr Brothers?"
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Brownback scrambles to clean up his mess
  7. Rating Action
  8. Kansas tax revenue off $92 million in April
  9. Kansas Governor Wants To Double Down On Massive Tax Cut That Tanked State Finances
  10. Sam Brownback unveils plan to close budget gap
  11. Kansas governor unveils plan to close budget gap
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 "Kansas Provides Compelling Evidence of Failure of "Supply-Side" Tax Cuts" by Michael Mazerov, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2018 January 22
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 "The Kansas tax cut experiment" by William G. Gale, Brookings, 2017 July 11
  14. "In Kansas, Gov. Sam Brownback puts tea party tenets into action with sharp cuts" by Annie Gowen, Washington Post, 2021 December 21
  15. 15.0 15.1 "This Is What's the Matter With Kansas" by John B. Judis, New Republic, 2014 September 19
  16. "As Trump Proposes Tax Cuts, Kansas Deals With Aftermath Of Experiment" by Jeremy Hobson, Dean Russell, Samantha Raphelson, NPR, 2017 October 25
  17. "Billboards recruiting Kansas teachers for jobs in Missouri school district" by Brittany Glas, KSN Witchita, 2015 July 2
  18. "Fitch Ratings Releases First Kansas Credit Rating at AA, Citing Fiscal Responsibility Championed by Governor Kelly", press release, Kansas Office of the Governor, 2024 January 5
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 "Hard times for Kansas and its schools as economic ‘experiment’ creates gaping budget hole" by Nigel Duara, Los Angelese Times, 2016 November 21
  20. "Trump Backs Kris Kobach for Kansas Governor, Against Republican Advice" by Jonathan Martin, New York Times, 2018 August 6
  21. "Democrat Laura Kelly wins in Kansas, defeating Kris Kobach" by Libby Nelson, Vox, 2018 November 7
  22. "Art Laffer still thinks he was right about tax cuts" by Paul Schwartzman, Washington Post, 2022 November 2
  23. Brownback's New York Times editorial
  25. What Sam Brownback thinks about evolution
  26. Sam Brownback, defender of the faith
  27. Brownback on evolution
  28. Grandma Manimal
  29. LGBTQ groups slam confirmation of Brownback as religious freedom ambassador by Brooke Sopelsa (Jan.26.2018 / 2:59 PM ET) NBC News.