Legislators ready for their closeup; welcome to the show



March 1, 2019 - 3:21 PM

Someone recently asked me this: The Kansas legislature is a part-time body that only meets for a few months. They must pass a budget. They must fix school funding before a court-imposed deadline. A Democrat is governor, but conservative Republicans run the Legislature. So, why didn’t lawmakers recognize political reality in Topeka, find agreements early that the governor and most legislators could stomach, and then leave town?

The answer, of course, is “the show.” It’s for us.

Us citizens — typically the spectators in policymaking— often enjoy the exciting side of politics, and we especially want “our side” to put on a good show. We like bold principled statements that communicate virtue. We like emotion. We like fights that make awesome fodder for self-righteous Facebook posts. We often prefer the side of politics that looks more like Real Housewives flipping tables and snatching wigs to the wonky policy side.

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