Our regular reader from Lenexa–Stephen Suh by name, Cogitamus blogger by fame–sends in this report from Kansas:
I’d be interested in hearing from the regular reader in Lenexa, KS
about local reaction to Roeder’s arrest.
Hmmm. I’m pretty sure that’s me, so I’ll give it a shot. Take all this
with a grain of salt, of course.
It’s the big story, of course, but it’s surprisingly not something that
everyone is talking about – again, this is in my experience. Johnson
County, KS, which contains Lenexa, Merriam (Scott Roeder’s home) and
several other cities, has changed quite a bit over the last few
decades. One of the main ways is to move away from Operation
Rescue/Phill Kline politics toward the center.
In the 2006 AG election, Morrison – who won – was from Johnson County,
but so was Kline, and we led the way in securing that election’s
outcome. When the county GOP pulled a swifty and installed Kline as DA
as retribution, the local election office reported a surge in party
switchers. And of course the county GOP sent Kline packing last year to
We were sick of how much time Kline spent in Wichita conspiring with
Operation Rescue against Tiller even after he became the Johnson
County DA. We weren’t happy when he went after Planned Parenthood –
and when his conduct when prosecuting Edwin Hall, a man who murdered a
local high school student was rather less than stellar.
So I believe that while there are many far-right conservatives in this
area, most people are in a mushy middle, and they’re sick of right-wing
extremists. I think people are embarrassed, that even those who oppose
abortion rights and have generally felt strongly negative feelings
toward Dr. Tiller are uncomfortable with their compatriots, even if
they won’t admit it publicly.
Thanks for the fill, Stephen.