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Governor Kelly has found a perfect metaphor. Can you and the Republicans realize this?

The final scene of the popular TV series “Mad Men” shows advertising guru Don Draper grinning in satisfaction as he dreams of the famous Coca-Cola “Hilltop” commercial. Don has reached nirvana, wrote one critic.

Well, if producing an iconic TV commercial for commercial products is difficult, it is even more difficult to do it in politics.

But it’s not impossible.

In 1994, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Graves’ campaign ran an ad titled “High and Tight.” Paul Wilson, who managed Graves’ advertising campaign, explained the beauty of the ad: “In the phrase ‘Load ’em high and tight’, we found a spectacular metaphor even if no one had ever heard it.

“Because if we could visualize the metaphor showing Bill Graves loading a truck to the brim, we could use the phrase to explain what kind of governor he would be – namely, a frugal and efficient manager. serene “Kansas body politic. They understood it. They understood what kind of governor Graves would be.”

In 2022, Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly ran an ad walking down a street in Auburn, Kansas, saying, “Like most Kansans, I’m neither too far right nor too far left. I’ve always been pretty halfway there.

Like Graves in 1994, his campaign had found a spectacular visual metaphor that dominated the election narrative and helped Kelly win re-election.

What makes Kelly’s 2022 campaign announcement even more unique is that the message continues into 2023. In his recent State of the State address, he called for lawmakers to “meet in the middle” and said, “The best solutions don’t they are Republican or Democrat They will come from compromise and collaboration.

In the Republican response, Senate Speaker Ty Masterson critically referenced the metaphor, saying, “On many issues the governor’s party has her walking the far left lane, if not the ditch outside of that. With how many times we’ve heard her tell us she’s in-between this session, we’ll be giving her ample opportunity to prove that she really meant it.

The big question, however, isn’t whether Kelly will govern from the center, but how often Kansas Republicans in the legislature will join her. Masterson also said, “Neither side can work from where they want to be, but where we are.”

So where are the Republicans in the Legislature? Off the road, in a right-hand lane? Or on the right side of the road, willing to wander to the centerline for a spell?

Comments from some Republican politicians have indicated that because they have an absolute majority in the legislature, they feel they have a mandate to pursue a “super-conservative” legislative agenda. So straight party numbers tell us that the Republican legislature could take the right lane, since in effect Republicans control 113, or 69%, of all Kansas House and Senate seats.

However, rather shocking data recently released by the Sunflower State Journal, aided by a number crunch by Wichita State University political scientist Brian Amos, tells a different story: In the 2022 election, Governor Kelly had 82 legislative districts, or 49.7 percent , while his Republican opponent Derek Schmidt carried 83 districts, or 50.3%.

We don’t need a metaphor to know that those numbers suggest that there is room for compromise after all.

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