To know is nothing at all; to imagine is everything.
—Anatole France, The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard
It’s not that he’s ever been far away. It’s just that whenever he returns, it causes the casual observer to marvel at how a great education could produce such a distorted intelligence and twisted mind. The good news is that soon he will leave the national stage in order to return to his home state and favor its voters with his peculiar views of government. A graduate of Harvard, Oxford, and Yale Law School, he is proof that, as one University President put it, some years back, when speaking of college graduates, “you can never be sure they are educated.” He is Kris Kobach.
Kris is remembered for a number of peculiar triumphs that occurred during the last two years. It was he, who while serving on the Republican Platform Committee of the Republican National Convention, successfully inserted language into the platform that addresses illegal immigration in the manner now demanded by the country’s Resident Fool who has found shelter in the White House. The language he successfully inserted was: “The border wall must cover the entirety of the southern border and must be sufficient to stop both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.” In furtherance of this project, eight sample walls have now been constructed in Texas, the prettiest of which is described as being a pale blue and white and resembles in some respects a split level home. The wall was not Kris’s only platform success. He inserted into that platform language pertaining to gay marriage and stating that the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion legalizing it was obviously incorrect.
Although Kris serves as Kansas’s Secretary of State, he has enjoyed serving as the vice-chair of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Election Integrity. Vice President Pence was the chair of that Committee, but Kris assumed the role of leader which was singularly appropriate since he is more in tune with perceived election fraud than almost anyone in the country. At the time the Advisory Committee was created, he said: “As the chief election officer of a state, ensuring the integrity of elections is my number one priority. The work of this commission will assist all state elections officers in understanding, and addressing, the problem of voter fraud.” There were probably few people in the country with Kris’s experience.
As Secretary of State of Kansas Kris had sought to impose a requirement that anyone wanting to register to vote in that state offer proof of citizenship before registering. He claimed that was needed to put an end to voter fraud. Unimpressed, the federal judge who declined to permit that requirement to go forward in federal elections, and had a much keener understanding of the scope of the problem than Kris, observed that: “There is evidence of only three instances where noncitizens actually voted in a federal election between 1995 and 2015,” and during that time only 14 non-citizens attempted to register. While serving on the Advisory Commission, Kris claimed on Breitbart news that he had found proof that 5,51l voters who voted in New Hampshire in the 2016 election were not eligible to vote. He based that on the fact that the voters lacked New Hampshire drivers’ licenses when they registered, and failed to obtain them after voting. It turned out that there is no requirement that someone registering to vote in New Hampshire using an out of state driver’s license is required to obtain a New Hampshire driver’s license after voting.
The Commission on which Kris served has been dissolved. Its activities have been referred to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Kris says he will continue as an advisor to that department, presumably so his expertise will not go to waste. Tyler Houten, a spokesperson for the DHS, said that: “Mr. Kobach is not advising the Department on this matter.” Whether he will be involved or not, Kris has found another way to spend his time that he hopes will prove to be more successful than his tilting at the windmill of imaginary voter fraud. He hopes to become Governor of Kansas. Since he has made his mark as incompetent in his recent efforts, he may be well qualified to become the governor since Sam Brownback, the man he would replace, has the second lowest approval rating of any sitting governor according a survey by Morning Consult. Through creative tax reductions initiated by Governor Brownback, it is anticipated that the state’s deficit will exceed $280 million this year.
Governor Brownback has been nominated to serve as Ambassador at large for international religious freedom and, if confirmed, will be replaced by Jeff Colyer, the lieutenant governor. Mr. Colyer has already said he will run for the position in the 2018 election, and if Governor Brownback is confirmed, he will be running as the incumbent. Kris believes his successes in bringing failed lawsuits attacking imaginary voter fraud, his claim to have seen voter fraud in New Hampshire, where none existed, and his mistaken description of himself as an advisor to the DHS, are proof that he would be a worthy successor to Governor Brownback. He is right. Whether that is what Kansas voters are hoping for, only time will tell.