AP NEWS

Recent Kansas Editorials

November 25, 2019

Kansas City Star, Nov. 22

President Donald Trump provided a clear path Friday for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to come back to Kansas and run for the Senate.

“He loves the people of Kansas,” the president said of Pompeo in a phone interview on Fox News. “If he thought that there was a chance of losing that seat, I think he would do that, and he would win in a landslide because they love him in Kansas.”

Other published reports have suggested Pompeo is nearing a decision on the race.

Some Kansans are tiring of Pompeo’s Hamlet-like approach to the Senate seat, which belongs to them, not to any party or any person. His indecision alone could spark skepticism about his commitment to the state.

But there are now other reasons to question the secretary. It’s clear Pompeo was intimately involved in the arms-for-investigations impeachment inquiry now engulfing Trump.

On Wednesday, Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland said Pompeo knew of negotiations with Ukranians to trade a White House visit for an investigation of Trump’s political rival, Joe Biden.

There is also evidence that military aid to Ukraine was delayed in an effort to pressure its new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to investigate Biden and Ukraine’s unsubstantiated role in the 2016 campaign.

Former National Security Council analyst Fiona Hill called the scheme a “domestic political errand.” Kansans and all Americans now know Pompeo was a key errand boy for the president.

More evidence may be forthcoming. On Friday, former National Security Adviser John Bolton mysteriously urged Americans to “stay tuned” for a “backstory.” Bolton and Pompeo feuded for months, and more details about that dispute may be revealed in the weeks ahead.

When reporters asked Pompeo about the impeachment hearings and Sondland’s testimony, they hit a dead end. “I didn’t see a single thing today. I was working,” the secretary of state said. “Sounds like you might not have been.”

Mike Pompeo should have no illusions. He can’t resign and return to Kansas and refuse to answer questions about his role in these events or his relationship with Trump. Kansans, regardless of party, will not support a candidate who puts the president’s political interests, or his own, above the nation’s.

Kansas is not a consolation prize. It’s not a fallback position or a Plan B. It isn’t a reset button. Kansas voters are as smart and as engaged as any in the nation.

Pompeo shouldn’t get a pass simply because he served in the Cabinet. While he is still viewed by many party leaders as Republicans’ best bet to hold onto Sen. Pat Roberts’ seat, Pompeo would enter a crowded GOP primary with a long list of tough questions to answer. Republicans will want to hear from the secretary’s opponents, and all Kansans will want a full debate if Pompeo is the GOP nominee.

The president has opened the door, Mr. Secretary. Come back to Kansas, if you want. But be prepared to explain yourself.

____

Topeka Capital-Journal, Nov. 23

If the stores we frequent are any indication, retailers have a definite idea of how we should celebrate the 2019 holiday season.

For Thanksgiving, there’s the perfect dinner table, stocked with enough savory and sweet delights to satisfy a small army. Every dish looks like a masterpiece, created with item after item that can only be purchased new, right now, from the bakery aisle.

For Christmas, there’s the iconic ceiling-scraping tree, surrounded by a groaning mountain of presents, wrapped in glittering metallic paper. And those presents — why, they’re all the latest, must-have technology of the season, of course. High-tech, high-priced and high-interest, they’re all there to unwrap greedily on Christmas morning.

And for the entire span, there are decorations and music galore, all signaling to the world that you are part of this festive celebration, this cavalcade of fun, this parade of excess.

Pardon our French, but phooey to all of that.

This holiday season, let’s focus on the things that we can’t buy. Let’s look to the special parts of our lives that we can’t find on a store shelf or through Amazon browsing. In short, let’s focus on the special people in our lives.

Ultimately, our family and friends and the web of relationships we sustain with them, are what give our lives meaning. Think about it: Is any experience really amazing unless it’s shared? And even if your loved one wasn’t physically present when something wonderful happened, didn’t you think about them and tell them about it afterward?

These people, these special folks, are why we celebrate holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas the way that we do. We give presents not because of the present, but because of the person receiving it. We slave over a Thanksgiving meal not because of the meat or carbs, but because of the people who will be sitting around the table enjoying the bounty with us.

Let these people in your life be your guide this season.

And if they’re not supportive or loving? If they complain or argue or stomp around? Perhaps they shouldn’t be placed at the center of your celebration. It’s not for nothing that younger people have been celebrating “Friendsgiving,” when those around the Thanksgiving table are dearest friends, not potentially squabbling relations.

However you arrange your celebrations this year, put people at the center. Not things. You can buy those anytime, for any potential event. But the people you know and treasure are precious. Our time with them isn’t infinite. Hold them close this year.

____

Salina Journal, Nov. 24

In the popular imagination, we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas at home. Our living rooms and kitchens are festooned with seasonal decorations and filled with the delectable smells of the season. We remember, as the saying goes, that home is where the heart is.

In reality, many of us head our onto the nation’s highways, packing SUVs full of irritated children and bulging suitcases, braving icy roads and wintry weather on multi-day treks across the country. Our hearts might not be in it, but the grandparents aren’t coming to us this year.

Allow us, then, the space for some irritating but needed advice.

Slow down, take your time, and be safe.

Your loved ones can wait an hour or two extra for your arrival. Your safety and security — and the safety and security of other drivers sharing the interstates with you — depend on it. Speeding, for example, while no doubt tempting as the children in the backseat start to throw Happy Meal toys at each other and sing Baby Shark at the top of their lungs, only increases the changes of a dangerous accident.

Here are some basic tips. Yes, they might be basic, but the basics matter in times like this.

• Make sure your route is planned and tested. Don’t try to cover too much ground during a day. Ensure that you’ve included time for bathroom and snack breaks.

• Get your rest the night before. If you plan to leave early, get to bed early. You can’t be a safe driver if you’re sleep deprived.

• Roll with the punches. If you encounter traffic snarls or the otherwise unexpected (one of your children starts throwing up for no apparent reason), be willing to change course and do what needs to be done. Trying to power through works on occasion, but not always.

• Make sure you have a road emergency kit packed. You can look online to figure out the best components, or simply visit your favorite big box store to examine the options. While you hope not to need road flares or blankets or jumper cables, you never know.

• Above all, and as we’ve already said, take your time. We are so often pressured to move more quickly. Don’t let the schedule get in your head. You will get there when you get there.

We can’t always avoid the hassle of holiday travel. But we can work to make it as smooth as possible. And you can always tell the grandparents they have to drive next year.

_____