Brownback Goes to Jail

With so many of his fellow Republicans behind bars, maybe Sen. Sam Brownback just wanted to see what it feels like to be in jail. The linked article suggests that Brownback wants to broaden his appeal to "values voters." Instead of obsessing about gay marriage and stem cells, Brownback is calling attention to the wasted potential of the people we lock away. Good for him.

The Kansas Republican plans to spend Friday night at Louisiana's notorious state penitentiary in Angola to highlight the problem of recidivism and programs that can help prisoners become law-abiding members of the community. ...

"There is a real need in our country to rebuild the family and renew our culture and there is a need for genuine conservatism and real compassion in the national discussion," Brownback said in a statement.

Rehabilitation is an odd issue for a Republican presidential candidate to embrace, given the party's "tough-on-crime" posturing during the last quarter century. Whether or not Brownback is serious in his belief that rehabilitation of offenders should be a goal embraced by the "culture of life," he deserves credit for advancing a humane position that his party usually ridicules.

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    My Dad always said ... (none / 0) (#1)
    by Sailor on Tue Dec 05, 2006 at 07:52:01 PM EST
    ... before you become a judge you need to spend a week in jail. (Obviously they don't know you're coming.)

    "Compass'te Conser'sm" worked in 2000... (none / 0) (#2)
    by Dr Octagon on Tue Dec 05, 2006 at 09:28:35 PM EST
    That and electoral fraud...

    Brownback may be attempting to establish a personality profile that appeals to moderates in preparation for a run in the Presidential primaries.  He wants to consolidate his Christofascist base with moderate Republicans who want someone (a) level-headed and (b) electable in a general election.

    Moderate Republicans cling to the notion that their candidates are electable because political conservatism can present a humane face.  Hence, they may be attracted to a "Compassionate Conservative"(TM) message in the primary.  Perhaps Brownback's visit to the prison is a calculated attempt to draw some of this vote away from more centrist Republican candidates.

    Didn't Bush spend a night in jail? (none / 0) (#3)
    by 1980Ford on Tue Dec 05, 2006 at 09:42:02 PM EST
    Not to mention having done coke then kicking up the sentences for doing it when he was Gov'nor. Not to mention loving his executions.

    That kind of compassionate conservatism?

    Who will fall for that again? They will.

    Heck (none / 0) (#7)
    by scarshapedstar on Wed Dec 06, 2006 at 12:35:28 AM EST
    George even got his girlfriend an abortion, just so he could be sure that it was evil.

    He is truly a man for all seasons.


    I think his angle is less compassionate... (none / 0) (#4)
    by Ernesto Del Mundo on Tue Dec 05, 2006 at 10:23:30 PM EST
    And more conservative, i.e., "we need to civilize the lower classes/races enough so that they can be nookular families. To do this we need to give them Jeeeesus..."

    I didn't see anything in the article about making college affordable or paying people a living wage. He appears to be yet another devout Republican disciple of Supply Side Jesus, hallelujah, amen.

    Nixon went to China (none / 0) (#5)
    by skreddy on Tue Dec 05, 2006 at 10:52:57 PM EST
    Brownback went to prison.

    I agree - it's a positive sign. Maybe some Dems can come out on these issues now that (and I never thought I'd use this phrase) Brownback has led the way.

    don't be fooled (none / 0) (#6)
    by sweatpants on Tue Dec 05, 2006 at 11:32:42 PM EST
    The following quote caught my attention:

    "to highlight... programs that can help prisoners become law-abiding members of the community."

    It seems to me to be nothing more than a publicity stunt which accomplishes two goals:  (1)he gets to promote faith based programs, aka religious proselytizing in jails paid for with our tax dollars, which appeals to his base, while (2)simultaneously giving the appearance of being compassionate, as though he truly is concerned about rehabilitation, which appeals to many voters across the political spectrum.

    Hey.... (none / 0) (#8)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 06, 2006 at 08:14:36 AM EST
    he could be proposing longer mandatory sentences, that's what politicians usually do when looking for votes.

    I'll take it....even if it's likely to be just talk, at least it's good talk.

    Cautiously optimistic (none / 0) (#9)
    by txpublicdefender on Wed Dec 06, 2006 at 01:55:59 PM EST
    My recollection of Brownback's record is that he is one who does try to apply his religious convictions across the board, and not just on the divisive social issues we're used to from the Christian right.  I'm interested to see where he goes from here.  I'd like to see some concrete proposals that indicate he is truly interested in alternatives to incarceration.  

    There is talk.... (none / 0) (#10)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 06, 2006 at 04:57:10 PM EST
    of the Christian right shifting from abortion and gays to the poor, the sick, the meek, abortion, and gays.

    I'd like to see that...at least we'd agree on some stuff.