Kansas governor Laura Kelly, a Democrat running for reelection, released an ad last week saying, “You have seen my opponent’s attacks. So let me just say it: Of course men should not play girls sports. Okay, we all agree there.”
“The ad is an attempt at defensive culture war politics — and also brazenly dishonest and cynical,” editor Rich Lowry wrote in “National Review.” “As Kelly demonstrates, some Democrats feel compelled to say such things, but these kinds of assurances generally aren’t forthcoming from the national Democratic Party.”
Kelly vetoed bills in both 2021 and 2022 to keep males from competing in girls’ sports. The bills passed the Kansas legislature handily, and the Senate voted earlier this year to override her veto 28–10 (the House failed to override by three votes). Her campaign still has an online petition against the bill, calling it “hateful, discriminatory legislation.” It is allegedly “a direct attack on Kansans across the state — from the student athletes who are being discriminated against to the communities harmed by potential economic repercussions.”
Forced to square her ad with the vetoes and her past rhetoric, she has resorted to unpersuasive parsing. Incredibly enough, she is trying to argue that her ad was only talking about “a male over the age of 18” trying to compete in sports with younger girls — something that no one supports. A spokesperson for Kelly said, “These decisions should be made by medical professionals, school officials, families and local jurisdictions — not politicians.”
“The problem, though, is that the purveyors of trans-radicalism are so determined — and have such an ability to cajole and cow any institution or official who is not a committed opponent of the agenda — that the only reliable vehicle for pushing back is the political process,” Lowry said. “Conservatives are right to agitate for rules against males distorting and demeaning girls’ sports — and to make Democrats defend the indefensible.”
Kelly came out with her ad under pressure from her Republican opponent Derek Schmidt, who has been hitting the issue hard. He appeared at a news conference with Riley Gaines, a University of Kentucky swimmer who lost to Lia Thomas in the NCAA finals. Gaines also was featured in a spot from the Republican Governors Association.
“With Kelly, it’s not even a matter of `watch what she does, not what she says,’” Lowry said. “Prior to her TV spot, she wasn’t even saying the right thing. She clearly knows she’s vulnerable, which is why she took the radical measure of saying out loud something that most people believe. That she could bring herself to say this only in the final weeks of a close reelection race really tells you all you need to know.”
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice