This meat patty isn't talking about the hide-it-under-the-mattress spread on Alison Lohman, who looks like Lolita (she's 26), spooning with a teddy bear, wearing a see-through nightie and a pink thong, sucking seductively on a lollipop and drinking from a garden hose. No, the Strip is talking about what shows up 13 pages later: a portrait of Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline under the headline "This man will do anything to stop abortion." On the facing page, there's a fetus. (The Pitch has confirmed that it's not our ol' pal Jimmy.)
For eight and a half pages, GQ contributor Andrew Corsello laments the lack of civil discussion on the abortion topic. Oddly, so does Kline.
"The most frustrating part of my job is the cheapness of the public discourse when it comes to abortion, the way it drives the people who have public roles to extremes the fear it creates that you can't concede even an iota of reasonableness in any argument made by anyone on the other side," Kline says. "There's no room for doubt. It's all about who wins the argument, which is just moronic."
That hit the Strip like a cattle prod. As far as this pontificating porterhouse can tell, Kline has done his fair share of moronically advancing the arguments.
"This issue gets filtered through political and legal rather than moral prisms," Kline goes on to tell Corsello. "The trenches form and the assault on motivations begins. 'Oh, you're right-to-life? You're against the advancement of women.' Or 'Oh, you're for choice? You don't care about innocent human life.' Both are just dumb institutional arguments meant to frighten the bases and generate their economic support. But both arguments are false, not just for what they say but for what they promise implicitly: that we in government have the power to fix every problem, and this is one in particular. But we can't fix this problem. Not in any satisfactory way."
That hasn't stopped Kline from trying, though. In fact, the Strip heard him pretty enthusiastically firing up the ol' base on a radio program that's been airing throughout October on KCCV 92.3 (which bills itself as "Kansas City's Christian Voice"). Kline was the honored guest on a special 30-minute, commercial-free broadcast called "A Stand for Life in Kansas."
The hosts Dr. Bill Maier and John Fuller accused the judges on the Kansas Supreme Court of "moral cowardice" because they were taking so long to decide whether to allow Kline to subpoena women's medical records from abortion clinics. Maier and Fuller also played infamous tapes produced by the anti-abortion group Life Dynamics, in which a woman supposedly calls Planned Parenthood pretending to be a 13-year-old girl impregnated by a 22-year-old man and clinic workers tell her to stop talking or else they'll have to call the police. (Kline has claimed that Life Dynamics had nothing to do with his effort to catch older men impregnating teenage girls.)
But, Kline said on the program, "What follow-up is there in an abortion clinic? ... It is grab the check, leave the child behind." If that ain't a bee-yoo-ti-ful example of the sort of "cheap public discourse" Kline griped about to GQ, the Strip doesn't know what is.
Later, Focus chairman James Dobson dropped by the studio to visit with the "rabble-rousers." Dobson professed his "great love and respect for this man [Kline]." The adoration seemed to grow especially thick when Kline said his daughter, Hillary, was reclaiming her name for the Republican Party and that God had asked him to run for attorney general.
Maier and Fuller encouraged listeners to support Kline in his re-election bid, a topic that was only beginning to get some buzz because Democrats hadn't found a challenger. (More on that in a minute.)
Kline continued his media roll with a press conference on October 18. He fired back at critics this slab of meat among them who had wondered why, if he was so eager to catch child predators, he had subpoenaed the medical records of mostly grown women instead of going after men who'd gotten girls in trouble.
Now Kline had reporters and camera crews packed into his office to reveal some secret statistics to show that his office really had investigated 62 live births to girls under age 16 since 2003. Thirty of those cases, he said, involved children between 10 and 13 years old. Kline broke it down 30 cases were previously unreported, five resulted in convictions or plea bargains, nine were referred to prosecutors who declined to press charges, and three remain under investigation. The status of 13 cases is unknown, and two cases weren't tried because the couple married.
"I thought it appropriate in the light of what the coverage has been," he said of his predator-huntin' disclosure.
This meat patty was happy to finally know that Phill Kline cares about abused children as much as he cares about the safety and well-being of abortion-having women.
Other Kline watchers, however, were completely fed up with the attorney general.
Most notably: Johnson County District Attorney Paul Morrison, who announced last week that he was switching political parties from Republican to Democrat to run against Kline.
The defecting DA seemed ready for a slobberknocker of a campaign. At his own press conference on October 25, Morrison portrayed himself as an experienced lawman instead of a politician like Kline, a hands-on prosecutor as opposed to one who "just postures."
The Republican refugee said he would "uphold the laws of this state for everyone and not just pursue a narrow agenda that benefits the interests of only a few."
Kline's minions were busy passing out the attorney general's official statement suggesting that Morrison was soft-as-Charmin on crime: "I know that he's been frustrated for some time because I have opposed his efforts to let violent criminals back on our streets early."
Hmm. That sounded a lot like something the Strip had heard in the not-too-distant past. Something, come to think of it, out of the pages of GQ. Something about all those "dumb institutional arguments meant to frighten the bases."