It’s telling that Sam Brownback needed the tie-breaking vote of the vice president in order to be confirmed to his new position as ambassador at large for international religious freedom. The Kansas governor couldn’t muster a single Democratic vote despite serving in Congress for sixteen years, including more than fourteen in the U.S. Senate. His difficulties were noticed back home:
In Topeka, some lawmakers reacted with surprise that Brownback’s cloture vote had become a nail-biter.
“He had been there with that group for years and you would have thought he would have had more of a broad base unless it’s turned over that much in six or eight years,” state Sen. John Skubal, R-Overland Park, said.
The Republican legislature in Kansas felt compelled to rescind Brownback’s notorious tax cuts last year after they failed to create the money he promised and left a smoking crater of a budget for the lawmakers to navigate. That’s probably why Brownback cites his anti-abortion policies as his greatest legacy from two terms in office. He also, famously, did away with anti-discrimination protections for LGBT state employees, so he’s compiled a record on looking out for oppressed minorities. It’s not a good record, but it’s a record.
…Brownback will oversee the country’s advocacy for religious minorities in areas of religious conflict and oppression around the globe. The position, which is based in Washington, D.C., was established in 1998.
Since Chris Christie has already left office, Brownback is the most unpopular governor in the country. When he hands over the reins later today to Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, a lot of Kansans, including Republicans, will be celebrating.
That doesn’t bode well for Brownback’s prospects as an ambassador for our country or for the world’s religiously oppressed people. So it goes.