The Weekly Standard has a tremendous biography of Sen. Sam Brownback:
Leaving Building 4, Brownback goes to the spacious (9,167 square feet) Spiritual Life Center, recently built to accommodate a growing inmate demand for religious programs. On its website, the Kansas Department of Corrections describes the center as providing "opportunities for inmates from diverse faiths to develop and restore relationships with God, their families, and crime victims." In a conference room, Brownback engages a dozen inmates in an hour-long conversation about their post-prison hopes. He tells one who calls him "Mr. Brownback" to change that to "Sam." And "Sam" it is. To another prisoner he says, "Your experience sounds like my own. You don't recognize temptation when you should." A prayer by Brownback closes the meeting, and then the senator retraces his steps to Building 4 and then to G-pod, cell 42, where, locked down, he spends the night.
and . . .
Not limited government, but compassionate government is Brownback's chief preoccupation. His focus on compassion comes, he says, from his Christian faith--specifically from the Second Great Commandment, which is to love your neighbor as yourself. "I have that up on my office wall, on a page, framed," he says. Brownback points out that the First Great Commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind, and it is "love for the divine" that "animates and gives you love for others." Brownback often uses Biblical terms to refer to those in need--such as "widows and orphans," "the least of these," and "foreigner in the land."
and . . .
Brownback may be one of the few Republican politicians who believe that compassionate conservatism is still the ticket to the White House. National security issues are likely to remain dominant through 2008. And many conservatives are wary of compassionate conservatism, seeing it as a stimulus to government expansion and a seductive path to misguided policy. Brownback's "compassionate" position on immigration--he voted for the Senate bill, which would create a guest worker program and create a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants--has drawn fire from Republican colleagues in both the House and the Senate, and from publications like Human Events.
and . .
Along with that, he is an ardent humanitarian. Brownback has concentrated on the difficult situations in Iran, Afghanistan, Sudan, Uganda, the Congo, Pakistan, Ukraine, China, North Korea, and Vietnam. Arguably no senator has done more to press for human rights and democracy, or to confront the spread of deadly disease, such as malaria, which kills roughly 800,000 children in Africa every year. He has made a habit in this arena of cosponsoring laws with Democrats, teaming up, for example, with Evan Bayh on the Iran Democracy Act, Ted Kennedy on the North Korea Human Rights Act, and the late Paul Wellstone on the Trafficking in Victims Protection Act. According to his close friend and colleague Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Brownback knows that "if you get a few Democrats to work with you, you have a much better chance of getting something done."
and finally . . .
And Brownback's own take on what's ahead? "In 1980, the message and the moment and the person came together in Reagan," he told me over breakfast at K.C.'s Diner, across the street from the Ellsworth prison. "That's what's required for a presidential run. Maybe I get into it to develop this philosophy, to lay it out, like Reagan did [in 1976]. I'd say, 'I think this is the way we ought to go.' And if people aren't ready for it yet--well, that could be the case. Then four years later, they might say, 'That's exactly what we need to do.'" Brownback sounds like a man about to run, and prepared to run again.
Its a great article and I encourage everyone to go check it out. Brownback obviously fills a void on the right in the GOP primary. But I worry about his chances. If this were 8 years ago, his message might be playing much stronger. But the electorate has been hearing this for six years now from President Bush, and history has shown that Americans are likely looking for a different message. However it is clear that Sen. Brownback is a thoughtful, religious statesman who takes his job seriously and understands the good things people can do for each other. I'm not ready to jump on his bandwagon yet, but this article paints the pictureof an awfully humble, strong-willed, and decent man. Brownback is also, like myself, a conservative Catholic (he converted, with the help of Rick Santorum), so his form of evangalism is quite different from President Bush. He would be the fourth Catholic to run for president (Al Smith, JFK, John Kerry), and the first Republican one.
I am still a strong fan of John McCain. McCain's no-nonesense approach to Iraq, his proven pork fighting, and his strong fiscal conservatism is what I think this country needs right now, but Brownback could prove to be more than just "the right winger" in the GOP Primary. From this bio, its clear that in whatever role he has, Sam Brownback has much to offer the Republican Party and the country.
McCain-Brownback 08, anyone?
Kilo has more good thoughts on Brownback:
While I could support him wholeheartedly, I don't know if the electorate would follow. I do hope Brownback's views make some waves in the upcoming campaign. He will need a strong John Tester type grass roots to be successful. If this man gains the full support of the Christian right he will make some serious waves. Something to think about.