Happy end of the week. Here’s today’s chatter:
By STEVE KRASKE
The Kansas City Star
• “All these people who feel like he’s bullied and he’s put them in a horse-collar hold … will feel free to say, ‘See, I told you so.’” — one unnamed Republican who has worked with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie describing why so few Republicans have come to the governor’s aid in the wake of the “Bridge-gate” scandal.
This is an ugly controversy for Christie, particularly because it’s so easily understood. Now we’ll see what this guy is made of. If he handles it, his prospects soar for 2016. If he botches it, he tanks.
• “It will be very difficult to do this year because of the unpredictability of the federal plan and the instability of the plan.” — Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle, a Wichita Republican, discounting the prospects of Kansas expanding Medicaid this year.
No surprise there. The conservative Kansas Legislature wouldn’t dream of expanding Medicaid and cooperating with President Obama on his health care plan, which remains wildly unpopular in the state. They most certainly wouldn’t do it in an election year when lawmakers fear primary challengers. Take this one off the Legislature’s to-do list for 2014.
• “No matter how you look at it, victims could not feel completely comfortable with reporting these crimes.” — Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, talking about sexual-assault in the military and explaining why Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin, the commander of the Third Air Force in Europe and a three-star general, had to step down.
McCaskill, who has championed ways to make the military a safer place for women, had repeatedly urged the Air Force to remove Franklin. The general’s decision to grant clemency to a fighter pilot convicted of sexual assault sparked a national debate over whether military leaders were taking the issue seriously. McCaskill has worked to pass into law legislation that curtailed the authority of military commanders to dismiss jury convictions against sex offenders.
• “His willingness to burn the house down unless 100 percent of his demands are met scares me.” — Kent Roth, an Ellinwood lawyer, announcing plans to run against Kansas Congressman Tim Huelskamp in the August Republican primary.
Earlier this week, it was a Democrat announcing plans to run against the conservative Huelskamp. Now it’s a fellow Republican. Roth was a state lawmaker back in the ‘70s and early ‘80s, but he’s got a long way to go against an entrenched incumbent. Still, it’s clear that Huelskamp is frustrating a portion of his constituency, and the price he’s paying for that is primary and general-election opposition.