The Buzz

November 21, 2013

BuzzChatter Thursday: Obama says GOP invested in failure

The recollections of long-time Capitol Hill Fix-It Man Bobby Baker are published

The Buzz

The facts, faces and hum of local politics with Steve Kraske and Dave Helling

• “One of the problems we’ve had is one side of Capitol Hill is invested in failure.” — President Barack Obama at a Wall Street Journal forum blaming Republicans for refusing to aid the rollout of Obamacare.

Hard to argue with the president on this point. It’s difficult to describe the ongoing GOP criticism as constructive when the party appears bent on wiping out the program altogether.

• “The polls all show that when you shift the conversation from `support or oppose’ to ‘fix versus repeal,’ Democrats have the advantage.” — Matt Canter, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which is preparing to launch a new campaign designed to refocus the debate on the Republican kill-it-at-any-cost position on Obamacare.

Democrats say that while the new health care program is flawed, Republicans are going too far by calling for its repeal and a return to the old system, which exposed many Americans to financial calamity over their lack of coverage. The Democrats will call for repairing the new law and are betting that that position will prove appealing to voters.

• “The time we have to provide some certainty to Missouri’s farmers and ranchers is running out.” — Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill on the need to pass a farm bill in the next 40 days or face the possibility of dramatically higher prices for dairy products and the lack of financial protection from natural disasters for farmers.

This isn’t the first time the Missouri Democrat has issued such a warning. The Senate has passed a farm bill, but the House locked up on it before it split the measure into two separate pieces and passed them individually. The bill now resides in a House-Senate conference committee. The deadline is Dec. 31.

• Quotes from recordings that long-time Washington insider Bobby Baker made about his sensational Capitol Hill dealings 50 years ago. Politico published

excerpts from the recordings this week:

“So as a consequence, Walter Reuther, probably because of his cash contributions, had a minimum of 20 senators that would vote any way he wanted.” (Reuther was the long-time head of the United Autoworkers.

“He never saw a $100 bill he didn’t like.” (Baker on Senate Republican Leader Everett Dirksen of Illinois).

“Had it had a roll-call vote, Bobby Kennedy would have never been attorney general.” (Baker describing the voice vote that allowed Bobby Kennedy to win Senate confirmation as the nation’s top law-enforcement official).

“Senator (Estes) Kefauver (a Tennessee Democrat) had a drinking problem. He smelled like booze all the time, but he was not a mean man. His staff loved him.”

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