The Buzz

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

BuzzChatter Wednesday: Wisconsin congressman, a Republican, says his party is made up of knuckle-draggers

12/17/2013 4:50 PM

12/17/2013 4:50 PM

Here’s what the right honorables had to say Tuesday:

• “We can come across as knuckle-dragging Neanderthals on occasion.” — Wisconsin Congressman Sean Duffy, a Republican, on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Don’t blame me; I’m just repeating what Duffy said. Duffy was complaining about his party’s sometimes “abrasive tone.” He said his party needs to do more to “reach out to people in need and let them know how the GOP ideology can help them.” Duffy is right. Republicans too often allow mean-spiritness to get in the way of good politics, which is Duffy’s point.

• “It increases spending by $60 billion over the next two years but promises to pay for it with cuts over the next 10 [years] — something that we know Congress never gets back to actually carrying out.” — Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a possible GOP contender for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.

Rubio is probably right. But politics is outweighing more practical concerns as the Senate gears up to most likely approve the agreement on Wednesday. The politics: The GOP got whacked in the polls when it shut down the government this year, and leaders are determined to avoid that pitfall heading into a midterm election year. In theory, the party that doesn’t control the White House picks up a bunch of seats in these off-year elections, and GOP leaders don’t want to step on that likelihood. So they won’t stop this budget from passing.

• “We need a good, public debate on this.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to reporters Tuesday where he expressed a willingness to consider legislation that would rein in the National Security Agency’s collection powers.

The Senate is trying to navigate between a flurry of judicial rulings on all sides of the NSA issue. California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said it’s time for the Supreme Court to weigh in, and that may be where this issue winds up.

• “Miss Kelly is correct. Santa was a white person. Does it matter? No, it doesn’t.” — Bill O’Reilly defending Megyn Kelly’s controversial comments about St. Nick being a white guy.

OMG. Leave it to O’Reilly to stir this silly issue up all over again. Folks, it doesn’t matter whether Kelly is right or not. It shouldn’t be an issue to begin with. THAT’S the point.

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