The Buzz

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

Democrats challenge GOP on race

04/14/2014 6:00 AM

04/14/2014 7:28 AM

Trust me on this: It’s going to be get warmer, and the Royals are going to start winning:

• “The Republican base does have elements that are animated by racism.” — New York Congressman Steve Israel, a Democrat, Sunday on CNN's “State of the Union.”

Israel emphasized that not all Republicans are racist. But remarks like this cut to the core of a GOP image problem that needs to be addressed as the country shifts away from majority-white status. Responding effectively, though, is extremely difficult. Israel was answering a question about last week’s remarks by Attorney General Eric Holder who charged that congressional Republicans had treated him and President Barack Obama differently because of their skin color. That’s debatable. But this is political dynamite.

• “The door’s not going to open up to the African-American community, to the Hispanic community, until we have something to offer.” — Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul speaking about his Republican Party Saturday in New Hampshire.

Paul added that the GOP should care more about minorities being so overrepresented in prisons, too. Said Paul, “We’ve got to be concerned about people who may not be part of our group.” The senator is at least launching a conversation that all Republicans should embrace.

• “I cannot recall any politician asking us to pay any price, however small, or bear any burden, however light.” — former Missouri Sen. Jack Danforth, a Republican, speaking at his induction last week into the Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame at Missouri State University in Springfield.

Danforth was bemoaning the failure of our political leaders to ask citizens to sacrifice anything for the common good as President Kennedy once did. Instead, the message from our politicians so often is “pandering to self-interest,” Danforth said. In fact, he predicted that the mandate portion of Obamacare that pays for the program’s benefits would be repealed while the popular part of the law, the coverage of pre-existing conditions, would remain.

• “Well, I made it pretty clear that that really wasn't an option, to stay on.” — former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday when asked whether the president asked her to stay on the job.

Sebelius, a former Kansas governor, said she thought she should stay until the end of the administration in 2017 or leave with enough time left in Obama’s second term that he could attract a competent leader to the job. That, she said, is exactly what she did.

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