The Buzz

TheChat: President Obama kicks around the idea of mandatory voting


Another week down the gullet.

▪ “It would be transformative if everybody voted — that would counteract money more than anything.” — President Barack Obama in Cleveland talking about the prospect of mandatory voting.

Obama has made health care mandatory, so why not voting? He pointed out that other countries have mandatory voting and that such a step is the best way to counteract the influence of big money in politics. What Obama didn’t say is that such a move would be hugely beneficial for Democrats, who tend to turn out in lower numbers than Republicans.

▪ “Obamacare is bad for the economy, it’s bad for employers and employees, and it’s bad for the doctor-patient relationship.” — Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, a Republican, railing on the Affordable Care Act Thursday.

Roberts said the most common complaint he hears from Kansans is higher premiums than they expected. The Congressional Budget Office predicts hikes of more than 8 percent a year through 2018.

▪ “What we’re doing is trying to provide our students with a foundation in civics education to make sure they understand how their government works so they’ll be active, participating citizens.” — Missouri state Sen. Ryan Silvey, a Kansas City Republican, on a bill that would require students to pass a civics test before they could graduate from high school.

The House has already given first-round approval to its version of the law.

▪ “Baseless.” — Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt on a prediction by New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas that New Mexico State’s basketball team would go to the NCAA’s Elite Eight.

If Balderas is right, New Mexico State, the 15th seed in the bracket, would have to plow through both No. 2 Kansas and No. 7 Wichita State. Schmidt doesn’t see that happening.