The Buzz

TheChat: Pat Roberts says the country is headed for ‘national socialism’

Good morning.

“We have to change course because our country is heading for national socialism. That's not right. It's changing our culture. It's changing what we're all about.” — Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts this week in Dodge City discussing the country’s future under Democratic Party leadership.

Roberts’ campaign later clarified that the remark was meant in the context of expanding government and not Nazism, which the term “national socialism” sometimes refers to. Roberts’ opponent, independent Greg Orman, took exception to the statement. “This is exactly the kind of inflammatory rhetoric that dominates the partisan debate in Washington and that Kansans are tired of,” said Orman for Senate campaign Manager Jim Jonas.

“The Senate’s intellectual voltage would be increased by Orman’s election.” — conservative columnist George Will weighing in on the Kansas Senate race.

Will clearly was taken with Orman following a visit to Orman’s Shawnee office.

“Probably a C-plus.” — outgoing Missouri Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro evaluating her five-year tenure in the job.

Nicastro calls herself a tough grader. Critics would put her grade in the D range, citing the amount of turbulence during her years in office and her push to abolish Kansas City’s School Board. Others would be more positive. We know this: If Nicastro had had her way, the public school situation in Kansas City would be dramatically different today — and maybe not for the better. (link via

“Everybody wants things to get back to normal. But as somebody said the other week, normal got Mike Brown killed....Until you get some institutional and substantive change, this is the new normal in St. Louis.” — Umar Lee, a cab driver, who has protested the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson.

Lee’s point was that people who expect nighttime protests in the town to disappear are simply wrong. Ferguson officials this week made changes to the city’s Municipal Court system. That was in response to complaints that minor offenses were ensnaring too many poor people in a cycle of compounding fines and arrests.

“Are you at ease being seen as a war president, Mr. Obama?” — a reporter’s shouted question at the president who was at a meeting with his advisers in New York after announcing that a new war in Syria was underway.

Obama’s reaction was telling: He smiled, but did not answer, The Washington Post reported. As he’s done before, the president is employing measured tones to describe the extent of America’s involvement in the new conflict. In the Post’s words, he is “resolute, but not reckless.” This is not the focus he wanted his presidency to take.