The Buzz

BuzzChatter Thursday: Obama’s new man in the White House steps in it

Welcome to Thursday and another batch of delightful political rhetoric:

• “Mr. Podesta’s comment is despicable. Any man who is so historically ignorant as to compare millions of Americans who cherish freedom with the macabre and mass suicide at Jonestown is unqualified to hold any position of authority. We recommend Mr. Podesta read a book on basic American history.” — Jenny Beth Martin, co- founder of Tea Party Patriots, responding to White House Counselor John Podesta’s comparison of those running one of the houses of Congress with the Jonestown cult.

Touche, Ms. Martin. Here’s John Podesta’s quote in Politico: “They (the Obama team) need to focus on executive action given that they are facing a second term against a cult worthy of Jonestown in charge of one of the houses of Congress.” To say that Podesta was out of line is accurate. He apologized later Wednesday.

• “For those who do qualify for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the help is not enough for them to get back on their feet.” — Karen Wulfkuhle, executive director of United Community Services in Lenexa.

Wulfkuhle told the Topeka Capital-Journal that poverty was rising in Kansas, and the burden on the poor was only magnified by the overhaul of TANF rules that resulted in reduced or denied services. TANF is a program aimed at helping the poor achieve self-sufficiency. Gov. Sam Brownback will have to answer to this in his re-election campaign.

• “We’ve been working really hard. To hear what Boehner said was very upsetting. But from what I hear, more and more conservatives are coming out of the woodwork. Instead of pushing us back, he has just unleashed us.” — Linda Weeks, a tea partier talking recently to a Washington Post reporter in Greenville, S.C.

Weeks was referring to House Speaker John Boehner’s comments last week slamming conservative groups for opposing the bipartisan budget deal, saying they had “lost all credibility.” She and other conservatives aren’t buying new polls showing tea partiers losing popularity. But if the U.S. House and its vote on the bipartisan budget bill is any barometer, the tea party has lost a lot of ground since the last government shutdown. And it faces a long road back.

• “We’re not saying the struggle against terrorism is over or it has declined to such an extent that we can dismantle the mechanisms we have put in place to defend the country. What we are saying is those mechanisms can be more transparent. They can have more outside oversight and judicial oversight.” — Richard Clarke, a counterterrorism adviser in the Clinton White House.

Clarke also was a member of a panel President Obama appointed to review U.S. surveillance practices. The committee released a report on Wednesday, and members were concerned that the changes they’ve proposed are so sweeping that some would conclude they were placing national security at risk.