The Buzz

TheChat: Kansas Senate President Wagle emerges as legislative whiz


Here we go...

▪ “She’s as good as anybody I’ve ever seen about persuading somebody on the fence to vote a certain way.” — Tim Shallenburger, a former speaker of the Kansas House and now Gov. Sam Brownback’s legislative liaison, speaking about Kansas state Senate President Susan Wagle.

In a profile in The Wichita Eagle, reporter Bryan Lowry characterizes Wagle as having emerged as “one of the shrewdest politicians in the state, pulling off political victories in seemingly no-win situations.” She’ll need all of that magic this year as the Legislature confronts massive budget deficits.

▪ “Unfortunately, President Obama has shown the American people that they are not his priority.” — Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican, on President Barack Obama’s announcement Tuesday that he would veto a bill approving construction of the Keystone Pipeline.

Well, Republicans finally succeeded in smoking out the president on where he stands on this very controversial environmental issue. Obama had steadfastly refused to take a position until Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski introduced a bill to force construction. Obama’s spokesman insisted his opposition wasn’t based on the bill’s merits, but on the process Republicans were using to push the measure. Whatever. Obama was under enormous pressure to oppose this thing.

▪ “Most hardworking Missourians don’t get automatic pay raises, and members of Congress shouldn’t either.” — Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill announcing Tuesday that she had re-introduced a bill that would end automatic pay raises for members of Congress.

This will play well in Sikeston...and St. Joseph...and Harrisonville.

▪ “Being in politics today often seems like being in the middle of the worst divorce you’ve ever seen, every day.” — Mike Rogers, a Republican and former Michigan congressman.

In a piece for Politico, Rogers offered advice as he leaves office after 14 years. One idea: Members should spend more time governing, meaning they should spend more time on Capitol Hill. He noted that he found the level of pettiness and “small-minded meanness” disheartening.

▪ “It’s fair to say that Jeb’s views on foreign policy are still in some level of formation. He’s a former governor and he doesn’t have foreign policy experience that people can easily point to.” — Ari Fleischer, a former spokesman for the George W. Bush White House.

Jeb Bush’s challenge is clear when it comes to foreign policy: He’ll have to support his brother’s more popular ideas from his eight years in the White House while trying to find a way to separate himself from those that weren’t so popular. One of those is the war in Iraq. “A lot of things in history change over time. I think people will respect the resolve that my brother showed, both in defending the country and the war in Iraq,” Bush told CNN in March 2013.

▪ “Taking significant amounts of carbon out of our economy without harming its vibrancy is exactly the sort of challenge at which California excels. This is exciting, it is bold and it is absolutely necessary if we are to have any chance of stopping potentially catastrophic changes to our climate system.” — California Gov. Jerry Brown announcing sweeping plans to cut his state’s energy consumption over the next 15 years.

Brown, 76, set the goal as he was sworn into his record fourth term as governor. He told a joint session of the Legislature that he wants to slash gas consumption from cars and trucks by as much as half.