The Buzz

TheChat: Former Kansas Senate president regrets decision to trust Sam Brownback


Good morning.

▪ “I want to paraphrase what I remember from this conversation. Something to the effect of, ‘I know this bill would wreck the state, we can’t do it and bad policy.’ Those are probably not the exact words, but that’s the gist of what he was telling us.” — former Kansas Senate President Steve Morris on a deal he thought he had struck with Gov. Sam Brownback in 2012 on a tax-cut bill.

Morris, a moderate who was later ousted from office by Brownback allies, said the governor promised him the tax-cut bill then in the Senate would not be the final product. In a nod to a governor from his own party, Morris eventually passed the bill in the Senate, believing that the House would modify it. That didn’t happen. The tax-cut measure ultimately became the law that has so severely undermined state revenues today. Morris now admits that he made a big mistake trusting the governor.

▪ “I don’t want to be driving past that highway patrolman or walking past that corrections worker or any other state worker and know that I didn’t do everything in my power to stop myself being advantaged over them. They deserve this raise far more than we do.” — Missouri state Sen. Rob Schaaf, a St. Joseph Republican, on why he worked to halt a pay raise for state lawmakers.

After an early session battle, the pay raise proposal bit the dust.

▪ “We thought it was was possible. But it would be hard. Last time we had all the winds at our back and this would have been difficult, but absolutely doable.” — an adviser to Republican Mitt Romney on why the former Massachusetts governor ultimately pulled the plug on a third presidential run.

One factor: Jeb Bush had begun siphoning up money from former Romney donors. Another factor: 2016 would have been a tougher slog than 2012 given the quality of the candidates lining up to run.

▪ “I complain a lot and also have some solutions. I'm tired of just complaining and now ready to try to lead. Whether or not there is a market for me, I won't know until I try.” — South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham on his decision to set up a new political organization, which will allow him to raise money and hire a political staff as he weighs whether to officially run for president.

One candidate drops from the race, another steps forward. Graham remains a long shot, but appears determined to give 2016 a whirl.