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Houge GOP ag bill funds lunch for Palinesque rural kids but tells dusky urban kids to forage for selves
The Upshot:
Who Will Win The Senate? According to our statistical election-forecasting machine, the Democrats have a slight edge, with about a 59% chance of retaining a majority.
Last update was Tuesday. Still pretty close, but no slam dunk for R's.

EJ Dionne on reform conservatives:

Today’s reform conservatives are operating in a much more constrained environment. They are reacting against the Tea Party’s extreme opposition to government. But they are also limited by an increasingly conservative Republican primary electorate, the shift in the GOP’s geographical center of gravity toward the South, and a rightward drift within the business community. As long as these boundaries on their thinking hold, it is unlikely that they will leave behind as many policy monuments as the earlier Constructive Republicans did.

There is another constraint as well: While it is an article of faith among conservatives that Barack Obama has pursued a left-wing agenda—to keep themselves safely inside the right-wing tent, the reform kind typically pander to anti-Obama feeling as much as anyone—Obama has taken up many ideas that might otherwise be ripe for Reformicon picking.

Example number one is paradoxical: the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the chief object of Republican scorn. Its much-maligned complexity is built around ideas that had their origins on the right and are designed to keep the private market in health insurance intact. Had Obama supported a single-payer system or an otherwise more government-oriented plan, one could imagine reform conservatives endorsing something that looked like Obamacare—which is exactly what Mitt Romney did in Massachusetts. It’s something progressives need to think about: In trying to be practical, moderate, and reasonable, liberals themselves may have helped to shrink the philosophical space in which policies are formulated and arguments are carried out.

Jennifer Rubin wastes a lot of time and space asking
Why selective coverage [of scandals] from the mainstream media?
What makes her Jennifer Rubin is her inability to grasp the obvious. Understanding that IRS isn't a scandal but the VA is, is a key test. Spoiler: she fails.

More politics and policy below the fold.

Michael Hirsh on the Tim Geithner-Larry Summers rivalry:

What is new and startling is the sheer number of the fights that occurred between the administration’s two top economic policy-makers, as well as the acerbity of their rivalry.  Geithner gives accounts of the chronic policy disagreements between them over the “Buffett Rule,” a proposal to tax very rich individuals, which Geithner supported and Summers thought was “gimmicky”; over the “Volcker Rule,” the curb on risky bank trading that Geithner came to warily endorse but Summers thought a “stupid and craven concession to populism”; and over nationalizing the banks (Summers thought it wasn’t a bad idea, while Geithner hated it). What emerges is a portrait of two men struggling for power and influence but also in a state of constant strife over ideas. In general, Summers is more of a progressive about changing Wall Street and tackling health care and other aspects of the ailing economy—one reason he left the administration in 2010 was that he saw Obama bowing to GOP demands for austerity at a time when more stimulus was needed, friends say—while Geithner is more the pure crisis manager, monomaniacally convinced that the economy can come back only if Wall Street does.
Two from Greg Sargent:
Republicans getting away with utter gibberish on Obamacare
which pretty much says it all. And:
Word has it that Democrats are set to take a shellacking in the 2014 elections, in part because midterm electorates tend to be older and whiter. So what if Dems campaigned on expanding Social Security, rather than allowing themselves to get drawn into another debate over how much to cut the program?

There’s a hook for this looming: The coming battle over disability insurance, which is a part of Social Security.

Paul Waldman:
The difference in lifetime use between the different age groups are small, all around or above 50 percent (though recent use drops off quickly after the mid-20s). All, that is, except for people over 65, only 15 percent of whom have ever tried cannabis.

Which makes perfect sense when you consider that it wasn't until the 1960s that it became a common part of youth culture. Your average 80-year-old Republican voter never smoked pot because they never encountered it as a young person. In a few years though, as more Baby Boomers enter retirement and more pre-Boomers die, that bar will probably rise to the same level as the others. And that's when even Republican candidates will answer the pot query by saying, "Yeah, I did it when I was young. Next question?"

marijuana use by age cohort
Infectious disease expert Ian Lipkin on MERS:
The rise in the reported number of MERS cases in the United States, Asia and Europe has fueled concern that this may be the big one: the 21st century equivalent of the 1918 influenza pandemic that killed 3% to 5% of the world population.

Concern is appropriate, because the coronavirus responsible for MERS can evolve to become more potent public health threats. However, I don't yet see evidence that will happen.

Diane E. Meier and Health Affairs on the difficulty doctors face when communicating with terminally ill patients:
I called him, and after an exchange of pleasantries, I got down to the matter at hand: “What are you hoping we can accomplish with this treatment?”

After a brief pause, he confessed what I suspected: that it wouldn’t help her.

I struggled for a response. “Would you want me to encourage her to go ahead with it anyway?” I asked.

After another pause, this one longer and more awkward than the last, he told me that he didn’t want her to think he was abandoning her.

His comment struck me. For years I had tried to understand why so many of my colleagues persisted in ordering tests, procedures and treatments that seemed to provide no benefit to patients and even risked harming them. I didn’t buy the popular and cynical explanation: Physicians do this for the money. It fails to acknowledge the care and commitment that these same physicians demonstrate toward their patients.

Originally posted to Greg Dworkin on Wed May 21, 2014 at 04:21 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The IRS is a scandal (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude, JJ In Illinois, Vetwife

    And the latest round of emails prove it.

    •  Lois Lerner should be behind bars (0+ / 0-)

      But with the White House's puppet Eric Holder in charge of the DOJ, absolutely nothing will be done.

      The Assistant Attorney General who heads up the division assigned this case couldn't even tell Congress last week who was working on it, if anyone at all.

      But, hey.. we still have the most transparent administration in history, right?

      •  What did Lois Lerner do (23+ / 0-)

        to make you think she should be behind bars?  You don't know?  That's because she hasn't said anything about what's being called an IRS "scandal" (so-called because one political party doesn't like how the agency handled the 504(c)(4) applications), having invoked her fifth amendment rights, and all.

        If George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and the banksters on Wall Street aren't in jail, this country has far higher priorities more important than Lois Lerner in our desire for justice.

        "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing" - Edmund Burke

        by SueDe on Wed May 21, 2014 at 05:00:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You haven't read the new emails, I take it? (0+ / 0-)

          They are all being released...

          And she speaks through them.

          And they indicate the targeting of Tea Party groups was coordinated from DC, not Cincinnati or other offices.

          She was also seeking DOJ to get involved because putting someone in jail from a conservative organization would create an example.

          •  sounds old news (20+ / 0-)

            right wing Sep 13, 2013 claims:

            Emails show IRS’ Lois Lerner specifically targeted tea party
            been there, done that. But you'd have to read the Blaze or National review to keep up to date.

            "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" — Upton Sinclair

            by Greg Dworkin on Wed May 21, 2014 at 05:26:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  And the evidence keeps mounting (0+ / 0-)

              The technique used by the White House (and you here) is that it is old news, and thus worthless.

              Old or new, it is still incriminating.  But, as I said above, nothing will come of it because DOJ will sweep it under the rug.  

              And one more freedom will be lost.  Americans can no longer count on a government not targeting them - be it the IRS screwing you over because of your political affiliation, the NSA collecting your heretofore Constitutionally protected private data, or even being a drone target.

              •  I've kind of stopped paying attention to this (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Sylv, askew, wintergreen8694, FogCityJohn

                How does these new emails tie in to the evidence that it wasn't only conservative or Tea Party groups that were targeted, but any that sounded political, include Progressive and liberal groups?

                The Empire never ended.

                by thejeff on Wed May 21, 2014 at 05:48:23 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  There is no "evidence".. (0+ / 0-)

                  The so-called "evidence" that progressive groups were targeted as much or even more is simply the number of progressive sounding keywords on the “Be On the Look Out” keywords lists, or BOLO lists.

                  First off, those progressive keywords were mostly on lists marked "historical" and were likely on there pre-2010 - perhaps from Bush admin days (we don't know).

                  But, there is no evidence progressive groups were actually targeted.  Their applications sailed through the IRS.  7 "progressive" groups received extra scrutiny for non-political reasons, but were approved.

                  Over 100 Conservative groups had applications that were held up or screwed around with requiring years in some cases and having to submit to silly questionnaires, etc.

                  IRS agents have testified that no progressive groups were referred for further scrutiny.  So, those keywords on target lists are meaningless if they are never acted upon.

                  •  is BOLO an NSA program? (nt) (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    JJ In Illinois

                    (The above was probably snark, for the snark challenged) (The below was actually said by George W Bush in a press conference) I'm kind of stalling for time here...They told me what to say. George W Bush, 03-21-2006 10:00 EST Press Conference

                    by Tamifah on Wed May 21, 2014 at 08:09:14 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  see links (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:




                    hard to have a rational conversation from someone who gets their facts from Fox and like minded sites. And asserts that it's simply known and unarguable that tea party and only tea party was targeted (it's not and they weren't).

                    Sounds like a lot of astroturf to protect Crossroads, AFP, and other social organizations that have nothing to do with politics. No, really,they're just social organizations.

                    "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" — Upton Sinclair

                    by Greg Dworkin on Wed May 21, 2014 at 09:32:04 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You are linking to the same think I refuted (0+ / 0-)

                      Your first link simply states there were more "progressive" keywords on the BOLA list.  Yes.. but they were not acted upon.

                      Having progressive keywords on a list does not mean "targeted" if none of those groups were ever given extra scrutiny.

                      I don't know how much more clear that can be.

                      Produce the list of targeted progressive groups, please.  But, you can't.

                  •  more weigel (so we are clear) (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    But here we find the switcheroo. We're no longer talking about, say, the Cherokee County, Georgia, Tea Party and its desire to hold weekly meetings. We're talking about American Crossroads, a massively funded and explicitly political group trying to pose as "educational" in order to protect donor names. American Crossroads and affiliates has gone out of its way to defeat "Tea Party" candidates. Suddenly, the fact that Carl Levin wanted the IRS to enforce its muddled rules about politics and 501 status is scandal fodder.

                    "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" — Upton Sinclair

                    by Greg Dworkin on Wed May 21, 2014 at 09:35:23 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  C'mon man (0+ / 0-)

              You know better than that. They did target conservative groups and she lied about it. What's behind all that is the question.

              •  not really (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                A series of IRS documents, provided to ThinkProgress under the Freedom of Information Act, appears to contradict the claims by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and his House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that only Tea Party organizations applying for tax-exempt status “received systematic scrutiny because of their political beliefs.” The 22 “Be On the Look Out” keywords lists, distributed to staff reviewing applications between August 12, 2010 and April 19, 2013, included more explicit references to progressive groups, ACORN successors, and medical marijuana organizations than to Tea Party entities.
                Date is April 23, 2014.


                Please link to what you insist to be true. And explain exactly what the scandal is, because 1. IRS did not just target tea party groups. 2. those claiming exemption because they are social organizations and not political organizations should be required io prove it.

                "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" — Upton Sinclair

                by Greg Dworkin on Wed May 21, 2014 at 09:20:17 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  this summary is from may 14 (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                and follows the release of more emails via Judicial watch FOIA.

                it's by weigel and seems a fair summary:

                If you had to sum up the original outrage, it was something like: The politicized Obama administration targeted Tea Party groups and denied them tax exemption in an onerous process. One year later, that narrative has not hung together, so the story has evolved. Now, Democrats—including Obama—complained to the IRS that large organizations like Americans for Prosperity were using the penumbra of campaign finance law to flood the airwaves with ads. Also, IRS agents were aware of this, and acted accordingly. Presto: a war on conservatives.

                so, remind me, who lied abut what, exactly? I lost that sub-thread.

                Interestingly when you actually try to search for this stuff as a current topic, it's mostly or RW blogs.

                "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" — Upton Sinclair

                by Greg Dworkin on Wed May 21, 2014 at 09:28:20 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm not a journalist (0+ / 0-)

                  but I can read. Perhaps you can reconcile these statements and emails?

                  First we have Lerner planting the question (which is dishonest) to pre empt the IG report:


                  And her misleading statement on what took place:


                  So our line people in Cincinnati who handled the applications did what we call centralization of these cases. They centralized work on these in one particular group. They do that for efficiency and consistency  — something we do whenever we see an uptick in a new kind of application or something we haven’t seen before.

                  "They used names like Tea Party or Patriots and they selected cases simply because the applications had those names in the title. That was wrong, that was absolutely incorrect, insensitive, and inappropriate -- that's not how we go about selecting cases for further review."

                  So I guess my bottom line here is that we at the IRS should apologize for that, it was not intentional, and as soon as we found out what was going on, we took steps to make it better and I don’t expect that to reoccur.

                  But between 2010 and 2012, we started seeing a very big uptick in the number of 501(c)(4) applications we were receiving, and many of these organizations applying more than doubled, about 1500 in 2010 and over 3400 in 2012.

                  So she didn't know about it, it was inappropriate, isolated to Cincinnati, due to an unprecedented rise in applications, she read about it in the paper, and she is sorry.

                  And here:

                  Acting Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Steven Miller revealed Wednesday that officials had identified two "rogue" employees that were responsible for subjecting Tea Party groups to extra scrutiny in their requests for tax-exempt status


                  In a February 2011 email, Ms. Lerner advised her staff—including then Exempt Organizations Technical Manager Michael Seto and then Rulings and Agreements director Holly Paz—that a Tea Party matter is "very dangerous," and is something "Counsel and [Lerner adviser] Judy Kindell need to be in on." Ms. Lerner adds, "Cincy should probably NOT have these cases."
                  Tea party cases under review are "being supervised by Chip Hull at each step," Ms. Paz wrote to Ms. Lerner in a February 2011 email. "He reviews info from TPs, correspondence to TPs etc. No decisions are going out of Cincy until we go all the way through the process with the c3 and c4 cases here."
                  And here July 2012:
                  EOT is working the Tea party applications in coordination with Cincy.

                  and to quote notorious RW blog Politifact:

                  Griffin said there was no surge in 501(c)(4) applications in 2010, and the numbers from the IRS back him up. The timeline in the Inspector General’s audit shows that the selective treatment of groups based on their ties to the tea party movement began before any rise in the IRS workload.
                  So the IRS did coordinate the effort to examine tea party and related applications, and it was directed from DC office not from Cincinnati and certainly not by two "rogue agents". Lerner knew and was involved way before her May 2013 comment about learning about it in the news. It was intentional and not some accident as she claimed. The rise in applications began AFTER the tea party and related applications were put under special scrutiny.

                  And as for the equal treatment of liberal groups that simply is not the case:

                  The list given out by the IRS uses historical listings and only shows data up to 2012. The examinations of liberal groups between It also directly contradicts the above noted emails. More importantly those applications were NOT handled by a specific unit in DC to give them extra scrutiny and causing years of delays. The front line agents examined those other cases and used their augment in a timely manner.

                  Noted RW blog NPR:

                  That is, when the IRS sent groups letters asking for further information, conservative groups were asked more questions — on average, three times more. All of the groups with "progressive" in their name were ultimately approved, while only 46 percent of conservative groups won approval. Others are still waiting for an answer or gave up.
                  And notorious RW blog The Washington Post  The Washington Post gave Lerner four Pinocchio's.

                  So in any logical sense the IRS did target conservative applications, treated them differently based on their political/philosophical orientation, and lied about it.

                  •  your interpretation (0+ / 0-)

                    sorry, weak tea here. You've weaving together an interp of your own, calling it proof.

                    Just one example:

                    NPR, for example that you provided to bolster your case, is citing Issa, a notorious and proven serial exaggerator, and no doubt they report what Issa says but that doesn't make it true or established. Sander Levin actually notes that in the piece. Nothing wrong with NPR's reporting, because the House report is accurately cited. But you can't cite it and say "see? even NPR says...". NPR says that Sander Levin says this is a crock.

                    And so on.

                    The claim is made that tea party folks were targeted. So what? The claim is that it's because tea party organizations were gaming the system.

                    I have no love for Lerner.  But ultimately, you're relying on House Rs for your hit pieces.

                    Weigel has it right. You have it wrong. A year later there's no "there" there, no scandal, no meat to go with the potatoes.

                    "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" — Upton Sinclair

                    by Greg Dworkin on Wed May 21, 2014 at 04:32:55 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Facts, not interpretations. (0+ / 0-)

                      Again, a simple question you refused to answer: how do you reconcile what the IRS officials (Lerner, Miller, Hull said publicly and what the emails actually reveal? There is a blatant discrepancy between what they (and you) claim versus what is stated in those emails. The times, the dates, the rationale, the people involved, the discovery, are all dishonestly represented. Lerner and Miller lied. You have NOT refuted that fact. That is borne out by the emails - that they hid for a year- thus your first claim of "old news".

                      As for the NPR report they did report what the committee found, not some wild claim by Issa. You can read the report instead of making your own off base interpretations. The report clearly states that

                      only seven applications in the IRS backlog contained the word “progressive.” and all of them were then approved by the IRS, while Tea Party groups received unprecedented review and experienced years-long delays.
                      If you have proof to contrary then please present it.

                      The emails show that the conservative applications were shuttled off to a special unit and delayed for years. Again you haven't refuted that. Instead of relying on the committee or NPR you can rely on this:

                      The IG report found :

                      The IRS  

                      “did not find evidence that the criteria [Democrats] identified, labeled ‘Progressives,’ were used by the IRS to select potential political cases during the 2010 to 2012 timeframe we audited.”  He concluded that TIGTA “found no indication in any of these other materials that ‘Progressives’ was a term used to refer cases for scrutiny for political campaign intervention.”8
                      USA Today analyzed the backlog cases:
                      "More than 80% of the organizations on the 2011 "political advocacy case" list were conservative, but the effort to police political activity also ensnared at least 11 liberal groups as of November 2011, including Progressives United, Progress Texas and Delawareans for Social and Economic Justice."

                      USA Today again:

                      As applications from conservative groups sat in limbo, groups with liberal-sounding names had their applications approved in as little as nine months. With names including words like "Progress" or "Progressive," the liberal groups applied for the same tax status and were engaged in the same kinds of activities as the conservative groups.
                      As for them "gaming the system" - perhaps some where. But simply targeting ALL conservative applications based solely on their politics (or the politics of a liberal Senator) is a violation of the IRS code and a serious infringement on free speech.

                      And finally what proof do you have anyone gamed the system? Who was gaming the system?When? How did the IRS handle that. And how does that excuse targeting any and all applications by one side of the political spectrum?  

                      This is quite simply Nixonian. That so many here defend this is unbelievable. Just reverse the party affiliates and judge the issue objectively.  

                    •  Um? Cat got your tongue? n/t (0+ / 0-)
              •  Actually, you should know better than that. (0+ / 0-)

                Your assertions are not evidence.  Greg has been providing you with links that disprove what you're saying.  Now either respond with evidence of your own, or just give it up.

                You clearly have an opinion about this matter.  You should not, however, confuse that with having the facts.

                "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

                by FogCityJohn on Wed May 21, 2014 at 10:35:48 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  These emails? (5+ / 0-)

            Did the Winger that re:re:re:re:re:re:re:re:re:re:re:re:re:re:re:re:re:re:re:re:re:re:re:re:forward them use a lot of CAPS LOCK!!! and !!!!!!!!!1!!!!111!!!!! in adding his own personal commentary?

            "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

            by Stude Dude on Wed May 21, 2014 at 05:36:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  See my post below in response to Greg (0+ / 0-)

          She has been blatantly dishonest.

      •  Well I donut know about all that (0+ / 0-)

        but she has clearly been dishonest (as have others) and has something to hide. Dems should take the high road and push for immunity for her so that the truth is known and not gop speculation, rumors, and exaggerations. But nature abhors a vacuum and that's what we will get until the air is cleared on this.

  •  Great roundup this morning, Greg! (19+ / 0-)

    Not sure why it seems to be an article of faith among the punditocracy that Dems will lose the Senate in 2014. A lot can happen between now and November.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Wed May 21, 2014 at 04:28:15 AM PDT

  •  McConnell won convincingly. 25 points, (6+ / 0-)

    so I think the idea of a divided GOP is now surely put to bed. Grimes is now a clear underdog candidate and must run like it.

    •  Is her distancing herself from Obama (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Going to hurt her by making her look like week Republican-lite against a real Republican?

      "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

      by Stude Dude on Wed May 21, 2014 at 04:37:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  no (11+ / 0-)

        the key in KY has little do do with her and a lot to do with Bevin's supporters.

        If they stay home, she wins. if they vote, it won't be for her.

        "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" — Upton Sinclair

        by Greg Dworkin on Wed May 21, 2014 at 04:44:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  the early news this morning indicated that at (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wintergreen8694, Stude Dude

          least some of his TP opponents are taking the dog in a manger attitude, refusing to endorse him, evidently figuring this is his last term no matter what

        •  No Repub voters will stay home this year (5+ / 0-)

          Bevin's supporters may be all butt hurt today, but they will show up in November and hold their nose while voting for turtle man.

          The more conservative they are, the more fired up they are to take back the Senate.  It's an anti-Obama thing.

          •  Not necessarily true (5+ / 0-)

            Bevin voters have a third option in Libertarian David Patterson.  

            If 5% of Bevin voters go over to Libertarian then that increases the odds of ALG winning.  This is going to be a tight race and every vote will literally count.  McConnell is not well liked by the people in KY while ALG is.  More importantly Steve Beshear is a GOD in KY.  That's a good person to have in your corner and he trumps Randy Paul.  The likelihood of disgruntled ALG voters going to Independent Marksberry is significantly less likely than disgruntled McConnell voters going to Patterson.    

            This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

            by DisNoir36 on Wed May 21, 2014 at 05:01:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I didn't know about the Libertarian. Thanks! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Stude Dude

              That could change things.. but if the head Libertarian, Rand Paul, comes out strong for McConnell, ya gotta wonder how much that will affect the race.

              •  Rand will assuredly come out for McConnell (5+ / 0-)

                he's the senior guy in KY and the party leader (Mitch just thinks he is). And he's running for President.

                "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" — Upton Sinclair

                by Greg Dworkin on Wed May 21, 2014 at 05:09:36 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  It won't affect it at all (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                bufffan20, skohayes, askew, Stude Dude

                Paul already did come out for McConnell, a long time ago.  One of his staffers is even working for McConnell.  You know the guy who had to hold his nose to work for McConnell.  

                The Libertarian won't get too many votes but we don't need him to.  It'll be a close race ala the VA GOV race in 2013.  Libertarian Sarvis got 6.5% of the vote there while Dem McAuliffe won by 2.6%.  It's possible that McAuliffe would have won anyway without Sarvis but every vote counted and even if he cost Cuccinelli a few, then he helped.    

                This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

                by DisNoir36 on Wed May 21, 2014 at 05:14:11 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You guys are assuming a close race, (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Stude Dude, mstep

                  but id be running like im down around 6 points. Thats my best guess of where things stand if the vote were held today, 52-46 Mitch.

                  •  I don't know about that (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Stude Dude

                    McConnell only did 2 points better against Bruce Lunsford in 2008 when he won by 53-47.  Lunsford had less money, less buzz and less statewide name rec.  Plus Obama was at the top of the ticket which in Kentucky is a liability not a benefit.  If McConnell wins it will be by something like 49-48.  

                    This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

                    by DisNoir36 on Wed May 21, 2014 at 05:49:16 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Lunsford pumped in 7.7 million (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Stude Dude

                      of his own money and had two previous statewide runs under his belt. But McConnell was much stronger candidate then than he is now. But what's got me thinking 6 point spread is the mid-term electorate. Leaning Republican as weve seen from the 'intention to vote' enthusiasm gap polling.

                      •  I don't know (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        wintergreen8694, Stude Dude

                        ALG has raised that much already.  She raised 2.7 mil in the first quarter of this year and had almost 5 mil COH back in April.  Plus unlike Lunsford, ALG actually won a statewide race.  He lost both.  

                        ALG has a trump card up her sleeve which she can use in Steve Beshear and Kynect.  McConnell is despised in KY while Beshear is beloved.  McConnell wants to repeal Kynect.  I know it's a red state but it's not red like Alabama.  There are alot of old time Democratic voters in Kentucky.  The state Dem party is strong.  It's won several statewide races and on top of it all, you can be sure there will be a few Big Dog sightings in Kentucky as Clinton is still well liked there.  

                        McConnell has the fight of his career on his hands.    

                        This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

                        by DisNoir36 on Wed May 21, 2014 at 06:33:54 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Those should be motivating factors, and I think (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Stude Dude

                          Bashear would love to see McConnell beat considering their history. I think ive pointed out that local Kentucky dems do well in local, odd year elections but the federal even year elections tilt heavy republican and the state is trending away, not towards Democrats. They seem to prefer Democrats locally, but Republicans in Washington.

                          Still, shes certainly not out of it. But id like to see a more aggressive posture leading up to Fancy Farm. I think every race Mitch has had was the 'fight of his career.'

                          I detest McConnell, but as a political tactician I have great respect for his abilities. To me, he's a perfect model for House of Cards. He's a wily, crafty, and pugnacious enemy. Ive seen his obit written too often to take chances with a predictable, standard issue Dem campaign.

                          This is the race I will monitoring most carefully as the bellwether.

        •  They'll vote Mitch. Erickson is out front, (6+ / 0-)

          endorsing Mitch and pitching in $250 for him. The Senate Conservatives Fund has thrown its support to Mitch, and so has Freedom Works. Madison Project endorsed Mitch. The Bevin endorsement will come shortly.

          So, my prediction that the GOP was not in fact divided and would unite quickly around Mitch proved true, as did my prediction Mitch would win in convincing fashion.

          But more importantly, it would be malpractice for Grimes campaign to assume otherwise.

          •  I'm following her campaign. She's tough, smart, (5+ / 0-)

            attacks all of Mitch's weaknesses hard, is traveling the state meeting a lot of folks, and doesn't flinch when wingers lie about her.  She's also built a solid ground game.  The women running big campaigns right now are a whole lot tougher than the men are.  Turnout is the key and they know it.  I'm calling McConnell toast, with an election night meltdown in the forecast.

            I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

            by I love OCD on Wed May 21, 2014 at 07:02:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  That election is going to be about one of two (8+ / 0-)

        people: President Obama or Mitch McConnell.

        If its about Obama, Grimes is finished. If its about Mitch, Grimes has a good chance to win.

        In her fast ad of her campaign, she is selling herself. And on the stump yesterday, she showed some fire...but only aimed at 'washington gridlock.' In other words, textbook DC consultant campaign-in-a-box loserdom.

        There is a rule for taking down an incumbent Senator and its tried and true: first you gotta make everyone decide not to vote for the incumbent, and then you convince them to vote for you. Democratic consultants seem to not get this, which is why we rarely defeat GOP incumbents,  instead having to win open seats.

        •  incumbents are tough to beat, regardless (9+ / 0-)

          takes all the stars aligning. there's no formula guaranteed to work.

          But one element, being unpopular, is there. Another, good campaigner by challenger, is there. So, close race.

          But McConnell is the favorite and should win unless he really ticks off Bevan.

          The other narrative i like about KY (meaning I think it's true) is that rand paul is the kingmaker and senior leader that can unify the Rs, boosting his own image. Rand up, Mitch down even if McConnell wins.

          "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" — Upton Sinclair

          by Greg Dworkin on Wed May 21, 2014 at 04:48:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Depends on the overall... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sylv, Stude Dude

            If Mitch becomes majority leader, Rand needs Mitch more than vice versa. Especially if Rand heads out to Iowa.

            But absolutely, it is hard to beat an incumbent. But Harry Reid has shown us being unpopular wont lead to defeat. McConnell's approval is in the low 30s, but his vote in the mid 40s. Plenty of folks who dont like him, but will vote for him anyway. That gives Grimes an opening.

            •  well, Harry hand-picked his opponent (9+ / 0-)

              and she was awful.

              Not everyone gets to successfully pick the oppo.

              "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" — Upton Sinclair

              by Greg Dworkin on Wed May 21, 2014 at 05:11:51 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  And Grimes is an attractive candidate. But, (5+ / 0-)

                campaigns matter. I've seen really good candidates get underserved by people flown in from Washington mainly there to make sure they get their checks fuck up a good hand. So we shall see. When I worked for poor Ruth Messenger,  who was an awesome person and would have been an amazing mayor, that was my fire baptism so to speak. Consultants...must be careful with them. The candidate has to order them around, not vice versa.

                •  She really is (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  nadd2, Sylv, wintergreen8694, Stude Dude

                  but it is so hard to beat a guy with 30 years who could be majority leader.

                  But even if she loses this one, she is laying a strong groundwork. I believe that Paul would have to give up his Senate seat to run for President, so in that instance, Grimes comes in with name recognition.

                  The governor and his healthcare push will help her, too.

                •  That is the danger (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  wintergreen8694, Stude Dude

                  And I wonder if Team Lundergan Grimes - as well as Team Landrieu - might conclude from internal polling and focus groups that strategically using Senator Warren as both a foil to "distance" from POTUS and a wedge to assert cause with authentic, broad populism is a needle that can be effectively threaded. Frankly her accent, demeanor and family history probably make her more much more effective a headline surrogate than POTUS, probably HRC and it wouldn't surprise me if she is found to be capable of "pushing certain buttons" that "the Big Dog" cannot in especially Kentucky.

                  I stipulate that's certain to disturb the Washington money "quality control" types you're referencing.

                  Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. --Martin Luther King Jr.

                  by Egalitare on Wed May 21, 2014 at 06:09:35 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  It just means she wants to win. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        salmo, Stude Dude

        This is the south after all, and in those parts, Obama has reverse coattails. Because of his skin color, and because he doesn't have a southern accent. And in Kentucky, because of coal mining too.

        You will not be punished for your anger. You will be punished by your anger.

        by mstep on Wed May 21, 2014 at 06:51:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for reading Jennifer Rubin (23+ / 0-)

    so we don't have to ;-)

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Wed May 21, 2014 at 04:31:45 AM PDT

  •  IDK why but many seem to assume Dems will (7+ / 0-)

    lose the Senate; I'm not willing to do so.  Maybe many repubs have changed but they are still assholes.

  •  if Rs win Senate, we can count on another round (6+ / 0-)

    of Impeachment Follies as it seems the Rs are determined they can "Clinton" Obama over Benghazi.  It, along with some dirty tricks, worked in 2000 but thank goodness the GOP brain trust is not much for innovation.  Rove did a riff on Atwater so expect the last two years to be a riff on Newt with nothing meaningful getting done as the Rs try to prove Ds cannot govern.

  •  emptywheel: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, ratcityreprobate

    New & Improved USA Freedumb Act, with Twice the Contractors Compensated

    Somewhere Booz Allen Hamilton Vice Chairman (and former NSA Director) Mike McConnell just said, “Ka-Ching.”

    Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

    by DRo on Wed May 21, 2014 at 04:47:42 AM PDT

  •  Poor Jennifer Rubin. (7+ / 0-)

    Endlessly reviled and mocked, yet she soldiers on robotically. I'd like to see a brain scan.

  •  This drives me crazy. (11+ / 0-)
    Today’s reform conservatives are operating in a much more constrained environment. They are reacting against the Tea Party’s extreme opposition to government.
    and it's not just E.J. Dionne who talks this way.  Reform conservatives, tea partiers, establishment conservatives - I don't care what distinctions the pundits make among these groups, they're all the same people.  They all vote the same way; they all offer the same policy prescriptions for the future, and they all denigrate and disparage the same "others."

    To paraphrase Meteor Blades, don't tell me what you believe - what you do will show me what you believe.

    "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing" - Edmund Burke

    by SueDe on Wed May 21, 2014 at 04:52:51 AM PDT

  •  Happy Birthday, Al Franken! (11+ / 0-)

    He was a great pundit on Air America, especially when he went after Bill O'Reilly, who said many times that "that guttersnipe Franken will never become a U.S. senator, mark my words."

    A classic Franken moment, and especially relevant in the wake of all the judicial marriage-related decisions flying off the conveyor belt of late:


  •  The terminally ill piece is an eye opener for me. (24+ / 0-)

    During the years I was caregiver for my husband we saw many different doctors/speciTe was compassionate, but honest in telling us that he'd emptied his toolbox with my husband and the best we could do moving forward was tweak things a bit. Towards the end I did get frustrated with the doctors who tried to push more testing and often I would bluntly question the need while pointing out how physically exhausting it was for my husband to get out for appointments.  

    I honestly thought that most of the time those extra tests were for the money as well as giving the appearance of "doing something" to help.  It honestly never occurred to me that those doctors didn't want to appear to have abandoned or given up on him.  

    I'm grateful you included this piece as it's adjusted my outlook.

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Wed May 21, 2014 at 04:54:27 AM PDT

    •  it's really a good (and true, btw) look n/t (9+ / 0-)

      "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" — Upton Sinclair

      by Greg Dworkin on Wed May 21, 2014 at 05:03:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's a very difficult subject (10+ / 0-)

        That very few people are willing to engage in honestly.  The entire BS surrounding "death panels" in the ACA is an example of the hysteria surrounding end of life issues.

        On a personal note, a couple years ago my best friend lost his grandmother, who was 99.  About a year earlier she broke a hip and underwent an hip replacement.  When I questioned the utility of this procedure, I got a very angry response that she still had a "good quality of life".  I have no idea if the hip replacement had any effect/impact on her health.  She died apparently of an infection that came on very quickly, she did get through the rehab and I understand she was walking with a walker at the end.

        But it is a very serious question if the expense and physical trauma this woman was put through at that stage of her life had any benefit.  It is not a pleasant conversation.  But it has to be had by our society.

        •  My father had two hip replacements (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rl en france, salmo, tampaedski, JaxDem

          The second one led to trips from hospital to rehab back to the hospital, to another rehab and back to the hospital again, where he eventually died.
          I too questioned the necessity of the first one, since he was paralyzed down his left side from an earlier stroke, but he would have been forced to remain in the wheelchair 24/7, which he despised.
          The second one shattered the bone around the piece that attached to the femur and doctors were worried about infection. But he was 86 years old and frail and underweight, so I questioned the wisdom of that decision as well.

          Your beliefs don't make you a better person. Your behavior does.

          by skohayes on Wed May 21, 2014 at 06:25:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Well (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Greg Dworkin, wishingwell

    I and the county party I work for and the candidate I supported in the Vice-Chair race have been beaten.  Oh well.  Forgive me if I am irritable today.
    There was a "fight" between the Vice-Chair candidate supporters at two precincts yesterday, lol.  Who says GOP fights can't get uglier?

    Moderate Republican, PA-5

    by PSUCentrePA on Wed May 21, 2014 at 05:01:14 AM PDT

    •  you might enjoy especially EJ's piece (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the gerson wing of the party still has work to do  (I consider him the last, maybe the only compassionate conservative.)

      "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" — Upton Sinclair

      by Greg Dworkin on Wed May 21, 2014 at 05:04:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why Bernie Sanders should enter the Dem primaries (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matthew D Jones, tb mare

    (and yes I know he's not currently a Democrat):

    It’s something progressives need to think about: In trying to be practical, moderate, and reasonable, liberals themselves may have helped to shrink the philosophical space in which policies are formulated and arguments are carried out.

    Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

    by willyr on Wed May 21, 2014 at 05:01:54 AM PDT

    •  Yes! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      willyr, salmo, tb mare

      And the unfortunate reality is that a big chunk of the Democrats -- like Obama -- aren't just "practical" as a tactic, they're "practical" because they're in the corporate camp and peddle a sort of "Corporatism Lite." For the left to be practical it can't just blow off the Dems. for some third party, but it's crucial for voices like Bernie's to enter the primary process. Bernie is a principled Socialist and a pragmatist.

    •  It's not liberals who shrunk the space, but (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      willyr, salmo

      Obama. His desire for reasonableness and wanting to get along just doesn't fit the times.

      I read Dionne's entire piece, and he offers no support for this argument.  It is a good piece, though, about where reform Republicans stand.

      Dementia, you better treat me good. ~Conor Oberst "Slowly (Oh So Slowly)"

      by NotActingNaive on Wed May 21, 2014 at 06:05:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Was Wehby's 53% a surprise? (0+ / 0-)

    I seem to remember reading just last week that it was iffy her getting above 40%.  Was that how much she needed to avoid a runoff?

  •  I do not know about the target on 501's (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JJ In Illinois, wintergreen8694

    but I do know all paperwork submitted by my son and even the advocate said it was thorough, has proven to me something is wrong at the IRS.  A registered republican but votes democrat and still has no return?  I feel he was targeted as a small business and I mean very small business and the IRS advocate had to correct their overlooking submitted forms more than once.   It is nearly June and Issa and our congressman have been notified.
    I am very angry about this because over 15 years and two audits since 09... The crash and business got bad and suddenly something is wrong?  Not hardly.... Something is wrong alright but it is at the IRS.  

    Do these people at the IRS or VA have a clue that their f ups reflect poorly on the president?  Who are they really loyal to?  That is the question I would be asking if I were chief of staff or the president.  Sometimes the enemy is in your own camp.. they sure as hell have done him no favors.

    Just how much Koch do Right Wingers want in their life? . United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Wed May 21, 2014 at 05:36:21 AM PDT

  •  So the PA ticket for Dems for Gov is Wolf Stack? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The last results I saw , I believe Stack was leading ?

    If so, that is an interesting and cute ticket name...

    Wolf Stack.


    Keystone Liberals on Twitter @ KeystoneLibs , Join PA Liberals at

    by wishingwell on Wed May 21, 2014 at 05:39:37 AM PDT

  •  Interesting question: (7+ / 0-)

    "Why isn’t Fox News outraged?"

    The IG found $21.7 million in “potentially excessive payments” for overtime, including one employee who billed $176,900 for 1,208 hours in a 12-day period. That caught investigators’ attention, since the employee was billing for more than 100 hours a day.
    You won’t hear Republicans complain about that, because those examples of “waste, fraud, and abuse” don’t allow them to tell a story that serves their ideology, a story in which government is bad and government employees are contemptible parasites. If the parasites are hugely profitable private corporations, then the story just doesn’t make sense to them. So we can all just move on.
    Isn't it interesting in that "private is better" crap?
    people seem to get angrier about bad behavior from government employees than from contractors, even though contractors at a place like Northrup Grumman are government employees in all but name (according to Northrop’s 2013 annual report, $21.3 billion of its $24.7 billion in sales came from U.S. government contracts)
    Yeah, about 86% of the business is on our taxpayer tab but that company is strictly private.

    Fake "scandals" showing contemptible government trump real waste, fraud and abuse in some big government contractor's houses. When the watchdogs find that the Republicans usually try to neuter the watchdogs!

    The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

    by pelagicray on Wed May 21, 2014 at 05:43:53 AM PDT

    •  Spoils (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Privatization is our version of the spoils system.  Politicians decrying "waste, fraud, and abuse" are angling for more spoils.  Identifying and addressing the real waste, fraud, and abuse in the military/industrial complex would be an argument to reduce the spoils those politicians enjoy, in essence an argument to reduce their power.  Don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen.

  •  I like Dionne's "Constructive Republicans"... (4+ / 0-)

    This comes on yesterday's question from Chris Hayes, "Is the only difference between Tea Party Republicans and 'establishment Republicans' simply a question of tactics?"

    In the discussion, Hayes & panel seemed to agree that policy-wise, the new Republican Party has consensus on austerity fiscal policy, attacks on women's health, Jesus in the classroom, guns everywhere, and all the other issues fomenting passion in their Party.  The only difference is the division over the nihilistic, bomb-throwing "shut it down" approach of Tea Partiers versus the more "constructive" political pragmatism of the Chamber of Commerce types.

    Seems that if more pundits in the MSM use the term "Constructive Republicans" to denote the non-tinfoilhat right wingers, there may be a schism that might be widened, and perhaps with a nod of media legitimacy coming their way, the more realistic and results-oriented Rethugs could be talked back from the ledge?

    Just a passing thought, but I do like the term, "Constructive Republican."  (As if such a thing survives in nature longer than a Higgs boson particle in a particle accelerator.)

  •  Security Lines and MERS Virus (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wintergreen8694, tb mare

    I was stuck in a 30+ minute, zig-zagging security line at an airport just as the news of the first MERS patients in the US were being reported. I couldn't help but think that these TSA security lines, which are simply creating a sense of false security to begin with, are where a mutated version of MERS (or something like it) will spread like wildfire, putting far greater numbers of people in danger than catching a nitwit shoe bomber might save.

    "Inequality is the root of social evil." ― Pope Francis

    by GoodGod on Wed May 21, 2014 at 07:07:57 AM PDT

  •  The Upshot Senate Predictions (0+ / 0-)

    I am concerned about Senator King (I-ME) and the possibility that he might defect after the midterm elections.  There was some chatter about this back in April, and just a couple of days ago he endorsed Senator Collins (R-ME) for re-election.

    If you take the state by state estimates for the Senate races at face value, as provided in the Upshot, there is about a 40:25:35 losing/tying/holding the Senate.  That one in four chance of a tie, allowing King to throw control to the Republicans, is too big for comfort.  I did not compute the probability of team D winning by one seat, allowing King to throw the Senate into a chaotic tie with Biden casting the deciding vote, but the number is not trivial and the scenario is not pleasant.

    I hope that our leaders in Washington have the situation in hand, but I would rest easier if we could push those poll numbers so that the split would not be so close.

    o caminho d'ouro, uma pinga de mel: Parati

    by tarkangi on Thu May 22, 2014 at 12:13:38 AM PDT

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