Happy Hour Roundup

I’ll start with a bit of news: Harry Reid has filed for cloture on the motion to proceed on the Fair Pay Act. I saw someone tweet that this was evidence that Reid intends to use the Senate floor as a campaign site until November; I think that’s a bit strong, given that they’re also processing legislation and nominations (at least as much as they can get done), but the core point is correct: Reid apparently wants to force votes on things that might make Republican senators — and Mitt Romney — look bad.

Here’s some good stuff:

1. The recall election in Wisconsin appears to be looking better and better for Republican Governor Scott Walker, as Nate Silver sees the numbers. Silver looks at what’s going right for Walker.

2. In Massachusetts, things are closer; the Boston Phoenix’s David S. Bernstein (yes, my brother) has a very helpful overview of the Elizabeth Warren/Scott Brown race — including why the Cherokee story may have helped Warren.

3. Good analysis about what Paul Ryan is up to from Jonathan Chait. I can think of some other explanations, but it fits, and answers the question of why Republicans forced a vote on a budget that is a lousy campaign document.

4. What matters is the change in economic conditions, not the overall condition. Helpful reminder from David Leonhardt, who also makes a good comparison between 2000 and 2004.

5. Peter Suderman argues that the health care individual mandate is unlikely to become popular if implemented. Hard to tell — one big unknown is whether Republicans will (in that scenario) accept it or keep running against it. But overall, I agree, and it makes sense; the mandate is in large part a necessary cost of this kind of system, and I wouldn’t expect costs to be popular.

6. More on the mandate: Andrew Sprung on the legal arguments. Remember, we’re getting closer to Supreme Court action on this one.

7. Meanwhile, Sarah Kliff on how one insurance company is trying to cut costs by giving customers choice. My reaction? Looks as if people like no-frills health care exactly how they like no-frills air travel.

8. Jonathan Cohn examines the Romney alternative on health care. Think: some 50 million people fewer with health insurance, give or take 10 million.

9. A slightly different view of the changes in public opinion on marriage; E.J. Graff thinks that the style Barack Obama used in announcing his decision may have eased voters into joining him. I’m not sure, but it’s worth thinking about.

10. Matt Yglesias likes school choice — but he doesn’t like the version that Mitt Romney is pushing.

11. Would Romney’s budgets be more like Bill Clinton’s, or more like George W. Bush’s? Easy call, says Bruce Bartlett: he’s the next Bush.

12. Kevin Williamson’s National Review quack history of the parties and civil rights is still generating a lot of interesting, fact-based responses. Here’s Clay Risen, laying out the basics.

13. And Mark Schmidt catches a significant basic factual error about George H. W. Bush’s career.

14. While Adam Serwer is not impressed with Williamson’s twitter-based and meager defense.

15. And while I generally agree with Alyssa Rosenberg’s item about the upcoming Kathryn Bigelow movie about Osama bin Laden, I don’t agree about the timing: Given the way that ads and previews and all work these days, having a movie premiere a month plus after the election means there will be a fair amount of attention to it around Election Day, at least assuming it will ever attract attention.

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