Yes, the birther story. I know, there are more important things out there, but it’s what’s going on in the presidential campaign today. Late breaking: Mitt Romney goes on CBS News to try to explain himself. Good luck with that.
So on to the good stuff:
1. For context, start with Beth Fouhy’s AP story about Mitt Romney’s day.
2. Then I’ll start with Alyssa Rosenberg on Mitt Romney’s failed humor.
3. And go to Adam Serwer. I especially like this one: “I suspect many Republicans who continue to subscribe to the birther lunacy do so because it bothers liberals and because it's an act of symbolic defiance of a president they dislike.”
4. David S. Bernstein has an excellent point on Romney’s birther joke: it shows that his campaign doesn’t really have a plan yet to deal with perfectly predictable ugliness from the fringes on the GOP campaign trail this fall.
5. Oh, and if for some reason you don’t get why there’s a fuss, Dave Weigel explains why presidential candidates should not be telling jokes based on the premise that the other candidate isn’t really an American.
6. You’re going to want to read E.J. Dionne’s interview with Elizabeth Warren on health care and on religion, and his reactions. Good stuff.
7. Friday already? Then it must be time for Steve Benen’s epic Chronicling Mitt’s Mendacity.
8. “Taken as a whole, the platform makes the Republican Party appear angry, inward-looking and more than a little paranoid.” That’s Dana Millbank, reading the GOP party platform 2012.
9. So let’s get into policy. Paul Krugman notes the GOP’s intellectual collapse over monetary policy. Key quote: “In this sense fiat money is like, oh, Social Security. The problem it creates for conservatives is not that it doesn’t work, but that it does — which is a challenge to their philosophy.”
10. And as Ezra Klein points out, “the GOP has picked the wrong time to rediscover gold.”
11. But what is there for Republicans to talk about, anyway, on policy? Andrew Sprung notes that the “GOP (policy) Demonization Index” — policies they don’t approve of — just keeps rising.
12. Of course, there’s always the Paul Ryan’s budget, at least the parts that they aren’t running away from. Peter Orszag plays Five Myths with it. Sure, it’s shooting fish in a barrel, but nicely done.
13. Really fun — and smart — take on the changes Republicans are planning to make to their presidential nomination process for 2016, from Ed Kilgore. My two cents: Changes such as these really don’t make much of a difference in most nomination battles.
14, I didn’t get a chance to write this one up in depth, but the catch of the day was definitely SEK’s note about conventions. You’re already hearing that Democrats are violating a norm by speaking up during the Republican convention; the key thing to remember is that John McCain went on Leno during the Democratic convention in 2008 — and a guy named Mitt Romney showed up inside the convention arena in Denver.
15. All about convention polling bumps, by Tom Holbrook.
16. Nate Silver on how to evaluate new polling information.
17. And if you really want to understand this presidential election, you’ll want to be grabbing the free downloads of the first chapters of “The Gamble” – the new book by political scientists John Sides and Lynn Vavreck.