February 1, 2013

* Ron Brownstein does a deep dive into the bet Obama is making on the changing face of the Democratic coalition, and of the country, and why that is giving him more confidence to unify the party around a progressive agenda. Key nugget:

“If these things are accomplished in the next few years, if he can make progress on his agenda, I think that will help the coalition that elected him knit together more and create an identification with the Democratic Party that will endure beyond his presidency,” says David Axelrod, the senior strategist of the reelection campaign.

The difficulty with this approach is that the decreasing reliance on moderate whites may make it harder to build Congressional majorities.

* Ed Kilgore, building on Brownstein’s piece, urges Dems to base their agenda on the merits, not on the futile quest for bipartisan support.

* Senate Republicans vow to filibuster Richard Cordray, Obama’s choice to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Behold the real world consequences of the Big Filibuster Fizzle of 2013.

* Good post by Adam Serwer explaining the GOP filibuster of Cordray: They are demanding major changes in how the CFPB operates, which is to say, having failed to block its creation, they’re trying to undo it via procedural extortion.

* Scott Brown won’t run for Senate, and Dave Weigel interprets the decision thusly: “the circumstances of summer 2013 will be far, far worse for a northeastern Republican than the circumstances of Obama’s winter 2010 nadir.”

Let’s hope it goes beyond the northeast, into 2014.

* Steve Benen on the Beltway Deficit Feedback Loop, and the depressing similarities deficit mania holds with the pundit groupthink that led up to the Iraq invasion.

* The Post editorial board on another possible (albeit small) step forward for gay rights: The Boy Scouts of America’s reconsideration of its long held restriction on gay members.

* Curious about the new HHS contraception policy? E.J. Dionne explains why it isn’t a major departure from the original policy, and why at bottom this battle was about religious liberty in a pluralistic society.

* Also: Women’s groups are praising the policy as a smart compromise.

* Mike Tomasky on why Hillary just may be the most important woman in American political history.

* And as Atrios notes, it really is impossible to explain to those who didn’t live through it just how deranged the Clinton hatred of the 1990s was, and it persisted not just in the fever swamps, but infected the major news orgs, too.

What else?

Greg Sargent writes The Plum Line blog, a reported opinion blog with a liberal slant -- what you might call “opinionated reporting” from the left.