February 21, 2013

* Must read from Ron Brownstein on how key elements of Obama’s agenda have very strong support from the groups that increasingly make up the core of the Dem coalition — which means the GOP risks further estrangement from growing segments of the electorate.

* David Firestone on Rick Scott’s decision to opt in to the Medicaid expansion and the inevitability that other Republican governors — still paralyzed by years of irrational anti-Obamacare fury — will ultimately give in, too.

* Ruth Marcus sets the record straight on the GOP talking point that the sequester was Obama’s idea, and comes up with this pithy description of the 2011 talks that created it:

The Obama administration is guilty of bad negotiating in pursuit of sensible policy. Congressional Republicans are guilty of exploiting the president’s bad negotiating in pursuit of terrible policy.

Marcus notes that the sequester was necessary precisely because Republicans would not accept new revenues as part of any solution to the deficit, which is exactly where we are today.

* It’s worth reiterating what Aaron Blake says here: Republicans will likely take the blame for the sequester because their standing with the public is far lower than Obama’s. This isn’t happening in a vacuum.

* It’s over, NRA: Evan McMorris Santoro reports that Joe Biden gave an extremely aggressive gun control speech today, and observes (rightly, I think) that Dems have genuinely accepted the view that the politics of guns have undergone a real shift.

* Also on guns: Organizing for Action is gearing up for a day of action tomorrow with events from coast to coast pushing members of Congress to take a stand on expanded background checks.

Supporters are being encouraged to share their own gun violence stories; this is looming as a major test of whether Obama’s reconfigured campaign operation can successfully mobilize pressure on lawmakers to enact his legislative agenda.

* It’s good to see that likely EPA chief Gina McCarthy is vowing to be very aggressive in combating climate change, despite regular GOP attacks on her predecessor. Still outstanding: Whether we’ll see a crackdown on emissions from existing plants.

* Even some Republicans are wondering whether the GOP’s obsession with Benghazi is such a good idea. GOP strategist Ed Rogers:

“I missed the meeting among Republicans where it was decided this would become an angry cause célèbre that should be pursued at all costs and with no holds barred.”

* The legal team arguing against Proposition 8 in the Supreme Court has filed its main brief in the case, billing it as an argument to the Justices “that marriage equality is at the heart of our generation’s search for greater freedom and a basic American value, deeply rooted in our constitutional tradition.”

* As Ed Kilgore shows, today’s Pew polling on the minimum wage neatly demonstrates the degree to which Tea Party supporters continue to dictate the Congressional GOP’s policy agenda.

* Taegan Goddard: “It’s actually the Republicans who are overreaching.”

* Alex Pareene versus Buzzfeed on that Ed Markey quote about slavery that had Republicans so excited today.

* And HuffPo gets to the bottom of that GOP talking point about wasteful federal spending on $47,000 smoking machines and figures out who is really blowing smoke here.

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.