May 14, 2013

The IRS Inspector General report on the targeting of conservative groups is leaking out late this afternoon. Juliet Eilperin and Zachary Goldfarb report on the mistakes the IRS made, as well as on Eric Holder’s decision to begin a criminal investigation. Even if it’s just shoddy management at the root of this — and so far, that’s all we know — it’s still legitimately a big deal.

1. New CBO estimates have the deficit dropping dramatically this year and over the ten-year CBO window. Matt Yglesias has an excellent short summary of what it all means for budget policy.

2. As Steve Benen points out, this is not exactly what all those people yelling “Greece! Greece!” have been telling us.

3. Excellent note from political scientist Alan Abramowitz, via Ezra Klein: no, the current round of scandals are not very likely at all to be “game changers.”

4. Paul Waldman on crimes, cover-ups, and this week’s scandals.

5. My general feeling is that as a scandal, the Benghazi talking points are a joke. Doesn’t mean you can’t get some information out of the story, though, and Kevin Drum makes a strong argument that the real story here is: the CIA messed up and was trying to duck responsibility. 

6. Jason Linkins with good detail: “Republicans Are Mad That DoJ Carried Out Probe Of Media That They Demanded Last Year.”

7. While Scott Lemieux has a concise and helpful summary of the key things to know about the AP phone records story.

8. Meanwhile, I argue that presidents should stop worrying about leaks and start listening to them.

9. The IRS, disclosure, and campaign finance; election law expert Rick Hasen explains the broader context.

10. What could (realistically) go wrong with the Affordable Care Act rollout, from Jonathan Cohn, who remains optimistic — but cautiously so.

11. Good one from Judy Solomon on why Medicaid expansion really is that important.

12. Marriage equality…and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. From E.J. Graff.

13. Here comes Elizabeth Warren’s student loan bill — supported with 385,000 petition signatures. Shira Schoenberg reports.

14. Seth Masket considers polarization: where Congress is now, and where it might be going.

15. And are Senate Democrats getting closer to going nuclear and revisiting filibuster reform? Alexander Bolton has the latest. The problem here is that it’s hard for Democrats to keep ratcheting up the seriousness of their threats without Republicans deciding it’s all a bluff. Remember, the preference for most Senate Democrats is for Republicans to back down and filibuster only selectively. Majority-imposed reform is not their desired outcome, although it might be necessary if Republicans continue their unprecedented obstruction.