September 5, 2013

* Brian Beutler on the intricacies of Congessional kabuki on Syria, and on how Congress very well may get to Yes.

* Speaking of kabuki and whip counts among members of Congress, keep this, from Steve Kornacki, in mind:

No incentive for any of them to immediately say they’re for something like this. In fact, it would look bad.

* And this, from John Harwood:

Remember on early Syria Congressional vote counts: safest place to be for virtually any member of either party right now is “lean no.”

* David Atkins is good on the degree to which House Dems and progressives are genuinely conflicted on Syria, and on why they should develop a credible moral alternative to military action.

* If this, from Politico, is accurate, it will be very hard to get the Syria resolution through the House:

Senior aides say they expect, at most, between 50 and 60 Republicans to vote with Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who support the president’s plan to bomb Syria to stop Bashar Assad from using chemical weapons on his people. That would amount to less than one-third of the House Republican Conference.

That would require a huge number of Dems for passage. Aides tell me they think they can get around 110 or 120 Dems on board, which wouldn’t be enough.

* Breaking: Mitt Romney aides claim vindication for Mitt Romney!!! Jed Lewison takes apart the silly claims by Romney aides, amplified by Buzzfeed, that current events somehow show Romney was right about everything.

* Also see Ed Kilgore’s takedown: As he rightly notes, the Romney camp was completely detached from reality throughout much of 2012, so this is really just more of the same.

* Joe Manchin becomes the third Dem Senator, and the 14th overall Senator, to come out against Syria strikes, though the main battle will probably still be fought in the House.

* This is welcome: Paul Ryan is sticking by his support for immigration reform, despite pressure from the right. The question is what kind of role Ryan will play, if any, in moving the caucus towards something comprehensive.

* Stephen Stromberg on the new Kaiser study and how our worst fears about Obamacare implementation may not be coming to pass, at least in this important real world experiment that’s happening outside the conservative bubble, where it’s already proven a disaster.

* Also see Matthew Yglesias on why the Kaiser study is “good news for Americans who are currently uninsured, who currently buy insurance on the individual marketplace, or who think it’s possible that at some point over the course of their life they might have to or want to switch jobs.”

But as Yglesias notes, there will be plenty more data from other states to process, and it remains to be seen if the pattern will hold. Still, the early implementation returns are encouraging.

* Jackie Calmes is the latest to confirm Obama is leading towards Larry Summers for Fed chair partly because of Summers’ performance during the financial crisis. To recap Atrios: “Only Larry Summers can save the world from Larry Summers.

* Jonathan Capehart has a nice look at the diametrically opposite directions the United States and Russia are taking on gay rights, in light of yesterday’s important announcement that legally married couples will now be eligible for veterans’ benefits.

* And Kevin Drum is rightly puzzled: “Gosh, I wonder what suddenly turned Republicans into such peaceniks?

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.
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