November 11, 2013

1. For Veterans Day: Don’t miss this great profile of Eric Shinseki and how he’s trying to get the Department of Veteran Affairs in shape. By Steve Vogel.

2. Erik Voeten brings the political science research on the effect of having veterans in government. Interesting.

3. Adam Serwer had a careful look earlier today at exactly what is happening in that Virginia attorney general election.

4. But note that the vote totals there, and for that matter the ones I posted here earlier, are out of date: As of now, Democrat Mark Herring leads by 115 votes.

5. Can Democrats really take back the House by expanding the map in 2014? Sean Sullivan reports on what they’re up to. In fact, Democrats are quite unlikely to win the House next year, but finding good candidates for potentially vulnerable seats is always a smart play.

6. Of course, there’s little that the Democrats’ campaign committee can do about what’s really important for 2014: whether people think that Barack Obama is doing a good job as president. Jaime Fuller makes the good point that what’s really important for Obama’s approval ratings is straightforward: Get the economy moving and get people to work.

7. Barbara Mikulski and the fight to save appropriations (and with it, better government and the power of Congress). By David Rogers.

8. Steve Benen on “worse than Watergate.” The real problem, by the way? Republicans who are “tough” with over-the-top rhetoric but don’t bother doing the real work of congressional oversight because if it’s not going to lead to impeachment then they lose interest.

9. See, for example, Sarah Kliff’s report on how the Obamacare hearings are getting ugly.

10. Yes, the Affordable Care Act is really a deficit reducer. Glenn Kessler fact-checks.

11. Jonathan Cohn, meanwhile, notes that normal press biases are amplifying Obamacare bad news and drowning out health-care reform good news. It’s not just a bad-news bias from the press, by the way; the incentives for the parties differ, with Republicans sending out solid messages of doom while Democrats who want the system running better are sending out mixed messages. That’s not a bad choice for Democrats, but it does mean that press coverage will be even more negative. Nevertheless, Cohn’s point is correct: The good news stories are both real and important.

12. Meanwhile, don’t miss John Blake on religion and health care, and especially the states that decided against Medicaid expansion.

13. Kevin Drum looks at all the unanswered questions for CBS and “60 Minutes” over Benghazi.

14. Michael Calderone argues that an apology isn’t enough; CBS needs to answer those questions.

15. And Reid Wilson on why the Braves want out of Atlanta.

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