November 14, 2013

1. Begin with an overview of the new Affordable Care Act fix from Jonathan Cohn.

2. Then Danny Vinik on why the Upton bill — and the Obama fix — won’t actually solve anything.

3. More on fixing something that doesn’t need fixing, from Jamelle Bouie.

4. Sarah Kliff has the backlash to the fix from pro-reform insurance commissioners.

5. Also from Kliff: reactions from insurance companies, which aren’t happy at all.

6. Brian Beutler makes the case for Obama’s fix: a bad idea that “just might work.”

7. Jonathan Chait: “Is it me or did every conservative suddenly decide letting people keep their plan is unworkable the moment Obama endorsed it?” Specifically, Republicans seem to have temporarily forgotten, but now remembered, that improving the functioning of Obamacare is as bad (among tea partyers and other radicals) as supporting it the first place.

8. Joshua Tucker reminds us that just a little while ago, Syria was going to be Obama’s downfall. A little perspective, please.

9. And while Barack Obama’s approval ratings have definitely dropped, it’s not clear that there’s any real change recently; it may just be a continuation of a longer trend. That’s how I see the polling.

10. How to sell an unpopular policy position? John Boehner’s solution for ENDA, as Steve Benen notes, is to just make stuff up. Specifically, that supposedly workplace protections are already just fine.

11. Elizabeth Warren has joined the filibuster reform team in the Senate, Andy Kroll reports. Fair enough, but the immediate issue isn’t reform; it’s that every Democrat should join the threat to go nuclear unless Republicans back off their blockade of the D.C. Circuit Court.

12. And, yes, the blockade — including the filibuster of Nina Pillard — is an unprecedented piece of nullification-type obstruction, and thoroughly unjustified. Scott Lemieux rebuts arguments.

13. An optimistic take on election administration reform, from Heather Gerken, knocking down my own pessimistic point of view. She could be right! And I hope she is. But my expectations are still low.

14. Great question: “Is Darrell Issa Becoming an Albatross to the Republican Party?” Kevin Drum mulls it over. I think the GOP would be better off scoring successful, smaller hits on the administration, but it’s hard to tell; what is clear is that smaller, more accurate hits would be more likely to yield better governing.

15. Five questions and answers about Iran; Henry Farrell at the Monkey Cage interviews nuclear proliferation expert Steve Fetter.

16. Bookmark this site: John Podesta explains “Why We’re Launching the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.”

17. And good reporting on Obama, the White House and the Cabinet. Glenn Thrush on an important topic about how governing works in this administration.