December 3, 2013

* The Huffington Post has a well reported piece digging in to why health care advocates are now genuinely optimistic that Obamacare just might work. As the piece details, the fundamentals are there: The massive organizing push we will now see was only put on hold temporarily by the website’s failings; now it’s on.

* Kevin Drum with an interesting post on why Obamacare may not actually prove to be a big issue in 2014 after all, mainly because by the middle of next year, the benefits will far outweigh the downsides.

* Paul Krugman says right-wing rage about Obamacare is only going to get worse if the law works out okay, because there’s no way it can ever be acknowledged that government can play a positive role:

For two months, thanks to the botched rollout, their delusions seemed confirmed by reality. Now that things are getting better, however, you can already see the rage building. It’s not supposed to be this way — therefore it can’t be this way. If, as now seems highly likely, Obamacare has more or less achieved its enrollment goals by 2015, and costs remain reasonable, that won’t be accepted — there will be furious claims that it’s all a lie.

* Annie Lowrey with a good overview of why Obamacare’s costs appear to be coming in lower than expected, another hidden success at a time when the bad news appears to be receding (for now, anyway).

* The snark of the day, courtesy of Steve Benen, who notes that it probably bodes well that Republicans have pivoted from an all-Obamacare-all-the-time message back to … Benghazi and the IRS:

If that isn’t affirmation of the White House’s health care initiative getting back on track, nothing is.

Silver linings…

* An interesting Political Wire podcast discussion with forecaster Larry Sabato about the 2014 elections, with a focus on a key factor: Many GOP lawmakers know their re-election is safe as long as they “keep their base activists happy.” You can subscribe to PW’s podcasts right here.

* Immigration reform is undead again! Benjy Sarlin reports that John Boehner has hired a top immigration adviser, and explains why this is leading proponents and foes to think reform may not be dead, after all.

* Also, Jennifer Rubin takes stock of the new immigration hire and notes that reform’s prospects may be helped by the fact that powerful GOP-aligned constituencies are increasingly alarmed by the party’s intransigence.

* But David Drucker, who is well connected with Republicans, warns that this doesn’t necessarily mean the GOP leadership will abandon its commitment to only passing reform in tiny little pieces.

* Dispiriting poll finding from Pew: 50 percent of Americans think drone strikes have made the country safer from terrorism (though only 39 percent think NSA surveillance has).

* I reported earlier today that Republicans were resisting Dem demands that an extension of unemployment benefits be included in budget talks, and now Dem aides tell TPM that the GOP rationale for opposition is that an extension would be too expensive.

* Meanwhile, the Associated Press adds that Republicans may not agree to any extension at all:

“I don’t see much appetite on our side for continuing this extension of benefits,” said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla. “I just don’t.”

How’s that GOP poverty agenda coming along?

Greg Sargent writes The Plum Line blog, a reported opinion blog with a liberal slant -- what you might call “opinionated reporting” from the left.