The sad news this evening is the death of Nelson Mandela. The thing I’d emphasize to those who were too young to remember it is how absolutely, positively certain it was that the end of apartheid would be bloody, and probably horrifyingly so. That it wasn’t seemed then, and still seems now, miraculous — but not in the sense of divine intervention, rather of humanity at its very best. A great man, indeed.
1. Plenty of good stuff for today, but start with Mark Goldberg on Mandela — and (what he calls) Mandela’s greatest speech.
2. Now back to your normal news, beginning with “3 Ways You Can Tell the Health Care Website Is Working” from Alex Seitz-Wald. For example? Republicans have stopped talking about it. Remember, that doesn’t mean it’s functioning perfectly; as I’ve been saying this week, what’s happened is that health care is now just part of normal politics.
3. See also Alexandra Jaffe on Republicans beginning to shift their rhetoric away from simply “repeal, repeal, repeal.” We’re not all the way there yet in their rhetoric, but on policy, that’s what’s happening.
4. “The Affordable Care Act, as I said, the bill itself has got very good concepts and yes, I would support it again.” That’s Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. She’s yet another Democrat who might be very happy to distance herself from the fiasco Web site rollout but who continues to stand by the law.
5. When some of us want to emphasize the role of GOP obstruction as a major contributing factor to the Web site problems, by the way, one thing we’re talking about is the California phony Web site designed to siphon off people trying to sign up for health insurance. This isn’t normal opposition; it’s sabotage. Michael Hiltzik has more.
6. The bottom line, at least about front-end problems on the Web site: As bad as it might be to buy insurance that way (and, to be sure, it’s not so bad for most people right now), it sure beats being uninsured. Sarah Kliff explains.
7. The latest on Nancy Pelosi and the fight to extend unemployment benefits, from Suzy Khimm.
8. Stories from the world of post-policy: great reporting from Politico on the collapse of the House Republicans top agenda item, tax reform. Once it became clear that involved actual policy choices (and not just a slogan that polled well), they lost interest.
9. Jonathan Chait is a lot of fun on “Third Way” attacks coming at Elizabeth Warren.
10. And anyway, it’s pretty clear that Warren is winning this one. Luke Johnson reports on Third Way -affiliated politicians running for cover.
11. While Joan Walsh argues that Warren’s message is simply winning over the party.
12. David Atkins on the president’s economic speech yesterday.
13. “If you’re not talking about how you’re going to help solve these problems, you’re not having the right conversation with the American people. President Obama, to his credit, began that conversation.” That’s Jared Bernstein on Obama’s speech.
14. One more: Andrew Sprung, great Obama listener, on the inequality speech.
15. And Paul Krugman on Republican certainty that government will always fail.