* The top story tonight: Republicans and unemployment insurance. Scott Clement has the polling charts showing how Republicans have inexorably turned against it, as the GOP has become more and more conservative:
Between 2009 and early 2013, the share of Republicans who said the federal government should decrease spending to assist the unemployed has more than doubled from 26 to 56 percent in Pew Research Center polls, now representing the majority view within the party. Independents and Democrats have also grown more willing to cut unemployment aid, though clear majorities of each still said it should be “kept the same” or “increased.”
This tracks broadly with other indicators showing how far to the right the current GOP caucus has drifted.
* Danny Vinik explain why Republicans have no anti-poverty programs: because creating one would increase the deficit, and they’re trapped by their own rhetoric. Personally, I think he underestimates the bottomless Republican capacity for blithe hypocrisy.
* Jon Chait has a program to sneak unemployment benefits through Congress: attach them to Republicans’ favorite socialist monstrosity, the farm bill. Might work, though Democrats have been notably averse to play this kind of political hardball.
* Good piece from Francis Wilkinson wondering just what on earth gun rights activists are so worked up about. Despite crushing victories from Congress to state legislatures to the court, their paranoia remains at a fever pitch.
* Bob Gates’ new memoir (as glossed by Bob Woodward) accuses President Obama of not trusting the military enough. But Digby writes today that this is hardly a reason to fault Obama: “Civilian leadership should be skeptical of the military and challenge it to prove that what it says is necessary is actually necessary. They have many institutional and individual incentives to do otherwise.”
* Speaking of which, Obama says he’s open to repealing the March 2003 Authorization to Use Military Force. In case you forgot, that started the Iraq War and doomed Hillary Clinton’s candidacy for president in 2008.
* Matt Duss is probably right: despite the recent withdrawal of Liz Cheney from the Wyoming Senate race, we haven’t heard the last of her. Neoconservatism is on the outs, but Liz Cheney will live on as a shock jock somewhere, advocating napalm for civilians everywhere.
* Bruce Schneier argues that NSA snooping harms national security. Dragnet surveillance has very serious side effects, not least of which is its effect on American companies who are no longer trusted internationally.
* Speaking of which, the New York Times had an interesting short video on the people that stole files from the FBI back in 1971.