* Sam Stein has a terrific historical comparison between the rollouts of Obamacare and Bush’s Medicare Part D: Horrific problems and bad poll numbers plagued both, yet as Stein notes, only one of the two (shocker!) had help with implementation from the opposition.
* Democratic lawmakers warn Obama: Don’t think of putting Social Security cuts in your budget. It’s not only bad policy; it will trample all over your message about inequality. This will be an important intra-party fault line to keep an eye on, particularly given the Dems’ emphasis on inequality heading into 2014.
* More great stuff from Ron Brownstein, who pivots off the “polychromatic” Chevrolet ads to argue that Republicans could very well make big gains in 2014 without doing a thing to address the party’s serious long term demographic and cultural challenges.
* George Will tells his party to stop being insane about immigration, and tartly advises Republicans to drop the “monomania” about Obamacare. A solid rebuttal of the “you can’t trust Obama” argument:
Many Republicans rightly say that control of borders is an essential ingredient of national sovereignty. But net immigration from Mexico has recently been approximately zero. Border Patrol spending, which quadrupled in the 1990s, tripled in the 2000s. With illegal entries near a 40-year low, and a 2012 Government Accountability Office assessment that border security was then 84 percent effective, will a “border surge” of $30 billion more for the further militarization (actually, the East Germanization) of the 1,969 miles assuage remaining worries?
Many Republicans say Barack Obama cannot be trusted to enforce reforms. This is, however, no reason for not improving immigration laws that subsequent presidents will respect.
* The minimum wage flared up in the Kentucky Senate race today when Mitch McConnell’s campaign confirmed that he sees no level of a raise as acceptable amid a jobless recovery. Grimes’ statement:
“It is shameful that Mitch McConnell has no problem voting to give himself taxpayer-funded pay raises, but declares a pay raise for hardworking Kentucky families, including 255,000 women, unworthy of his support. Our campaign is about helping real people. In the Senate, Alison Lundergan Grimes will stand up for the middle class.”
Grimes’ pollster has said that the minimum wage will be critical in winning over downscale voters, particularly women, who are a crucial red state swing vote.
* A federal judge has struck down the ban on same-sex marriage in Virginia, and it’s interesting to scroll through the angry reaction from opponents, with one lawmaker even calling for her impeachment. It’s a reminder that there are still pockets of opposition to the inevitable out there.
* Robert Barnes notes that this is “the first time such a challenge has advanced so far in a state that was part of the Old South,” and that the decision dwelled at length on Virginia’s history of denying interracial marriage.
* Here’s a profile of the judge. It turns out she’s the first black woman appointed as a federal district court judge in Virginia.
* Niraj Chokshi has some interesting context: Similar campaigns are underway in over two dozen states, and three have already knocked down same-sex marriage bans since the SCOTUS decisions.
* The always-excellent Richard Socarides explains the larger legal context, noting that recent events confirm that lower courts are interpreting the SCOTUS decisions in a manner that does suggest those decisions put gay marriage bans on the path to extinction.
* Important point from Ed Kilgore: Conservative arguments about the safety net often rest on the premise that market outcomes are inherently fair, and this just isn’t a view shared by the American mainstream.
* And Steve Benen collects some of the latest anecdotal success stories about people benefitting from Obamacare. Inexorably, we are moving deeper into the realm of the concrete in terms of how the law is impacting people, and the certainty that this can only confer huge benefits on Republicans will require ever more strenuous efforts to pretend those gaining from it don’t exist.