* Good reporting from National Journal, which points out that while the Affordable Care Act is a major issue in Senate races, it’s been almost completely absent from most gubernatorial campaigns this year:
The black-and-white attacks seen in Senate and House races fade to a muddled gray in the nation’s governors’ races. For starters, most of this year’s competitive campaigns are in states Obama won in 2012, making attacks on the law and the president less potent than in the red states that will determine control of the Senate.
The position of Senate candidates is also crystal-clear. House Republicans running for the Senate have all voted to repeal Obamacare; the Senate Democrats running for reelection all voted to enact it. Governors, however, have a different record to run on. More than half a dozen Republican governors have expanded Medicaid (which in the eyes of some their RGA colleagues makes them complicit in the law’s implementation), leaving attacks on the issue somewhere between tricky and impossible.
As we move toward the fall, you may even see Democrats go on the offense against Republicans on the issue.
* Speaking of which, a new NPR poll finds that 54 percent of Americans either support the Affordable Care Act or think it didn’t go far enough. Maybe the conventional wisdom saying the ACA is just plain unpopular doesn’t hold water anymore.
* One of the ways Republicans have pooh-poohed the numbers on people signing up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act is to claim that most of them probably already had insurance. But now a study from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute estimates that 5.4 million previously uninsured Americans have gotten health coverage because of the ACA.
And don’t forget, this is just the first year; that number will continue to rise over time.
* Ed Kilgore with a timely warning on how the latest McCutcheon decision could be just the beginning: The Supreme Court could end up creating a situation where corporations can use the First Amendment as a shield against all kinds of disclosure and openness. The goal: “Constitutionalizing privilege.”
* And Jeffrey Toobin spells out how McCutcheon is only the beginning of John Roberts’ campaign finance project, and the next phase is removing all contribution limits. “If you think that the Supreme Court’s decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission was bad, just wait: worse may be on the way.”
* The Associated Press reported today that the Agency For International Development secretly built a “Cuban Twitter”:
The Obama administration project, which lasted more than two years and drew tens of thousands of subscribers, sought to evade Cuba’s stranglehold on the Internet with a primitive social media platform. First, the network would build a Cuban audience, mostly young people; then, the plan was to push them toward dissent.
“Yet its users were neither aware it was created by a U.S. agency with ties to the State Department, nor that American contractors were gathering personal data about them, in the hope that the information might be used someday for political purposes.”
This isn’t the kind of thing AID normally does, which makes you wonder if some people there got a little too excited about enacting a tech version of an old-school Cold War cloak-and-dagger scheme.
* Georgia Senate candidate David Perdue belittled one of his primary opponents for having only a high school diploma, because “I’m sorry, but these issues are so much broader, so complex.” As National Journal points out, most Georgians didn’t go to college either, so that’s probably not going to go over too well.
* The Senate Intelligence Committee voted to make their report on the CIA’s use of torture public. The CIA, surprisingly, would rather they didn’t.
* Kentucky may have had more success with the Affordable Care Act than any other state, slashing the ranks of their uninsured by over 40 percent. Harry Reid used the figures to mock his counterpart Mitch McConnell: “I wonder when my friend from Kentucky will explain to the 270,000 Kentuckians how he plans to repeal the law without stripping their new health benefits.”
ICYMI: Sure, “Obamacare” and “Obama” are toxic in Kentucky, but how popular is kynect? — gs
* Steve Benen on Mitch McConnell’s clever dance: He knows he can call for repeal of Obamacare, because it’s so unpopular in Kentucky, without worrying about it actually being repealed and kicking hundreds of thousands off coverage. — gs
* Speaking of Kentucky, Matt Bevin, McConnell’s Tea Party challenger, is still dealing with the fallout from his appearance at a rally put on by the Gamefowl Defense Network, i.e. a group of cockfighting advocates. He says he had no idea what the rally was about, but the Humane Society is not pleased with Bevin. “I don’t know how you accidentally stumble into a cockfighting rally,” wondered Joe Scarborough.
* GOP makeover watch: Steve King has a word with undocumented immigrants who were brought to America as children and now want to join the military and risk their lives for their adopted country: “we’re not going take your oath into the military, but we’re going to take your deposition and we have a bus for you to Tijuana.”
* And sometimes, Washington actually resembles an episode of “Veep.” Indiana Senator Dan Coats arrived at a hearing, took his seat, and began questioning a witness:
After finishing a lengthy opening to his question, a staffer slipped Coats a piece of paper. Coats read it to himself, looked up, and said, “I just got a note saying I’m at the wrong hearing.”
Good for you for admitting it, Senator, instead of pretending to have a coughing fit and running out before anyone realized what was happening.