April 8

* The Affordable Care Act included a provision for something called the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program, under which companies could apply for temporary federal government help giving insurance to retirees too young to qualify for Medicare, until the law went into effect to their benefit. And look who lined up to get the money:

Several big corporations have reaped millions of dollars from “Obamacare” even as they support GOP candidates who vow to repeal the law. This condemn-while-benefiting strategy angers Democrats, who see some of their top congressional candidates struggling against waves of anti-Obamacare ads partly funded by these companies.

Among the beneficiaries were corporations like UPS, Union Pacific Railroad, and a little outfit known as Koch Industries, which got $1.4 million in taxpayer subsidies.

* Most people assume that this fall’s midterm elections are going to be bad for Democrats, in part because Republicans have a built-in demographic advantage in midterm elections. In a good piece, political scientist Michael McDonald says not so fast — the electorate of the Dem sweep in 2006 didn’t look much different from that of the Republican sweep in 2010:

The 2006 Democratic victory thus shows that while lower Democratic turnout in a midterm election is a hurdle, it is one that can be overcome. Planned attempts by Democratic organizations to build a presidential-style field operation to mobilize those who typically drop out in a midterm election can be important to tilting the playing field. However, it is perhaps at least, if not more, important for Democrats to persuade swing voters to support their candidates.

It’s a reminder that even when structural factors tilt against you, nothing is written in stone, and we still don’t know what will happen in November.

* Lucia Graves has a good overview of all of the female candidates across the country who are pushing hard on equal pay, and notably, they are remarkably unified, as this issue is assuming increasing importance in the 2014 Dem arsenal. — gs

* But Senate Republicans are preparing to filibuster pay equity legislation tomorrow, and are absolutely convinced so doing will not matter politically in the slightest. After all, Republicans can simply describe it (as Mitch McConnell does in the link) as the latest effort to distract from Obamacare, an argument that cannot fail. – gs

* A new Public Policy Polling survey on the North Carolina GOP Senate primary finds establishment favorite Thom Tillis with 18 percent, while conservative challengers Greg Brannon and Mark Harris have 15 percent and 11 percent respectively.

If Tillis can’t get to 40 percent, we’re heading for a runoff, which could mean conservative groups enter for the conservative standard bearer and there isn’t any GOP nominee until July. — gs

* Another Public Policy Polling survey finds Dem Gary Peters has regained a five point lead over GOPer Terri Land, while opinion of Obamacare has improved. How much cash has Americans for Prosperity dumped into the state again? — gs

* David Corn strikes again, digging up video of future presidential candidate Rand Paul, talking in 2009 about how the Iraq War happened in part because Dick Cheney wanted to direct lucrative war contracts to Halliburton. That may not go over too well with the neocons.

* A handful of Senate Dems appear to be signaling a willingness to compromise with Republicans on a lower minimum wage hike, even before a vote on raising it to $10.10 is held, which is odd, since no Republicans (aside from Susan Collins) are signaling any flexibility. — gs

* Politico reports that later this week the Ways and Means committee will ask the Justice Department to pursue criminal charges against former IRS official Lois Lerner. Which means Republicans are still trying to restart that IRS scandal.

* Yesterday we linked to Jonathan Chait’s New York magazine cover story on race. Today see Jamelle Bouie’s (much shorter) commentary on Chait, in which he critiques discussions of race that amount to “a low-stakes cocktail party argument between white liberals and white conservatives over their respective racial innocence.”

* At the American Prospect, I contemplated the conservative Christians who believe they’re being persecuted and the liberals who don’t understand them.

* “House of Cards” films in Maryland, which naturally means that the state has to fork over millions of dollars in tax giveaways to Netflix. It threatened to move production elsewhere unless the state came up with even more money. The Post has the tick-tock on the last-minute negotiations in the Maryland legislature to come up with the extortion money, and how the bill finally failed.

* And Louie Gohmert, who may be the dumbest member of Congress, today quizzed Attorney General Eric Holder on the production of documents, offering this: “I realize that contempt is not a big deal to our Attorney General.” To which Holder replied: “You don’t want to go there, buddy.” Each assured the other that “I don’t need lectures from you.” Ah, the majesty of democracy.