* You’ve heard about John Boehner mocking his colleagues for being unwilling to move on immigration reform (if only there were someone with the power to bring an immigration bill to the floor…). Well now Majority Leader Eric Cantor has sent out the spring House GOP legislative agenda to his colleagues. You’ll never guess what word does not appear once in the document.
* But Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart says a Republican immigration bill is basically ready to go, and all that’s left to do is round up the votes. “So I think we finally have the policy right. And what we’re finding is more and more people out there as they’re seeing it, different aspects of the policy, are starting to say, ‘Hey, that is something that makes sense.’”
* Brian Beutler reminds us that a key reason we’re debating immigration at all is that Republicans wanted to in the wake of their awful performance among Latinos in 2012:
The immigration debate didn’t start with Democrats trolling Republicans into being insensitive to immigrants. The point of all this was that Republicans wanted to do something proactive to rehabilitate their political standing with the very community that includes the people they’re now pressuring Obama to deport.
* The headline of the day goes to Andy Borowitz of the New Yorker: “Republicans Blast Nevada Rancher for Failing to Use Commonly Accepted Racial Code Words.” My question is, when does Cliven Bundy get his own reality show?
* Bundy is now in phase 2 of his meltdown, in which he laments his new notoriety, in predictably colorful terms (“We don’t have freedom to say what we want. If I call — if I say negro or black boy or slave, I’m not — if those people cannot take those kind of words and not be offended, then Martin Luther King hasn’t got his job done then yet”). Robert Schlesinger patiently explains to Mr. Bundy that “freedom of speech” doesn’t actually mean “freedom to say whatever damn fool thing you want and have nobody criticize you for it.”
* Sean Hannity was the Colonel Tom Parker to Bundy’s Elvis, promoting his noble crusade to anyone who would listen. Now he argues this was always bigger than Cliven Bundy, which I guess means it was about the right of the next rancher who wanted to graze his cattle on federal land without paying the fees. And also, Obamacare and Benghazi (seriously). Erik Wemple says that’s not good enough:
Despite Hannity’s protestations, this is all about a man named Cliven Bundy. How many other Western ranching freeloaders are there who have stiffed the government for two decades with specious arguments and then rally with gun-toting protesters when the feds move in to round up his cattle?
I’m guessing that this little episode will not in fact cause Sean Hannity to spend some time reflecting on whether he has a salutary effect on American politics.
* The Louisville alt-weekly takes a close look at what Mitch McConnell would say to the 400,000 Kentuckians who have gotten health insurance through their state exchange, Kynect, if he were to succeed in repealing the ACA. His answer? A high-risk pool, like we used to have! Which was so expensive only 4,000 people signed up for it:
What McConnell is essentially saying is that we should just go back to the way it was before, with vulnerable Kentuckians having to rely on expensive insurance through an unpopular program that did not provide the same protections they have now. Kynect? 413,000 Kentuckians signing up for insurance in the exchange shows you what a popular insurance pool looks like. And yes, 413,000 is greater than 4,000.
* McConnell says he was taken out of context, but the flap over his reported suggestion that creating jobs is not his job is getting pickup on local newscasts. TV clips rounded up by the Alison Lundergan Grimes campaign demonstrate how it’s playing in Kentucky. This one will continue into next week. — gs
* Getting back to the House Speaker, he also noted in that speech that just repealing the ACA “isn’t the answer.” So Steve Benen takes us on an illuminating stroll down memory lane, showing that Boehner has been trying over and over to repeal it, without replacing it with anything.
* Georgia is deep red, but in this year’s Senate race, the Republican candidates are taking the crazy train to Wingnutville. Meanwhile, Democrats got the candidate they wanted in Michelle Nunn, daughter of longtime moderate Democratic senator Sam Nunn. And according to Roll Call, Nunn has a real shot to win:
It’s the blend of that reverence for the candidate’s father with appreciation for Nunn’s own message of business-friendly bipartisanship that’s positioning the former head of the Points of Light Foundation to peel off a chunk of moderate Republicans in November.
* In Colorado, incumbent Sen. Mark Udall is working hard to get mileage out of opponent Cory Gardner’s past support for a “personhood” amendment that would make many kinds of contraception illegal. Rachel Maddow with an episode on Gardner and personhood that’s worth a watch.
* Over at the American Prospect I gave some credit to Walmart for undercutting money transfer services like MoneyGram and Western Union. But the fees are still too high, which is just one more reason we need postal banking.
* And finally, on one day this week, New Jersey senator and social media maven Cory Booker tweeted 80 pictures of dogs and cats. That’s what we call doing the people’s business.