* Sahil Kapur reports that House Democrats are leaning toward boycotting the House GOP select committee on Benghazi. One such Democrat is Nancy Pelosi, who is said to be leaning against participating, and has a way of getting what she wants with her caucus. We should have our final answer on this tomorrow.
* But as Kate Nocera reports, not all of them agree; some members are arguing in favor of appointing some of their number to the committee, so they can be in the fray.
* Dave Weigel profiles Rep. Trey Gowdy, the former prosecutor who will be leading the committee, and finds that despite policy ideas that are out on the Tea Party fringe, Gowdy is widely respected back home in South Carolina.
And Weigel goes there, suggesting a possible reason for the selection of Gowdy: “To conduct hearings that may lead to impeachment, Republicans needed a leader who seemed unimpeachable.”
That congressional Republicans are contemplating this possibility so seriously when Barack Obama is already heading towards the exit — and given the vast evidence a similar move backfired decisively in the 1990s — shows how much pressure they are under from ‘the base,’ and how deranged the supposed Great Big Adults of the Republican Establishment have become.
* Igor Volsky comes up with a creative way of gauging that, yes, the anti-Obamacare fever may finally have broken, though the bad news is that same metric also shows it’s now replaced with #Benghazi fever.
* Brian Beutler makes a strong case that House GOP leaders know the #Benghazi scandal is mostly a crock, and are just pushing it to keep the base enraged through election day: “the evidence that Republican leaders and party operatives know the score, and fully understand what they’re doing, is sitting everywhere in plain sight.”
* David Atkins looks at North Carolina Senate candidate Thom Tillis’ “divide and conquer” video about setting the disabled against the poor, and finds a silver lining for liberals:
Fortunately for us, conservatives have such epistemic closure today that they’re increasingly comfortable projecting their moral ugliness right out into the open.
* Tillis’ first major national interview, with Chuck Todd of NBC, is really not playing well in the local North Carolina press, raising questions anew whether he is the sterling candidate Republicans anticipated. — gs
* Jonathan Bernstein makes a good case that the House GOP train wreck hearing on Obamacare payment rates earlier this week shows Republicans believed the propaganda reverberating inside the Closed Conservative Information Feedback Loop. Conclusion:
The bottom line is that losing the ability to see reality makes Republicans incapable of constructive oversight, and ill-equipped to govern.
* John Boehner is not going to call for the National Republican Congressional Committee to stop using Benghazi as a means to raise money, another reminder this is all about lathering up the base.
* But over at the American Prospect, I argue that Republicans should go ahead and fundraise off Benghazi if they want. It’s not like it isn’t already “politicized,” and the distinction between issues you should and shouldn’t politicize is usually a phony one anyway.
* Amanda Hess eviscerates New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd for the spectacularly cruel way Dowd wrote about Monica Lewinsky over the years:
On the occasion of Lewinsky’s reappearance, Dowd has this to say: “It was like a Golden Oldie tour of a band you didn’t want to hear in the first place.” What Dowd doesn’t seem to get: She was the one beating the drum.
* And finally, Joshua Green reports that Jim DeMint’s Heritage Foundation is starting its own news organization. “We plan to do political and policy news,” says its publisher, “not with a conservative bent, but just true, straight-down-the-middle journalism.” Straight down the middle, yesiree.