* John Boehner announced the seven Republicans who will be serving on the Benghazi select committee. They’re all lawyers, which just shows how seriously Boehner wants people to take this endeavor.
On the other hand, that might be undermined by the presence of Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia, who once sponsored a bill to display the Ten Commandments in Congress. When asked by Stephen Colbert to name them, Westmoreland said: “Don’t murder…don’t lie…don’t steal…uuuh…I can’t name ‘em all.” So he’ll be bringing the intellectual heft to the group.
* When you’re going to have a somber, serious investigation into such a weighty matter, what you need is…branding! Here’s the graphic the Republicans unveiled for the committee, complete with its own hashtag, so the kids can get in on the fun.
* Rand Paul, speaking about Hillary Clinton, Benghazi, and the presidency, tells a Republican party audience:
“My opinion is that Hillary Clinton has precluded herself from ever being considered for that position.”
The crowd whooped, which surely persuaded Senator Paul that everyone else in America will agree.
* The Benghazi boycott debate goes on. Jonnathan Capehart advises Democrats to participate in the probe: “Democrats need to be at the table to serve as a check on the predictable excesses of the GOP majority.” Dems just may be leaning in that direction.
* It’s probably noise, but worth keeping an eye on: Obama’s approval ticks up to 47 percent in the Gallup poll, just as #Benghazi heats up.
* Dean Clancy says what must never be said, offering an epic look at why the Republican position on Obamacare is problematic. — gs
* State House speaker Thom Tillis refused to accept the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid for 500,000 low-income North Carolinians. So incumbent Senator Kay Hagan defends the law in a new interview, another indication the state’s refusal of the expansion will be part of the case against her GOP foe. But that isn’t supposed to be happening, is it?
* Indeed, as Steve Benen notes, this kind of thing must have the purveyors of Beltway conventional wisdom scratching their heads, even in the wake of all the good news about the ACA:
None of this was supposed to be possible. Republicans had decided – and much of the Beltway had accepted as fact – that the only political voices willing to talk about the ACA would be GOP candidates on the offensive, highlighting death spirals and failures….is anyone prepared to argue that the GOP’s newfound interest in Benghazi and the IRS would be on the Capitol Hill front-burner if the Affordable Care Act were struggling?
* Meanwhile, three liberal groups — the SEIU, Planned Parenthood, and Moveon.org — are mounting grassroots campaigns to use the ACA to move people to the polls, which, if it works, will really undercut the CW about the politics of the law.
* Even some conservative states are realizing that the Medicaid expansion is too good a deal to pass up. In Montana, the governor, legislature, and business groups are now negotiating to find a way to accept the funds and get people insured.
* A new Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll shows Democrat Michelle Nunn leading all her potential Republican opponents. Just goes to show that anything can happen in these races.
* House Republicans, who care deeply about the impact that future debt will have on our grandchildren, voted today for $310 billion of corporate tax cuts, financed through (what else) debt.
* Kevin Drum notes that smart foreign policy critics believe that Obama has made the right decisions in pretty much every situation, yet still can’t bring themselves to give him a thumbs-up:
They sort of grudgingly recognize that Obama’s actual foreign policy actions have been about as good as they could have been, and yet they’re still unhappy. They want inspiration, dammit! They want the rest of the world to fall immediately into line. They want victory! That’s how it happens in the movies, after all. The president gives a big speech, and everyone swoons.
* And you think Thom Tillis’ “divide and conquer” video is just words? Seth Michaels looks at Tillis’ record as speaker of the North Carolina House, and finds that his policy positions undergird the “divide and conquer” sentiment perfectly.