* As we’ve already seen, Mitch McConnell is now refusing to say what he wants to see happen to Kentucky Kynect and the 400,000 people who have gained health coverage through it, even as he continues to call for repealing the law “root and branch.” Today he’s trying to clarify, without making anything more clear:
The McConnell campaign made clear he does not endorse the state exchange, but indicated it could survive a full blown repeal if the GOP takes over the Senate.
“If Obamacare is repealed, Kentucky should decide for itself whether to keep Kynect or set up a different marketplace,” McConnell campaign spokeswoman Allison Moore told WFPL.
Well, no. That’s like saying, “I’m going to burn down your house, and then you can decide for yourself whether to keep your kitchen.” Reminder: Multiple GOP Senate candidates are getting away with this sort of Grade A gibberish on Obamacare, repeal, and the Medicaid expansions in their states.
* Also see Joe Sonka, who argues that this clarification shows that McConnell’s original choice of words “was, in fact, intentional, and his campaign is doubling down on deception.” — gs
* Relatedly, the headline of the day, via Dave Weigel: “Republicans on What Would Replace Obamacare: Hey, Look Over There!”
* Daniel Strauss reports that Tea Partiers in Georgia are lining up behind Jack Kingston, who last I checked was supposed to be a member of the “establishment,” in the Senate runoff. Said one Tea Party official in endorsing this maverick outsider: “We do not need someone to be another member of the Senate Country Club.”
Jack Kingston has been in Congress for 22 years.
* But this, combined with a new poll showing Kingston with a 12-point lead over rival David Perdue, suggests the supposed Tea Party candidate could end up as the GOP nominee.
* Important stuff from Matt Sledge and Sabrina Siddiqui: “One year after Obama’s big drone speech, many promises left unkept.” This issue will not go away.
* The AP reports that Republicans are increasingly focusing their strategy for 2014 on Benghazi and the IRS scandal, a reminder this is all about the base. What ever happened to running against the Affordable Care Act and the Obama economy?
* The AP also offers the interesting story of a coal plant in Pennsylvania that thought it would have to shut down to meet pollution standards, but then something surprising happened:
BLOCK HOMER CITY, Pa. (AP) — Three years ago, the operators of one of the nation’s dirtiest coal-fired power plants warned of “immediate and devastating” consequences from the Obama administration’s push to clean up pollution from coal.
Faced with cutting sulfur dioxide pollution blowing into downwind states by 80 percent in less than a year, lawyers for EME Homer City Generation L.P. sued the Environmental Protection Agency to block the rule, saying it would cause it grave harm and bring a painful spike in electricity bills.
None of those dire predictions came to pass. Instead, the massive western Pennsylvania power plant is expected in a few years to turn from one of the worst polluters in the country to a model for how coal-fired power plants can slash pollution.
Just something to consider when we hear a new round of dire predictions when the Obama administration releases new regulations on carbon emissions.
* Some immigration advocates have been whispering that the primary obstacle to movement on immigration reform among House Republicans is Eric Cantor, and this won’t do anything to allay those suspicions:
Cantor is boasting in a new campaign mailer of shutting down a plan to give “amnesty” to “illegal aliens,” a strongly worded statement from a Republican leader who’s spoken favorably about acting on immigration. The flier sent by his re-election campaign comes as Cantor is under pressure ahead of his June 10 GOP primary in Virginia — and as the narrow window for action on immigration legislation in the House is closing fast.
A Cantor spokesman claims he supports certain aspects of reform. But as always, the core question remains: Is there any proposal that would confer legal status on the 11 million, under any circumstances, that House Republicans can accept? — gs
* Americans for Prosperity, the pass-through for much Koch political spending, is dropping $900,000 on TV ads in Wisconsin to help Scott Walker get reelected as governor, a sign conservatives really want to show Walker’s reforms are not a political liability.
* The editors of Bloomberg View argue that there are things we can do about gun violence to go beyond the familiar debates about the NRA and violent video games. One intriguing idea:
The creation of a gun-violence restraining order that would allow family members or authorities to petition a court to remove firearms from an individual deemed a credible risk and to prevent that individual from temporarily purchasing firearms.
* The New York Times published a glowing weekend article all about what an intellectual Jeb Bush is, because the man — are you ready? — reads books. Alec MacGillis reminds us of the time Karl Rove told everyone about George W. Bush’s voracious reading habits. Those Bush boys are quite the pair of brainiacs!
* And finally, the Kenyan Muslim Socialist factoid of the day: The median pay of CEOs at large publicly traded American companies has now passed $10 million.