Democrats, in an illustration of how the politics of the veterans fight do not break cleanly, also saw an opportunity to turn the scandal against Republicans in some of the biggest races by pointing to votes in which Republicans opposed spending increases in veterans programs and services. [...]
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on Thursday provided a possible hint of what was to come with a broadside against Representative Cory Gardner, now the Republican candidate for Senate in Colorado, with a list of past positions against Democratic proposals for veterans, including a 2012 vote against adding $28 million for prosthetics research and development.
The double-edged electoral politics of this may also get caught up in the broader battle that is to come, over whether to respond to the crisis by spending more on veterans services.
* Relatedly, Steve Benen reminds us that three months ago, Republicans successfully filibustered a bill to enhance veterans’ benefits, including expanding their access to health care, and now the bill is going to come up for another vote. That could get politically interesting for 2014, too.
* Meanwhile, Karl Rove’s Crossroads is planning to air more ads against vulnerable Senate Dems on the VA scandal, a clear sign the battle over this will only escalate from here on out.
* Meanwhile, over at the American Prospect, I argued that because there are so few reporters who had the V.A. as their bea, we really don’t know what kind of Secretary Eric Shinseki was.
* For months, conservative groups have been pounding vulnerable Senate Dems with ads. Now, however, the DSCC’s independent expenditure arm has just reserved many millions in air time in support of Dems, so we’ll soon find out what will happen when Dems seriously engage on the air at parity.
* Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus are demanding that Obama reconsider the decision to delay unilateral action to ease deportations. It’s a reminder that Obama is angering his base to give House Republicans space to move on legislative reform, which they probably aren’t going to do, despite his gesture.
* Lawrence Downes on what is happening even as Obama delays acting on deportations:
Meanwhile, that deportation system, unchecked, kept plowing through immigrant neighborhoods and tearing families apart. Immigration agents swept through Milwaukee on Tuesday, catching some accused gang members, but also others who have no criminal records, presumably the same kinds of people Mr. Obama wants to legalize under immigration reform languishing in Congress. [...]
Mr. Obama needs to act. Yes, the Republicans are wretched on immigration. But Mr. Obama is disheartening. There are millions of families whom he has promised to fight for – families who should be allowed to stay in this country, get right with the law and get on with their lives. They are in limbo, watching a leaderless, increasingly hopeless process languish. The deportations, meanwhile, continue, at a rate of more than a thousand, every day.
* Darrell Issa has dropped his subpoena of Secretary of State John Kerry over Benghazi, because Kerry is going to be questioned by Trey Gowdy’s select committee, and the bumbling Issa’s probe continues to fade away.
* In advance of President Obama’s announcement on new regulations for carbon emissions, Danny Vinik has a good primer on the gap between Republican “war on coal” rhetoric and policy reality.
* Brian Beutler has figured out Mitch McConnell’s position on the ACA: repeal it, then reinstate the whole thing, only this time letting Kentucky pay for it instead of the federal government. That’s some creative policy thinking.
* Iowa GOP Senate candidate Joni Ernst, the gun-totin-est candidate around, was in a debate and referred to the murders in Isla Vista as an “unfortunate accident.” You know, kind of like when you drop your gun and it kills six people.
* And finally, because it’s Friday, here’s an instructional video on how to give your opossum a massage, including proper chakra alignment and aura sweeping. I know what I’m doing this weekend!