Happy Hour Roundup

June 20

* Daniel Larison has a nice piece arguing that the first step toward a Republican rethink on foreign policy is to reckon with the party’s historic wrongness about Iraq. And then comes the next challenge for Republicans:  “whether they can avoid making similarly terrible foreign policy judgments when the next debate over the use of force takes place.”

* Rand Paul takes to the Wall Street Journal to argue against intervention in Iraq. His own doctrine, however, appears to consist mostly of repeating the name “Reagan” as often as possible.

* In an interview to air this Sunday on Meet the Press, Paul says this about Iraq: “What’s going on now, I don’t blame on President Obama.” Wait, what? Maybe Paul really is challenging GOP foreign policy orthodoxy, after all. — gs

* The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced it raised $8.3 million in May and has $28.2 million on hand. While Democratic Senate candidates have been pummeled for months by ads from groups like Americans for Prosperity, we haven’t yet seen what will happen when Dems seriously engage on the air.

* Faced with a run-off against a Tea Party challenger, incumbent Republican senator Thad Cochran is reaching out to Mississippi’s black voters for support. Hey, whatever works!

* A new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute says that large cities in states that accepted Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid will see their uninsured population drop by 57 percent. The Medicaid expansion, of course, doesn’t count as Obamacare working, so ignore.

* Wesley Lowery reports that Sens Jack Reed and Dean Heller are rolling out still another plan to extend benefits to the long-term unemployed. You have to give these guys credit for persistence in clinging to the belief that if just the right policy is found, House Republicans will agree to it. — gs

* Brian Beutler makes a good case that Republicans aren’t dumb enough to shut down the government before the elections in a quest to destroy Obama’s carbon regulations. They’ll just do it afterward. It’s worth remembering that these EPA rules are actually pretty popular, and government shutdowns aren’t.

* Jonathan Chait looks at the Scott Walker campaign finance story and notes a pattern: Potential Republican presidential candidates keep winding up in prosecutors’ cross-hairs.

* Heather Digby Parton thinks that makes a good case that Walker may be a martyr to the right’s cause of letting money do whatever it wants in campaigns, which may not actually be what he intended, and

* Meanwhile, Rick Hasen goes big picture, explaining how the Walker case “could bring down the few remaining limits we have left on money in politics.

* An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows a significant shift in the number of respondents saying people are poor mostly because of circumstances outside their control. In 1995 it was only 30 percent; today it’s 46 percent.

* While the IRS turned over months of emails from former official Lois Lerner, some older emails were lost in a computer crash. Republicans believe this is a cover-up, because Obummer. Steve Benen looks back at that time under Bush when 22 million emails from people like Karl Rove went missing, and, shockingly, they had a decidedly different reaction.

* The country’s largest Presbyterian denomination has voted to bless same-sex marriages. But of course, they can only do that where such marriages are allowed, which leads Robert Schlesinger to ask a very good question:

Where exactly do the governments of the 31 states that forbid same-sex marriage get off telling the church how it must define the religious sacrament of marriage?

* And over at the American Prospect, I made a great big chart showing gun death rates in every state. If you’re in Louisiana, you might want to keep your head down.

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