Happy Hour Roundup

July 3

• Danny Vinik looks at today’s healthy job growth numbers in the context of the last few years:

For the past few years, it was like clockwork: A disappointing summer of job growth would give way to a much stronger winter. Economists would hesitantly forecast that the economy was about to kick into second gear. Then the summer would come and the disappointing data would return. But finally, it looks like we are ready to break that trend: The economy added 288,000 jobs in June, soundly beating economists’ expectations of 211,000, and the unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent.

As I noted earlier today, that’s five consecutive months with more than 200,000 jobs created. Let’s hope for everyone’s sake it keeps up.

• Michael Tomasky makes the case for why Hillary Clinton should make paid family leave the centerpiece of her 2016 campaign. We shouldn’t forget that we’re the only highly developed country that doesn’t mandate it.

• The Hill reminds us that there is a Democrat besides Hillary Clinton who’d like to be elected president in 2016. His name is Joe Biden. You might have heard of him.

• In the wake of the Hobby Lobby decision, Lucia Graves reminds us that there are millions of women who take the pill for health reasons apart from contraception, and their access could be threatened as well.

• At the American Prospect, I looked at an effort to get more conservatives to write novels, and suggested that it might be a bit of an uphill climb.

• Amanda Marcotte says the Hobby Lobby decision shows that the anti-choice movement is less concerned with stopping abortion than with controlling women’s sexuality.

• Dave Weigel looks ahead to 2016 and finds seven Senate races Democrats should feel optimistic about.

• Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) is skeptical about a program that supports federal contracts for Native Alaskan companies. Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska thinks she ought to mind her own business, saying his Democratic colleague “has trouble understanding Alaska history, even with my repeated attempts to reason with her.”

• Harvard’s Theda Skocpol says people are looking at the wrong things when they assess the influence of the tea party:

An obsession with toting up wins and losses in primaries completely misreads how Tea Party forces work, how they have moved the governing agendas of the Republican Party ever further right and maintained a stranglehold on federal government action. As Vanessa Williamson and I first laid out in our 2012 book, The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism, there is no unified center of control in charge of the Tea Party. Rather, it amounts to conjoined pressures from, on the one hand, hundreds of remarkably autonomous local groups run by volunteer activists and, on the other hand, top-down, professionally run policy advocacy groups and funders. Tea Party clout in and upon Republican officials, officeholders, and candidates is actually maximized by the dynamic interplay of top-down and bottom-up forces, both pushing for absolute opposition to President Barack Obama and obstruction of Congressional action involving compromises with Democrats.

I’ll admit that three or four years ago I thought the tea party was on the verge of fizzling out. But while their influence over the GOP may wax and wane, they’re going to be around for a good while.

• Yesterday, Chris Christie vetoed a bill passed by the New Jersey legislature limiting the number of rounds in a magazine, maintaining his viability for the 2016 GOP primary.

• And finally, because tomorrow’s the Fourth of July, Adam Felder explains why Joey Chestnut could well be the most dominant athlete of the last century, more so than Ruth, Jordan or Gretzky. And if you don’t know who Joey Chestnut is, you might want to ask yourself why you hate America.

 

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Paul Waldman | July 3