July 24

* Everybody in both parties agrees that this will be a good year for Republicans, but the question is just how good. The folks at Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball say things may be looking not so terrible for Democrats:

But 2014 is no 2006. The electorate had turned off to George W. Bush and would never again turn on. The Iraq War and Hurricane Katrina were two principal reasons. The full Democratic wave emerged in the fall, after some GOP congressional scandals, but even at this point in 2006, we were just debating how high the Democratic tide would rise.

2014 is also no 2010. All of the energy was on the Republican side four years ago, as Obamacare bombed, the Tea Party arose, and the poor economy that helped elect Obama lingered. The building GOP wave was so impressive that the Crystal Ball was able to predict a House switch from Democratic to Republican control by Labor Day even though Democrats held about a 75-seat majority at that time.

As Crystal Ball says, there may be a GOP wave one of these days, but there just aren’t any signs of one yet.

* The Pew Research Center has data showing something similar: things are leaning Republican, but nothing like in 2010:

Conservative Republicans are 10 points less likely to express greater midterm voting enthusiasm today than in 2010 (49% vs. 59%). By contrast, 41% of liberal Democrats say they are more enthusiastic than usual about voting in the 2014 midterms; in 2010, 37% said this.

So all Democrats need to do is find a way to increase turnout among their voters. Easy, right?

* Looking for a comprehensive explanation of what’s wrong with Paul Ryan’s new poverty plan? Wonkblog’s Emily Badger delivers.

* Tomorrow House Republicans will meet to try to figure out whether they can support a response to the crisis at the border. There are still no signs they can get something through the House: With conservatives urging inaction because #Obummer, they’ll need Dems. But to win enough Republicans, they need a lot of get-tough gimmicks that … drive Dems away. — gs

* A new CNN poll finds that 54 percent of Americans support the Dem plan to allocate billions to care for kids and increase resources to deal with legal problems. But 62 percent support making it easier to deport the kids.

And yet 51 percent say the children are “refugees who are fleeing poverty and violence in their countries,” not “illegal immigrants whose parents are trying to exploit a loophole in the U.S. immigration system.” All clear now?

* The idea that Barack Obama has lost control of events is increasingly common in news analyses, but Brendan Nyhan says it’s a product of our delusions about the presidency:

These analyses get the direction of causality backward, however. Under favorable circumstances, presidents seem to be in command of events, but that’s largely a reflection of the context they face. It’s not hard to seem in control when the economy is booming, the president’s party has a large majority in Congress or the nation is rallying around the president after a national tragedy.

Once unfavorable circumstances arise, though, even the most accomplished chief executives seem to lose control. My research has found, for example, that scandals are not simply about misconduct. They are more likely to arise when presidents are unpopular with self-identified members of the opposition party or when there are few competing stories in the news.

But our problems could all be solved if only Obama would lead!

* Ed Kilgore gets to the heart of it: Jeb Bush can only have one reason for talking sense on immigration: He doesn’t really want to be president.

* From the “What could go wrong?” files, anti-abortion activists are urging Republicans to talk more, not less, about abortion and other social issues. They have told them, however, that “‘rape’ is a four-letter word,” so that should solve the Akin problem.

* Yesterday in Arizona, an inmate administered lethal injection drugs took almost two hours to die. Vox explains why such a thing can happen. That’s why I think that if we’re going to execute people, we should bring back the guillotine. It has the advantage of being nearly painless and also spectacularly gruesome, so we’d be forced to confront the inherent violence of the death penalty.

* Peter Beinart says “Israel’s best long-term strategy against Palestinian violence is Palestinian hope,” and offers some advice for the Israeli government on how to nurture it.

* And after a Hamas rocket landed near Ben Gurion airport outside Tel Aviv, the FAA instructed American planes not to land there for 24 hours. So, naturally, Ted Cruz believes it was ordered by the White House in order to destroy Israel’s economy. Why doesn’t he realize it was really about distracting from Benghazi? What a RINO.