July 29

* Remember when Ted Cruz convinced House Republicans to shut down the government, and how well that turned out for them? Well, he’s at it again:

Ted Cruz and other Senate conservatives are urging rejection of the House border security package, miffed that it excludes language prohibiting expansion of President Barack Obama’s deferred action policies.

Cruz has urged House and Senate Republicans to rally around his proposal to attack Obama’s Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals, an administrative change Obama made in 2012 to halt the deportation of some young immigrants.

So with just a couple of days left in the congressional session, Cruz is trying to convince Republicans to reject a bill with a chance of getting passed, and rally around something that would inevitably be vetoed by the President even if it could pass, which it can’t. Then they’d all go home for recess without having passed anything addressing the border crisis — after refusing to vote on any broader immigration reform. This guy’s a tactical genius.

* Meanwhile, a new poll from the Public Religion Research Institute finds that 70 percent of Americans think children arriving at the southern border should be “offer[ed] shelter and support while beginning a process to determine whether they should be deported or allowed to stay in the U.S.”

Meanwhile, only 26 percent say we should “deport them immediately back to their home countries.” And 69 percent say they should be treated as refugees and not as illegal immigrants. One wonders what percentage agrees we should respond to the current crisis by deporting the DREAMers.

* Important post from Brian Beutler detailing that conservative journalists who covered the health reform debate are now indulging the Halbig truthers, and explaining what that says about our unbalanced health care debate.

* Danny Vinik politely explains how Rick Perry’s call for the National Guard to go to the border is a complete crock on every level. — gs

* Democrats release a memo documenting all the cases where Republicans are talking about impeachment. Sure, Dems are keeping the focus on this for their own purposes. But it would be a lot harder for them to do so if Republicans didn’t keep giving them ammunition.

* It turns out that Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst has a whole history of advocating for state nullification of federal laws, as Igor Bobic reports.

* Iowa Dem Senator Bruce Braley is up with a new ad attacking Joni Ernst’s stance on the minimum wage. The race is tied — Republicans have expanded the map here — but Dems believe voters have not yet been introduced to her actual positions on issues and, er, the American system of government. That’s about to change. — gs

* A new Talk Business poll finds Dem Senator Mark Pryor down two points to GOP challenger Tom Cotton. That’s within the margin of error, but if it’s right, it’s trouble for Dems that the first reputable Arkansas poll in some time has him down in a race where he was supposed to be showing remarkable staying power. — gs

* Jonathan Bernstein is sick and tired of all the half-baked talk about how polarization is the big problem in politics, and suggests an alternative to talking about it.

* At the American Prospect, I explained why the ideas of “pro-Israel” and “anti-Israel” are the enemies of clear thinking and moral judgment.

* A federal appeals court struck down a Mississippi law that would have shut down the state’s only abortion clinic by mandating that the doctors who practice their have admitting privileges at a local hospital.

* Gen. Keith Alexander recently retired as head of the National Security Agency. And now he says he has a remarkable new technology, for which he’ll be filing patents, that will protect your corporation from hackers. You can have access to it for as little as $1 million a month.

* Rand Paul is writing a book, since he’s probably running for president and that’s what you’re supposed to do. If history is any guide, it will be unspeakably boring.

* And the corruption trial of former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell is starting to sound like an episode of “The Young and the Restless.” Former First Lady Maureen McDonnell’s attorney says she wasn’t taking bribes from CEO Jonnie Williams — it was love!