August 4

* In Kentucky, the “Fancy Farm” gathering is a major political event, and Howard Fineman has a good piece reporting from the scene and getting inside Alison Lundergan Grimes’ game plan against Mitch McConnell. As Fineman notes, Grimes is showing that she can be every bit as mean and nasty as her opponent, but there’s a lot more to it than that:

Her campaign strategy boils down to one essential point: destroying McConnell if she can. Her own position papers and proposals exist, and are standard and unremarkable for a Democrat: an increase in the minimum wage, pay equity for women, organizing rights for unions, and so on. But her campaign team is looking at numbers that tell them that once they get her “positives” and her name recognition as high as possible, the last months of the race will be devoted to attacking McConnell as old, out of touch, morally bankrupt and destined for the slag heap.

And to pursue that strategy requires the remorseless approach Grimes is taking.

Even her “positive” TV spots contain tough comparisons with McConnell. Her team is now saving some of its money for an all-out negative assault come the fall. She plans to continue and even increase the pace of her travel around the state, not only to meet more voters face to face, but also to contrast her youth, vigor and camera-friendliness with the demeanor of her senior citizen foe.

* Meanwhile, Democrats still love, love, love the quote from McConnell where he said it wasn’t his job to create jobs. They’re using it again in this tough new ad that also hits McConnell for being in Washington for three decades.

* Politifact looks at a Dem ad accusing Iowa GOP Senate candidate Joni Ernst of not supporting a national minimum wage, and finds that the ad is “Mostly True.” The race with Bruce Braley is a dead heat, but Dems believe voters have not been introduced to her ideologically extreme positions, so expect more of this.

* The latest poll of the Wisconsin governor’s race shows Scott Walker and his opponent Mary Burke in a dead heat at 47 percent apiece. And as it happens, the Huffpost average has Walker leading by only 2.4 points, so this seems like a real race.

* Ed Kilgore has a good post spelling out the key historical context that explains just what the House GOP vote to deport the DREAMers really means:

To grasp how fateful a step this was, you have to think back to the summer of 2012, when President Obama announced DACA in an action that was universally understood as a preemption of a pending GOP initiative being crafted by Sen. Marco Rubio for the relief not just of DREAMers, but of presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who was trying to find something to embrace to offset the “self-deportation” position he had embraced during the primary season. Had Obama not announced DACA, its substance would have probably become the dominant GOP position. Now House Republicans have officially moved far to the right of where they were the day before DACA was announced, and…well to the right of Romney ’12.

Just think about how far to the right they’ll move by 2016.

* Scott Bland and Alex Roarty have an excellent report on how this and other similar votes show House Republicans effectively sabotaging the GOP’s chances in 2016, and even some Republicans are willing to go on record expressing their concerns.

* John Harwood documents that multiple GOP candidates are backing off the argument over social issues, and shows how that represents a remarkable turn of fortunes in an area where Republicans had successfully driven a wedge against Dems for so long.

* A lot of people called for CIA chief John Brennan’s firing after it was revealed Brennan lied about CIA spying on Senators. Jonathan Bernstein has a persuasive deconstruction of President Obama’s puzzling decision to stand behind Brennan.

* Is it about time for a revival of the old favorite “Waiting for Godot-berg”? Why yes it is: The Hill revives this yet again, insisting that Republicans are really truly convinced that Dems are finally going to lose Jewish voters, this time because of the Gaza crisis.

The only problem is that the overwhelming majority of American Jews are…liberals! They’re not going to vote for the party they disagree with on every single issue just because Sarah Palin puts on an Israeli flag pin. But go ahead, keep hoping.

* When Laura Ingraham tells you you’re “a little out there,” you’re probably pretty far out there. That’s what she said to Alabama GOP Rep. Mo Brooks, who told her all this talk of Republicans alienating Hispanic voters is hooey: “This is a part of the war on whites that’s being launched by the Democratic Party.”

* In other news of GOP inclusiveness, Sahil Kapur reports that Mississippi Rep. Steven Palazzo sent every member of Congress a copy of the Bible, because 1) it’s so hard to find a Bible these days, so most probably don’t have one, and 2) if a member is struggling over how to vote on the tariff on Mongolian beets, the answer can probably be found in scripture.

* And former White House Press Secretary James Brady died today at age 73. After being shot by a would-be assassin trying to kill his boss, Brady became a lifelong advocate for gun control. It’s worth recalling that one very famous Hollywood liberal tried to exploit Brady’s shooting in order to take your guns away.

The Hollywood liberal in question? Ronald Reagan.

What else?