August 5

* The latest Gallup poll on the effects of the Affordable Care Act, which Greg referenced earlier today, has another striking finding: The law’s implementation is producing two Americas. The Associated Press summarizes:

States that fully embraced the law’s coverage expansion are experiencing a significant drop in the number of uninsured residents, according to a major new survey released Tuesday. States whose leaders still object to “Obamacare” are seeing much less change.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index found an overall drop of 4 percentage points in the share of uninsured residents for states accepting the law’s core coverage provisions. Those are states that expanded their Medicaid programs and also built or took an active role managing new online insurance markets.

The drop was about half that level — 2.2 percentage points — in states that took neither of those steps, or just one of them.

Who would have thought that if you offer insurance to people and work to get as many of them as possible signed up, you’ll wind up with fewer uninsured? Go figure!

* The video of the day comes from Iowa, where Rand Paul was campaigning with Rep. Steve King. When a woman told King she’s a “DREAMer,” Paul bolted quicker than if she’d told King she had Ebola. As Brian Beutler reminds us, it’s a “cruel coincidence” that the road to the GOP presidential nomination runs through Steve King’s Iowa.

* A great line from Digby: “And now a word from the GOP’s leading strategist on immigration policy.” Read on to see how Steve King reacted to the woman. With his characteristic sensitivity, King grabbed her wrist and said: “You’re very good at English. You know what I’m saying.”

* Speaking of Rand Paul, Kevin Drum responds to the same Paul backtrack on aid to Israel that I wrote about this morning:

This is starting to become one of Paul’s distinguishing features. He’s also done the same thing regarding the Civil Rights Act. Instead of simply saying that his thinking has evolved in some way or another, he aggressively denies he ever held his previous position and then pretends to be outraged that some liberal shill of a reporter is deliberately misrepresenting his position….Poor Rand Paul. He’s discovering that the actual existing Republican Party isn’t really all that libertarian after all. If he wants to be president, he’s going to have to jettison a whole bunch of fervently held positions, and he’s obviously not very happy about that. 

I got an email from a Paul staffer claiming Paul is super-gung-ho about aid to Israel — and offering quotes from Benjamin Netanyahu suggesting aid might not be necessary for long. To recap: Forget those quotes from Paul suggesting aid to Israel is unnecessary. But Netanyahu agreed with Paul! On the position Paul didn’t actually hold. Make sense?

* Jennifer Bendery with a very good takedown of Mitch McConnell’s latest effort to soften up his record on women’s issues. And Steve Benen notes that McConnell has pulled this trick before. — gs

* Polling continues to show Senate Dems hanging on in red states. The latest from PPP: Alaska’s Mark Begich continues to lead all potential opponents by four or more points, while Arkansas’ Mark Pryor is only two points behind opponent Tom Cotton.

* Meanwhile, the DSCC is putting $3.6 million behind this ad hitting Cotton for voting against funding for an Arkansas children’s hospital. Dems are gambling that even in a red state, you can get in trouble for the real-world effects of anti-government ideology.

* Most people thought Georgia would be an easy hold for Republicans. But now it’s turning into a real race, which is why the National Republican Senatorial Committee is sinking $2.5 million into ads to support GOP candidate David Perdue.

* Jonathan Bernstein has a must-read on the debate over Obama’s coming action on deportations and the ambiguities in the law that mean this is not the clear cut case conservatives say it is. This conclusion will not be acknowledged by most commentators:

What’s missing here, however, is that this isn’t so much a Congress story as it is another story about the broken Republican Party. Take, for example, immigration. It may not be clear exactly where Obama’s authority ends. But it is almost certainly true that he has some legitimate discretion, and that using it may well produce a policy outcome that would be worse for mainstream conservatives than what they could get by cutting a deal in Congress.

At bottom, Bernstein notes, this is all about the GOP decision “to just plain oppose, instead of having the responsibility of using their (limited but real) influence strategically,” which is “yet another consequence of a broken Republican Party.”

* Ed Kilgore looks at one conservative’s attempt to locate a tyrannical assault on the Constitution in the coming executive action we haven’t even seen yet, and gets to the core of the larger story here:

Kaus’ exotic interpretation of Obama’s intentions reflect a growing tendency among his conservative…critics to create a constitutional crisis out of political differences and the consequences of Obama’s re-election in 2012. It’s effective if dangerous as agitprop, but also illustrates the deep frustration of Obama-haters…at the wily president’s ability to thwart what many of them consider the manifest destiny of conservative governance.

So while John Boehner has managed to more or less unite Republicans behind a litigation strategy for “stopping” Obama’s executive actions, the widespread rhetoric of “tyranny” and “unconstitutional actions” points logically towards impeachment, however much Boehner wants to pretend that prospect is a “scam” invented by Democrats for fundraising purposes.

It would also help their case if Republicans didn’t keep talking about impeaching Obama.

* Francis Wilkinson on how “acid, amnesty, and abortion” has made a comeback, only this time it isn’t working so much in Republicans’ favor.

* And Simon Maloy documents how Rand Paul has hacked the media with one simple trick.