* Former Obama aide Reid Cherlin aptly sums up the Obama presidency as seen from the perspective of the White House:
They know that in spite of everything, they have managed over six years to accomplish much of what Obama promised to do, even if accomplishing it helped speed the process of partisan breakdown.
And this, says Ezra Klein, is the irony of the Obama presidency. He said he could create substantive change by getting past partisanship. And he’s accomplished most of the big things he promised, but getting there required forgetting all about healing our politics.
* Rand Paul clarifies his viral run-from-the-DREAMer video moment: He insists he wasn’t really running way; he just exploded out of his seat after taking one bite of his burger because there was a very important interview he had to get to.
* Scott Brown is now attacking Dem Senator Jeanne Shaheen over immigration. But Amanda Terkel finds a problem: The in-state tuition for undocumented kids he’s now railing against? He voted for it before.
* Speaking of struggling GOP candidates demagoguing immigration, don’t miss this new ad from Michigan’s Terri Lynn Land blasting Dem Gary Peters by claiming the border crisis was caused by failure to enforce the law. So…deport the DREAMers, right? — gs
* Indeed, the latest Michigan poll shows Peters leading Land by 7 points. The polling average has it at five, so this may be one place where Republicans aren’t really expanding the map.
* Meanwhile, Tim Alberta reports on early finger-pointing: Republicans aren’t too pleased with how she’s performing as a candidate, and they didn’t really want her as their standard bearer, anyway.
* Keep an eye on this one: Alison Lundergan Grimes has picked up the endorsement of the miners’ union, which is planning to spend big in eastern “Obama hates coal” country, in search of a “game changer” on McConnell’s own turf. — gs
* Dems are really keeping up that impeachment trolling. Here’s third-ranking House Dem James Clyburn claiming that if Americans don’t give Dems back the House, Republicans are going to impeach President Obama. I’m sure he didn’t say that because he knows how mad it gets Republicans.
* Scott Walker promised spectacular job growth if he could get elected and crush the state’s unions. With all signs suggesting the gubernatorial race is real, opponent Mary Burke is out with a hard-hitting ad pointing out the results haven’t been quite what he hoped for.
* Brian Beutler keeps doing nice work revealing the unspoken premises and assumptions underlying conservatives’ continued attacks on Obama’s coming executive action to ease deportations, and explaining why they matter. — gs
I do worry that the still-emerging ideology of “constitutional conservatism” is something new and dangerous, at least in its growing respectability….It basically holds that a governing model of strictly limited (domestic) government that is at the same time devoted to the preservation of “traditional culture” is the only legitimate governing model for this country, now and forever, via the divinely inspired agency of the Founders. [...]
Some of the moneyed interests bankrolling the GOP and the conservative movement probably just view all the God and Founders talk as a shiny bauble with which to fool the rubes, but others — notably the Kochs — seem to have embraced it as a vehicle for permanent domination of American politics. This is the real “struggle for the soul of the GOP” that’s worth watching, far more than the tempests in a Tea Party Pot in this or that primary.
* Kilgore also makes some key points about the flaws in the conservative argument against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which will play an increasingly central role in the aforementioned “constitutional conservatism” ideology if Obama does something ambitious.
* The charts of the day, courtesy of Jeff Guo, illustrate that Mexican men will move to chase low-skilled jobs, while native born men won’t, and it turns out this balances out labor markets.
* Fun fact of the day: Justin Levitt has been tracking allegations of in-person voter fraud since 2000, and he’s found a total of 31 cases, in a period where over a billion votes were cast. This is obviously a problem so severe it requires making it harder for millions of Americans to vote.
* New House Minority Whip Steve Scalise invited a corporate lobbyist to participate in the interviews he’s conducting with potential staff members. Because really, why even pretend?
* Bloomberg News reports that intra-Republican fights in this year’s election have cost $135 million so far. Which means that despite all the hand-wringing over the intra-GOP split, it has produced a lot of happy Republican political consultants.
* John Brummett explains how the media “gaffe patrol” in campaign coverage makes everybody stupider.
* At the American Prospect I took a look at the dumbest affectation in Congress. Hint: it involves couches.
*And a fun post from Steve Benen on Kansas governor Sam Brownback, whose perfect experiment in GOP governance isn’t going very well. Indeed, a candidate who spent a comical $13,600 opposing Brownback in the primary managed to pull a remarkable 37 percent.
So who does Brownback blame? We’ll give you three guesses.