August 22

* Jonathan Cohn makes the case for why Robert McCulloch, the prosecutor overseeing the Michael Brown case, should step aside:

The issue with McCulloch isn’t whether he’s capable of mastering and presenting the material. It’s whether he’ll do so in an impartial way. Prosecutors are always close to police, because they work closely on investigations. But McCulloch seems to have particularly strong feelings—strong enough that, when Governor Jay Nixon called in the state highway patrol to take over security in Ferguson a week ago, McCulloch criticized Nixon strongly and publicly. “It’s shameful what he did today, he had no legal authority to do that,” McCulloch said. “To denigrate the men and women of the county police department is shameful.”

Whoever is the prosecutor, I suspect that if people are expecting a cop to get convicted in a case where the evidence is anything less than perfectly unambiguous, they’re going to be disappointed.

* Yes, we’re actually going to start an inane debate over whether journalist James Foley death at the hands of ISIS was a “terrorist attack,” because that’s really what matters.

* In Iowa, Dems are determined to keep the pressure on GOP Senate candidate Joni Ernst’s opposition to the federal minimum wage. The latest tactic: Get regular Iowans to criticize Ernst over the issue.

* Meanwhile in Colorado, the DSCC is up with a new ad hammering Cory Gardner on abortion, another sign using women’s health and Personhood to make him unacceptable to women voters is central to holding the state.

* In Massachusetts, Scott Brown is now claiming he supports repeal of Obamacare, but reassuring voters by telling them he might bring Romneycare (which he supported) to Massachusetts. Got that?

* Nevertheless, a new poll shows Brown trailing Dem Senator Jeanne Shaheen by only two points. This is far closer than the average, so it’s probably an outlier, but it bears watching whether Republicans will broaden the map here.

* The latest on the Kentucky Senate race: It is now mired in an inspiring “dueling ethics complaints” phase, with charges flying back and forth. Mitch McConnell is accused of selling access to the Senate Dining Room, while Alison Lundergan Grimes is accused of getting a cheap bus from her dad.

* The Associated Press gets it right on what’s really happening with the politics of Obamacare, reporting on how Democrats are reframing the issue by touting the really popular things it does.

* Sam Wang crunches some polling on how Republican governors who did and didn’t support the Medicaid expansion are faring in their reelection races, and finds:

Republican governors who bucked their party’s stance and accepted the policy are faring better with voters — in these races, an average of 8.5 percentage points better.

But Obamacare is a disaster!

* Danny Vinik on a trend worth watching: Tea Partiers have decided that Paul Ryan is betraying them by losing his enthusiasm for government shutdowns and talking in less than contemptuous tones about poor people. But being a Tea Partier is really all about being betrayed, isn’t it?

* Remember when Rand Paul ran away from a DREAMer who struck up a conversation with Steve King? Now that Senator Paul has come out for repeal of DACA, Ed Kilgore sums it up with this beaut: “Rand Paul Returns to Steve King’s Table.”

* And at the American Prospect, I explain why we actually want to have killer robots doing our fighting for us. Seriously.