* Great history here: Sarah Kliff dives into old news clippings to document how uncertain people initially were that Medicare would succeed, and how hard it was to sell the elderly on the program. Major reform is hard. The same will be true of Obamacare.
* A nice piece by Brendan Nyhan on the inherent contradiction between the goal of reporting facts and establishing “narratives,” and why reporters should prioritize the former.
* While scandal-mania rages, Jonathan Cohn continues to do great work documenting an important story: The terrible state of day care in America and why it matters that the Obama administration is taking steps, even without Congress’ help, to fix it.
* The IRS story worsens as the Treasury Department’s inspector general acknowledges he told senior Treasury officials during the presidential campaign that he was auditing the IRS’s targeting of political organizations. He did not tell them the targeting had been improper, however.
* So fun: Steve Benen documents all the ways conservatives have been comparing Obama “scandals” to “Watergate” for literally years at this point. One wonders whether the currency of Watergate comparisons has kind of lost its value at this point.
* Jonathan Bernstein explains why Harry Reid is making exactly the right play in threatening to revisit the nuclear option in July, in what is emerging as a very complex strategic game with serious long term significance.
* Smart stuff from Ed Kilgore, who’s a bit pessimistic about the prospects for reform, but praises Reid for continuing to push the issue, and rightly says it’s on us to pressure Dem Senators to show “maximum audacity” and get behind him.
* Speaking of Kilgore, don’t miss it when he writes about southern politics, and here he has a good one calling on a fellow “cracker” to give up on pretending the Battle Flag is an even remotely legitimate symbol of southern pride.
* Justin Green on why Republicans should support ending filibusters on nominations, for the good of the country and themselves.
* Politico on just how difficult it remains to get immigration reform through the House; multiple Republicans say the current Gang of Eight Senate compromise would be DOA there. I continue to wonder: What would moving reform far enough to the right to get it through the House actually look like?
Also worth remembering: If far right Republicans in the House kill reform, it is the worst possible political outcome for the GOP.
* Dana Milbank reports on the Tea Party lunacy that is already pushing the GOP into scandal overreach mode. Amazingly, Ted Cruz is alleging that “confidential taxpayer records were handed over” by the IRS “to the co-chairman of President Obama’s presidential campaign.” Back to the 1990s…
* And your sorely needed Friday takedown: Nate Silver versus Peggy Noonan, over the latter’s discovery of “scandal” in the fact that … four conservatives were audited by the IRS in 2012. The understatement in this headline is good for a happy hour laugh:
New Audit Allegations Show Flawed Statistical Thinking
Yeah, that’s for sure.