* Some real recruiting news from Democrats: Former Rep. Travis Childers is announcing he’ll run for Senate in Mississippi. Josh Kraushaar explains:

Childers, a Blue Dog Democrat, held a solidly-Republican House seat from 2008 to 2010, proving his ability to win over conservative voters despite his Democratic affiliation.  Democrats are hoping that conservative state senator Chris McDaniel topples longtime Sen. Thad Cochran in a June primary – a development they believe will make the race highly competitive.

Dems are hoping for Richard Mourdock redux. Obviously everything would have to go right for Dems for something like this to work in Mississippi, particularly in a midterm year. But the hope is that this will create a third possibility for a surprise Dem pickup (along with Kentucky and Georgia). While all three are difficult for Dems, to be sure, even one win would make the GOP road to a majority a lot steeper.

* Excellent piece by David Firestone noting that Republicans simply can’t even acknowledge that the deficit is falling, because so doing would completely undercut their arguments against Congressional action to get the economy going.

* House Republicans will vote next week to delay the individual mandate! A very good Jonathan Bernstein post on how this reflects the closed conservative information feedback loop in action.

* Relatedly, the quote of the day, GOP post-policy edition: Here’s GOP Rep. Michael Burgess on why Republicans should be cautious in offering an alternative to Obamacare:

“We’ve got an approval rating of 8 percent in aggregate. No one believes we can do those kinds of things.”

He’s referring to Congress’s approval rating here, not that of the GOP, but still, it’s an amusing excuse for not offering any GOP health reform plan, and perhaps even a self reinforcing one.

* Special bonus GOP post-policy quote of the day: GOP Rep. Frank Guinta says he’s “optimistic” that Obamacare might work, but still thinks it should be repealed, anyway.

* Ed Kilgore explains how Republicans’ plans to introduce a budget could get caught up in a web of deceit of their own creation, and suggests Republicans will simply double-talk their way out of it. Logic and consistency weren’t exactly constraints against literally years of attacking Dems for the Medicare cuts they voted for.

* Chart of the day, via Michael Hiltzik: This demonstrates that the stimulus really did work with a level of clarity that only those most determined to continue lying about this topic could possibly ignore.

* Philip Bump with a sharp piece on the right wing response to Obama’s “my brother’s keeper” initiative, in broader historical context.

* Also see Jamelle Bouie’s response to Bill O’Reilly’s claim that the answer is to stop listening to gangsta’ music.

* Chris Hayes has a remarkable interview with Josh Miller, an Arkansas state legislator who justifies opposing the Medicaid expansion even though he has benefitted extensively from Medicaid himself after an accident left him a quadriplegic.

* Ryan Cooper, on the aforementioned state legislator:

This bodes well for the future of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion. As Rep. Miller shows, once they settles in, social insurance programs tend to become extremely popular and secure.

* Another Americans for Prosperity ad attacking a Dem Senator, this one over phantom support for a “carbon tax,” gets blown apart by fact checkers. Is anyone else noticing a pattern here?

* And your sorely needed Friday comic relief: Steve Benen catches John Boehner claiming Obama wants to “pack it in” on policy until after the election. Perhaps it’s relevant that Republicans have explicitly adopted a no-policy-risk strategy for 2014?

What else?