* The Affordable Care Act has long had a tough time in public opinion polls, so long as the question being asked is whether people “approve” of the law as a whole (when you ask people about the individual provisions, with the exception of the individual mandate they’re all extremely popular).
But a new Washington Post/ABC News poll shows more Americans saying they approve of the law than disapprove of it, by a 49 – 48 margin. That might be just a meaningless fluctuation. Or it might be a sign of things to come, as the prophecies of doom don’t come true and lots of people find their situations improved by the law. Interestingly enough, young people are the most friendly toward it, favoring it by 53 – 43.
* Conservative New York Times columnist Ross Douthat delivers the bad news to his brethren: they may not like it, but Obamacare is here to stay:
Any kind of conservative alternative will have to confront the reality that the kind of tinkering-around-the-edges alternatives to Obamacare that many Republicans have supported to date would end up stripping coverage from millions of newly-insured Americans…wherever they go and whatever they do, they will have to deal with the reality that Obamacare, thrice-buried, looks very much alive.
* Ted Cruz was probably unprepared for the answers he received when he put this on his Facebook page:
Quick poll: Obamacare was signed into law four years ago yesterday. Are you better off now than you were then? Comment with YES or NO!
As Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times jokes: “It’s probably fair to say that he didn’t expect the tsunami of “YES” votes that have shown up on the page.”
* Indeed, if you go to Cruz’s page, you can see comments like: “Yes I have MS and I lost my job I wouldn’t be able to get any other insurance because of my pre existing condition thank you President Obama. If people get sick they will realize how this is good.” Or: “Absolutely Yes! I have pre-existing condition that I was born with but didn’t appear until later in life and could not get health insurance at all. I finally have decent affordable insurance. What a huge relief!”
* Steve Benen explores the amateurish way Fox News twists their on-air graphs in order to make ideological points. It isn’t easy to make 7 million look like three times as much as 6 million, but they come through.
I doubt that this kind of intentional blindness to the law’s successes can withstand another seven months on the campaign trail. Which means Republicans will either have to confront reality eventually, or shake up their strategy pretty dramatically, so that single-minded hatred of the ACA isn’t the beginning and end of it.
* Jennifer Rubin describes an effort by some religious conservatives to push Republicans toward immigration reform, based on Christian principles. Can’t say it won’t be an uphill battle.
* Alison Lundergan Grimes continues hitting Mitch McConnell over his opposition to extending unemployment benefits, and you can expect this and other pocketbook issues, like the minimum wage, to play a major role in Dem efforts to draw an economic contrast with Republicans, even in deep red states. — gs
* The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its latest report overnight, and the news was grim. But as Michael Calderone of the Huffington Post reports, while newspapers gave the report significant attention, on cable news you could blink and you’d miss it. CNN mentioned it once this morning in passing, MSNBC had some discussion later in the day, and Fox didn’t bother covering it at all:
Al Jazeera America covered the report more comprehensively during the 9 a.m. hour than CNN, MSNBC and Fox News combined in the six hours analyzed.
Because global catastrophe is a total bummer. Let’s take a deeper look at that Kanye and Kim photo shoot.
* If you don’t have time to read through hundreds of dense pages of that report, Mother Jones breaks it down with a handy listicle, exploring eight reasons why the climate report should make you terrified.
* Despite what you saw in Zero Dark Thirty, “A Senate investigation concludes waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods provided no key evidence in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, according to congressional aides and outside experts familiar with a still-secret, 6,200-page report,” the AP reports today. The CIA’s response is that torturing prisoners produced all kinds of great intel.
* Dave Camp, the Republican chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, has announced that he’ll be retiring when his term runs out. We should probably have foreseen this when he released a tax reform plan that closed real, instead of imaginary, loopholes, and actually increased taxes on Wall Street. The guy was obviously headed for the door. But that doesn’t mean a hundred lobbying firms wouldn’t welcome him with open arms.
* President Obama doesn’t get involved in many Democratic primaries, but in his home state of Hawaii, he endorsed incumbent Senator Brian Schatz over his challenger, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa. Could it have anything to do with the fact that in 2008, Schatz endorsed Obama, while Hanabusa backed Hillary Clinton?
* And over at the American Prospect, I argue that Jeb Bush could be the Fred Thompson of 2016. Lots of love from the establishment, and a guy who wants to be president, but doesn’t seem all that hot on the idea of running for president.